Written by Divya Babbula, Summer 2015 Food and Farm Intern. Originally published in June 2015.
Sponsors of the Missouri Farm to School 2015 Regional Meet and Greet: AgriMissouri, Missouri Foundation for Health, Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition, University of Missouri Extension, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
The Missouri Farm to School 2015 Regional Meet & Greet Tour in early June gathered farmers, distributors, and food service directors to discuss the current happenings and coming possibilities of Farm to School programs across Missouri. Farm to School programs strive to teach children healthy eating habits, stimulate local economies and community health, and expand knowledge about agriculture and sustainability. This Meet and Greet conference was attended by 12 nonprofits, 3 producers, 3 chefs, 7 food service professionals, 3 government representatives, as well as other figures. Attendees brainstormed around the current barriers to Farm to School programs: aggregation, traceability, budget/pricing, communication, and technical assistance. MCE’s Melissa Vatterott and Food & Farm Intern Divya Babbula were excited to share with and learn from the many stakeholders at the conference, including the Local Food Heroes below:
Charlie Hopper is the Program Coordinator of AgriMissouri, a program of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. AgriMissouri is an outreach program that promotes Missouri-grown and Missouri-made items, including food and non-food products, farmers’ markets, and agritourism. It helps businesses grow by offering training and educational opportunities as well as collective marketing and promotions.
Missouri Foundation for Health
One of the four key health issues targeted by Missouri Foundation for Health is childhood obesity. In 2013, the Foundation began the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities (HSHC) initiative, a five-year effort that “brings together schools, community organizations, businesses, parents and residents to identify and push for changes that increase access to healthy food and physical activity where our kids live, learn and play.” One of HSHC’s primary approaches is to using Schools as the Hub – they work at the school district level to create wellness action plans to address school foods, health education, and other topics.