What Does Farm to Table Mean to You?

When you hear the phrase Farm to Table, what comes to mind? Perhaps …

  • Shopping close to home, at a farmer’s market, out in the fresh air.
  • Supporting local farmers and getting to know them.
  • Small trucks bringing food straight from the farm (not tractor-trailers hauling it across the country).
  • Just-picked fruits and vegetables at their peak for freshness, taste, and nutrition.
  • Finding new varieties of fruits and veggies and using them in new recipes.
  • A tasty way to fill up half of MyPlate.
  • All of the above?

We have a nice collection of Farm to Table materials and I especially like our Bring the Farm to Your Table notepads. Here are some ways to use them today:

  1. When meeting with a client, talk about where the nearest farmer’s market is located and what’s in season (here’s a handy online guide by state). Write this information on the notepad, tear off that page, and let them take it home.
  2. Send a handwritten note to clients, co-workers, or students – yes, by snail mail! Include a tip about a nearby farmer’s market and suggestions about what to buy.
  3. Host a photo contest on social media. Ask people to take pictures of their favorite farmer’s market or farm stand, or a healthy dish they made with locally-grown produce. Winner(s) get a Farm to Table notepad (or wristband).

In the workplace, our Bring the Farm to Your Table poster will brighten things up and remind employees to stop at the farmer’s market for some delicious fresh produce. Provide some healthy recipes for what’s in-season.

In July, we celebrate National Berry Month, Peach Month, and Watermelon Month – you could spend a week on each fruit, providing facts, recipes, and preparation ideas!

Farmer’s Markets & COVID-19

May marks the beginning of the farmer’s market season in many parts of the country. With COVID-19, most markets will open as planned, with social distancing, handwashing stations, online ordering, curbside delivery, and other changes to make shopping safe for everyone.

This is a good time to encourage your clients to support their local farmer’s market or farm stand. Farmers aren’t selling as much produce to restaurants, so they need the income as well as something to do with their harvest. And we need healthy food!

Here are six teaching tips for farmer’s market season:

1. Let your clients know the many benefits of shopping farm stands and markets.

  • Markets are a source of healthy, locally-grown food.
  • Locally-grown food is in season and at its peak for taste and nutrition.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables supply a host of nutrients that boost your immune system.
  • If farmers go out of business, this source of healthy local food won’t be available to us in the future.

2. Emphasize that fresh produce from farmer’s markets and farm stands (and for that matter, grocery stores) is safe to eat.

  • According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is no evidence that food or food packaging is involved with the transmission of COVID-19 (up-to-date information is available on their website and on this PDF).
  • Follow basic COVID-19 safety guidelines when shopping:
    • Check before you go – some markets and farmers are doing online-only pre-ordering.
    • Wash your hands before and after shopping.
    • Wear a mask and stay at least six feet from others.
    • Don’t touch the food. Many vendors will have produce bagged and ready. Let them get it for you.
    • Pay with your debit/credit/SNAP card and avoid using cash.
    • Be patient – with extra safety measures it may take more time than usual.
    • Get what you need and go – avoid socializing.
  • When you get home, rinse all produce (follow FDA’s normal tips).

3. Remind clients that real food grows … and you can find it at the farmer’s market! See our beautiful Real Food Grows poster that conveys this message.

  • Did the food you’re looking at grow into what it now is, or has it been processed with other elements to create a new food?
  • Processed foods are usually calorie-dense, high in unhealthy types of fat, refined sugars, and sodium, and low in fiber.

4. Use our poster to teach people how fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market make you a winner!

  • Weight – fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories and help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • I am healthier – eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies is associated with a lower risk for many chronic diseases.
  • Nutrients – fruits and veggies are major contributors for nutrients most people are lacking.

5. Make it fun to learn about the fruits and vegetables you’ll probably see at the farmer’s market with the Vegetable Cooking Program or Name That Fruit and Veggie Game.

6. Remind clients who use SNAP that their food dollars may go further when they buy fresh produce. Most states have programs that provide a dollar for dollar match when you use your SNAP/EBT card to buy fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets and some retail stores. (Find out more about Double Up Bucks and similar incentive programs here.)

And don’t forget about community supported agriculture (CSA)! Find out what’s available in your area so you can give your clients all the information they need to get a steady supply of fresh, local healthy produce all season long.

Have You Seen Our Salad Mandala?!

Have you seen our Salad Mandalas? Yes, you read that right – but you have to see it to believe it, so take a look at the bottom of this page and then read on!

We know you’ll love these beautiful works of art as much as we do! Eye-catching and discussion-generating, they will brighten up any area and remind people to eat their fruits and vegetables every day.

Not sure what to do with our Salad Mandalas? Whether you choose the floor or wall decal, they’ll stick to most clean, smooth surfaces and are removable. Here are some ideas on where to put them:

  • In a hospital… A Salad Mandala on the floor or wall is the perfect way to identify dietitians’ offices, the nutrition department, kitchen, or cafeteria – wherever you want people to know that healthy eating is a priority here!
  • In a nursing home… Hang one up the dining area or other common room where residents and visitors can enjoy the beautiful colors.
  • In a school… Students and staff will get a kick out of seeing Salad Mandalas on the wall or floor of the cafeteria or gym, the nurse’s office, food service director’s office, health classrooms, and hallways.
  • In a fitness center… Brighten up the locker rooms or aerobics studio.
  • In a doctor’s office… Patients will appreciate having something unique to look at while they wait, making the Salad Mandala a good choice for exam rooms.
  • In a library… Use one as part of a display for nutrition month in March, salad month in May, or farmer’s market week in August, along with selected cookbooks or children’s books that feature fruits and veggies.
  • At a health fair… Attract a crowd with the Salad Mandala decal – on the floor in front of your booth or on the wall behind it.
  • In a vending machine area… Remind everyone about the healthiest snacks of all!

And here are some activities to go with our Salad Mandala decals:

  • Preschool/early elementary class… Use the Salad Mandala to teach colors, practice counting, or learn the names of fruits and vegetables. Have a special Salad Mandala Snack – everyone can make their own mandala on a paper plate with cut up fruits and veggies.
  • Caught eating healthy… Put the Salad Mandala on a wall in the school cafeteria. Ask parent volunteers to come in during lunchtime once a week to snap pictures of kids who are eating a fruit or vegetable that day. Then post the pictures around the mandala. Watch the circle grow bigger every week!
  • Salad day selfies… Let adults in on the fun in your workplace or hospital cafeteria! Build a salad from the salad bar, then take a selfie in front of the Salad Mandala decal and post it to your social media page.
  • Salad Mandala search… Put the mandala in a different classroom, hallway, office, or other location every week to generate interest.

Be sure to let us know what YOU do with our Salad Mandala decals!

 

Bring the Farm to Your Table

Farmer’s market season is right around the corner. After a winter of frozen veggies and supermarket tomatoes, local produce is going to look and taste so good!

Why not take your nutrition education on the road and set up a nutrition display at the farmer’s market? Our Bring the Farm to Your Table theme has everything you need. You may also want to check out our Farm to School items. And to really get noticed, use our Fruit and Veggie Shaped Balloons.

Here are four activities to try:

  • Q&A: Answer shoppers’ questions about items on sale at the market. Tell them how to select, store, and prepare the produce, as well as the nutrition benefits. Give them a Farm to Your Table Notepad to jot down your advice.
  • Name That Veggie: Display a few items from the market and see who can identify them. Make it tricky, like a variety of leafy greens or less-familiar fruits and vegetables. Our Bring the Farm to Your Table stickers and bookmarks make great prizes.
  • One-Bite for Kids: Have bite-size samples of market items for kids to taste. Give a special prize to those brave little tasters who try all of them. We suggest our fun Fruit and Vegetable Masks!
  • Try It & Buy It: Have samples of market items for shoppers to taste. If they go buy it, they can come back and get a prize (everyone loves our youth and adult Go Farm to Table wristbands).

Ask market vendors for free fruits and vegetables to use for your activities, since you’ll hopefully send some business their way.

Click here for 15% off our farm to table materials – discount good until the end of the week. Or use code LOVEFARM

Custom farm to school wall decals brighten and educate school walls


 

Paula Wucklund, Fuel Up to Play 60 Coach, and physical education teacher, wanted to help her fellow PE teachers and school cafeterias in Arkansas. She wanted to illustrate how the farm to school program brings healthier foods into the schools and to create awareness of MyPlate, physical activity, and healthier eating for the students and the staff.

She contacted us and we designed custom wall decal banners for Arkansas schools. The first goal was to feature the stories and photos of many of the wonderful farmers in Arkansas to show how they work hard to grow crops, raise livestock, and produce dairy foods for students. And she wanted to illustrate MyPlate food groups with their goals and benefits. Finally we included photographs of each of the food groups.

The benefits of the end result is easy to see in the photos above. The 5 food groups were featured on wall decals while the MyPlate floor banner greets the students coming into the cafeteria. The items can be adhered to the walls and they are removable.

The schools will have a choice between vertical or horizontal orientations so that they can determine which works best for their walls.

The Arkansas Farm to School program connects Arkansas farmers to preschools and K-12 schools, so that they can provide fresh produce in school meals. The wall decal posters/banners that we created will help students, teachers, and cafeteria workers realize the importance of agriculture and healthful diets for school meals.

Food and Health Communications designed the banners and provided all of the forms so that Paula could contact the farmers and get their high-quality images and stories to share on the banners. They also provided the expertise for recommending MyPlate food groups and for the colorful food images. And their graphic design gave the banners an Arkansas state icon and brand.

We can create a set of farm to school banners for any school program. Contact us to get help now.