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SDSU Extension, DOE program to host regional buyer-grower farm-to-school summits

The lunchroom at Meade School District shows a case with watermelon cut into slices and cucumbers with a sign that says "Woonsocket Watermelon"
South Dakota’s farm-to-school efforts include the Meade School District in Sturgis using freshly picked watermelon from Woonsocket in its school lunches. (Photo courtesy of Meade School District)

BROOKINGS, S.D. – SDSU Extension and the South Dakota Department of Education-Child and Adult Nutrition Services are hosting regional farm-to-school gatherings for buyers and growers in 2024.

There will be a series of in-person events and one virtual option via Zoom, with in-person events on Feb. 12 at the SDSU Extension Sioux Falls Regional Center, Feb. 21 at the SDSU Extension Aberdeen Regional Center and on March 6 at the Black Hills State University - Rapid City location. 

Interested individuals are encouraged to attend the in-person gathering nearest them. All events last from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. local time. There will also be a virtual event from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. CST on March 26 for those who cannot attend in person. The events are free.

The summits will provide farmers, ranchers and child nutrition professionals with brief training and an opportunity to network with buyers and growers in the same region. Participants will leave with resources to continue growing farm-to-school programs in South Dakota communities. Representatives from Child and Adult Nutrition Services and SDSU Extension will be available to answer questions.

“Our goal for these events is to provide an opportunity for child nutrition professionals and producers to build relationships,” said Anna Tvedt, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist. 

Farm to school is a program model used across the nation, including in South Dakota, to assist schools with local food sourcing, school or youth gardens, and local foods education.

“Offering local foods on school meal menus continues to expand,” said Janelle Peterson, Child and Adult Nutrition Services farm to school specialist. “This is a perfect time for those that offer summer feeding programs to attend and get acquainted with producers in their area, so plenty of local foods can be served to South Dakota children during the summer months.” 

To register, visit the SDSU Extension Events page and search “farm to school”. 

For more information, contact Anna Tvedt, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist; or Janelle Peterson, Child and Adult Nutrition Services farm to school specialist, at Janelle.Peterson@state.sd.us. 

Upcoming Events

Group of students eating lunch at school
Mar 26

Virtual South Dakota Farm to School Buyer-Grower Summit

SDSU Extension and Child and Adult Nutrition Services-Department of Education will host a virtual farm to school buyer-grower summit on March 26, 2024, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Two school lunch workers assembling salads in a school kitchen.
Mar 06

Regional Farm to School Buyer-Grower Summit @ Rapid City

SDSU Extension and Child and Adult Nutrition Services-Department of Education will host an in-person farm to school buyer-grower summit on March 6, 2024, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Black Hills State University-Rapid City, in rooms 206 and 207.