Summit Strategies 

At the Summit in November 2019, attendees split up into 7 different groups to talk strategies that would put us on the path to reaching our group goal*. Each group had to establish their own goal, and then everyone had a chance to share their own strategy ideas.

From there, the groups picked one strategy to focus on at length and presented out to the larger group about what it was, and what it would take to achieve. Groups used blank cardboard boxes to do this, so click through the photos of the boxes to see what strategy they thought through at length. Below that, you'll see some of the other ideas that surfaced over the two day summit that we don't want to be lost! 

As a reminder - here's the group goal*:
By 2032, 100% of CT ECE Centers and K-12 schools have tangible, sustainable processes that connect education, agriculture and nutrition, where at least 25% of food served in CT ECE Centers & K12 Schools is sourced locally, and all students enrolled in CT ECE Centers and K-12 schools have access to meaningful, empowering experiences with the local food system in their classrooms, cafeterias and outdoor learning spaces.

Interested in seeing the information on this webpage on one document? Click the summit strategies button to download it!

1. Ability to Deliver the Value of CT FTS

Group Goal: For all CTFTS stakeholders to understand the value of CTFTS as it pertains to their role.

Strategy Shared at Summit: ​County Farm to School Coordinators, hosted at Extension Centers.

Other Strategies Shared: 

  • The development of a CT Farm to School Institute (statewide version of Northeast Farm to School Institute) to ultimately create community based farm to school collaboratives
     

  • FTS Buyer/Provider or Buyer/Buyer Mentorship Program 
     

  • Requirement for Farm to School to be integrated into mandatory educational curriculum
     

  • Tiered Employee Training based on capacity 
     

  • Facilities assessment and Farm to School specific equipment grant 
     

  • Establish sustained funded regional or county wide networks

2. Ability to Match Supply and Demand

Group Goal: We will bridge relationships to educate, market and outreach the mutual benefits of farm to school to all stakeholders to drive demand that will dictate infrastructure needs (aggregation, processing and storage) to serve the diversity and scale of local farms and schools.

Strategy Shared at Summit: ​Hire Coordinators to create a web platform to aggregate resources, develop educational tools, provide direct procurement mentorship services, and enact marketing and outreach campaigns. 

Other Strategies Shared: 

  • Grant driven program to connect farm infrastructure for season extension to subsidized sales to a specific school(s) they arrange a pre-contract with for procurement.
     

  • Create a comprehensive marketing type outreach tool like the Farmer Bucket List about selling to school/buying from farms based on best practices to be included anywhere and everywhere farmers and school community members gather. 
     

  • Organize to resource 4 regional food hubs in geographically strategic location across the state by utilizing current businesses and organizations, and hire someone to do this. Food Hub strategy resource facilitator. 3 year grant cycled position, potentially embedded in Connecticut Dept. of Economic and Community Development.

3. Resource/Funding for CT Farm to School

Group GoalBy 2032 CT will have 5 million* bonding for Farm to School in the state budget, annually.


*not a well-researched ask, yet. This number would depend on the amount estimated to fund other projects as they emerge, and would be reevaluated as time goes on.

Strategy Shared at Summit: ​ Have a proposal for funding farm to school in CT with legislative and state food policy council support in the 2021 budget.

Other Strategies Shared: 

  • State policy established to incentivize/ fund schools/ECE and producers to participate in farm to school activities. 
     

  • Increased visits by legislators and the Governor to sites during CT Grown for CT Kids Week 2020. 
     

  • Regional food hubs under each RESC in the state to provide access to schools/ECEs.
     

  • Engage other stakeholder organizations to support proposed legislation- CABE (CT Assoc of Boards of Ed), CASBO (CT Assoc of School Business Offic.), CAPSS (CT Assoc of School Superint.), CAND(CT Academy of Nutr. & Dietetics), CAAE(CT Assoc of Ag Educators). 

4. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Group Goals: Integrate a DEI lens in all CT FTS strategies. 

  • CT Farm to school network works as a cohesive and inclusive unit to ensure equitable processes and culturally appropriate resources.

  • Increase accessibility in the CT FTS network to ensure community needs are met, voices are heard, and institutionalized power is shared. 

Strategy Shared at Summit: ​ Develop a clear, shared, agreed upon definition of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as it exists in each sphere of the CT F2S Systems Map, prior to activation of action plan.

Other Strategies Shared: 

  • Engage with organizations and individuals with expertise in racial equity and shifting power to ensure the space values different forms of knowledge and lived experience, is accessible and inclusive for all, balances privilege, and centers those who have been historically marginalized. 

  • Recruit community statkeholders across race, place, class, gender, sex, and other marginilzed identities - that group develops a clear, shared agreed upon definition of DEI as it exists in each sphere of the CT F2S Systems Map.

    • White communities work through their own stuff not on the backs of communities of color. 

    • Apply definition in a way that develops processes for each sphere of the CT F2S Systems Map (for example increase demand for culturally relevant food grown). 
       

  • Lobby for policy backed reparations to communities of color.
     

  • A direct investment in farmers of color. 

5. Economic Value

Group Goal: To build the economic case for the value of CT farm to school in local communities and develop resources to support CT farm to school’s economic value.

Strategy Shared at Summit: ​ In the next 12 months, 10% of all CT children enrolled in ECE programs will have a farm to school experience.

Other Strategies Shared: 

  • Collect and share stories of success from farmers doing Farm to School in CT to build interest. (We could also do this with schools.)
     

  • Make the case for economic value of farm to school with schools by:

    • Doing a kitchen waste study to show local food can lead to less waste

    • Doing a study to see if local food can increase meal sales
       

  • Explore innovative strategies within the early childcare space to expose family and future consumers to local agriculture (& capture economic power). (We could also do this with K12.)

    • CSA/Farmer’s market on site

    • Farm field trips

    • Aggregate purchasing power

5. Educational Value - Student Impact

Group Goal: 100% of students in ECE and PreK-12 will have at least one meaningful, culturally relevant hands-on experience with Farm to School every year.

Strategy Shared at Summit: ​ Farm to School Education Coordinator in every school district.

Other Strategies Shared: 

  • Define & quantify hands-on culturally relevant farm to school experiences.
     

  • Develop a scope and sequence of experiences that are developmentally appropriate.
     

  • Require every district to document and report activities.
     

  • Give every district supplemental funds for activities, but funding is contingent upon documentation and reporting. 
     

  • Develop groups or meetings to share best practices.
     

  • Every school has to establish a garden/outdoor classroom or indoor growing tables by 2032. 
     

  • Embed curriculum through science NGSS realignment.
     

  • Establish an annual CT Farm To School Institute (aka like Northeast Farm to School Institute in VT)
     

  • Establish a CT Farm To School Fund that schools/districts apply for to fund their activities (addendum to the supplemental fund strategy above).

5. Educational Value - Adult Educator Impact

Group Goal: ...comprehensive educational program ... expert support network to train/educate adults on ... implementation... classroom resources...all aspects of FTS... how it will help children and our society to succeed…

Strategy Shared at Summit: ​ The development of a committee, who would: develop resource connections to classroom standards, produce a resource guide, and develop a training for professional educators and create an outreach plan.

Other Strategies* Shared: 

  • Have a Farm to School Institute yearly, like Vermont does. (NE Farm to School Institute)
     

  • Establish a marketing campaign (video) to introduce people (politicians, school board, teachers, parents, farmers, etc) to Farm to School and convince people of its importance.
     

  • Strategies for farm to school curriculum implementation, train teachers/coaches/etc on curriculum implementation.
     

  • Farm to School network point person (in each district?)

    *The idea here is that the committee (the strategy that we dug deeper on) will carry out each of the above strategies.

© 2019