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'Farm to Cafeteria' workshop offered in Morris

Apples, cucumbers, and tomatoes are the top three most popular

Minnesota fruits and vegetables among K-12 students, according to an Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy survey of school food service leaders.

Getting these locally grown foods on the menus of schools and other institutions such as hospitals and childcare centers requires crosssector partnerships, community support and relationship building. A Farm to Cafeteria workshop in Morris is one of eight regional workshops taking place across the state between February and

April. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 5 at the West Central Research and

Outreach Center in Morris from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

The Farm to Cafeteria workshops are designed to meet the needs of the region and strengthen

connections to advance partnerships between local farmers and community institutions. Farm to

Cafeteria workshops build strong communities, healthy people and resilient local farms, creating

a "win-win" for all parties. This year's gatherings build on an earlier round of Farm to Cafeteria

workshops. In 2010, more than 600 Minnesotans attended eight regional workshops that were

aimed to inspire, inform and build support for local food to local institutions.

The workshop in Morris will feature information about many aspects of the farm to cafeteria

process. Among sessions that are intended for both growers and food service professionals;

growers will attend a break-out session about safe postharvest handling from Dr. Cindy Tong of

the University of Minnesota and food service professionals will attend a session on handling and

processing food for the cafeteria coordinated by Jeanine Bowman, director of food service for

Morris and Benson schools. In addition, the event will include networking opportunities

throughout. A meal will be provided, showcasing locally-available products.

"When schools buy food from nearby producers, their purchasing power helps create local jobs

and economic benefits, particularly in rural agricultural communities," said USDA Deputy

Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "Evidence also suggests that when kids understand more about

where food comes from and how it's produced, they are more likely to make healthy eating

choices."The 2013 workshops are coordinated by University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with

the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable

Agriculture, Renewing the Countryside, and funded by the Minnesota Department of

Agriculture.

For more information and to register, visit: www.extension.umn.edu/go/1132. There is a $20

fee to register for this event and covers all resource materials and the meal.

If you are unable to attend this networking workshop in Morris, there is an option to participate

by using one the following webinar links (no registration fee required):

For Growers: https://umconnect.umn.edu/r38644439/

For Food Service professionals: https://umconnect.umn.edu/r69077482/

Contact David Fluegel, Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, at fluegel@umn.edu or

320-589-1711 for more information on this workshop.

For information on Minnesota Farm to School, visit www.extension.umn.edu/farm-to-school/

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