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State agriculture secretary visits TUSD
ross at farm
CDFA secretary Karen Ross (third from right) and California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom (center) greet children today at the school garden at Julien Elementary School in Turlock – part of a tour of Farm-to-School programs. October is National Farm to School Month and CDFA is highlighting the work of the agency’s Farm to School Program. - photo by Photo Contributed

California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom paid a visit to Julien Elementary School, Turlock High School, the Child Nutrition Education Center and the Turlock Unified School District’s farm as part of farm to school month.

“October is National farm to school month and I just had the most amazing morning touring the programs in the Turlock Unified School District, and the School District Farm that powers it all,” Newsom wrote in a social media post. “These programs allow our kids to see first-hand what a balanced and healthy nutrition can do for the development of the body and mind — and what regenerative and sustainable farming can do for our planet. And, when we prioritize locally sourced and fresh food, everybody wins — even our pocketbooks! Thank you to Secretary Karen Ross and the other incredible teachers, administrators, and students for showing me around — I can’t wait to keep learning more and to grow our #farmtoschool programs throughout our state!”

TUSD acquired land along East Taylor Road for the District Farm in 2013 and transformed the vacant lot into a vibrant farm with livestock and a variety of crops.

The CDFA Office of Farm to Fork is committed to promoting Farm to School efforts throughout California by fostering healthy school environments and increasing market access for California institutional buyers and sellers. The Office acts as the host for the California Farm to School Network and a core partner for the National Farm to School Network. The Office also partners with the California Department of EducationDepartment of Public HealthCommunity Alliance with Family FarmersUEPI, and Life Lab.

To increase agricultural economic viability, the Office of Farm to Fork created the California Farmer Marketplace, a free statewide website featuring California produce, grains, meats, and other products for sale. The Marketplace offers farmers the opportunity to post products and connect directly with school food service to increase the amount of California grown and produced foods on school lunch trays. Primarily established to reduce communication barriers between buyers and sellers, the website is free and open to the general public, including ranchers, producers, distributors, institutional buyers, community groups, and individual consumers.