Conference to Support Farm to School and Early Child Care Programming Across Iowa

Workshops, networking, keynote will help establish and expand farm to school efforts

May 8, 2019, 2:49 pm | Lynn Heuss, Chelsea Krist

Two elementary school students hold local foods poster.PELLA, Iowa – Registration is now open for the 2019 Iowa Farm to School Conference, Friday and Saturday, June 21-22, at Central College in Pella.

The goal of the conference, sponsored by the Iowa Farm to School Network, is to support and inspire those interested in beginning or expanding farm to school and farm to early care and education programming in their schools and communities. The conference will take place over two days, and the content has been curated to meet the professional and personal interests of many farm to school stakeholder groups.

The conference begins June 21, with a full day of workshops and with a keynote address from Lola Bloom, director of food and wellness at DC Bilingual Public Charter School and co-founder of the nonprofit City Blossoms. Workshop topics include early childhood education, cafeteria support, community partnerships, classroom education, school gardens and food justice.

New this year: high school students can register for a hands-on session track that includes gardening and cooking projects, team-building and discussions about community change. Presenters include many farm to school coordinators and students from around the state, both urban and rural. An evening social and optional documentary screening with local popcorn round out the evening.

Sessions on June 22 begin with morning yoga and an outdoor local foods breakfast, hosted by chef Jenetta Hargrove of SatisHouse LLC. Next comes a farm to school field trip and two options for intensive courses. Attendees can obtain continuing education units with five-hour intensive sessions. The two options are “Growing Outdoor Education,” hosted by Next Step Adventure, or “Cafeteria Magic,” hosted by Forward Food and 4-H Healthy Living.

Collaborators include FoodCorps Iowa; the Iowa Departments of Public Health, Education, and Agriculture and Land Stewardship; and the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. Information and the registration form are available at


Photo Caption/Credit: Students from Cora B. Darling Elementary School in Postville, Iowa, show off a local foods poster they helped create. Photo by Claire Anderson, FoodCorps Iowa.



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