On Wednesday, April 16th at the Amtrak Station Community Room (918 Railroad Ave) in Tallahassee, Florida, the Hive Tallahassee converged with the Tallahassee Food Network (TFN) to discuss the challenges and opportunities of getting nutritious, fresh food from our regional farms to our students’ cafeteria plates! As you can tell by the flyer, there were lots of folks whose mission or vision exhibited mutualism with event-driven, pillars of sustainability, FOOD.

The event was kicked off with a Google Hangout with Lindsey Grubbs, Florida Farm to School Lead for Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Lindsey gave a live update from the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Austin, Texas, sharing best practices at the national level. Check out their Facebook for highlights!

Host, Wes Shaffer, facilitating the Google Hangout with Lindsey Grubbs

Next up, a panel discussion full of diversity! The panel exemplified the definition of gathering stakeholders. From a student who eats the majority of his meals at school Monday through Friday, to a representative from the local farm, to an organization whose mission is to bring fresh naturally grown produce straight from the farm to the consumer – there was quite a variety of perspectives.

Participants included:
• Cathy Reed, Director of Nutritional Services for Leon County Schools
• Reggie Glover, Leon County School Student.
• Katie Harris, Full Earth Farms
• Cetta Barnhart, Director of Seed Time Harvest Farms

Reggie Glover, 12th Grader, sharing insight into his high school experience of eating cafeteria food in Leon County!

After dropping some serious knowledge on the many moving parts relative to getting the food from a farm, onto the students’ fork, we moved forward into an activity called Open Space Technology. This activity involved the entire room of participants forming a massive circle.

It’s in this circle that small groups of people came together to focus in on one topic relative to the ultimate purpose of Farm to Schools. For instance:
• Distribution
• Marketing
• Certifications Required by Farmers to Sell to Schools
• Insurance Required by Farmers to Sell to Schools
• What Do Students Want to Eat?
• School Gardens
• Which Vegetables are Easiest to Prep/Cook?

To start the conversation on these topics, Nathan Ballentine, also known as the Man in Overalls, set the guidelines and purpose of the breakout. Check out the video below:

As a result of the gathering, Hive Tallahassee will begin developing a process map of Farm to Schools for Leon County to assist the local stakeholders in improving its efficiency. This will be refined at the next Hive!

For the month of May, in partnership with TFN, Hive Tallahassee will be converging at the iGrow Dunn St. Youth Farm.

Stay tuned at the Hive Tallahassee for further details!


Justin Vandenbroeck
IDEAS For Us Ambassador