October is National Farm to School Month! Join the Program Year 2022-2023 Farm Fresh Challenge.
It's that time again! Are you up for the Health and Nutrition Services (HNS) Farm Fresh Challenge?
In recognition of National Farm to School Month, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) Health and Nutrition Services (HNS) Division is excited to announce the Program Year 2023 Farm Fresh Challenge for all Child Nutrition Program (CNP) operators.
What is the Farm Fresh Challenge?
The Farm Fresh Challenge is an HNS initiative designed to empower CNP operators to cultivate excitement around fresh and locally sourced foods. Participating operators must complete a series of challenges that promote participants' tasting, teaching, and connection to foods local to Arizona.
What are the Farm Fresh Challenge rules?
Participants of the Farm Fresh Challenge must complete all TASTE, TEACH, and CONNECT activities during one week in October for the challenge to be considered complete.
- TASTE Arizona: Serve a minimum of three locally-sourced meal components (e.g., grain, dairy, fresh fruits or vegetables, eggs, or meat) during the week of your challenge to encourage your community to eat fresh, locally grown food. HNS is happy to help assist in procuring local foods!
- TEACH Arizona: Host a minimum of two educational activities during the week of your challenge. These educational activities may include taste-testing local products, virtual or in-person field trips to local farms or farmers’ markets, inviting a farmer to visit your meal service, pen-pal programs with farmers, reading an Arizona agriculture-based book, virtual or in-person garden-based learning activities, or educational lessons focused on Arizona foods and agriculture.
- CONNECT Arizona: Share a minimum of one promotional material with your community that highlights your challenge activities (e.g., social media post, newspaper feature, newsletter, school website feature, posters or banners, etc.). Use #AZF2S or #FarmFreshAZ to expand the reach of your promotional efforts on social media!
The Platinum tier is awarded to sites that have met the minimum above criteria, plus served two "hard to reach" local items (whole grain or meat/meat alternate) and incorporated at least one local item through USDA DoD Fresh during the month of October.
When is the Farm Fresh Challenge?
October 1, 2022 - October 31, 2022. SFAs participating in the challenge must complete all challenge activities within a one-week timeframe in October 2022.
What is new this Year?
There are two exciting updates this year! First, HNS has added a new Platinum award level that includes incorporating at least one local United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Produce item in meal service during the month of October. Second, for this year only, SFAs that complete the challenge will be eligible to receive a per meal incentive if they continue to procure and serve local produce in the meal programs following the challenge. Details on the meal incentive criteria will be made available soon!
Track your progress!
To keep track of your 2023 Farm Fresh Challenge activities and ensure successful completion, use the 2023 HNS Farm Fresh Challenge Scorecard.
How do I become a Challenge Champion?
To be a Challenge Champion, you must complete all activities within a one-week timeframe. Operators will receive an email via HNS Communications with a link to a survey where you will report details about your challenge participation. Operators who successfully completed the Farm Fresh Challenge will be recognized by ADE and will be eligible for monetary incentives for keeping up with procuring local produce.
We look forward to seeing your participants TASTE, TEACH, and CONNECT with Arizona grown foods! If you need any assistance throughout the challenge, please email [email protected].