The Food Trust and the PA Farm to School Network are seeking individuals who are interested in sharing their personal and professional experience related to farm to school programming during the in-person PA Farm to School Institute retreat as workshop presenters or panelists

The audience will be comprised of up to 7 teams of 4-6 individuals who work within school and Early Care and Education (ECE) communities who were selected to participate in a unique year-long learning opportunity. During the two-day retreat, teams will develop relationships, skills and a collaborative action plan to enhance farm to school activities including starting and maintaining school gardens; serving PA-grown produce in school meals and snacks; and providing educational experiences for kids to learn about food and agriculture. With the ongoing support of a coach, a financial award, additional professional development and peer networking opportunities, teams put their plans into action over the course of a year, while strengthening their capacity to integrate farm to school activities in the classroom, cafeteria and community.

The workshop presenters and panelists will increase participant knowledge of farm to school activities and inspire participants with their personal stories and/or farm to school lessons and workshops. 

The retreat will take place at Heritage Creek Farm Camp (2126 Risser Mill Road Mount Joy, PA 17552) on Wednesday June 26 and Thursday June 28. All workshop presenters or panelists are eligible to receive a $200 stipend for their time and expertise and are welcome to participate in retreat activities happening around the time of their scheduled workshop or panel. 

Ideal candidates are individuals who:

  • Work within a school, ECE or community setting and directly support the implementation of farm to school activities (e.g., school gardening, hands-on learning about food and agriculture and/or selling/procuring local food to serve in school meals and snacks)
  • OR hold a professional position that includes responsibilities related to FTS activities or programs and/or represent and work directly with farmers/growers, school cafeteria professionals, educators, ECE operators, community members involved with applicable groups (e.g., gardening clubs, food policy councils)
  • Live and work in Pennsylvania, though individuals from outside the state are still welcome to submit a proposal.

Some examples of who we are looking for include:

  • Youth/students (middle or high school level) who have some experience implementing farm to school activities, working in gardens/farms and/or attending a school with a strong food/agriculture program
  • School administrators and/or ECE operators familiar with implementing and/or supporting farm to school programming within their school/ECE community
  • School food service/school nutrition staff with experience procuring local food, working with local farmers, implementing scratch cooking with local products and/or promoting and celebrating their efforts to their community
  • Community members involved in farm to school programming (gardens, nutrition/food/agriculture education and/or supporting local food procurement for school meals)
  • Farmers/growers/producers who work with schools by hosting farm tour visits, going to classrooms for educational programming and/or selling their products to schools
  • Educators who have experience with integrating farm to school activities in a classroom or community setting
  • Professionals who work directly with any of the above mentioned example practitioners and have a basic understanding of farm to school and how to support farm to school practitioners in their efforts to enhance farm to school within their community (e.g., point them in the direction or resources, provide technical assistance)

Types of presentations:

There are three opportunities during the retreat to choose from when expressing your interest in participating as a workshop presenter or panelist:

  1. Presenting to the large group (35-50 people) on the 45-minute “values panel.” Panelists will share why they prioritize farm to school and an example of how their values help motivate them to overcome challenges.
  2. Presenting to the large group (35-50 people) on the 45-minute “action panel.” Panelists will share what inspired them to start or enhance a specific farm to school activity and which resources/strategies/support helped them implement their activities.
  3. Facilitating a 75-minute interactive workshop related to a farm to school activity with 5-8 total participants. There are a variety of spaces available at Heritage Creek Farm that may aid your workshop presentation including: 
  • Production Barn: This large space with room for seating has outlets, internet access, and a pull-down projector screen for presentations.             
  • Smaller indoor spaces: for smaller group activities and gatherings, there are several smaller indoor spaces we could use including: 
    • Forest Classroom
    • Little seeds classroom
    • Market
  • Indoor/outdoor spaces: There are a few hybrid indoor/outdoor spaces including: 
    • Large outdoor pavilion
    • Large greenhouse
    • Small greenhouse
  • Outdoor spaces: The farm has a lot of open outdoor space including the barnyard on the lower part of the farm which includes a variety of farm animals and a creek. 

The PA FTS Institute is an adaptation of the Northeast Farm to School Institute and Vermont FEED’s proven model for growing robust farm to school programs that last. To learn more about the Institute model and the retreat experience, including examples of workshops and presentations, please visit the Northeast Farm to School Institute website and watch the 5 minute video near the top of the page. To learn more about equity and inclusivity in farm to school work, please read this article provided by Vermont Feed.

Selection timeline:

Workshop presenters or panelists will be selected on a rolling basis throughout April and early May and will be notified by May 10th or soon after.

PA Farm to School Institute Workshop Presenter Interest Form

Part 1: Contact Information

7. Select which best describes your role(Required)

Part 2: Logistics

1. Which type of presentation are you interested in (check all that apply):(Required)
2. Do you wish to receive the $200 stipend offered for this opportunity?(Required)
3. Which days are you available to present during the retreat held at Heritage Creek Farm Camp 2126 Risser Mill Road Mount Joy, PA 17552(Required)

Part 3: Experience and presentation content

5. If you are interested in facilitating an interactive workshop, select any of the available facilitates that you would like to use during your workshop(see descriptions of these spaces above under "types of presentations"):
6. Select any of the following topics that may be covered in your workshop or panel presentation:

Part 4: Additional Information

Return to the PA Farm to School Institute program page.

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