North Olympic Peninsula
Farm to Cafeteria Conference Update

Click here for a Peninsula Daily News article and Sequim Gazette article covering the event.

Click here for notes from conference Advocacy focus group

Click here for news on what’s currently happening and ways to get involved


North Olympic Peninsula - Farm to Cafeteria Conference – Nov 5, 2009

Advocacy and Support – Group Notes:

Details:  (from notebook notes) 

  • Show Candice’s film in High Schools – use as springboard
  • Those with experience with Wellness Policy can support volunteers in other districts
  • Provide information session on what has already been done in each district, define next steps
  • Need to establish a timeline for goals:  e.g. Updated Wellness Policies by March 2010
  • Help people deepen their personal understanding and commitment through NWEI ‘Menu for the Future’.  Increase passion to follow-through with volunteer efforts
  • Power of speaking up:  Only took 2 meetings with PT Planning Committee and City Council to get community gardens sanctioned.  It doesn’t take that much if you go in prepared.
  • PA Wellness Policy change:  Kia, Beth & Linda – small email campaign got language added to the Wellness Policy.
  • Elected representatives and their staff are stretched very thin, especially now.  Help them do the homework to streamline decision making process
  • Elected officials like to work on positive issues – good for the economy & community, good PR
  • Jefferson Healthy Lunch for 4 weeks – show movie there
  • Other institutions important.  E.g. OMC Farmer’s Mkt
  • PT hospital may see lots of staff resistance.  Purchased movie to show there.
  • Local food = good health.  Should make attractive to people
  • Culinary Arts Institute would be a great place to promote local food.  Partner with Culinary Tourism.
  • Partnerships with complementary organizations/programs maximizes impact, spreads the workload
  • Encourage personal education to drive behavior change – don’t tell people ‘what to do’
  • Budget will be barrier.  Use Olympia story to demonstrate how it can be done
  • Research grant opportunities to help on budget issues
  • Highlight investment in healthy kids:  attracts more families to region (needed to diversify our demographics), more kids in schools, more funds to schools
  • Make sure schools and other institutions are aware of and participate in Gleaning Groups (OlyCAP in Clallam and in Jefferson)
  • Sunfield Farm & School:  Students from Brinnon/Quilcene participate in planting/harvesting for food banks
  • Use this ‘free food’ as foot in door to get ‘fresh’ snacks on the menu
  • There are currently no regulations at State level preventing the use of fresh, local food
  • How to work around/with Sodexo?  Need to know when contracts are established and when they are renegotiated. 
  • Did the new Food Safety bill raise a barrier for farmers?  (See current PT Food Coop Newsletter  page 18)
  • Need to figure out how to connect – support each other regionally
  • Start with email list – move to Social Networking Site like Facebook?
  • Good Senior Project – set up the advocacy network
  • Jefferson County Master Gardeners offering $1000 grants for food/garden projects.  Next application deadline is April, 2010
  • Should we target parents for NWEI and other child nutrition small group education?
  • How do we reach beyond the choir?  Through kids??
  • Create a Tsunami of Action using the energy generated by the conference

Details (from flip charts) 

  • Show film at HS and other schools – invite parents
  • School staff show interest to School Board – include parents
  • MAP – where are we now?  What is happening already?
  • Timeline – critical for target actions
  • Menu for the Future workshops – drive change from personal perspective
  • Go to School Board/City Officials/etc.  Have good presentation, do the homework for them.
  • Suggest easy things to accomplish at first
  • Health issue for kids
  • Reinvest in community
  • Use film in schools to galvanize effort / spread the word
  • Approach other institutions
  • Appeal to humane side
  • Culinary arts tie into culinary tourism
    • One example of effective partnerships.  What others are possible?
  • Help people ‘discover what they want to do – rather than telling them
  • Be aware of what is happening at national & state level that affect our efforts
  • How do we tap into grants and other available resources?
  • Hub/Facebook page for advocacy
    • Food Coop willing to post (possibly JeffersonGrown/ClallamGrown)
  • Senior project – website
  • Student Councils – Include kids in advocacy
  • Master Gardener grants for food related projects – April 2010 next deadline (up to $1000)
  • Target Parents (educate about healthy eating)
  • Target specialty groups
  • Healthy Eating’ Series at the PT Library
  • Research possible obstacles – work to address barriers, provide examples, success stories
  • Research grants
  • Volunteerism in general
  • Gleaning – donated to school and other cafeterias
  • Kids grow food for food bank / partner with OlyCAP and Sunfield Farm School
  • Volunteer gleaned fruit & veggies to  classrooms – get foot in door for ‘healthy snacks’
Summary Notes 

  • Goal is to create a tsunami of actions that build on conference energy.
  • Focus on LOCAL advocacy; keep an eye on Federal and State level.
  • Start with a follow-up email to allow folks to opt-out of future organizing efforts
  • Work with High Schools – Any interest Senior Project: Building the regional Advocacy Network?
  • If not, explore other options to create effective and useful hub to
    • Share information & tools
    • Provide support for each other
  • Start building a list of potential partners: e.g. Culinary Tourism
  • Remember our elected and their staffs are overloaded.  Do the homework, make it easy to say ‘yes’!
  • Reinforce the impact on community health:  physical, economic and strong sense of community
    • Economic Stimulus:  $ to Farmers = $ to Community.  Invest in kids = families move to community = more $ for schools


What’s currently happening – ways to get involved: 

Nov. 18, 2009 - Inspired by the conference, Quilcene school district officials met and have agreed to start buying local produce from local farmers at least once per month, to occasionally feature fresh locally grown foods for afternoon snacks, to place posters of local farmers in the school cafeteria and to enlarge their school garden.  

Nov. 30, 2009 - Also inspired by the conference, Sodexo, food service provider for both Port Angeles and Sequim school districts, committed to moving forward with purchasing some local produce for both districts. 

Dec. 15, 2009 – Candice Cosler of Port Townsend will an evening event to further the successful Farm-to-Cafeteria Conference, 7pm at the QUUF, Quimper Unitarian Church.  Attendees will view segments of selected speeches from the conference as well as the newly released film “Stepping Up to the Plate”, share ideas and formulate action plans for making Farm-to-Cafeteria programs a reality.  Child care provided.  Donations greatly appreciated.  For more info please contact Candice at 

Community meetings are planned in Port Angeles, Sequim, and Port Townsend during December and January to attract and engage interested parents, students, educators, and community members in the effort to increase the amount of fresh, whole foods offered in our cafeterias (look for details at the websites listed below).  

Mid-January, 2010 - Jefferson Elementary School in Port Angeles will pilot a 6-week lunch menu that features more whole, fresh foods and fewer processed foods.

The Jefferson County Farm to School Coalition presents two films Sunday, April 25th at 1 p.m. at the Rose Theater in Port Townsend

The film Two Angry Moms questions what our children are eating in school and explores the roles the federal government, corporate interest, school administration and parents play in the feeding of our country’s school kids. The film shows how important real food is for the health of each child and the long-term health of the country.

Stepping up to the Plate follows the efforts of Washington School districts in Olympia and the Methow Valley as they make Farm to School a reality and set a precedent for schools in our area.  This film was shown at the November Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Blyn.  Tickets:$5 Available at the Food Coop

Join our Facebook group: North Olympic Peninsula Farm to Cafeteria Program for updates, discussion groups, and calls to action.


Conference sponsors:

North Olympic Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council and the
Port Angeles School District's Nutrition and Physical Activity Advisory Committee in conjunction with the following partners:  Nash's Organic Produce, OlyCAP, Sustainable Peninsula, Port Angeles and Port Townsend Farmers Markets,
Local 20/20, Port Townsend Food Co-op,,, WSU, WSDA Farm-to-School Program, Port Townsend School District

Farm to Cafeteria News:
  • October 9, 2009: President Obama declares the week of October 11-17 National School Lunch Week
  • September 15, 2009: The USDA has announced a new initiative to better connect children to their food and create opportunities for local farmers to provide their harvest to schools in their communities as part of USDA's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative.
  • September 14, 2009:  The program Weekday on Seattle's 94.9 KUOW had a segment about the issue of improving school lunches. The program covers the national effort to improve school meals as Congress is set to renew the Child Nutrition Act which funds breakfast and lunches for 30 million school children. Momentum is building to provide enough money to purchase local and whole foods, but that is a challenge for some.

about Farm to Cafeteria Programs in our region:

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