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PA FCNS SymbolJoin us on June 18th, 2024 for the Pennsylvania Farm to Child Nutrition Summit. This event is coordinated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Food and Nutrition and Penn State University (Project PA) with the support of the Pennsylvania Farm to School Network. Funding is provided by a USDA Farm to School Formula grant. The summit will be held at Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus in Gibsonia, PA. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration is free and on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration deadline is June 3rd, 2024 or until capacity is reached, whichever comes first.

Target audiences:

  • Child Nutrition Program (CNP) operators
  • K–12 and early childhood education educators
  • Producers
  • Distributors
  • Other farm to school/early childhood education stakeholder groups

The purpose of the summit is to facilitate peer–to–peer learning and networking among CNP operators, establish connections between CNP operators and producers, showcase farm to child
nutrition “best practices,” and deliver educational opportunities regarding the environmental, economic, nutritional, and equitable value of growing foods.

The summit will include breakout sessions, educational displays, and networking opportunities. Session topics will address local food procurement for CNPs, student engagement in farm to school, agriculture education, funding farm to child nutrition initiatives, implementation of Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month, school gardens/gardening in early care and education settings, and more.


Continuing Education Credits:

  • Professional Development credits for school food service personnel
  • Act 48 credits for educators
  • PQAS credits for early care and education attendees

General Session Featured Presentations and Speakers


General Session #1: Let's Talk About Playing in the Dirt! – Lisa Freeman
Lisa Freeman, owner of Freeman Family Farm & Greenhouse in Pittsburgh will share her story and insights of her humble beginnings of forming a PTA that consisted of only two parents. That two-parent PTA started a school/community garden that challenged children from low-income communities to grow and care for plants, to discover what tastes good and ultimately to discover how to cooperate peacefully and experience the joy of playing in the dirt. That garden has now grown into a $700,000+ new construction of a small grocery store in her food desert neighborhood. This session will offer anecdotes and examples of how children can and will develop behaviors, skills and preferences to eat healthy.


About Lisa Freeman:
Lisa Freeman, MSW, MPA has Master’s degrees in both Social Work and Public Administration and is an alumna of the University of Pittsburgh. Lisa is proud to be a “loudmouth” social worker in advocating for the marginalized and the community she serves. Lisa has over 40 years of experience as a Social Worker and has chosen to serve the most at-risk in the economically devastated communities of Pittsburgh. Lisa has cultivated her love of “rescuing” and taking care of people that need extra attention to her love of growing food in her federally designated food-desert community of Manchester, Pennsylvania.

Single-handedly, Lisa has been very successful in fundraising to support her dream of constructing a small grocery store in her community.


General Session #2: In Harvesting Opportunities: Unleashing the Potential of Farm to School in the Keystone State – Tacumba Turner
Attendees will explore the untapped potential of farm to school initiatives in Pennsylvania, discovering innovative strategies to enhance local food procurement, foster student engagement, and promote sustainable agriculture practices statewide.


About Tacumba Turner:
Tacumba Turner is a dedicated culture worker and land steward deeply committed to fostering community wellness, environmental justice, and sustainability, boasting over 8 years of invaluable experience in the field. In his previous role as the director for Oasis Farm and Fishery, Tacumba spearheaded numerous initiatives, leading hands-on educational programs on urban farming, soil health, and more for residents of Homewood and beyond. Notably, Tacumba successfully raised over $200,000 in grants, oversaw capital projects, and cultivated fruitful partnerships with university entities, the private sector, and environmental nonprofits.

Tacumba is a fervent collaborator, actively engaging with the local food policy council, the Homewood Food Access working group, and serving on the board of the Sankofa Village Community Gardening Project. Furthermore, he has provided valuable guidance to the Pennsylvania Urban Agriculture Council and facilitated a young farmers' leadership convergence while participating in the Urban Farming Academy farm incubator project. Tacumba's dedication to sustainable food systems was further solidified during his recent year-long tenure as a food system fellow hosted by Boston Medical Center's Vital Village Network.

Currently serving as the Green Initiatives Director at Operation Better Block, Inc. (OBB) in Homewood, Pittsburgh, Tacumba focuses on addressing community challenges through innovative green infrastructure solutions. His work at OBB includes leading initiatives aimed at benefiting the Homewood community's journey toward sustainability, particularly through efforts to increase green infrastructure and tackle food insecurity. Additionally, Tacumba serves as a growing technician for the West End P.O.W.E.R Freight Farm located in the Chartiers neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

In summary, Tacumba Turner is deeply passionate about sustainable practices, community empowerment, and effecting positive change in Pittsburgh. His unwavering commitment to environmental justice and community well-being continues to inspire and drive impactful initiatives throughout the city.


Pre-Summit Tour Opportunities (registration-free; space is limited)


On Monday, June 17th, two pre-summit tour opportunities will be available. Both are free for summit registrants. Registrants are responsible for their own transportation. After registering for the summit, you will have the option to register for one of the pre-summit tours if space is still available.


Pre-Summit Tour #1: Community Agricultural Partnership at Summit

June 17th, 1pm – 3pm
351 Brinker Road, Butler, PA

In 2021, the Butler Area School District tasked each of its seven elementary schools with developing a unique focus around which to center educational activities. Summit Elementary School, located in a rural area surrounded by 16 acres of land, rebranded itself as CAPS - the Community Agricultural Partnership at Summit - with a focus on agriculture and conservation. CAPS is now home to a 40’ x 50’ outdoor classroom workspace, a greenhouse, raised beds, an apple orchard, a Christmas tree farm, berry patches, a pumpkin patch, an herb garden, a sunflower field, a pollinator garden, a rain garden, and a large tilled crop area. Indoors, CAPS has multiple hydroponic and aquaponic grow areas, “trout in the classroom” tanks, and rabbits and chickens in the classrooms. All of these resources are utilized through an agricultural overlay curriculum that teachers continue to develop for use throughout the district.

In 2023, the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization selected CAPS as the recipient of its Partnership in Agricultural Literacy Award. Join this pre-summit event to learn how this award-winning partnership got started, tour the extensive agriculture spaces that CAPS has to offer, and interact with teachers and administrators from CAPS who are involved in creating these unique opportunities for their students.


Pre-Summit Tour #2: Urban Agriculture Experiences

June 17th, 1:30pm – 4:00pm

Join our general session featured speakers, Lisa Freeman and Tacumba Turner, for an urban agriculture experience as they introduce you to the sites at which they work to make meaningful impacts on their communities. This experience will involve a visit to Freeman Family Farm and Greenhouse (1426 Juniata Street, Pittsburgh, PA) and Freight Farm (Community of Change Center, 3632 Centralia Street, Pittsburgh, PA).

Pre-Summit Tour #2: 
1:30pm – 2:30pm: Freeman Family Farm and Greenhouse Tour
2:30pm – 3:00pm: Travel to Freight Farm (Registrants are responsible for their own transportation.)
3:00pm – 4:00pm: Freight Farm Tour

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