Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community.
Grants & Funding
Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund
The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund provides direct assistance to veterans in their beginning years of farming or ranching. The Fund does not give money directly to the veteran, but rather to a third party vendor for any items that make a critical difference in the launch of a young farm business. In addition to monetary awards, the Fellowship provides support in the form of guidance in production, business planning, and marketing. Awards are also made in the form of a scholarship to study for a career in agriculture at a closes March 20, 2017. Learn more here.
Events & Webinars
Webinar: Curbing Marketing to Students: What the Final Wellness Policy Rule Means for Schools
March 9, 2-3pm ET
On July 29, 2016, USDA finalized regulations that strengthen requirements for local school wellness policies. Among other requirements, the final rule allows in-school promotions only for foods and beverages that meet the USDA’s Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards. This webinar explains how the USDA's final rule affects food and beverage marketing in schools. Presenters will provide practical tips for school districts on how to remove unhealthy food marketing and handle challenges that arise as they work to comply with the new rule. Register here.
Webinar: Local Meat to Local Schools: Lessons Learned from the Montana Beef to School Project
March 23, 12-1pm EST
Many folks all over the nation are organizing to get local ingredients into public schools and other institutions as a way to support local farmers as well as improve the quality and healthfullness of school food. Fruits and vegetables have been the low-hanging fruit; local meat and animal products can be much more challenging to get on school menus. The Montana Beef to School Project is a three-year collaborative project between several Montana beef producers and processors, schools and many stakeholders represented in the Montana Beef to School Coalition. Hear from one of the project leaders, Thomas Bass of Montana State University Extension along with one of the key processing partners, Jeremy Plummer of Lower Valley Processing in Kalispell, about what they learned over the three years of this project. Register here.
Arkansas Farm to School Summit: Growing Together
March 15, 9-4pm // Van Buren, Arkansas
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and FoodCorps Arkansas, with support from Van Buren Public Schools, are hosting “Arkansas Farm to School Summit: Growing Together” on March 15, 2017. With a focus on program sustainability, this event will feature practical sessions on implementing farm to school activities that have staying power: designing integrated garden lessons, using school gardens as outdoor classrooms, procuring local foods, cooking with kids, and more. Learn more and register here.
New Slow Food USA School Garden Curriculum
Slow Food USA recently published its second school garden curriculum, Clean: Gardening for Sustainability. The multidisciplinary lessons target a range of ages, from Kindergarten through high school. Educators can use a school garden or cooking program to teach biology, chemistry, social studies, language arts, and geography. Clean: Gardening for Sustainability divides school garden activities into theory and practice. The first section, “Basic Garden Skills and Knowledge,” offers activities that guide observation and discovery into the plants and animals that live in the garden. The second section, “A Slow Food Garden,” offers planting guidelines, maps, activities and cooking lessons that match a sample school garden. Learn more here.
Report: Shrinking the Carbon and Water Footprint of School Food: A Recipe for Combatting Climate Change
As schools across the nation grapple with how to feed kids healthier, more sustainable food on tight budgets, an inspiring story from Oakland Unified School District provides a roadmap for change. Friends of the Earth’s new case study shows how the district was able to significantly reduce its carbon and water footprint by replacing a share of its meat, poultry and cheese purchases with plant-based proteins. These actions also saved the district money and improved students’ access to healthful food. Learn more here.
Good Food for Local Schools: Toolkit of Resources
University of California’s Global Food Initiatives has a free, online toolkit of resource for improving meals in schools districts throughout California and beyond. The website offers a toolkit of curated practical online resources to guide higher education institutions and other educational and community organizations, who work with pre-K-12 schools, to support student access to healthy and sustainable food. Learn more here.
Newly Updated: Bibliography on Structural Racism in the United States Food System
Published by the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, An Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System, cites and annotates literature that explores structural racism both broadly across the U.S. food system as well as in specific food system sectors. The publication also includes commentaries on and analysis of the influence and pervasiveness of “whiteness” in the local food movement. Explore the bibliography here.
Ensuring Education for All Children: Resources for working with Immigrants families
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) regularly releases resources to help educators, school administrators, and families to protect and ensure equitable access to education for all children, including our most vulnerable student populations. Several new resources have been released for working with immigrant families relative to education and issues of security. While designed for early learning programs, elementary schools and educators, some resources have value across all levels of education and communities. There are also tools to be shared with parents. Explore the resources here.
School Nutrition Programs Farm-to-School Specialist
The Virginia Department of Education is seeking a qualified and experienced individual to provide technical expertise and assistance to local school food authorities, local farmers, and other potential Farm to School stakeholders. Responsibilities include facilitating a collective vision, coordinating statewide goals and strategic planning to track state progress for Farm to School initiatives at the state level. Application closes March 1. Learn more here.
Farm to School in the News
South Carolina School Offers Farm-to-Table Class
Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle-High School (South Carolina) is converting into a healthy living campus by putting a tasty spin on Agricultural Science. The new farm-to-table program benefits everyone in the county because once the crops are ready, they’ll be enjoyed by all Aiken County school district students. (via WJBF)
Tennessee Farm to School Program Grows with Greenhouse
A greenhouse for Murfreesboro City Schools (Tenn.) provides students a protected and secure environment to learn about the growing process year-round. "In the days of digital media and electronics, it's nice to see students excited about getting their hands a little dirty," says Kristina Maddux, Discovery School Principal. (via WGNS)