Register by June 16 for virtual Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Conference
by Chelsea Krist, FFED farm to school coordinator
We have more than 150 stakeholders already registered! The Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition invites you to attend the first-ever, virtual Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Conference, planned for June 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. The virtual conference is free and you still have more than two weeks left to register; deadline is Tuesday, June 16.
When the COVID-19 pandemic became serious in early March, our conference planning committee made the decision to postpone the in-person annual conference until June 2021. By then we hope that gathering in large groups is safe and permitted. In the meantime, we’re making lemonade and the most of technology. On June 19 we will come together to connect and collaborate via Zoom video/call conferencing.
During the conference, attendees will hear from the co-chairs and strategy team coordinators who support the work of the Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition. This is a group that merged two existing networks, after careful strategic planning in January 2020. These folks will share information about the coalition, state network, and COVID-19 resources related to farm to school and early care.
We’ll also host a timely discussion around considerations for integrating and growing farm to school and early care education and local food procurement in the fall, as schools and sites plan to reopen under new circumstances.
Four mini-presentations from across the state will be another highlight of the virtual conference. We’re grateful to the presenters who’ve shifted gears to offer these. Check out the full agenda and our presenter bios for an overview of these presentations. We’ll hear from Jen Ransom-Gach with Des Moines Public Schools, Anita Schuckert with Little Steps and Beyond Daycare, Kaitlyn Scheuermann with Waukee Public Schools, and Kelsey Wigans with Gilmore City-Bradgate.
DHS credit and subgrants available
The virtual conference is free to attend. Iowa Department of Human Services credit is available for interested participants. And Iowa Team Nutrition is offering subgrants ($350 to childcare centers, $100 to childcare home providers) to support farm to early care activities at qualifying sites.
CACFP childcare center staff and home providers can earn two Child and Adult Care Food Program training hours. You can participate live in the Farm to School and Early Care Virtual Conference, or view the conference recording later. Learn more here and contact Patti Delger at email@example.com for more information about the credits.
Register here by June 16. We’ll share a Zoom link and password with registrants before the conference opens. For more information, contact Chelsea Krist at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 515-294-1854. We look forward to “seeing” y’all on June 19!