Louisiana Farm to School Conference set for Oct. 9-10 in Baton Rouge

Richard Bogren  |  8/1/2018 1:23:48 PM

(08/01/18) BATON ROUGE, La. — The third annual Louisiana Farm to School conference will be held on Oct. 9-10 at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Hosted by the LSU AgCenter, the event will emphasize the three main components of farm to school — education, school gardens and local food procurement.

Farm to School programs aim to increase students’ ability to access healthy, local food products by linking schools with local farmers and producers. Farm to School works to enhance students’ knowledge of agriculture through learning opportunities such as farm visits, cooking demonstrations, school gardens, food tastings and classroom curriculum, said Louisiana Farm to School program assistant Sydney Melhado.

Attendees will hear about incorporating local foods, school gardens and Farm to School educational activities into their school communities. The conference will offer three track options: sourcing, growing, and learning.

Each track will feature success stories and best practices from experienced professionals as well as a community component, a networking session and hands-on activity. “The three tracks this year will allow us to present a variety of material to all the attendees in a more interactive environment,” Melhado said.

The 2018 conference will feature keynote speaker Chef Ann Cooper. Known as the “Renegade Lunch Lady,” this accomplished author, chef and educator currently serves as the director of nutrition services for the Boulder Valley School District, advocating for better food for all children.

“We are pleased to have Chef Ann as the keynote for the 2018 conference. She brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for transforming the food that is served in our schools and focusing on the links between school food and children’s health and wellness,” said Carl Motsenbocker, AgCenter professor and executive director of the Louisiana Farm to School program.

A Meet the Buyers reception on Oct. 9 will offer an opportunity for attendees to meet retail, wholesale and institutional buyers and hear how to get more fresh produce into schools.

“The reception gives both exhibitors and producers the opportunity to meet in a relaxed face-face environment and establish lasting relationships,” said Louisiana Farm to School program director Crystal Besse.

Anyone interested in local food systems, Louisiana agriculture, education, school gardens or healthy school meals is encouraged to attend the conference.

Online registration for the conference can be found at https://laf2sc2018.eventbrite.com. The cost is $23 per person, and space is limited.

More information is available from Melhado at 225-578-1037 or smelhado@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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