Farm to School and Early Care Conference Goes Virtual

There still will be a conference this June, with more than a half-dozen presenters

May 18, 2020, 9:37 am | Chelsea Krist

AMES, Iowa – Iowans still will be able to attend this year’s Farm to School and Early Care Conference, albeit remotely.

A virtual conference will be held June 19, from 1-3 p.m, hosted by the Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition. Participants will use Zoom video and call conferencing, and the conference will be recorded and accessible after the live meeting.

"While we're disappointed that COVID-19 prevents us from gathering in-person, we are looking forward to connecting virtually with the folks who are always – and especially right now – leading essential and innovative work,” said Chelsea Krist, farm to school coordinator with Farm, Food and Enterprise Development with Iowa State University Extension and to school graphic.

The next in-person conference will be held in June of 2021, but Krist said it’s important to still gather this year, and share information and ideas for those connected to local foods.

“Farm to school and early care programs in Iowa are rooted in just and strong local and regional food systems, and our community of early care providers, educators, food service teams, farmers, and all local food system supporters are coming together to share and learn from one another,” Krist said. “This virtual conference serves as space for connection and collaboration as we support the health and wellness of our children and families, the strength of family farms, and the resilience of our communities."

The agenda includes an overview of the Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition and Network, followed by presentations titled “Des Moines Schools Farm to School Challenges and Successes,” “Reading Books with Hungry Eyes,” and “Growing the Farm to School Movement in the Waukee Community School District.”

In a presentation called “What’s all of the ‘buzz?’ An Inside Look into the Gilmore City-Bradgate Bees,” three representatives from the school will talk about their bee project. Presenters from the school include Kelsey Wigans, Seed to Table manager and registered dietician nutritionist; Lily Hoover, sixth grade student and assistant gardening manager; and Tawny Hoover, school board president.

The full agenda, including speakers and session descriptions, is available online. Registration for the conference is due by June 16 and should also be done online.

Grant opportunity

Iowa Team Nutrition will offer $350 sub-grants to childcare centers and $100 to childcare home providers participating in the conference, to support farm to early care activities.

Two Child and Adult Care Food Program training hours will be offered to CACFP childcare center staff and home providers for participating in the Farm to School and Early Care Virtual Conference, or for viewing the conference recording at a later time.

Contact Patti Delger at for more information about the credits.

For more information about the conference, contact Krist at, or 515-294-1854.

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