The 2024 OFSSGN Conference was held February 15 & 16th at the OSU Alumni Center in Corvallis, OR!

Conference Schedule at a glance (1)



SESSION A: 10:15-11:30

From Bare Earth to Blossoms, How to Grow a School Garden Program

We will explore what it takes to start a school garden program. From designing, building, and utilizing a garden, to connecting classrooms. Dive into our school garden manual and walk through the steps it takes to create a successful school garden program. We will create a simple plan during this session.  

Erin Maidlow, Executive Director, Umpqua Valley Farm to School. Bobbi Wilson, Education Coordinator, Umpqua Valley Farm to School

Category: Beginner

Age level: Early Childcare/ Preschool, K-5, Middle/ High school


Empowering Authentic Voices: Co-creating Learning Spaces with Children

This workshop aims to empower educators to look within themselves to see how they can encourage student agency, autonomy and let go of hierarchical structures in learning. This is a call to all educators to use authenticity as a pedagogical practice and encourage students to bring their whole selves to the learning environment. This workshop will incorporate self reflection around identity, writing, and discussion with other participants to support educators with skills to bring back to their learning environments.

Teiah Henry, Education Program Coordinator, Zenger Farm. Kai Neuenschwander, Farm Educator, Zenger Farm

Category: Beginner/Intermediate

Age Level: Early Childcare/ Preschool, K-5, Middle/ High school


Explore the Bees of Oregon: Using Bees to Learn About Oregon Agriculture and Biodiversity 

In this session we will work through the newest edition of the Explore the Bees of Oregon workbooks. Dr. Melathopoulos will also bring examples of the various bees that can be found in school gardens. We will also share our teacher feedback of using these resources in the classroom.  

Lauren Tobey, Associate Professor of Practice, Extension Family and Community Health Program, Oregon State University. Andony Melathopoulos, Associate Professor of Pollinator Health Extension, Oregon State University

Category: Beginner/Intermediate

Age Level: Any


Connecting Kitchen, Curriculum, and Community: Farm to Early Care & Education Resources and Inspiration 

Hear from Farm to Early Care & Education practitioners on ways to incorporate Oregon foods, garden experiences, and agricultural education into their programs. 

A panel of Farm to ECE practitioners moderated by Angela Hedstrom, Community Food Systems Manager, Ecotrust

Marcy Ellison, Nutrition Manager, Southern Oregon Head Start. Jamie Griffin CCNP, Nutrition Supervisor, Southern Oregon Head Start. DyLynn Robertson, Program Manager, Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships, MHCC Child Development and Family Support Program. Kelley Smith, Youth Grow Educator and ECE Program Lead, Growing Gardens. Ileana Viramontes, Garden Educator, Grow Portland. Francia Yera, Child Nutrition Coordinator, Adelante Mujeres. Abby Shrader, Garden Educator, Grow Portland

Category: Beginner

Age Level: Early Childhood


El Maiz: De la Tierra a Tu Plato : Corn: From the Ground to Your Plate

This is a food demonstration that celebrates and explores Mexico's principal food, corn. You will have the opportunity to see the steps it takes to turn corn into tortillas. You will also have the opportunity to compare masa made from dry corn flour, and masa made from nixtamal (fresh masa). Nixtamal is an ancestral method of turning dry corn into masa for tortillas. At the end, we will make quesadillas with three colors of masa, and decorate our plates as if in an elegant restaurant. After, we will take 10 minutes to reflect and enjoy the quesadillas together. It is designed for K-5 programming. The presentation will be facilitated in Spanish and translated into English. 

Angeles Martinez Silverio, Garden Educator and Coordinator, Growing Gardens. Kimberly Deras, Youth Grow Program Manager, Growing Gardens

Category: Intermediate

Age Level: K-5



Finding Your Farm to School Career: A Panel of Farm to School Professionals

There are many professional opportunities in the farm to school ecosystem. Whether you are just starting your career or interested in finding the next step in your career, you are sure to learn from this panel of professionals who will share their stories and advice for growing your profession in the farm to school movement. 

Tristana Pirkl, Director, School Garden Support Organization Network. Zoe Lavier-Fisher, Garden Teacher, Willow Wind Community Learning Center. Alisha Howard, Community Outreach Coordinator, Food Systems, Ecotrust. Abigail Blinn, Procurement & Nutrition Program Manager, Rogue Valley Farm to School & Rogue Valley Food System Network. Emily Griffith, Office Specialist II, Farm to Child Nutrition Programs, Oregon Department of Education. Bailey DelaCruz, Education Program Coordinator, Zenger Farm. Brynn Richardson, Nutrition Services Manager, David Douglas School District . Moderated by Michelle Markesteyn, Oregon State University, Associate Professor of Practice,  Extension Farm to School and School Garden Specialist

Category: Beginner/Intermediate

Age Level: Any

SESSION B: 1:30-2:45

Design Your Eden - A Creative Card Deck for Garden Design

I will be presenting a tool I developed to facilitate conversations around garden design.  The Design Your Eden card deck helps clarify the elements, values, and connections that form the basis of satisfying and pleasing gardens.  Adults and kids have responded very enthusiastically to this tool as an introduction to overall garden design principles.

Marc Boucher-Colbert, Principal, Design Your Eden

Category: Intermediate

Age Level: K-5, Middle/ High school


Infusing Nutrition Education Throughout the Day with Young Children

Explore ways to teach nutrition education to your students everyday. Learn tips about introducing new foods, navigating picky eaters, and growing and preparing food with children. Help your students build the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating all while introducing them to STEM and STEAM activities. 

Laura Neilson, Training Outreach Coordinator, Early Learning System Initiative. Amanda Mercier, Training & Development Consultant, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Children & Family Services Program 



*Note: this is a short course and will be in session for Session B and Session C

Category: Beginner

Age Level: Early Childhood Education/Preschool


Live with the Spring Season - Teaching Spring Wild Edibles 

In this workshop we will demonstrate a module from Tend, Gather, Grow that is focused on Wild Food Traditions. Join us for a food demonstration and a brief tutorial on how to navigate the Native Plants and Foods Portal. 

Cinnamon Bear (Karuk), Education Forester for Manulife Forest Management, Muckleshoot Tribal School and community.

Category: Beginner

Age Level: All


Cultivating Roots: Community-Cultural Connections & Growing the Farm to School Field

Cultivating Roots: Community-Cultural Connections & Growing the Farm to School Field" is an immersive presentation exploring the integration of diverse cultural traditions into farm-to-school programs. Through engaging discussions, a collaborative lesson plan workshop, and insights from industry professionals, participants will delve into strategies for enhancing inclusivity, building robust partnerships, and fostering enduring farm-to-school initiatives. This experience champions co-creation and the significance of community engagement in advancing education.

Reeba Daniel, Founder,  Keep Growing Seeds

Category: Beginner

Age Level: Early Childhood Education/Preschool, K-5


Take Home Kits for Kids and Families: Bringing the School Garden Experience Home

Come explore how to design, prepare and deliver take home kits for students and their families. Take home kits provide a great way to reach out to parents and caregivers, celebrate families' cultural cuisines, utilize school garden produce, and support local area farmers. From a "make it at home Salsa Verde" kit, to a "gallon garden" kit, take home kits are an exciting way for students to share their food and garden skills and experiences with their families. Participants will have time to consider how to adapt the take home kit idea into their work, idea share, and will leave with a virtual resource kit to help implement take home kits once home.  

Amoreena Guerrero, Youth Grow Program Director, Growing Gardens. Cat Ayala, Take Home Kit Lead Staff & Garden Educator, Growing Gardens. Amber Votel Roth, School Garden Coordinator, Growing Gardens

Category: All

Age Level: Early Childhood Education/Preschool, K-5, Middle/ High school


Digging Into Science in the Garden

Are you interested in integrating your school garden with grade-level content, but not sure where to begin? Jesse Hunter will share a soil unit that he wrote and discuss ways to integrate a school garden / schoolyard habitat with science curriculum and standards. Then, learn how to develop your own garden-based science unit. Bilingual Spanish presentation available if appropriate for attendees.

Jesse Hunter, Teacher / Volunteer Garden Coordinator, Woodstock School (Portland Public Schools)

Category: Advanced

Age Level: K-5


How to Build Your School Farm

This presentation discusses the detailed key considerations and practical steps needed to establish and build successful gardens and farms within school premises.  From site selection, funding, administration and groundskeeper approval, planning, student involvement, community involvement, etc.  educators and attendees will gain valuable insights and strategies to start on the journey of creating vibrant, educational green spaces that enrich the school environment and provide hands-on learning opportunities for students. Join me and learn how you can be the one to start cultivating a thriving garden or farm at your school. 

Trey Hackett, Director, Growing A Future

Category: Intermediate

Age Level: K-5, Middle/ high school

SESSION C: 4:00-5:15

Tips on Partnering & Building School Gardens on A Shoestring & Securing Resources

Practical ideas for leveraging resources and recruiting and managing volunteers to create school gardens with limited funds. With more than 30 years of community gardening experience in Oakland, California, newly transplanted Oregonians Sue and Gordon Piper share lessons learned and how to leverage resources through shoestring gardening for creating productive, economical public gardens at schools and in your community:

  • Tips on avoiding paying retail for materials
  • Tips on building relationships with volunteer sources
  • Tips on managing volunteers including best practice for volunteer teams
  • Tips on managing your tools
  • Tips on marketing
  • Tips on fundraising for dollars AND in kind services

Gordon Piper, Chair, Oakland Landscape Committee. Sue Piper, Secretary, Oakland Landscape Committee

Category: Beginner

Age Level: Any


Creativity and Community in the School Garden! 

How to use our creativity and resourcefulness as educators to overcome barriers to building joyful and sustainable school garden programs

Come learn creative ways to engage students, families, and staff in your school garden program. Participants will hear of one local K-5 teacher's experiences in creating enriching programs in her school's garden. Come prepared to discuss barriers that make sustainable programming difficult. How do we find volunteers, funding, and help build enthusiasm for learning and play in the garden? What teaching and programming has excited children and families the most? Let's learn from each other and leave this workshop feeling excited to grow our veggies and our ideas!

Kara Martinez, Kindergarten Teacher, 509j Corvallis School District

Category: Beginner

Age Level: K-5


Rooted in Relationships: Slowing Down to Cultivate Equitable, Thriving Garden Education Programs

Genuine relationships require time, attention, and intention.  Gardeners live and breathe this as we cultivate healthy soils to support our growing plants.  However, most garden education nonprofits operate on precarious, limited budgets that make it challenging for our work to thrive and grow.  Join us in exploring what is possible when we slow down, move beyond a scarcity mindset, and shift our priorities towards equitable support systems and relationships.  We look forward to sharing initiatives focused on staff retention, teambuilding, and professional development as well as transparent areas of growth.  Together we will brainstorm and identify ways to make garden education programs more sustainable, equitable, and dare we say… joyful.

Djamila Moore, Education Director, Grow Portland & Ary Solomon, Site Coordinator, Grow Portland

Category: Intermediate

Age Level: Any


Start Small-Dream Big

Get your feet wet planning a school garden program. Join me in a perspective shift from what we lack to what we can create. Experience the historical look at how the Corvallis School District Urban Farm program started and how you can "bring the green" to your school.

Cherie Taylor, Lead Teacher and Urban Farm Designer, College High School/Urban Farm Program

Category: Intermediate

Age Level: Middle/High School

Tea Time: Using Tea to Bring Trauma-Informed Nutrition Principles to Your Garden or Classroom

Imagine, you’ve been sitting all day at a conference. Check in with your body - what do you need right now? How about a cup of herbal tea blended by you? Join us for a hot beverage as we explore three different hands-on tea lessons, to discover how these aromatic herbs can be used as tools to dive into science, cultural studies and social emotional learning, all through the lens of trauma-informed nutrition. Together, we will discuss the principles of trauma-informed nutrition and feeding developed by the Oregon State University Extension Service and examine how these principles can guide our teaching, emphasizing relationship building and acceptance through creating a safe environment in our gardens and classrooms, respecting students’ gender, culture and history, and restoring power to the child to make food choices. Lessons are tailored for K-8 and can be adapted for any setting.

Ellie Cosgrove, Education Program Manager, Rogue Valley Farm to School. Meghan Murphy, Lead School Partnership Educator, Rogue Valley Farm to School. Elise Pfrommer, School Partnership Educator,  Rogue Valley Farm to School

Category: Beginner

Age Level: K-5



Centering Reciprocity in Land-Based Programming with Youth

This workshop is a space for educators to learn more about how to center reciprocity as a core value in garden education spaces. Engage with the practices and theories that help youth and educators develop a personal practice of environmental stewardship. This session is ideal for educators interested in facilitating learning environments that encourage play and curiosity as pathways toward deeper engagement. Rooted in place-based learning theory, participants will be guided through activities, discussions, and play-based prompts that invite relational, authentic, and caring classrooms. 

Brianna Brawley, Education Program Manager, Zenger Farm. Iman Labanieh, Farm Educator, Zenger Farm. Letha Soto-Hauth. Education Program Manager, Zenger Farm

Category: Beginner/ Intermediate

Age Level: K-5




Keynote: Local Purchasing Makes an Impact! Stories from Oregon Food Producers

Hear from three Oregon farmers and food producers about the impact and importance of child nutrition sales to the success of their business. 

LOLA MILHOLLAND is the co-founder and CEO of Umi Organic, a women-owned noodle company in Portland, Oregon. She’s also a writer and social-practice artist. Her debut book, Group Living and Other Recipes, is coming from Spiegel & Grau in August 2024.

KATIE SWANSON runs her small-scale mixed vegetable farm, Sweet Union Farm, in the beautiful high desert community of Klamath Falls, OR. She is also co-founder of the local food hub, Klamath Grown. 

MICHELLE WEEK  is the owner of x̌ast sq̓it (hast squeit) which translates to Good Rain in the traditional language of the sngaytskstx (Sinixt). Michelle is of Sinixt—also known as Arrow Lakes—ancestry, a First Nations People of Okanagan country of British Columbia and north-central Washington. She is a first generation female farmer stewarding the land, decolonizing diets, connecting with her ancestry’s cultural traditions and feeding people to help restore her community’s food sovereignty. She’s an enthusiastic member of the next generation of farmers and excited to create a cooperative business that helps build and support the cooperative and solidarity economies for a more just and healthy future for her community. Beyond operating Good Rain Farm, Michelle engages in all levels of education and advocacy. Sitting on several local, regional and national committees that focus on supporting, networking and resourcing the foundation of our Food System - Farmers and the lands they steward. 

SESSION A: 9:00-10:15

Fundamentals of the School Marketplace

This workshop is intended for any type of small farmer or food producer interested in learning more about the school market purchasing environment, requirements to sell into this market and how to get started at the local or regional level with school buyers in your area.  Topics covered, among others, include food safety requirements, insurance, contracting conditions and terms, and tips to build relationships with school buyers.  Participants will also learn about resources to help them enter and sustain sales in this market, including but not limited to, the ODA Farm to School Producer Equipment and Infrastructure Grant.  Participants will leave with relevant materials and a tool to help with School Business Action Planning.

Amy Gilroy, Trade Development Manager, Oregon Department of Agriculture

Category: Beginner. Producer



Culinary Training Resources for Scratch-Based Food Production

Scratch cooking in school nutrition programs doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You may decide to prepare certain signature menu items from scratch, while other menu items are more suited to speed-scratch preparation. If you have been thinking about scratch cooking in your program but you don’t know where to start, the Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition has resources that can help. Objectives: 1) Describe the process of evaluating a school nutrition program to identify opportunities for scratch-based food preparation. 2) Discuss the importance of staff training for successful implementation of a scratch prepared menu item. 3)Recognize when speed-scratch food preparation is a suitable alternative to scratch preparation.

SNA Key Areas:

Key Area: 1 Nutrition – 1100 Menu Planning

Key Area: 2 Operations – 2100 Food Production

Key Area: 4 Communications & Marketing – 4100 Communications and Marketing

Chef Garrett Berdan, RDN, Education and Training Specialist, Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition

Category: Beginner/Intermediate



Kids Farmers Market

The purpose of the Kids Farmers Market is to provide children ages 2-5 with an opportunity to learn how their food is grown, purchased, and prepared into a meal.  

Francia Yera, Child Nutrition Coordinator, Adelante Mujeres. Carla Fisanich, Program Manager, Adelante Mujeres

Category: Beginner

Age Level: Preschool/Early Childhood


Integrating Education and Procurement in Farm to School Programs

This session will focus on how nutrition education can help bolster local sourcing; how tastings, garden education, and nutrition activities can complement local food purchasing in the cafeteria.

Abigail Blinn, Procurement and Nutrition Program Manager, Rogue Valley Farm to School. Ryan Idso-Weisz, Garden Educator, Rogue Valley Farm to School. Alyssa Grove, Tasting Tables Coordinator, Rogue Valley Farm to School

Category: Intermediate

Age Level: K-5



Farm to CNP Reimbursement Grant for Oregon Foods: Basics and Best Practices

Learn and ask questions about Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) Farm to CNP Reimbursement Grant with this nuts and bolts session hosted by ODE’s Farm to Child Nutrition Programs team. Farm to CNP Specialists, Amy Lahrman and Emily Griffith, will focus on topics such as getting started, allowable and unallowable items, how to submit a claim, and how to obtain additional funds when your initial grant award is spent. They will also be joined by seasoned Nutrition Services Directors from around the state who will share their own Farm to School experiences and provide real-world, from-the-field perspectives on grant operations such as innovative purchasing, tracking for grant reporting requirements, direct purchasing and building and maintaining producer relationships.

Emily Griffith, Oregon Department of Education Farm to CNP. Amy Lahrman. Oregon Department of Education Farm to CNP. Gia Saporito, Director of Nutrition Services, Sherwood School District. Katrina Wiest, Wellness Specialist, Bend-La Pine Schools

Category: Beginning

Age Level: Any


SESSION B: 1:10-2:25

Farming & Purchasing for Future Seasons: Crop Planning & Growing Contracts

Often, farm to school technical assistance is wrapped up in responsive procurement, finding sponsors who can use the excess produce from a farmer, or trying to find local food producers to suit the needs of a school district or child care program. However, with advance planning, often with several producers, to anticipate and fulfill those needs. This presentation will walk through the steps of assessing, discussing, planning, and executing letters of intent to buy, advance contracts, and what it means to develop relationships between farmers and schools with longevity from season to season.

Patrick Newson, Farm to School Coordinator, Willamette Farm and Food Coalition

Jill Cuadros, Nutrition Director, Eugene 4J School District. Rosie Sweetman, Farm Owner, Little Wings Farm

Category: Intermediate. Producer. Child Nutrition



Growing Food for Schools and Scratch Cooking With Seasonal, Local Products

Heather Keller is the Farm Manager at Phoenix School of Roseburg where she’s growing hundreds of pounds of produce for school meals. Shelley Martinez is the nutrition director at Glendale School District where she sources local products including a whole cow that she uses in her scratch kitchens where they see near 100% participation in school meals. This presentation will share how each program has found success integrating local foods from the school farm as well as other food producers. Additionally, they will share how scratch cooking has been effectively used to increase meal quality and resulted in increased meal participation. 

Heather Keller, Farm Manager, Umpqua Valley Farm to School. Shelley Martinez, Nutrition Director, Glendale School District. Erin Maidlow, Executive Director, Umpqua Valley Farm to School

Category: Intermediate

Age Level: K-5, Middle/High School



Learning More About Child Nutrition Programs

This session will provide an overview of the National School Lunch and CACFP Meal Requirements as well as the USDA Foods program and the USDA Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Project. Participants will gain a better understanding of requirements and program operations so we can explore how to increase local purchasing within these programs as well as with the Oregon Farm to School Grant Program.  This is a great session to attend if you are not familiar with child nutrition regulations and would like to learn more so you can better support local procurement. 

Jessica Visinsky MS, RDN, MBA, Oregon Department of Education. Crista Hawkins, Youth Wellness Sr. Director, Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council

Category: Beginner


Piko to Piko

Piko to Piko aims to be a reference to guide health programs showing that cultural practices and food sovereignty can be a mechanism to promote multiple areas of health and prevent disease. We aim to show that healthy eating alone isn't the answer, we need to actively participate in cultural practices, remembering the ahupuaa and all the processes that are needed to support the consumption of cultural foods (growing, teaching, working together, having tools, preparing food, and consuming the foods).

Leialoha Kaula, Piko To Piko, Ka ʻAha Lāhui O ʻOlekona Hawaiian Civic Club of Oregon and SW Washington (aka KALO HCC). Jonathan Cruz, KALO Director (Board Member), KALO HCC. Constance James, Food Justice Program Lead, KALO HCC

Category: Intermediate

Age Level: Early Childcare/ Preschool, K-5, Middle/ High School


Introduction to Sourcing and Celebrating Oregon Foods in CACFP and Other Early Childhood Meals and Snacks

Participants will explore ways to find, purchase, and promote nutritious and culturally-relevant Oregon foods that can be served in meals and snacks in early childhood education settings.

Angela Hedstrom, Community Food Systems Manager, Ecotrust. Shirley Wu, MS, RDN, Child Nutrition Specialist, Office of Child Nutrition Programs

Category: Beginner

Age Level: Preschool/ Early Childhood

SESSION C: 3:15-4:30

Navigating the Jungle of School Nutrition, Farm to School Procurement, and School Garden Programs for Big Impact

Lincoln County School District, in partnership with a food service management company, has used teamwork, hard work, institutional knowledge and a whole lot of creativity to support holistic nutrition in our schools. Since integrating school gardens into our educational and nutritional footprint, we have seen students become more engaged in their food choices. Kids are becoming stakeholders in their own wellbeing, environmental stewardship, and social emotional learning through hands-on garden learning.  Come learn about our story with all its twists, turns, potholes, and speed bumps as we work on creating a sustainable garden and nutrition program for our students.    

Sara Gibson, LCSD School Garden Coordinator, Lincoln County School District. Jamie Nicholson, LCSD CNP Manager, Lincoln County School District. Patty Graves, Sodexo General Manager Nutrition Services, Sodexo

Category: All Levels

Age Level: All Ages


In Your Dreams, What Does Farm to School & School Garden Look Like in 2033? 

Let's make it happen!

How would you spend $9 million a year on farm to school and school garden programs in Oregon?  Come engage with others in envisioning the next 10 years in farm to school and school gardens in a new way.  We will overview a new process for transparent online civic engagement and dialogue. Please bring your laptop and come prepared and ready to give input. Your responses to the proposed goals and strategies will directly shape how state agencies, Extension, and community organizations prioritize future investments. 

Michelle Markesteyn, Oregon State University, Associate Professor of Practice,  Extension Farm to School and School Garden Specialist. Aaron Poplack, Oregon Impact and Partnership Lead, FoodCorps

Category: All Levels

Resources: 10 Year Shared Vision

Meet your Benevolent Brokers: Farm to School Procurement Regional Hubs

The Oregon Farm to School & School Garden Network supports and coordinates Regional Hubs who in turn support communities to find farm to school success. Regional Hubs are often “anchor organizations” or food hubs in a region who can be relied upon to provide the unique support needed by individual regions. But, what do they do, you ask? Come find out the types of support that Regional Hubs can and do provide and how it might support your needs as a child nutrition professional or food producer. It might surprise you just how much support is available to you –free of charge!

Kristy Athens, Northeast Oregon Regional Hub/ Good Groceries. Erin Maidlow, Douglas Co Regional Hub/ Umpqua Valley Farm to School. Abigail Blinn, Jackson/Josephine Co Regional Hub/Rogue Valley Farm to School. Liz Habley, Linn & Benton Regional  Hub/Corvallis Environmental Center. Patrick Newson, Willamette Valley Regional Hub/ Willamette Farm and Food Coalition

Category: Beginner


Next Steps & Resources for Selling to Schools (Vegetable)

This session will be focused on helping you identify the steps you will need to take to prepare to start selling your crops into the school marketplace. Being able to deliver the quantities of crops that school buyers need on schedule takes a solid crop plan that’s based on yield and days-to-maturity. Knowing your costs of production is also critical for being able to determine the price you need to get to be able to sell your crops into the school marketplace (or any other market really). In this session we’ll cover the basics of the crop planning process and offer some pointers for keeping yield records and days-to-maturity records that you can get started with this season. We’ll also touch on the process of analyzing crop-specific costs of production and offer suggestions for getting started with determining your farm’s costs.

It is strongly recommended to attend the morning session “Fundamentals of the School Marketplace” to get the most value from this session.

Tanya Murray, Oregon Regional Food Business Center State Coordinator, Oregon Community Food System

Category: Beginner/Intermediate Producer 


Next Steps & Resources for Selling to Schools (Livestock)

This session is intended to support animal producers interested in selling protein products to schools.  We will cover the types of protein products suitable for school markets, processing and packaging and serving size requirements, and price points will also be discussed.  A discussion with ranchers and fishers who’ve been successful in this market is also planned.

It is strongly recommended to attend the morning session “Fundamentals of the School Marketplace” to get the most value from this session.

Amy Gilroy, Trade Development Manager, Oregon Department of Agriculture

Category: Beginner/Intermediate Producer 

Lightning Talks


Culturally Relevant Farm to School Education

Culture is powerful. Yet, there are few formalized efforts to reflect the culture and diversity of students in farm to school education. The Center for Ecoliteracy’s culturally relevant strategy is designed to support educators in enhancing existing farm to school lessons to be more culturally relevant, connect students to local agriculture, and encourage them to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Culturally relevant teaching leads to students, especially students of color, having better attendance, increased engagement, and more academic success.

Cindy Hu, Education Program Manager, Center for Ecoliteracy

Resources: Eating Learning Growing Resources

Rootopia: Putting a New Face on School Gardening

Despite the widespread implementation of gardens on school grounds, rarely is the potential of these outdoor learning spaces realized. From five years of field observations and focus groups, we know that many middle schoolers aren’t interested in gardening, claiming “gardening is for little girls.” Our content analysis of marketing materials and garden-related products backs up these findings. Much of the marketing and packaging of curricular materials are for Pre-K and lower elementary students, and that can alienate slightly older kids who are developmentally primed to engage in experiential outdoor education. Since 2017, we facilitated a youth-led iterative process with engaged partners to change the face of school gardening. The result is 44 uplifting and botanically accurate promotional characters for adolescents. Learn how we applied those characters to create Rootopia Field Notes, a novel, theory-based intervention that consists of an activity book, seeds, and stickers, and invented a new novel school garden tool called a “binder dibble.”

Michelle Markesteyn, Oregon State University, Associate Professor of Practice,  Extension Farm to School and School Garden Specialist

New Connections for Farm to School

In this session, you will learn new ways to engage students and new ways to connect various subject areas with Farm to School/School Gardens. In addition, ideas about professional development will be shared.

Crista Hawkins, Youth Wellness Sr. Director, Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council

Year-Round Gardening in the Classroom

Discover the transformative power of Tower Gardens in the Classroom! This presentation highlights how integrating Tower Gardens benefits both students and teachers by fostering hands-on learning, promoting healthy eating habits, and creating a dynamic, interactive educational environment. Explore the many advantages of this innovative approach to education.

Dani Warren, Qualified National Marketing Director, Juice Plus+ Tower Garden

Classrooms in the Garden

Hear how School Gardens support secondary education, social and emotional learning, STEM, and School Meals while encompassing a learning environment for all ability levels.

Sara Gibson, Garden Coordinator, Lincoln County School District. Corrina Hargett, HIgh School Teacher, Lincoln County School District. Chris Martin, Middle School Teacher, Lincoln County School District

The Deschutes Peace Garden: a School Garden Within the Walls of Juvenile Justice Center

I will be presenting the Deschutes Peace Garden and sharing my experience of bringing a food and flower garden as well as eco-literacy curriculum to youth who are in detention and corrections.

Nancy Gilbertson, Teacher Juvenile Justice, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council

Sharing the Bounty

Produce from the Woodstock School garden doesn't go to waste. Throughout the harvesting season food is sent home with students, utilized in the school lunch program, and also donated to local food pantries.

Jesse Hunter, Teacher / Volunteer Garden Coordinator, Woodstock School

Thimbleberry Collaborative Farm: A Nonprofit Educational Farm Serving Gresham and Beyond!

Join us to learn about Thimbleberry Collaborative Farm, a nonprofit that is creating an accessible farm education experience for students in East Multnomah County. We will discuss how students learn about the environmental, health and social impacts of our food system while engaging in hands-on growing and cooking activities. We'll also highlight our unique collaborations with local technical/ career-focused classes, like Sam Barlow's wood shop class!

Jonathan Campbell, Education Programs Manager, Thimbleberry Collaborative Farm

Help You Grow

Building school farms and gardens are easier than we think, but there are a couple things that stop most schools and teachers from giving it a go.  Getting a place on the school grounds to grow food and have an outdoor learning space, financially how it will be funded whether that is a small to large scale farm, and lastly how it can be built and maintained so teachers do not become burnt out.  My goal is to give teachers practical ways they can get their school garden started so come springtime, they have a fun outdoor learning space for their students. 

Trey Hackett, Director, Help You Grow

Cultivating Classroom Connections

Explore fun, hands-on ways to incorporate agriculture and natural resource topics into your curriculum. Leave this session with lesson plans and FREE resources that can be implemented immediately in your program!

Casey Blake, Washington County Programs Coordinator, Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom

Pollinator Pals Education Coordinator

In this lightning talk, we will be displaying our youth-focused pollinator activities, lessons, and resources. Our goal is to supply educators with the tools and know-how to teach about the diverse pollinator populations of Oregon. Our focus will be on native bees, butterflies, flies, beetles, moths, and wasps, and the native plants they depend upon. We will be sharing info on the importance of bringing native plants to school gardens.

Ethan Robison & Kristina Lefever, Pollinator Project Rogue Valley

Tools to Increase Your Yield for Years to Come!

This lightning talk will highlight the student-centered Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) framework and local school wellness policies. Both tools can align and integrate Farm to School within the school setting and raise sustainability for Farm to School and School Garden programs and practices.   

Jennifer Young, Oregon Healthy Schools Coordinator, Child Nutrition Programs, Oregon Department of Education

Farm to Bibs: Considering young eaters in Farm to ECE programming

How do you include the youngest eaters of your program in your Farm to ECE program planning? Get ready to dive into the food database made specifically for infants and toddlers where we will explore guidance for young eaters and the numerous possibilities for inspiration to create inclusive Farm to ECE programming for infants and toddlers!

Natalie Gordon | they/she | Child Care Resource and Referral- Multnomah County | Infant Toddler Specialist

Engaging the Littlest Learners -Toddlers can Cook!

Introducing foods to older infants and toddlers isn’t just about tasting!  Consider how learning to “chop and stir” develops a child’s sense of wonder, delight and an appreciation for healthy foods. 

Dylynn Robertson, Program Manager, MHCC Early Head Start-CCP

Exploring the Year-Round Possibilities of a K-8 School Garden Program

Join Zoe Lavier- Fisher as she shares a comprehensive curriculum outline, featuring 2-year cycle grade-band lesson planning, and one school’s journey towards cooking and serving whole-school seasonal lunches sourced (as much as possible) from the garden/greenhouse.

Zoe Lavier-Fisher, Garden Teacher, Willow Wind Community Learning Center


Seeing Seafood in Schools

Discover what's happening with Oregon seafood in K-12 school cafeterias and classrooms,  and add to the swell with your ideas and suggestions.

Maggie Michaels, Seafood and Schools, Oregon Coast Visitors Association


Small Farm Alignment: Farm to School for Farms of All Sizes

Lots of farmers are very eager to participate in Farm to School programming because it can represent sales opportunities as well as community engagement, but one of the challenges can be finding the best places for a farm to succeed. Rather than over-promise and under-deliver, let’s talk about reasonable capacity for farmers and how sponsors can help facilitate actual, material connections. This lightning talk is meant to give a template for processing and developing those relationships in functional ways.

Patrick Newson, Farm to School Coordinator, Willamette Farm & Food Coalition

Co-Packers as a Link Between Farms and Schools

We would like to briefly introduce the work we are doing to activate and connect co-packers in the state of Oregon with the aim that these food processors can be a link between farms and schools.

Hannah Kullberg, Catalyst & Connector, Community Co-Pack. Erick Garman, Trade Development Manager, Oregon Department of Agriculture



Thinking Outside the (Lunch) Box: Local Food Outside of the National School Lunch Program

Learn how Gorge Farmers Collective and Hood River County School District worked together to incorporate local purchasing in the district’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Through this partnership, producers have found they are able to move high volumes of bumper crops and students engage more deeply with the locally grown foods.

Jordan Haas, School Nutrition Director, Hood River County School District



Buying Local: Beyond the Farm to School Grant

Schools and Farms may find it beneficial to utilize the USDA Pilot for Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable program for additional local purchasing! Hear about how the Phoenix Talent School District, a Food Service Management Company, buys local from Fry Family Farm and Naumes Orchards utilizing the USDA Pilot Program. 

Abigail Blinn, Procurement & Nutrition Program Manager, Rogue Valley Farm to School 

Rewriting Our Narrative About Thanksgiving With Local Harvest Meals

Our 1-month experiment with "thankful Thursdays" serving a meal using locally sourced foods to all students. A story and meal in the classroom was offered to all teachers that expressed interest.

Lua Siegel, School Garden and Outdoor Education Coordinator/Instructor, Luckiamute Valley Charter School


School Miso Making as Food Source and Our Culture Starter In Our Community

In September 2022, our 4th and 5th graders made 40lb of miso, mixing with beans, salt and koji,the locally sourced “culture” starter. Throughout the school year, the fermenting miso in the crock, sitting in the classroom, witnessed how the students grew together and formed a strong community. A year later, mature miso was used to celebrate our school culture and as an immune booster for our healthier community.

Yuri Baxter-Neal, The Fieldwork Coordinator / Garden Teacher, The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science

Center Student Voice in Menu Changes: Partnering with High School Culinary Programs

Portland Public Schools Nutrition Services is collaborating with multiple high school culinary programs to foster more opportunities for student driven menu change. Through this collaboration, students compete in teams to design a new recipe for a Harvest of the Month fruit or vegetable, and the winning recipe is served in cafeterias during that month. This growing project centers and celebrates student voice and local foods.

Cal Verstrate (they/he), School Nutrition Service Member, FoodCorps/Portland Public Schools


Integrating School Garden and Local Foods Into School Meals

See how one middle school's garden and kitchen started a district wide food revolution

Patty Graves, Sodexo General Manager Nutrition Services, Sodexo/LCSD. Leann Graves, Sodexo Kitchen Training Manager, Sodexo/Lincoln County School Dist. Rebecca Smith, Sodexo Kitchen Training Manager, Sodexo/Lincoln County School Dist.