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Village Feast funds education and grants about farm-fresh food

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Guests sit at long tables under the sycamore trees at Davis' Central Park at the 2019 Village Feast.
Photo by Ashley Bruhn

(From press release) More than 350 attended The Village Feast on Sept. 28, raising more than $38,000 to support early and continued education about food and agriculture.

Davis Farm to School and Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Sacramento paired up for the event, splitting the proceeds. The community meal, served in le grand aïoli tradition in Davis’ Central Park, will return next year, on Saturday, Sept. 12.

A project of the Davis Farmers Market Alliance, Davis Farm to School provides garden grants, farm field trips and support for farm-fresh food in Davis-area schools. Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic organization of female leaders in food, fine beverage and hospitality, gives scholarships to area women in food and agriculture.

Davis Farm to School will use its funds to support garden-based education for Davis students, including grants and field trips. It continues to offer matching Garden Grants of up to $500 to all interested school sites in Davis. These may be used to purchase supplies, as stipends for garden coordinators, to fund professional development, and to enhance connections between the school garden and the classroom, cafeteria, or waste-reduction program.

New this year, Davis Farm to School offers a Healthy Plate Grant, which provides up to $500 in Davis Food Co-op gift cards per school site for junior high teachers who cook or serve students food during their food science, nutrition or culinary classes. Foods purchased with the Healthy Plate Grant must be locally sourced, seasonal and/or organic and teachers must incorporate messages about healthy and sustainable food choices into their cooking lessons, using foods purchased with the grant.

Davis Farm to School continues to offer farm field trips to second-graders and will again offer third-graders the opportunity to participate in the Little Chefs program in partnership with the Davis Food Co-op. Little Chefs get a tour of the Davis Food Co-op where they have a farm-fresh food tasting and learn how to make a seasonal salad in a jar, which they take home. 

Since its founding in 2000 and launch of the “Crunch Lunch” program, Davis Farm to School’s goal has been to work with DJUSD Student Nutrition Services to increase quantities of local fruits and vegetables in school meals. Funds also sponsor its Recycling is Simply Elementary program at elementary schools, which it continues to expand into secondary schools.

Les Dames d’Escoffier will use its Village Feast funds to underwrite scholarships for women, in American River College’s Culinary Arts/Hospitality Management Program; sommelier courses in the Court of Master Sommelier Americas; California Farm Academy training programs at the Center for Land-Based Learning; and other professional development courses in the restaurant and hospitality fields. It also plans to collaborate with Saint John's Program for Real Change.

For more information about supporting, volunteering or applying for a grant, email info@davisfarmtoschool.org or visit http://www.davisfarmtoschool.org. Grant applications are due Nov. 1.

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