Search our Resource Database

Use the quick guide to search through our resource database. You can search by topic, setting, or keywords in order to find exactly what you are looking for. Choose a filtering mechanism above to get started.

View all resources

Use the Keyword search to filter through: descriptive keywords, title, or organization.

pick a date

pick a date

Connect with your state

Farm to school is taking place in all 50 states and D.C.! Select a state from the list below to learn more or contact a state lead. 

National Farm to School Network

News

Roundup: Fall Funding Opportunities

NFSN Staff Monday, September 26, 2016

The beginning of a new school year is a great time to consider starting or ramping up farm to school activities in your community. From planting seeds in a school garden to local food procurement in the cafeteria, there are numerous ways to engage in farm to school and get kids excited about fresh, healthy food. If you’re new to farm to school, check out our getting started resources: 

Getting Started with Farm to School
Getting Started with Farm to Early Care and Education
Starting and Maintaining a School Garden
Looking for funding options to help kickoff or expand your farm to school efforts? Here are several fall funding opportunities to explore:

USDA Farm to School Grant RFA Open
USDA has announced the release of the FY 2017 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications. Awards ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 will be distributed in four different grant categories: Planning, Implementation, Support Service, and Training. If you are interested in this great opportunity, USDA is hosting a webinar this Thursday, September 29, at 1pm ET, to review the application process and assist eligible entities in preparing proposals. The applications for this grant are due December 8. Learn more here

Nature Conservancy School Gardens
The Nature Conservancy, as part of their mission to protect and conserve the environment, is awarding grants to support projects that implement green infrastructure to address local environmental challenges. These include access to healthy food, air quality, heat island effect, climate change, and storm water collection. Young people will work as social innovators to help their communities through project design and implementation. A $2,000 grant will be awarded to 55 schools, and the applications are due October 31. Learn more here.

Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program
The Whole Kids Foundation, in partnership with FoodCorps, is now accepting applications for its School Garden Grant Program, an annual grantmaking program that supports school garden projects designed to help students learn about topics such as nutrition and health, sustainability and conservation, food systems, and community awareness. These grants will be in the amount of $2,000 for year-long projects. The applications are due October 31. Learn more here.

Safer® Brand School Garden Grant 
Safer® Brand is starting an annual school garden grant to help kids build healthy habits through gardening, bring classmates closer together and unite everyone in a common goal of better health. The $500 grant will be awarded to a school in the United States to start a school garden in 2017. Applications for this grant are due December 1. Learn more and apply here.

Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools
The Chef Ann Foundation’s Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools helps increase kids’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables and create experiential nutrition education when and where students make their food choices - in the cafeteria. The $2,500 one-year grants support food costs to incorporate school-wide fruit and vegetable tastings into the school's nutrition program. Grants will be determined on an ongoing basis depending on available funding; there is no application deadline. Learn more here

KidsGardening Youth Garden Grant 
KidsGardenings’ Youth Garden Grants have reached over 1.3 million students and hundreds of schools to establish new school and community gardens and assist in sustaining and renewing existing gardens. Grants are awarded on a yearly basis. The Request for Applications is usually issued each fall with awards made early the following year, in time for building and planting in the spring. See last year’s winners here and look out for the 2017 Youth Garden Grant application this October at kidsgardening.org/garden-grants

Find more ideas for supporting your farm to school activities in our Funding Farm to School factsheet. Stay tuned to our This Week blogs, posted every Tuesday, for more farm to school funding, resources and engagement opportunities.

This Week in farm to school: 9/20/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 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. 



Grants & Funding
1. USDA Farm to School Grant RFA Open
USDA has announced  the release of the FY 2017 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications. Up to $5 million in grant funds is available to help schools create or strengthen farm to school programs this school year. Awards ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 will be distributed in four different grant categories: Planning, Implementation, Support Service, and Training.  Applications are due by December 8, 2016.  On Thursday, September 29, at 1pm EST, USDA will host a webinar to review the RFA and assist eligible entities in preparing proposals. Learn more here

2. Nature Conservancy Seeks Proposals for School Gardens
The Nature Conservancy is awarding grants to support projects that implement green infrastructure to address local environmental challenges. These include access to healthy food, air quality, heat island effect, climate change, or storm water collection. Young people will work as social innovators to help their communities through project design and implementation. A $2,000 grant will be awarded to 55 schools. Applications must be submitted online by 5 PM ET October 31, 2016. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Coming Soon: National Farm to School Month
October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between children and local food. From taste tests in the cafeteria and nutrition education activities in the classroom, to farm visits and school garden harvest parties, schools, early care and education sites, farms, communities and organizations in all 50 states and D.C. join in the celebrations. Start planning your Farm to School Month celebrations with resources available from the National Farm to School Network. Find celebrations happening in your community by visiting the Farm to School Month Events Calendar. If your organization would like to help celebrate National Farm to School Month on its communications channels (social media, newsletter, blog), sign up to be an Outreach Partner here

2. Webinar: Bringing Local to our Littlest Eaters: Local Procurement in Early Care and Education
October 12, 3:30-5pm ET
Serving local foods in meals, snacks, and taste tests is a core element of farm to early care and education and contributes to numerous benefits for kids, farmers, and communities. However, understanding where and how to purchase local foods as well as how to incorporate them into early care and education meal programs can be a challenge. In this informational webinar, speakers from the National Farm to School Network, US Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and the Baxter Child Development Center will share tips for getting started, strategies for success, and innovative models that are advancing and scaling local purchasing practices in early care and education settings across the country. This webinar is open to all, so please share with your networks. Register here

3. NESAWG It Take  Region Conference
November 10-12 // Hartford, CT
The NESAWG Conference, now in its 23rd year, brings together practitioners and professionals from across the Northeast to explore ideas that move us towards a more sustainable and just farm and food system. Included on the agenda is a session for Farm to ECE and Preschool practitioners: “A Full Harvest: How Farm to Preschool Improves Food Security and Farm Viability.” Lean how Farm to Preschool increases access to local foods by connecting farmers to preschools serving low-income populations and be delve deeper as you discuss how this model can be adapted to engage broader communities. Learn more here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Farm to School Regional Lead, USDA Food and Nutrition Services
USDA Food and Nutrition Services seeks a  Farm to School Regional Lead in the USDA Food and Nutrition Service's Western Regional Office in San Francisco, CA. This is an opportunity to help implement the USDA Farm to School Program; provide on the ground training, technical assistance, and support to a wide variety of farm to school stakeholders; and, be a resident expert on key local and regional procurement issues. Applications are due September 22. Learn more here

2. Food & Nutrition Community Engagement VISTAs, Texas
Texas Department of Agriculture is excited to announce a new partnership with AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to place Food & Nutrition Community Engagement VISTAs in select rural Texas communities. More information is available here

3. Food Services Leader, Bellingham Public Schools (WA)
This new position will work with a dedicated team to help create a state-of-the-art school food service program for Bellingham Public Schools. See full job description here, and click here to apply. Position is open until filled.


Farm to school in the news
35 Food Education Organizations
Many organizations around the globe are working to instill healthy eating habits, foster food literacy, teach culinary skills, and educate children about the environmental, social, and health consequences of their food choices. Food Tank has selected 35 particularly noteworthy programs to feature on their blog - including the National Farm to School Network! See the full list here.  

New Program Brings School Garden Produce to Cafeteria
Brooke Elementary in Austin, Texas has had a school garden for a several years, but for the first time, they're taking what they grow and serving it in the cafeteria. After several months of planning, AISD's new Garden to Café Program is finally launching this school year. Ninety-five of the district's schools have gardens on site, and they're working to get all of them to cook up their produce in the cafeteria. (via Spectrum News)

Boulder County school districts adding more local produce to school lunch menus
St. Vrain Valley and Boulder Valley school districts celebrate “Colorado Proud” Day, making lunches from only Colorado products. Farmers visited the schools to share their produce, and students learned where their food comes from. While school lunches generally don't have all local — or at least all Colorado — ingredients, both school districts are working with area farmers to include more local food. (via Daily Camera)

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. 

From farm to food truck, special needs students take Berry Good Farms “On the Go”

NFSN Staff Wednesday, September 14, 2016
By Ariel Bernstein, Farm to School and Education Fellow

Photo credit: Berry Good Farms, North Florida School of Special Education 
Farm to school's educational opportunities are undeniably important, for the knowledge, skills and experiences that come from learning about local, fresh and healthy food are universally valued. This aspect of farm to school is especially important in specialized learning environments. North Florida School of Special Education (NFSSE) goes above and beyond for the education, growth and empowerment of their students, ranging from 6 years old to adults in their 40s. Berry Good Farms, the school’s farm and horticulture program, offers hands-on learning experiences in growing, harvesting and cooking healthy food, as well as developing unique and useful skillsets in the agricultural and business sectors. Through its many programs, Berry Good Farms empowers students to be self-sufficient and caring individuals against the toughest of odds.
Students at NFSSE face a large variety of intellectual and behavioral challenges, such as autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, down syndrome, and other mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. Berry Good Farms serves as an outlet for these students to be immersed in horticulture education as a means for holistic and applied learning, and thus has a variety of programs for students to participate in. Students learn horticulture on the farm, make and sell dog biscuits as part of the Barkin’ Biscuit program, and learn to cook fresh, healthy food in the culinary arts program. All of these programs utilize produce from the farm and teach students a variety of useful skillsets, enabling them to make connections between their knowledge, their work and their futures. 
The newest program at Berry Good Farms is Berry Good Farms On the Go, a food truck that roams Jacksonville, Fla., procuring, preparing, cooking and selling food from the school farm to the community. After graduating from the culinary arts program, advanced students have the opportunity to work in the food truck as part of a post-grad employment opportunity. Under the helm of Food Truck/Catering Events Manager and Chef Brett Swearingen, three to four students design a seasonal menu, prepare food in a commercial kitchen, and head out into the community for a great lunch hour of selling food in business parks, state agency offices, and wherever else the truck decides to plant itself. Seasonal menu items include a grilled turkey and brie sandwich served with locally made bread, a signature salad with fresh greens from Berry Good Farms, and a refreshing pineapple mojito smoothie.
The truck caters to skills and experiences that specifically pertain to students with special needs and intellectual challenges. Many of these students do well with food prep tasks that require repetitive activities. The students cherish physically applying a specific skill set that they've learned, especially in the context of the food truck business.
The truck, as well as a the farm program as a whole, promotes healthy eating and fresh produce. This is extremely important, considering the high rate of obesity that exists in the special needs community, and provides local, healthy food to the Jacksonville community in the process. In addition, the tasks learned on the truck are useful well beyond the school; these skills and lessons are empowering students to be self-reliant. They can cook healthy meals, interact with the greater community, and utilize their learned business skills in the workforce. Experience on the food truck makes for a great addition to resumes, too!
Berry Good Farms On the Go is much more than a food truck. It is a space that fosters professional, as well as personal, growth for students who have many different intellectual and learning conditions. Students utilize their culinary skills in the context of a commercial kitchen, and they learn to interact with co-workers, as well as customers. It also give students an opportunity to practice managing potentially stressful situations in a positive manner. The kitchen is far from a perfect space, and as Brett says to his students, “It’s okay to mess up. I have been working in a kitchen for 15 years and I still mess up.” Even when the truck is off schedule and customer orders are backed up, Brett teaches his students how to deal with the stress in the moment, and then how to move forward from mistakes, using them as a learning experience and even a silly memory, not a set back.
Berry Good Farms On the Go has not only been a successful addition to NFSSE, but it’s also proven to benefit the entire community. People around Jacksonville see students working in a kitchen and selling food, challenging preconceived notions of people with special needs. The community is extremely supportive of the food truck, creating a positive and inspirational environment for students as they drive through town. As Brett says, “These are incredible young people that can always put you in a happy mood. It is an incredible place.”
Learn more about the North Florida School of Special Education, Berry Good Farms, and Berry Good Farms on the Go by visiting northfloridaschool.org. Contact Ellen Hiser, Director of Berry Good Farms or Brett Swearingen, Food Truck/Catering Events Manager with questions.

This Week in farm to school: 9/13/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 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. USDA Farm to School Grant RFA Open
USDA has announced the release of the FY 2017 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications. Up to $5 million in grant funds is available to help schools create or strengthen farm to school programs this school year. Awards ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 will be distributed in four different grant categories: Planning, Implementation, Support Service, and Training.  Applications are due by December 8, 2016.  OnThursday, September 29, at 1pm EST, USDA will host a webinar to review the RFA and assist eligible entities in preparing proposals. Learn more here

2. Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program
The Whole Kids Foundation, in partnership with FoodCorps, is accepting applications for its School Garden Grant Program, an annual grantmaking program that supports school garden projects designed to help students learn about topics such as nutrition and health, sustainability and conservation, food systems, and community awareness. Grants will be in the amount of $2,000 for year-long projects. Applications dueOctober 31. Learn more here

3. Safer® Brand School Garden Grant 
Safer® Brand is starting an annual school garden grant to help kids build healthy habits through gardening. The $500 grant will be awarded to a school in the United States to start a school garden in 2017. Applications are due December 1. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Coming Soon: National Farm to School Month
October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between children and local food. From taste tests in the cafeteria and nutrition education activities in the classroom, to farm visits and school garden harvest parties, schools, early care and education sites, farms, communities and organizations in all 50 states and D.C. join in the celebrations. Start planning your Farm to School Month celebrations with resources available from the National Farm to School Network. If your organization would like to help celebrate National Farm to School Month on its communications channels (social media, newsletter, blog), sign up to be an Outreach Partner here

2. Webinar: Bringing Local to our Littlest Eaters: Local Procurement in Early Care and Education
October 12, 3:30-5pm ET
Serving local foods in meals, snacks, and taste tests is a core element of farm to early care and education and contributes to numerous benefits for kids, farmers, and communities. However, understanding where and how to purchase local foods as well as how to incorporate them into early care and education meal programs can be a challenge. In this informational webinar, speakers from the National Farm to School Network, US Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and the Baxter Child Development Center will share tips for getting started, strategies for success, and innovative models that are advancing and scaling local purchasing practices in early care and education settings across the country. This webinar is open to all, so please share with your networks. Register here

3. Save the Date: National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference
March 5-7, 2017 // Washington, D.C.
Join 1,000+ anti-hunger advocates in Washington, D.C., for two days of “can’t miss” networking opportunities, content-rich sessions, interactive training, followed by a day on Capitol Hill. You’ll go home with an arsenal of best practices, innovative advocacy methods and personal connections to help you better fight hunger in your community, your state, and at the national level. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. Join the Movement: America’s Healthiest Schools
National Farm to School Network is proud to join the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to celebrate America’s Healthiest Schools and shine a light on the importance of creating a culture of health at school nationwide. You, too, can make a difference in helping kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. Join the movement at www.healthiergeneration.org and add your voice to the conversation on social media using #HealthiestSchools.
 

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Farm to School Regional Lead, USDA Food and Nutrition Services
USDA Food and Nutrition Services seeks a  Farm to School Regional Lead in the USDA Food and Nutrition Service's Western Regional Office in San Francisco, CA. This is an opportunity to help implement the USDA Farm to School Program; provide on the ground training, technical assistance, and support to a wide variety of farm to school stakeholders; and, be a resident expert on key local and regional procurement issues. Applications are due September 22. Learn more here

2. Farm to School Coordinator, Alaska Department of Natural Resources
The primary purpose of this position is managing the Farm to School program which includes encouraging schools to utilize Alaska Grown/harvested products in their school lunch program, developing tools to facilitate communication between schools and producers of Alaska Grown/harvested products, supporting and enhancing curriculum-based projects that increase students awareness of healthy food choices as they relate to Alaska Grown/harvested foods, and helping producers to understand the requirements for selling their Alaska Grown/harvested foods to schools. Application closes September 21. Learn more here


Farm to school in the news
Ricketts Proclaims October Farm to School Month in Nebraska - shout out to Sarah Smith, NFSN Nebraska State Lead!
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has proclaimed October as Nebraska Farm to School Month in recognition of the growing importance and role of Farm to School programs in the state as a means to improve child nutrition, support local farming and ranching economies, spur job growth and educate children about agriculture and the origins of their food. (via KTIC)

School districts purchasing more Wisconsin food
What happens when three school districts collectively buy Wisconsin local food for school meals? Students and school staff benefit by eating fresh food packed with more nutrients, a smaller carbon footprint which results in less carbon in our atmosphere, and area institutions are supporting community local food growers and producers. (via The Star)

Stayton students dig education
In just the first week of classes at Stayton/Intermediate Middle School, members of the students' Green Team will be reaping what they sowed last spring as part of their garden project. What was originally the Greenhouse and Garden elective class for seventh- and eighth-graders grew into the Green Team as they have begun growing food directly for their school cafeteria. The new class also incorporates basic landscaping, recycling and grounds beautification. (via Statesman Journal)

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: 9/7/16

NFSN Staff Wednesday, September 07, 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. Target Field Trip Grants
Some of the best learning opportunities happen outside the classroom. Target’s Field Trip Grants help make it possible for schools to give their students these unique learning opportunities. As part of the program, Target stores award Field Trip Grants to K-12 schools nationwide. Each grant is valued up to $700. Consider applying for a grant to take students to a farm, farmers market, or other food production site. Applications are due Oct. 1. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Coming Soon: National Farm to School Month
October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between children and local food. From taste tests in the cafeteria and nutrition education activities in the classroom, to farm visits and school garden harvest parties, schools, early care and education sites, farms, communities and organizations in all 50 states and D.C. join in the celebrations. Start planning your Farm to School Month celebrations with resources available from the National Farm to School Network. If your organization would like to help celebrate National Farm to School Month on its communications channels (social media, newsletter, blog), sign up to be an Outreach Partner here

2. Webinar: Bringing Local to our Littlest Eaters: Local Procurement in Early Care and Education
October 12, 3:30-5pm ET
Serving local foods in meals, snacks, and taste tests is a core element of farm to early care and education and contributes to numerous benefits for kids, farmers, and communities. However, understanding where and how to purchase local foods as well as how to incorporate them into early care and education meal programs can be a challenge. In this informational webinar, speakers from the National Farm to School Network, US Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and the Baxter Child Development Center will share tips for getting started, strategies for success, and innovative models that are advancing and scaling local purchasing practices in early care and education settings across the country. This webinar is open to all, so please share with your networks. Register here

3. Webinar: Finding SNAP-Ed Materials the Easy Way
September 15, 1pm ET
Join USDA FNS to learn how to navigate the SNAP-Ed Library, how to drill down in your search to find relevant materials, and how to submit relevant SNAP-Ed materials to the library. Register here

4. Webinar: Smart Ideas to Implement Smart Snacks in Schools
September 28, 2pm ET
Now is the time to look at the school food environment. Join Action for Healthy Kids and AASA, The Superintendents Association, in this timely and informative webinar to learn about the Final Rule about Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School (Smart Snacks) and putting these new requirements in action. Register here

5. 2016 Maine Farm to School Conference
October 14 // Lewiston, Maine
Join the 5th Annual Maine Farm to School Conference on October 14, 2016 at the beautiful Bates College campus in Lewiston. This conference will provide networking opportunities; hands-on workshops to support the three farm to school pillars of Local Food Procurement, School Gardens, and Agriculture Education; a tour of nearby Whiting Farm; learning opportunities from local, state, and national Farm to School partners; conversations about policies to support farm to school implementation, and more! Learn more and register here

6. Registration Open: 6th Farm-Based Education National Gathering
November 2-6 // Concord, Mass.
The 6th Farm-Based Education National Gathering will convene people from a variety of sites to share skills, build relationships, and celebrate the vibrant field of farm-based education! The Gathering will take place November 4-6 in Concord, Massachusetts just outside Boston. Field trips, a wood-fired pizza dinner, rich discussion, hands-on workshops and lots of fun will inspire ideas and enrich existing farm-based programs. Learn more and register here

7. Call for Abstracts: AFHVS/ASFS Annual Meeting and Conference
June 14-17, 2017 // Occidental College
Occidental College is pleased to host the Joint 2017 Annual Meetings and Conference of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS) and the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS). The conference theme, “Migrating Food Cultures: Engaging Pacific Perspectives on Food and Agriculture,” invites us to reflect on and engage with the entirety of the Pacific region. AFHVS and ASFS support scholarship and public presentation on a wide variety of topics at their conferences. For this year's conference, them encourage but do not require that papers, panel sessions, roundtables, and workshops speak to the theme. The submission system opens December 15, 2016. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. Webinar Recording: 2015 Farm to School Census 
USDA's Farm to School Program and the National Farm to School Network hosted a webinar providing an in-depth review of the 2015 Farm to School Census. Presenters summarized the Farm to School Census website and highlighted the raw data files and data explorer tool. Presenters also described ways in which Census data can be used at the local, state, and national levels in support of farm to school. Watch the webinar recording here


Farm to school in the news
Brockport school lunches going local - shout out to Jim Liebow, NFSN New York State Lead!
Jim Liebow, Food Service Director, is brining more local food to students of  Brockport Central School District. By "going-local,” they’re reducing the carbon footprint, getting kids to eat healthier, and supporting local businesses. “Fresh is best,” says Liebow. (via WHEC)

Grant creates pilot farm to school program in Colorado
In school districts throughout Colorado, demand for fresh local produce far outpaces supply. To help more farmers get involved, a group of Colorado organizations have launched a pilot program on the Western Slope, awarding a $90,000 grant to eight farmers, two school districts, and a community nonprofit with a strong track record for creating successful local food programs. (via Denver Post)

Lake Placid Elementary students greeted by a chicken coop
Five familiar (chicken) faces welcomes Lake Placid Elementary School students back to school this fall. Third-grade students hatched the chickens last spring, and they now have a permanent coop behind the school. "We'll talk about life cycles, connecting it again with the farm to school nutrition - you can just go on and on. Compassion, kindness, service - not every kid has a pet at home, so this kind of gives them a little feel for taking care of something else." (via Lake Placid News)

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: 8/30/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 30, 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. 



Webinars & Events
1. Coming Soon: National Farm to School Month
October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between children and local food. From taste tests in the cafeteria and nutrition education activities in the classroom, to farm visits and school garden harvest parties, schools, early care and education sites, farms, communities and organizations in all 50 states and D.C. join in the celebrations. Start planning your Farm to School Month celebrations with resources available from the National Farm to School Network. If your organization would like to help celebrate National Farm to School Month on its communications channels (social media, newsletter, blog), sign up to be an Outreach Partner here

2. Webinar: Donating School Garden Produce to Those in Need
August 31, 3-4pm ET
As harvest season approaches, there are many ways to utilize your school garden produce. Donating to food pantries, soup kitchens, and meals-on-wheels programs is a great option that connects students to their community and educates around issues of hunger. Join Slow Food USA to learn how to identify community groups to accept produce donations, food safety in harvesting, and the logistics of a donation. Learn more here

3. Webinar: Local Wellness Policies with the CDC & USDA
NEW SESSION - September 7, 1-2pm ET
Due to high demand, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have scheduled a second webinar on Sept. 7 about the local wellness policy final rule. Join the webinar to learn how your school can start making changes before the implementation deadline (June 30, 2017) and what tools and resources are available to support your efforts. Register here

4. Webinar: Farm to Institution: Focus on Equity and Impact
September 8, 1-2pm ET
The Common Market partners with food service management companies to reach vulnerable communities and scale impact for sustainable farms. Through these partnerships, we can leverage the purchasing power of food service operations to re-invest in rural communities. In this webinar, you will learn more about specific tools and initiatives to measure and promote local procurement used by top food service management companies. Learn more and register here.

5. Webinar: School Fundraising Policies and Practices: A Shifting Landscape
September 9, 11am ET
Join Healthy Eating Research, Boise State University, and the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods project for the release of a new report: “School Fundraising Policies and Practices: A Shifting Landscape.” Following the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, schools are required to meet updated nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold at fundraisers during the school day, unless their state has established an exemption policy for occasional fundraising events. Using a series of interviews with key stakeholders in a sample of states that either prohibit or allow fundraiser exemptions, this project examined the impact on fundraising practices in districts and schools.  Findings explore the successes, challenges, and financial aspects of implementing these new fundraising policies. Register here

6. Registration Open: Vermont Farm to School Conference
November 2-3, 2016 // Fairlee, VT
Registration is now open for the Vermont Farm to School Conference happening November 2-3 at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee. The conference agenda will include 26 workshops led by national, regional and local leaders in the farm to school movement. National Director of the USDA Farm to School Program Deborah J. Kane will address the conference as keynote speaker on Thursday, November 3. Betti Wiggins, Executive Director, Detroit Public Schools Office of School Nutrition, a 25+ year school nutrition veteran will present “How F2S Made Me a Triple A Threat” on Wednesday, November 2. Learn more and register here

7. Registration Open: 2016 Hunger Free Communities Summit
October 5-6, 2016 // Indianapolis, IN
The 2016 National Hunger Free Communities Summit is a two-day event providing current and aspiring Hunger Free Community organizers and the broader anti-hunger community a forum to learn, share and network while exploring best practices in hunger eradication. Learn more and register here

8. Registration Open: 3rd Annual UCLA-Harvard Food Law and Policy Conference
Food Marketing to Children: The Current Reality and What Can Be Done
October 21, 2016 // UCLA School of Law
The Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law and The Food Law Lab at Harvard Law School invite you to the 3rd Annual UCLA‐Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Conference, which this year will address the issue of food marketing to children. This one day long conference will convene an interdisciplinary group of experts from science, law, and policy to discuss these issues and consider the scale, impact of, and legal considerations with regard to food and beverage marketing to children in the United States. Learn more and RSVP here

9. Growing Power and GFJI Dismantling Racism Training
November 16 -18 , 2016 // Growing Power
This training is designed to build a community of leaders and provide intensive training and dialogue for participants to facilitate anti-racist food justice in their own programs and communities. The trainings will explore: examples of institutional and structural racism and how it operates; practical applications of facilitating change and becoming a change agent, including some personal identification to understand the kind of facilitator you are; and, opportunities to explore the individual role in the anti-racism process of your work with the opportunity to strategize with others to develop an action plan for next steps for implementation. Learn more here.


Research & Resources
1. The GREEN Tool For Well-Integrated School Gardens
Why do some school gardens flourish while others start with a bang but fizzle over time? The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy identified 19 components shared by successful gardens at 21 NYC schools and determined how those components can work together. The result is the GREEN (Garden Resources, Education, and Environment Nexus) Tool - a practical, flexible, evidence-based tool designed to help gardens grow deep roots in schools. The research brief includes policy recommendations to strengthen NYC school gardens. Learn more here
 

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Program Coordinator, Edible Schoolyard Berkeley
Edible Schoolyard Berkeley seeks a Program Coordinator to join their team. The Program Coordinator supports the planning and execution of a fast-paced, innovative, and hands-on educational program within a public middle school of 1,000 students. Learn more and apply here

2. Campaign Manager, Food Policy Action
Food Policy Action Education Fund (FPA-EF) was established in 2015 to provide a platform for public education and engagement on the impacts of federal policy on the food system. FPA-EF is launching America's Hungry Campaign in early 2017; a cutting edge national messaging and digital advocacy campaign to change the way America thinks about hunger and advance policy solutions to hunger and poverty. FPA-EF is recruiting a Campaign Manager to coordinate all aspects of the America's Hungry campaign. Learn more here

3. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Project Coordinator, National Farmers Union
The FSMA Project Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the programmatic aspects of the FSMA Local Foods Project at National Farmers Union Foundation, including serving as liaison with partner organizations; assisting in preparation of project proposals, schedules and budget; and monitoring and tracking progress. The Coordinator will have technical expertise on either the legal components of FSMA and/or on other aspects of food safety. The Coordinator will assist in the drafting of resource materials. The position is full-time and the preferred location is in Washington DC. Some domestic travel will be required. Learn more here


Farm to school in the news
Why Farm-to-Institution Sourcing is the Sleeping Giant of Local Food
Each year, public and private institutions spend billions of dollars on food, and they prepare, cook, and serve thousands of meals every day. There is a rising national movement to persuade these institutions the source a higher percentage of their food from regional and local producers, specifically emphasizing farms, fisherman, and ranches that follow ecologically sound, socially just, and humane practices. (via Civil Eats)

Youth Academy garden to yield produce, learning opportunities
The cadets at Thunderbird Youth Academy in Oklahoma were happy to get their hands dirty and build a bed for their new school garden. With the Mayes County HOPE Coalition and the Northeast Oklahoma Community Action Agency, the school is now participating in farm to school activities. (via The Pryor Times)

School menus focus on local meats, produce
In Maine, food service directors are kicking off the school year with deliveries of local meat and produce to be just in school meals. Regional School Unit 71 Director of Food Services Perley Martin says 20 percent of the food budget, about $44,000 per year, is spent on ingredients purchased from local farms. “It's all about healthy choice and a better, healthier life down the road. We're in it for the long-term rewards.” (via The Republican Journal)

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. 

Abundant Potential for Farm to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Programs

Anna Mullen Friday, August 26, 2016
By Abby Harper, Farm to School Specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

Research shows interest, opportunity, and potential from Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs to expand farm to early care and education efforts.

All the milk served at Hart MSHS in Hart, Mich. now comes from within 15 miles.
Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are the backbone of the United States agriculture industry. Despite being essential to production in the modern food system, evidence suggests that these farmworkers and their children struggle with accessing nutritious food and face a variety of health concerns tied to poor nutrition. The Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) program, founded in 1969, was created to help address unique challenges like these faced by farmworker families. The program provides an equitable approach to addressing the lack of available childcare options for low-wage earning farmworkers and support families that face barriers in accessing necessary services. Now in 38 states, MSHS programs operate during peak agriculture season and provide essential education, nutrition, and support services to more than 30,000 young children. 

Throughout 2014 and 2015, the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Collaboration Office and the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems collaborated on research and outreach to better understand the interest in, motivation for and barriers to implementing farm to early care and education (ECE) initiatives at MSHS sites. Key efforts included surveys of 42 directors and coordinators at MSHS programs in Florida, California and Washington, along with surveys of parents attending a farm to ECE session at the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association’s Annual Conference in 2014. Surveys found that interest in pursuing farm to school activities – particularly local purchasing – was high, and that because of natural connections to local agriculture, some farm to ECE activities are already taking place.

Directors and parents alike recognize the great potential of farm to ECE. All 42 directors surveyed expressed interest in developing farm to ECE activities, and 39 believed that buying locally produced foods would improve the quality of meals served at MSHS sites. The top three motivators reported for encouraging farm to ECE in their programs were: 

  1. Creating good public relationships with farmers
  2. Teaching children about where food comes from
  3. Providing learning experiences for children
Other frequently cited motivators included providing access to fresher or higher quality foods for children and expanding food access. Additionally, all parents surveyed reported interest in supporting farm to ECE initiatives at the center where their children attended.

Another benefit of farm to ECE in MSHS programs is its natural connection to family ties with local farms. Most of the directors reported some level of local sourcing already taking place through donated produce from farms employing migrant labor. Directors appreciate these relationships because, in addition to getting healthy, local food into meals, they create connections between children and the work of their parents. Both directors and parents reported seeing potential in sourcing more from these farms. 

With interest high, now is an opportune time not only to expand farm to ECE outreach to MSHS, but to address the barriers to entry for MSHS programs. The top three barriers noted by survey respondents were:
  1. Institutional purchasing policies
  2. Federal and state procurement regulations
  3. Shifting current purchasing practices
Though shifting current institutional purchasing policies and practices can take time, efforts could be made to educate MSHS programs on local product lines available through their current purchasing avenues, which include broadline distributors and local grocery stores. 

Across the country, farm to ECE support organizations are helping MSHS programs strengthen their local purchasing efforts. In California, the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, which runs MSHS programs in nine counties, has created a farm to ECE position to increase local purchasing in their centers. In Michigan, the MI Farm to School Grant Program has provided funding to four MSHS centers to assist with changing purchases practices that increase access for children to fresh, healthy food. This has resulted in a network of MSHS programs that will be able to share best practices and strategies for finding new procurement sources and developing connections with new local suppliers, and in turn, positively affect children’s’ access to local food and nutritional meals.

The interest in and motivation for farm to ECE revealed in this research is impetus for increasing outreach and engagement in the 38 states where MSHS operates. By reaching out to MSHS programs interested in farm to ECE and supporting them with technical assistance and resources, we can support good food access for some of the country’s most vulnerable children. The Cultural Relevancy Ad-hoc group of the National Farm to School Network Farm to Early Care and Education working group, along with other initiatives, are aiming to increase outreach and engagement to MSHS centers and highlight stories of MSHS farm to ECE successes. Connecting MSHS programs with local and state farm to ECE support organizations can support the creation of successful local purchasing strategies and increase good food access for vulnerable children and families of migrant and seasonal farm workers.

For more information on the surveys, trainings or to become involved in the Cultural Relevancy Ad-hoc group, contact Abby Harper, Farm to School Specialist at MSU Center for Regional Food Systems at harperab@msu.edu. Learn more about farm to early care and education here

This Week in farm to school: 8/23/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 23, 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. Target Field Trip Grants
Some of the best learning opportunities happen outside the classroom. Target’s Field Trip Grants help make it possible for schools to give their students these unique learning opportunities. As part of the program, Target stores award Field Trip Grants to K-12 schools nationwide. Each grant is valued up to $700. Consider applying for a grant to take students to a farm, farmers market, or other food production site. Applications are due Oct. 1. Learn more here

2. Youth Educator Grants
North Central Region SARE recognizes that youth programs are a way to introduce new and exciting farming and ranching options to youth, parents, and community members. This program supports opportunities for youth educators to research, demonstrate, and learn more about sustainable agriculture. Grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded. Proposals are due in November. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Local Wellness Policies with the CDC & USDA
September 1, 1-2pm ET
Alliance for a Healthier Generation is co-hosting a webinar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture about the local wellness policy final rule. Learn how your school can start making changes before the implementation deadline (June 30, 2017) and what tools and resources are available to support your efforts. Register here.


2. NESAWG It Take  Region Conference
November 10-12 // Hartford, CT
Earlybird registration for NESAWG's 2016 It Takes a Region Conference is now open. The Conference, now in its 23rd year, brings together practitioners and professionals from across the Northeast to explore ideas that move us towards a more sustainable and just farm and food system. This year's conference theme is Tackling Wicked Problems in Food Systems.  To learn more, visit here


Research & Resources
1. NFSN Named Pioneer in Wellbeing Initiative 
NFSN is proud to be named a Pioneer in the RWJF and Ashoka Childrens Wellbeing Initiative. Visit our project page to learn more about how NFSN's Farm to Early Care and Education Working Group is supporting child wellbeing across the country. "Like" our project to show your support for farm to early care and education as a vital initiative to empower families and communities and connect children to healthy, local foods and high quality education opportunities.


Farm to school in the news
Norwich's farm-to-school program prepares food for new school year
Norwich Public Schools (Conn.) is preparing for the new school year by filling its cafeteria freezers with fresh, local produce, including corn, summer squash and apples. “This started as an experiment, and now it's a model. We hope we'll be able to increase the amount of Connecticut-grown food in schools across the state.” The Day

At schools, healthier options pass the taste test
In schools across Massachusetts, school officials are striving to empower mindful eaters by teaching children where their food comes from while simultaneously supporting local farmers. From school gardens to taste tests to food demonstrations in the classroom, there are many ways these schools are bringing farm to school. Boston Globe

Back to School: Local school gardens help kids
In Wisconsin, school gardens are helping students eat more fruits and vegetables and improve their social skills by working with others. "When you can plant something from a seed and you can see it from little plant to a producing plant that is more valuable than a picture in a textbook showing you the life cycle of a bean plant.” WSAW

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. 

  1 2 3 4 5 .. 27   Next