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This Week in farm to school: 1/17/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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
1. USDA Announces $27 Million in Grants Available to Support the Local Food Sector
On January 11, USDA announced requests for applications for the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), which offer $27 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers and businesses. These grants can be used to support farm to school activities. For example, in 2014 Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation received a LFPP grant to expand a pilot Farm to Early Care Project in Central Brooklyn by increasing access to farm fresh, healthy food for 1,500 children while generating increased revenue for participating farmers. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit
April 5-7 // Leominster, Mass. 
Registration is now open for the 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit, April 5-7, 2017 at the Doubletree Hotel in Leominster, Massachusetts. The program features a dynamic and inspiring array of sessions, speakers, activities, cooking demonstrations, field trips, exhibitors, entertainment, and networking time. In addition to focus areas on schools, health care, and college campuses, there will be sessions related to correctional facilities. Cross-cutting topics include supply chain management, food waste, racial equity, skill building, and much more. Learn more and register here

2. 2017-2018 Northeast Farm to School Institute
June 27-29 // Shelburne, VT
The Northeast Farm to School Institute is a unique year-long professional learning opportunity for twelve school teams from New England and New York. The year-long Institute kicks off with a Summer Retreat held at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, VT from June 27-29, 2017. During the Summer Retreat, participants will develop a comprehensive school-wide Farm to School Action Plan that includes curriculum, local procurement, utilizing outdoor learning spaces, and cultivating family and community connections. Applications are due March 9. Learn more here


Resources
1. Take the National Young Farmer Survey
Take the National Young Farmer Survey and let Congress know that #FarmersCount! The survey is conducted every five years by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) in order to understand and elevate the issues that matter most to young farmers and aspiring farmers. It is crucial that the survey results represent all young farmers and aspiring farmers, no matter where they live or what they grow. Survey answers are completely confidential. Learn more here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Request for Applications: National Farm to School Network Core Partners for 2017-2019
National Farm to School Network is seeking partner organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) to serve as NFSN Core Partners for 2017-2019, the next phase of farm to school and farm to early care and education growth and evolution. Organizations and agencies interested in and capable of contributing to the advancement of farm to school and ECE are encouraged to apply. Applications are due January 26, 2017. Learn more and apply at farmtoschool.org/rfa

2. Policy Director
The National Farm to School Network seeks a Policy Director to joins its team. The Policy Director is responsible for leading NFSN’s policy advocacy work. NFSN serves as a national voice for the farm to school movement and a leading resource on national, state and local policies that impact farm to school and farm to ECE. Read the full position description here. Applications due January 27, 2017. 


Farm to school in the news
Texans Embrace MLK Day Of Service in School Garden
Volunteers in east Dallas spent MLK Day knee deep in dirt and mulch to help a small school garden become something much bigger. “The garden is the heart of the community, so when you bring people together in the garden, they start seeing nature differently, they see themselves differently and they see the world differently.” (via KERA News)

Balancing farm chores and school work near Lake Placid
Not every school can boast its own flock of sheep or herd of horses. But at North Country School in New York, daily homework includes farm chores, even in the dark winter months. Twice a day, students feed livestock and check barn conditions. In the spring, there's all-school maple syrup production, and garden and chicken harvests in early autumn. (via North Country Public Radio)

Public schools eyed as potential buyers for blueberry crop
The Maine Wild Blueberry Commission has received a $50,000 grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to market wild blueberries for public school breakfast and lunch programs. (via The Ellsworth American)

Read past editions of This Week for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country. 

New Resources: Engaging Farmers and Producers in Farm to School

NFSN Staff Friday, January 13, 2017

Farmers, fisherman, ranchers and other local food producers play a critical role in the farm to school movement. From cafeteria to classroom, these food champions provide healthy, local food and agriculture education to millions of our nation’s kids. Farm to school couldn’t happen without them!
 
That’s why the National Farm to School Network is committed to propelling new ideas and innovative resources to support farmers and producers in the farm to school movement. Our 2016 Innovation Awards did just that.
 
With funding support from Newman’s Own Foundation and Farm Credit, the National Farm to School Network presented Innovation Awards in February 2016 to three projects led by partners in Georgia, the Great Lakes and the Northeast. This year’s theme, Engaging Farmers and Producers in Farm to School, inspired these partners to develop resources and creative approaches for engaging more farmers and producers in the farm to school movement.
 
Here are highlights of what the projects accomplished and several new resources now available:
 
Sea to School
Maine Farm to School, Massachusetts Farm to School, New Hampshire Farm to School
Three New England states worked together to create two new resources, a Sea to School Guide and “Sea to School: A Lunch Voyage” video, that will help expand the use of local seafood in school meals and marine education. The guide includes case studies, best practices, recipes, and other useful resources to expand “sea to school” programs and support of local fishermen.
 
Growing Farm to School by Sharing Farmer Stories
University of Wisconsin, Madison - Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin teamed up to document grower-food service relationships that make farm to school implementation successful. The videos feature conversations between farmers and food service directors, highlighting the key points that make their relationships work.
 
Pop-Up School Market: Engaging Farmers at Early Care and Education Centers
Georgia Organics
This project piloted 10 pop-up farmers markets at a childcare facility in Georgia as a direct marketing opportunity for a small family farmer, while engaging parents and caregivers in farm to early care and education. Cooking demonstrations and taste tests were offered at the market each week, and parents were provided cooking and educational supplies for use at home. An evaluation of the project provides lessons learned for replicating the pop-up market model at other childcare facilities.


Help support more innovative ideas like these by making a donation to the National Farm to School Network. Your donations support more resource development and outreach to the farmers and producers who bring our kids fresh, healthy food.  

Help farm to school grow by making a donation today! 

Donate Now


This Week in farm to school: 1/10/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 10, 2017

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
1. Lowe's Charitable and Education Foundation Accepting Applications for Toolbox for Education Grants
The Lowe's Charitable and Education Foundation has announced the opening of its Spring 2017 Toolbox for Education, which supports projects that encourage parent involvement in local schools and build stronger community spirit. One-year grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to projects with the potential to have a permanent impact on a school community, such as facility enhancement (indoor or outdoor) or landscaping/clean-up projects. In addition,  Toolbox grants can be used as part of a large-scale project like a playground, as long as the grant will be used to complete a phase of the project that can be completed within twelve months of the award. Learn more and apply here. Application deadline is Feb. 9, 2017. Learn more here

2. Pediatric Obesity Mini CoIIN 2017 Application
The Association of State Public Healthy Nutritionists (ASPHN) has supported the Pediatric Obesity Mini Collaborative Improvement and Innovative Networks (CoIIN) for the past 3 years. The purpose of the Pediatric Obesity Mini CoIIN is to support and enhance state health departments in their work on the DP13-1305, Domain 2 strategy of improving nutrition and physical activity in early care and education (ECE) settings. In 2017, this project will provide oversight and support for at least 10 state teams to engage in a quality improvement process that embeds childhood obesity-prevention standards and improves capacity in state ECE systems.  If interested, send an e-mail indicating interest in applying to sandy@asphn.org by Friday, January 13. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: January NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar: Good Food, Great Kids Project 
January 11, 3:30-5pm ET
pfc Social Impact Advisors, in partnership with the National Farm to School Network and the BUILD Initiative, recently developed a series of case studies on the emerging benefits of farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) initiatives. These case studies, along with the accompanying policy report, explore the policy and practice of how communities are joining forces to bring farm to ECE programs to vulnerable children and families. Join us to hear from Hilda Vega, Vice President of Programs at pfc Social Impact Advisors, about the important lessons gleaned from the project and from the team at Norris Square Community Alliance, one of the featured case studies, about how their farm to ECE model is supporting equity and inclusion in the ECE setting. Register here

2. Webinar: Farm to Institution Training for Food Service Consultants

January 31, 1-2pm ET
Farm to Institution New England is working to build a resource for food service consultants in this growing field. In this webinar, FINE will share its comprehensive toolkit for increasing local food procurement by institutional food services, showcasing how it pertains to the request for proposal (RFP) process for food service management companies. The webinar will include a live case study sharing how the University of Vermont navigated a cutting edge RFP process by working with a consultant and engaging the campus community. Register here

3. 2017 Food Waste & Hunger Summit
March 24-25 // Canton, Ohio
Each spring, The Campus Kitchens Project hosts a Food Waste & Hunger Summit that brings together leading national nonprofit organizations and engaged students who are working to fight food waste and hunger, for a packed weekend of learning about advocacy, service and leadership. The 4th Annual Food Waste & Hunger Summit will be held at Walsh University in Canton, Ohio on March 24-25. Learn more here

4. Save the Date: Georgia Farm to School Summit
Oct. 5-6 // Augusta, Georgia
The 6th Georgia Farm to School Summit will be held Oct.5-6, 2017 at Helms College in Augusta, GA. Engage in a variety of farm to school and early care sessions and workshops, tour dynamic school gardens and educational farms, and network with farm to school and early care leaders from across our state. Registration will open in April 2017. Learn more here

5. Save the Date: Community Food Systems Conference
December 5-7, 2017 // Boston, Mass. 
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project's Community Food Systems Conference will address common underlying themes between food security, social justice and sustainable agriculture including obstacles in urban and rural environments and fostering community empowerment to create and sustain resilient local food systems. Learn more here


Resources
1. Two New “Sea to School” Resources Available
Massachusetts Farm to School, Maine Farm to School Network, and New Hampshire Farm to School have released two new resources, a Sea to School Guide and “Sea to School: A Lunch Voyage” video, to help expand the use of local seafood in school meals and seafood/marine education. This project was made possible with a 2016 Innovation Award from the National Farm to School Network funded by Farm Credit and the Newman’s Own Foundation. Explore the new resources here

2. 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey Results
On December 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) announced the release of the results from their highly anticipated Local Food Marketing Practices Survey. The survey includes information on both fresh and value-added foods, such as meat and cheese, and shows strong potential for future growth. According to the results, over 167,000 U.S. farms produced and sold food locally through through food hubs and other intermediaries, direct farmer-to-consumer marketing, or direct farm to retail, resulting in $8.7 billion in revenue in 2015. Learn more here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Request for Applications: National Farm to School Network Core Partners for 2017-2019
National Farm to School Network is seeking partner organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) to serve as NFSN Core Partners for 2017-2019, the next phase of farm to school and farm to early care and education growth and evolution. Organizations and agencies interested in and capable of contributing to the advancement of farm to school and ECE are encouraged to apply. Applications are due January 26, 2017. Learn more and apply at farmtoschool.org/rfa

2. Deputy Director, DC Greens
DC Greens, a non-profit organization that uses the power of partnerships to support food education, food access, and food policy in the nation's capital, seeks a Deputy Director. The Deputy Director will serve as a thought partner to the Executive Director and be responsible for enhancing the internal organization and infrastructure necessary for DC Greens’ continued success and growth. Learn more here

3. Growing for Success Program Specialist
National Center for Appropriate Technology’s (NCAT) Growing for Success project aims to expand the Harvest of the Month initiative to a broader institutional audience including hospitals and pre-schools. This job entails travel around Montana to establish and maintain relationships with prospective pilot sites, attend conferences, and build the database of producers and institutions that are engaged in Farm to Cafeteria. The position will run from March 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018. Application closes Feb. 3, 2017. Learn more here

4. Executive Director of The Institute of Child Nutrition
The School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi is seeking a skilled visionary leader to serve as the permanent Executive Director for the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN). Learn more here

5. FoodCorps Service Member Application Open
FoodCorps is recruiting talented leaders for a year of paid public service building healthy school food environments in limited-resource communities. FoodCorps AmeriCorps members teach student hands on lessons in growing cooking and tasting healthy food; promote healthy eating onions in the cafeteria; and, make schools healthier place to eat, learn and grow. The FoodCorps application is open now through March 15th. Learn more here


Farm to school in the news
Betti Wiggins named 2017 School Nutrition Hero
The non-profit School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) has announced the national recognition of five 2017 School Nutrition Heroes for their efforts as positive role models in school nutrition. Betti Wiggins, Executive Director of Office of School Nutrition, Detroit Public Schools Community District, and NFSN board member, is one of this year's honorees. Congratulations, Betti! 

The Next Generation Of Farmers Is Being Trained In New York City High Schools
Some 600 of New York City’s public school students are enrolled in a specialized, four-year high school agriculture program. Like most of their schoolmates, the students follow an ordinary curriculum of English, math and social studies. But they also  grow crops, care for livestock and learn the rudiments of floriculture, viticulture, aquaculture, biotechnology and entrepreneurship. (via NPR)

Texas Elementary students start 'fresh' in New Year
DeLeon Elementary School in Texas uses its school garden to meet state education standards and encourage students to try new, healthy foods. ”We are bringing education to life. They really learn when they are out of their seats and moving around and getting their hands dirty." (via Victoria Advocate)

Read past editions of This Week for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country. 

Big wins for little eaters in 2016

NFSN Staff Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 has been a big year for little eaters! The farm to early care and education movement is on the rise, and with it, many new opportunities to bring fresh, healthy food and high-quality educational opportunities to young children across the country. 

At the National Farm to School Network, we’ve had an exciting year of developing new resources, building partnerships, and scaling up efforts to strengthen the farm to ECE movement and reach more children in these vital early years. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve accomplished in 2016:   

SURVEY RESULTS: Launched results of our 2015 National Survey of Early Care and Education Providers with an infographic, fact sheet and report. We found that more than 50 percent of respondents were already incorporating farm to ECE activities - like gardening, including local foods in meals and snacks, and food and nutrition education - into their early care and education settings and another 28 percent plan to start in the future.

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES: Provided training for farm to ECE practitioners at the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which included workshop sessions on farm to early care and education procurement, curriculum and network building. 

WEBINARS: Our Farm to ECE Webinar series highlighted opportunities and best practices to further farm to ECE with in-depth looks at State Level Partnership Opportunities, Cultural Relevancy in Farm to ECE, and Local Procurement in ECE Settings

NEW RESOURCES: Updated our collection of farm to ECE factsheets – including Getting Started with Farm to Early Care and Education, Local Procurement for Child Care Centers, Local Purchasing for Family Child Care Providers – and added new ECE resources created by partners to our Resource Library. 

CASE STUDIES: Partnered with pfc Social Impact Advisors and the BUILD Initiative to develop a series of six case studies that highlight best practices from service providers using farm ECE as an approach to support health, wellness, high-quality education, and community change. 

STORYTELLING: On our blog, we’ve shared inspiring stories of the many ways providers use farm to ECE activities to introduce young children to healthy habits and strengthen local communities. For example, how a garden has brought together preschoolers and Veterans in California, how fresh beets and a blender inspired a 4-year old try new foods, and they ways CACFP providers are finding success with farm to ECE. 

With over 12 million children spending an average of 33 hours per week in early care and education settings, farm to ECE has the potential to set up a significant number of young children for success with healthy habits and high quality learning environments. We need your help to grow this movement, and insure that all children and families have access to a bright and healthy future. 

Give Now


Join us in strengthening these efforts to give our littlest eaters a healthy start. A donation in any amount is an investment in our children's future.  

We are grateful for your generous support of the farm to ECE movement, and uplifted by your commitments to grow a healthier next generation. Thank you for being our partners in this work! 

Paper Plates, Partnerships & Proclamations: 2016 Farm to School Policy Successes

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 20, 2016

By Natalie Talis, Policy Associate

As the national policy leaders for the farm to school movement, policy is at the core of what we do as a network. With only a few days left in 2016, we’re celebrating this year’s policy successes, and planning for a busy 2017.

2016 Victories 
  • Farm to School Act of 2015: Farm to school advocates scored a major federal victory with the draft Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR). Key Democrats and Republicans supported farm to school throughout this process. Both the Senate Agriculture and House Education and Workforce Committee versions included important policy changes from the Farm to School Act of 2015, and a doubling of USDA Farm to School Grant funds from $5 to $10 million annually. Although CNR was not completed in this Congress, we are in a strong position moving forward for future farm to school federal policy wins. We will continue working with our coalition partners and fellow advocates to ensure we don’t lose this forward momentum.  
  • Paper Plate Campaign: This fall, we delivered more than 550 paper plate messages of support for farm to school and healthy school meals to members of Congress. We launched this paper plate campaign at the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in June, and continued to collect plates from our members and other farm to school advocates at the Farm Aid 2016 concert and by mail. Thank you to all who participated and made your voices heard! 
  • Partnership with USDA: We continued to work with USDA on the implementation of the Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable Pilot by collecting and disseminating feedback from partners in the eight pilot states. 
  • Proclamations and Pilots: Governors in Arkansas, Hawai’i, Minnesota, Nebraska and Rhode Island all made proclamations for Farm to School Month in October. Michigan and New York passed pilots providing schools with additional reimbursements for purchasing local foods. Louisiana passed a comprehensive farm to school policy building off their 2015 policy successes, and Arizona is making strides in reforming their food safety codes. 

2017 Opportunities
  • Farm to School Act: We will reintroduce our bipartisan marker bill in the new Congress and continue to build champions for these important policy changes and additional funding. 
  • Farm Bill Preparations: We will continue to host stakeholder listening sessions on Farm Bill programs and funding to ensure this comprehensive piece of food and farm legislation is best serving farm to school efforts across the U.S. 
  • State and Local Policy: Stay tuned for major updates to our State Policy Report, including a new user-friendly format and tools. We also look forward to the many state and local policy initiatives in the works.

It’s been a busy year for policy at all levels of government. With each of these victories, we continue to institutionalize farm to school so that all communities, in every part of the country, can benefit. Thank you to all those who participate in the policy process, whether interacting with elected officials, sharing your stories, or raising awareness in your community. None of these accomplishments would been possible without your efforts. We are constantly uplifted knowing that you - farmers, partners, educators, food service professionals, students, and more - are passionate and committed to growing healthier local food systems that support and benefit all. We are grateful to you, and are proud to be your partners in this important work. 

Here’s to 2016, a year of partnership for stronger farm to school policy, and to 2017 - a year destined for more farm to school success! 

Help us continue our advocacy efforts
by making an end of year, tax deductible donation today.

Give Now

This Week in farm to school: 12/20/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 20, 2016

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. Note: This Week will be on break for the next two weeks, and will resume Jan. 10, 2017. 



Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: January NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar: Good Food, Great Kids Project 
January 11, 3:30-5pm ET
pfc Social Impact Advisors, in partnership with the National Farm to School Network and the BUILD Initiative, recently developed a series of case studies on the emerging benefits of farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) initiatives. These case studies, along with the accompanying policy report, explore the policy and practice of how communities are joining forces to bring farm to ECE programs to vulnerable children and families. Join us to hear from Hilda Vega, Vice President of Programs at pfc Social Impact Advisors, about the important lessons gleaned from the project and from the team at Norris Square Community Alliance, one of the featured case studies, about how their farm to ECE model is supporting equity and inclusion in the ECE setting. Register here

2. Early Bird Deadline: Southern SAWG Conference
Jan. 25-28, 2017 // Lexington, KY
For over 25 years the Southern SAWG Annual Conference has been providing the practical tools and solutions you need. It is the must-attend event for those serious about sustainable and organic farming and creating more vibrant community food systems. This popular event drew over 1,400 farmers and local food advocates from across the nation last year. The general conference line-up includes 56 educational sessions, plus a state networking session for each of the 13 states in Southern SAWG’s region, and another 16 information exchange sessions where you get to exchange ideas and information with those who share your interests. Early bird registration closes Dec. 21. Learn more here

3. Save the Date: Local Foods Impact Conference
April 3-4, 2017 // Washington DC + Livestream
Congressionally authorized grant and loan programs to support local food systems have expanded in recent years. Quantifying and evaluating the impacts of these programs is critical. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, in partnership with The George Washington University, will host a Local Food Impacts Conference April 3 and 4, 2017 in Washington DC. Join to explore how to best measure the impacts of local food investments, improve coordination across USDA agencies, and evaluate the extent to which disparate local food investments are complementary and reinforcing. Beyond metrics, this conference provides an opportunity to share local food stories with incoming members of the new Administration and Congress. Learn more here

4. Save the Date: New England Farm to Institution Summit 2017
April 5-7, 2017 // Leominster, Mass. 
The 2017 New England Farm to Institution Summit will bring together more than 500 people who are leveraging the power of schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions to transform our food system. Learn more here


Jobs & Opportunities

1. Request for Applications: National Farm to School Network Core Partners for 2017-2019
National Farm to School Network is seeking partner organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) to serve as NFSN Core Partners for 2017-2019, the next phase of farm to school and farm to early care and education growth and evolution. Organizations and agencies interested in and capable of contributing to the advancement of farm to school and ECE are encouraged to apply. Applications are due January 26, 2017. Learn more and apply at farmtoschool.org/rfa

2. Policy Specialist, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is seeking a Policy Specialist. The Policy Specialist, one of six Policy Specialists at NSAC, reports to NSAC’s Policy Director. NSAC advocates on a wide range of federal farm and food policy issues and each Policy Specialist focuses on a variety of those issues. This position will focus on farm conservation and environmental policies and programs plus at least one other issue cluster, to be determined. Learn more here


Farm to school in the news
Grady Scarbrough named Rural Health Champion
Dorothy Grady Scarbrough, the Executive Director of Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture (MEGA) and NFSN partner, has been named a Rural Healthy Champion, an honor bestowed by the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Read about her tireless work to connect her community to healthy food. Congratulations, Dorothy! 

Trafalgar Middle School goes farm to table
Students at a Florida middle school enrolled in agriscience classes help maintain an on-campus garden. School nutrition professionals use about 70% of the food produced in the garden, including lettuce, radishes, carrots and fruits. (via The News-Press)

Chicken coop boosts farm-to-school efforts

A Vermont elementary school will ring in the new year with a chicken coop that will house 12 chickens year-round for students to care for and learn from. The idea stemmed from a weeklong workshop the Vermont Farm to School Network held at Shelburne Farms. (via Waterbury Record)


Read past editions of This Week for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country. 

This Week in farm to school: 12/13/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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
1. Annie's Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships
Annie’s scholarship program assists undergraduate and graduate students pursuing studies in sustainable and organic agriculture. This year, 15 winners will each be eligible to receive $10,000. The program is open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students studying at an accredited two- or four-year college or graduate school in the United States for the 2017/2018 school year. Applications must be postmarked by January 6, 2017. Learn more here

2. NEA Foundation: Grants to Educators 
The NEA Foundation is providing mini-grants for projects and programs that can support STEM learning, such a urban farming and other farm to school activities. Deadlines for applications are due Feb. 1, June 1, and Oct. 15. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: January NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar: Good Food, Great Kids Project 
January 11, 3:30-5pm ET
pfc Social Impact Advisors, in partnership with the National Farm to School Network and the BUILD Initiative, recently developed a series of case studies on the emerging benefits of farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) initiatives. These case studies, along with the accompanying policy report, explore the policy and practice of how communities are joining forces to bring farm to ECE programs to vulnerable children and families. Join us to hear from Hilda Vega, Vice President of Programs at pfc Social Impact Advisors, about the important lessons gleaned from the project and from the team at Norris Square Community Alliance, one of the featured case studies, about how their farm to ECE model is supporting equity and inclusion in the ECE setting. Register here

2. Save the Date: Community Food Systems Conference
December 5-7, 2017 // Boston, Mass. 
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project's Community Food Systems Conference will address common underlying themes between food security, social justice and sustainable agriculture including obstacles in urban and rural environments and fostering community empowerment to create and sustain resilient local food systems. Learn more here


Resources
1. Study: School Gardens in the City
In a newly published University of Maryland study of D.C. school gardens, researchers tracked significant differences in fifth-grade test results between students with gardens and those without. In reading, for example, 61 percent of students in garden schools tested as proficient or advanced, compared with 38 percent in schools without gardens. For math, the difference was 56 percent compared with 36 percent, and for science, 47 percent against 21 percent. Read the study here

2. School Meal Approaches, Resources, and Trends (SMART) Study
The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a joint initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently released findings from its School Meal Approaches, Resources, and Trends (SMART) Study, a national survey of 489 school nutrition directors representing school food authorities (SFAs) across the country. The report, School Meal Programs Innovate to Improve Student Nutrition, identifies approaches that have attracted children to school meals and improved their consumption of healthy options since passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The report shows that school meal programs have made great progress in getting students to eat healthy foods and many see few or no remaining challenges to implementing updated breakfast and lunch nutrition standards. Learn more here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Health & Wellness Program Coordinator, Berkeley Unified School District
The Health & Wellness Program Coordinator will assist in planning, coordinating, developing and implementing the District’s health and wellness curriculum; develop and prepare lesson plans and deliver instruction to students and families of diverse populations from a variety of cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds; develop instructional materials, methods and exercises centered on healthy nutrition, healthy cooking, physical activity and other health and wellness areas; assist in establishing program goals and objectives. Apply by January 3, 2017. Learn more here

2. PhD Research Assistantship in the Economics of Farm to School
The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (DARE) at Colorado State University is recruiting students to participate in a research project focused on evaluating the different economic impacts of farm to school programs on households, communities, and farm/value chain participants. More information can be found here


Farm to school in the news
As school gardens spread, so do the teaching moments
Some school garden lessons are obvious, such as the biology of growing a radish from seed. But the garden offers insights that go far beyond the brass tacks of cultivation. Geology, hydrology, poetry, music, ecology, cooking and microbiology all find a home in this arena we call a garden, as well as dozens of other subjects beyond most people’s imagination. Washington Post

Turnip! Talented Teens Create Rap Video Encouraging Kids To Eat Healthy
Teen members of Appetite for Change in North Minneapolis, Minn., have come up with an infectious hip-hop song appropriately titled "Grow Food," which hears the young people rap about the benefits of healthy eating. Essence 

Alabama students build outdoor classrooms
Students at an elementary school in Alabama are constructing two outdoor classrooms that include raised garden beds. The students are growing cabbage, kale and lettuce in the new beds. Shelby County Reporter 

Read past editions of This Week for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country. 

CACFP Take Action Challenge Celebrates Farm to Early Care and Education Champions

NFSN Staff Thursday, December 08, 2016
By Lacy Stephens, MS, RDN, Farm to Early Care and Education Associate

For the past year, early care and education providers across the country have been stepping up to build a healthier future for children by participating in the CACFP Take Action Challenge. The CACFP Take Action Challenge was designed to boost awareness about the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and its vital role in improving children’s health, enhancing the quality of child care, and addressing serious national issues like food insecurity and childhood obesity. The challenge also celebrates the incredible work of CACFP sponsors and providers as they completed health oriented activities from a list of challenges and submitted stories and pictures showing their success. Many of these “Actioneers” found success in farm to early care and education initiatives, and emerged as leaders in CACFP and in farm to ECE!

Michelle France-Slimak of Apple Valley Family Child Care in Plantsville, Conn., achieved Gold level recognition in the Challenge through a wide variety of food-based learning activities. This year, the raised beds and pots at Apple Valley were full of peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, and blueberry plants. The children find many ways to explore the foods they grow and the foods Michelle purchases from farmers markets. The vast array of sizes, shapes, and colors of produce make for fun, interactive lessons, and Michelle offers fruits and vegetables prepared in a variety of ways so children can compare tastes and flavors. With all of these learning opportunities, including field trips to local farms and orchards, Michelle has seen big changes in the food choices her children are making – choices that will set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating. 

At TenderCare, a family child care home in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, children not only follow local foods from seed to plate, but also learn how food can bring the community together. Gladys Movall, owner and provider at TenderCare, also happens to be a Master Gardener, and sees first hand the many lessons children learn in the garden, from appreciating the environment, to listening skills, teamwork, and time management. Gladys notes how enthusiastic the children are to try the foods that come out of the garden and to bring the foods home to their families. The children also learn about the importance of healthy food in the community by visiting farmers markets to talk to producers and by sharing the bounty of their garden with the local food bank. At TenderCare, children see the potential for a small seed to grow into big impacts in the community. 

At the 9 locations of the North Bay Children’s Center (NBCC) in central Calif., farm to ECE initiatives are integrated in a wide variety of activities through The Garden of Eatin’ program. Led by Garden and Nutrition Educators Lisa Bianchi and Lacey Packard, children plant and harvest in the gardens, cook with fresh garden produce, and participate in Harvest of the Month activities. NBCC carries the message of healthy, local eating into the community by developing new community gardens and providing parent educations about the importance of the farm to school movement. NBCC fosters a "wellness policy" company wide that includes staff development education on the importance of embracing healthy living through farm fresh foods. As staff learn about and become enthusiastic for gardening and healthy eating, children see this modeling and farm to ECE initiatives becomes an even more natural way of life for children and families, too. 

This was the first year to delve into farm to ECE activities for Coastal Community Head Start in N.C. Based on the positive feedback from teachers, families, and children, the organization is looking towards increasing their local purchases and integrating even more food-based activities into the program. Nutrition Manager Catherine Schlaefer, was thrilled to be able to purchase farm fresh treats from a producer just down the road for meals and snacks. Children and teachers alike noticed the difference in the flavor of these freshly picked strawberries, green peas, melons, cucumbers and fresh corn. Everyone is now looking forward to sweet potato season and Catherine is planning her menus to incorporate even more local foods next year. Catherine’s favorite thing about the Challenge was the way that it made meeting CACFP regulations fun and exciting and brought a “lighter side” to CACFP.  

While the CACFP Take Action Challenge has come to an end, these providers and the children, families, and community they serve will continue to reap the many benefits of farm to ECE. Read more stories of success on the CACFP Take Action Challenge website and find ways you can take action with farm to early care and education on the National Farm to School Network Farm to Early Care and Education webpage

Photo captions: Children at one of the Costal Community Head Starts enjoy exploring corn before cooking and tasting it (top); A child inspects microgreens at a North Bay Children’s Center site (bottom).
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