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News

Celebrating Jenna Rhodes - NFSN Arkansas Co-Core Partner

NFSN Staff Friday, August 16, 2019

By National Farm to School Network Staff and Partners

Jenna Rhodes, National Farm to School Network Arkansas Co-Core Partner, brought an indomitable spirit to our farm to school family. It is with sadness, but also hope and fond memories, that we celebrate her life. Though much too short, it was a life lived with joy, passion, and commitment, including a deep-seated commitment to farm to school. 

As Program Manager at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Jenna supported Arkansas Farm to School, helping it grow into the robust program that it is today. Not only was Jenna a vital part of Arkansas Farm to School’s success, she shared her enthusiasm and knowledge with our national network of partners, bolstering and helping to grow the national farm to school movement. Jenna was always at the ready with an infectious smile and helping hand. Along with NFSN staff, Jenna’s farm to school friends from across the country are celebrating her spirit:    

Jenna started on our team at the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute following a year-long student project with us as part of her Master of Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service (more info here from the Clinton School’s memorial here). We were immediately drawn to her outgoing and earnest spirit and her higher than average devotion to organization. Those two characteristics continued through her entire five years with us.
 
Jenna could flip any stranger to friend in a matter of minutes, always managing to get straight to the heart of your unique situation and offer suggestions to help you on your way. Her first forays into the field yielded open arms and huge hugs within minutes, which was always warmly received by our farm to school community, especially with our school child nutrition teams.
 
Her family tells the story of her organizing the third-grade tug of war - taking charge, situating people on the rope, and cheering louder than anyone else in her class. Her teacher told her mom, “This is how Jenna always is, and this is how Jenna will always be.” Never a truer sentence spoken. She had timelines for every project, color-coded sticky notes to keep us all on track, and just the week before she passed had written out every single activity (by month!), that we need to get done in the next year.
 
Jenna was incredibly organized. If we said we needed to bring something special into the office like a camera or kitchen tools, Jenna would find out when we planned to leave home the next morning, and text us just before to remind us to bring the thing. She even set little reminders for herself to remind us.  
 
Jenna jumped into everything wholeheartedly. A friend shared last week that when you mentioned an idea to Jenna, if she liked it, then it felt like you were just starting and she was already at halftime. Her questions, her plans, dates, people to invite, what about...things you hadn’t considered she would already have thought about somehow.
 
And at the SNA conference in Salt Lake City, she was sitting across from Bertrand Weber, who had spoken about taste tests and how he introduces new foods to students that day. Someone at the table ordered calamari, which Jenna had not had before and wasn’t excited about trying, but having heard Bertrand she wanted to see his method first hand. Bertrand went through his full taste test/sensory experience with Jenna and the calamari, and though she wasn’t crazy about it she admitted his process works!
 
She was a rockstar, both personally and professionally, and she will be deeply missed by many.
 
- Emily English and Andrew Carberry  



I had the unique pleasure of working with Ms. Jenna as she first entered the farm to school arena. As the NFSN South Region’s lead, I engaged closely with the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute and their Arkansas Grow Healthy Study about school gardening. When Andrew Carberry suggested that Jenna be added as the Arkansas co-lead, I understood why he felt she should be formally recognized in her role. Our monthly regional calls were livened up by Jenna’s presence and enthusiasm. We attended many state and national conferences together and her smile always lit the room. Of the many farm tours we joined, I remember her at Heifer Ranch the most. After a full day of farm to school planning, touring, and celebrating, Jenna stepped on a big old thorn that went through her shoe, deep into her foot. We were outside taking our group photo and many of us offered to drive her to the hospital. Jenna insisted we take our group photo and finish our day together. We removed the thorn and cleaned her foot and then she smiled just as big as ever for our photo. We cleaned up the space and Jenna drove herself to the hospital.

I will always remember her laughter, her creative joy in her work, her faith, and her dedication to service. Laughing and wounded, she put herself last. But she is first in many of our hearts as we mourn her untimely passing.

- Pam Kingfisher




While Jenna will be dearly missed as a friend and colleague, her impact on farm to school in Arkansas and on NFSN will not be forgotten. We feel privileged to carry on her legacy of building community and making the world a better place through farm to school. You can read more about Jenna, including ways to donate to scholarships set up in her name, here

This Week in Farm to School: 8/13/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 13, 2019
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. Native American Agriculture Fund Inaugural RFA Now Open
Deadline: September 30, 2019
The Native American Agriculture Fund's (NAAF) mission is to support Native American farmers and ranchers and promote their continued engagement in agriculture. NAAF was created after conclusion of the lengthy Keepseagle v. Vilsack litigation and was designed for the purpose of addressing four areas important to the success of Native farmers and ranchers:  business assistance, agricultural education, technical support and advocacy. Eligible applicants must submit a complete application no later than Monday, September 30, 2019. Learn more here

2. Head Start Gro More Good Garden Grants
Deadline: October 11, 2019
In collaboration with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening, The National Head Start Association is honored to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to more children and families in the Head Start community. Schools, community action programs, non-profits, hospitals, community centers and inter-generational groups that hosts Head Start programs are eligible to apply. The grants awarded are in the amount of $5,000, plus a garden kit and materials and gardening educational resources. Learn more here


Webinar & Events
1. Webinar: SGSO Network Crowdfunding Webinar
Wednesday, August 28 // 3-4 PM EST
Time and time again, the ability to raise adequate financial support tops the list of challenges of school garden programs both at individual school and SGSO levels. In this webinar we will explore the concept of crowdfunding which is a term broadly used to describe fundraising efforts focused on raising smaller amounts of money from large numbers of people frequently through online and social media efforts. This webinar is a part of the School Garden Support Organization (SGSO) Network. Register here

2. First Nations Food Sovereignty Summit
September 23-26, 2019 // Green Bay, Wisconsin
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin (Oneida) again are co-hosting the national Food Sovereignty Summit. It will be held September 23-26, 2019, at the Radisson Hotel in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The conference workshops are divided into three tracks: Sustaining Food Systems, Strengthening Tribal Sovereignty, and Caring for Our Lands. Full information and a registration link can be found here.

3. NESAWG's 26th Annual It Takes a Region Conference
November 7-9, 2019 // Jersey City, NJ
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual It Takes a Region Conference brings together farm and food practitioners across the 12-state Northeast region to learn, debate, collaborate, and innovate ideas and solutions to critical food systems issues. Hundreds of practitioners convene not only for workshops, plenaries and networking, but to roll up their sleeves and do the real work needed to create a just and fair regional food system in several work group sessions. Learn more here

4. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 20-24, 2020 // Albuquerque, NM
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Do you have expertise to share? We’ll be seeking proposals for conference content (workshops, posters, etc.) from stakeholders interested in sharing their models and strategies for making farm to cafeteria initiatives a reality in their communities. The Request for Proposals will open mid-August. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque! 


Resources & Research 
1. NFSN RESOURCE Call for Updates to "Benefits of Farm to School" Fact Sheet
National Farm to School Network is in the process of updating our popular Benefits of Farm to School fact sheet and we need your help identifying farm to school and farm to early care and education research and reports that may be relevant to include in a new edition of the resource. You can submit relevant content by adding directly to this spreadsheet or sending to Lacy Stephens, NFSN Program Manager, at lacy@farmtoschool.org. We are interested in both peer reviewed and grey literature. Please submit by Friday, August 16. Thank you for your help in making this valuable resource even more impactful!

2. EQUITY American Academy of Pediatrics Addresses Racism and Its Health Impact on Children and Teens
Racism has a profound impact on children’s health. With the goal of helping all children reach their full potential, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is publishing new recommendations on ways to lessen the impact of racism on children and teens. In the policy statement, “Racism and Its Impact on Child and Adolescent Health,” the AAP calls on pediatricians to create welcoming, culturally competent medical practices, to advocate for policies that advance social justice, and to engage leaders in their communities to reduce health disparities. Read more here

3. Report: Food Systems Resilience: Concepts & Policy Approaches
Food Systems Resilience: Concepts & Policy Approaches presents advocates and policymakers with a suite of policy tools for strengthening food system resilience. With climate-related shocks and stressors adding to existing hazards facing food systems, this is a critical time to examine food system vulnerabilities and work to ameliorate them. This resource provides an overview of the current scholarship on resilience, especially as it applies to food systems, as a means to predict, assess, and improve how those systems cope with disruption. It also includes a case study of Puerto Rican laws and policies. Learn more here


Policy News
1. TAKE ACTION for Farm to School in the next CNR
National Farm to School Network is taking steps now to ensure that the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) strengthens farm to school opportunities across the country! Farm to school activities – including procurement of local food for school meals, school gardens, and food and agriculture education – have been proven to help students build healthy eating habits and support family farmers by expanding market opportunities. You can help! Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 (S. 2026, H.R. 3562) and Kids Eat Local Act (S.1817, H.R. 3230) to encourage members of Congress to provide the federal dollars needed by community-grown initiatives. Have another five minutes? Make a quick call to your members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor these bills! Learn more about farm to school opportunities in the next CNR here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Applications Now Open: 2020 Bloomberg Fellows Program
The Bloomberg American Health Initiative is supporting a new generation of public health leaders in organizations across the country who are tackling some of the most pressing challenges to public health, including Obesity and the Food System. The Bloomberg Fellows Program offers a full scholarship and $10,000 stipend for the Master of Public Health (MPH) or a full scholarship for the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The application deadline is December 1, 2019. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
West Virginia 'farm to school institute’ connects students to the food they eat
How does milk get to the dairy aisle? Why are there different types of apples? Why should salads be a part of a healthy diet? Answers to questions like these and more are things that children at Jefferson County Schools in West Virginia will be welcomed back to this coming school year after school teachers and workers attended a program that was the first of its kind for the area. (Herald Mail Media)

Washington State University Extension helps launch robotics gardening program
An elementary school in the Mount Vernon School District received a $25,000 grant to start a robotics gardening program with the help of WSU Extension. The FarmBot growing system will be installed at Jefferson Elementary this fall to help grow, water and weed the school’s garden. (WSU Insider)

Texas school district unveils innovative new menu
With an emphasis on international cuisine and locally sourced ingredients, Texarkana Independent School District will revolutionize most parents understanding of the typical school lunch. (TXK Today)

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: 7/30/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 30, 2019
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. Get School Cooking Grant
Application Opens Monday, August 19
Get Schools Cooking (previously known as the School Food Support Initiative), a program of Chef Ann Foundation,  provides school districts with the operational foundation necessary to transition their Food & Nutrition Service Departments from a heat & serve or processed model to one that is rooted in scratch cooking using real ingredients. Through Get Schools Cooking, food service teams are guided through an intensive, three-year program. The 2019 grant application period will open August 19, 2019. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: State Local Purchasing Incentive Bills 
This Week! Thursday, August 1 // 1-2 PM ET
Providing an increased meal reimbursement to schools and early care and education sites purchasing and serving local foods not only increases the amount of fresh, local foods in meal program, but can provide increased revenue streams for local producers. Many states are exploring or pursuing local food incentive bills and a few states have passed and implemented successful legislation, providing important models for future legislation. In this webinar, presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll hear from key stakeholders about the passage and enactment of the MI Ten Cents a Meal Program and the New Mexico Grown Local Produce Grant. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. EQUITY Webinar: Amplifying the Leadership of People of Color and Indigenous Communities in Sustainable Food Systems Organizations
Wednesday, Jul 31 // 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM CDT
The purpose of this webinar is to elevate the important work of sustainable food systems organizations in the US, specifically those led by people of color and Indigenous communities, and to answer common questions on ways to identify and support these efforts. This webinar is hosted by Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Environmental Philanthropy (InDEEP). Register here

3. Registration Deadline: School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute
January 19-24, 2020 // Santa Cruz, CA
Join 20 other School Garden Support Organization teams from across the nation to strengthen your organization’s goal of enhancing professional development and ongoing support for school garden programs in your region. Apply here by August 2, 2019

4. Celebrate National Farmers Market Week
August 4-10, 2019
Each year, Farmer's Market Coalition helps recognize farmers markets across the country with National Farmers Market Week. During this time, markets will host local special events and activities alongside media campaigns. You can help spread the word online about the importance and impact of farmers markets for National Farmers Market Week this year by following FMC and your local farmers market on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in the loop, by using the hashtags #farmersmarketweek, #lovemymarket and #whyfarmersmarkets, and by downloading the "Why Farmers Market" infographic here.

5. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 20-24, 2020 // Albuquerque, NM
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Do you have expertise to share? We’ll be seeking proposals for conference content (workshops, posters, etc.) from stakeholders interested in sharing their models and strategies for making farm to cafeteria initiatives a reality in their communities. The Request for Proposals will open in August. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Resources & Research 
1. NFSN RESOURCE Call for Updates to "Benefits of Farm to School" Fact Sheet
National Farm to School Network is in the process of updating our popular Benefits of Farm to School fact sheet and we need your help identifying farm to school and farm to early care and education research and reports that may be relevant to include in a new edition of the resource. You can submit relevant content by adding directly to this spreadsheet or sending to Lacy Stephens, NFSN Program Manager, at lacy@farmtoschool.org. We are interested in both peer reviewed and grey literature. Please submit by Friday, August 16. Thank you for your help in making this valuable resource even more impactful!

2. EQUITY Call for Citations: 7th edition of Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism present in US Food System
Deadline: August 5, 2019
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) is seeking help in identifying citations to update CRFS’s publication: An Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System. They seek citations that refer to research, analysis, outreach, and commentary on BOTH structural racism AND the U.S. food system. Deadline for citation submission is August 5, 2019. Learn more here


Policy News 
1. TAKE ACTION for Farm to School in the next CNR 
National Farm to School Network is taking steps now to ensure that the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) strengthens farm to school opportunities across the country! Farm to school activities – including procurement of local food for school meals, school gardens, and food and agriculture education – have been proven to help students build healthy eating habits and support family farmers by expanding market opportunities. You can help! Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 (S. 2026, H.R. 3562) and Kids Eat Local Act (S.1817, H.R. 3220) to encourage members of Congress to provide the federal dollars needed by community-grown initiatives. Have another five minutes? Make a quick call to your members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor these bills! Learn more about farm to school opportunities in the next CNR here

2. Thousands of Students Could Lose Free School Meals if SNAP Changes
A Trump administration plan to tighten eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could have a secondary effect: hundreds of thousands of children losing automatic eligibility for free school lunches. The proposal, announced last week, would curb broad-based categorical eligibility, which currently allows children in families who participate in SNAP to be "directly certified" for participation in federally subsidized free school meal programs. In addition, more students could lose access to free meals if SNAP changes drop their schools below the threshold for community eligibility. Read more here from Education Week


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to School Program Manager, Food Connects (Brattleboro, VT) 
The Farm To School Program Manager’s primary responsibilities are to manage the overall program and to be a motivational guide and knowledgeable resource for teachers, food service professionals, and school administrators to further develop and support Farm to School programs throughout the region. Acknowledged as a statewide leader, the Farm to School program builds capacity at over 30 schools to improve food, farm and nutrition education as well as increase local food purchasing and school meal participation. Learn more and apply here

2. AmeriCorps VISTA Service Member (Traverse City, MI)
The Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District is hiring two full-time AmeriCorps VISTA Service Members to advance farm to school initiatives and activities across elementary schools in northwest lower Michigan. Projects that the VISTA will help coordinate may include cooking demonstrations in partnership with local chefs, coordinating pop-up farmer’s markets, facilitating school garden development, and supporting classroom nutrition educators. To apply for the position, please contact Ranae McCauley (ranae@unitedwaynwmi.org) or Alice Bowe (abowe@tbaisd.org).


Farm to School in the News
Students learn about gardening, food prep and nutrition in Migrant Program in North Dakota
Amid the neatly spaced rows of carrots, lettuce, spinach, onions, peppers and other vegetables, Lizzy Vaudrin joins a cadre of third- and fourth-graders to pick ingredients they’ll use in a cooking class on this sunny morning in Manvel. The four-day cooking class, led by NDSU Extension employees, concludes the seven-week Migrant Program this week at Manvel Public School. “It’s a great experience,” said Vaudrin, a teacher, as she watched the children select the produce. “It’s so rewarding, too, for them to see how they planted (the vegetables) from seed and how they use them.” (Grand Forks Herald)

Youth center’s vegetable roof garden provides food for children in Chicago
American design firm Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects has transformed the terrace of an education center in Chicago into a large rooftop vegetable garden which also provides organic food to the school’s kitchen. (Inexhibit)

Apples are for more than teachers in New York
In a few months, school will be back in session and apples will be growing at Indian Ladder Farms. The farm, as part of an initiative with the not-for-profit Capital Roots, will be sending hundreds of pounds of apples to schools in the Capital Region. (The Altamont Enterprise)


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.

Meet Our Interns!

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 23, 2019
National Farm to School Network is excited to be working with three interns on our team this summer! These interns have come to work  with us through the support of several different partner organizations, and over the coming months, they’ll be making contributions to strengthen our work on statewide policy tracking, various projects related to equity and food systems, and increasing communications, especially in tribal communities. Meet our interns below, and please join us in welcoming Jacquelyn, Jenileigh and Mackenize!

Jacquelyn Sullivan - Zero Hunger Intern, Congressional Hunger Center
Jacquelyn is a current student at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC studying Political Science and Community Studies. At Guilford, Jacquelyn serves as Coordinator for the Church Under the Bridge initiative, leading food recovery efforts and community building on her campus and in the Greensboro region at large. In addition, she aids in the management of Mobile Oasis, a mobile farmers market bringing local produce to neighboring food deserts. She has a passion for politics and leads her local chapter of Democracy Matters, a group focused on getting money out of politics and anti-voter suppression. Additionally, she spent a semester abroad in Chile, Nepal, and Jordan conducting interpretive research on food security. Working with NFSN's Policy Team, Jacquelyn is updating NFSN's state policy tracker so that we have a better understanding of  how states are growing farm to school through legislation, and how NFSN can support these efforts. She is also creating a calendar of state legislative sessions to help NFNS prepare future policy advocacy actions and forming a rubric for evaluating equity-advancing opportunities in our policy work. Jacquelyn currently resides in Winston-Salem, NC where she enjoys going to concerts, thrift shopping, and spending time with her friends.

Jenileigh Harris - Programs Intern
Jenileigh has experience in education, scientific and legal research, and food and agriculture law and policy. She is passionate about food justice, systems change work, effective policymaking and utilizing education as a tool for advocacy. Jenileigh is a recent graduate of Vermont Law School (VLS) where she earned her master’s degree in Food and Agriculture Law and Policy. While at VLS, she co-launched the Racial Equity Working Group to host events and facilitate conversations highlighting racial and cultural diversity as well as the racial and social inequities present within the food system. At NFSN, Jenileigh has been assisting the Programs team on various projects by providing logistical support for NFSN’s Annual Meeting, supporting farm to school grant program evaluations, writing content for NFSN’s farm to early care and education procurement blog series, and developing a comprehensive farm to school producer resource database. Jenileigh currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO and enjoys mountain biking, yoga, cooking, reading, and drinking coffee.


Mackenize Martinez - Partnership Communications Intern, Intertribal Agriculture Council
Mackenize Martinez is a native of Zwolle, LA. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Sciences with a concentration in Animal Science from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. At McNeese State University, Mackenize has had much departmental involvement, including competing as a member of the collegiate livestock judging team, volunteering with the non-profit organization Ducks Unlimited, and serving as a biological volunteer for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Alongside school activities, Mackenize spends much of her time traveling and working with youth programming in Native American communities. Mackenize serves as the Communications Intern for National Farm to School Network through the Intertribal Agriculture Council (NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year), where she engages with stakeholders from around the country with various public relations projects relating to farm to school practices. Mackenize also enjoys working as a Research Assistant for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas and serves as the Western Region Representative for the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance (NYFSA) Board. After graduation, she plans to continue her post-secondary education in the agricultural science field and work with livestock producers in Native American communities to help improve local food systems. 

This Week in Farm to School: 7/23/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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. 

National Farm to School Network News
1. Meet Our National Farm to School Network Interns!
National Farm to School Network is excited to be working with three interns to support our policy, programs and communications work this summer. On our blog, meet Jacquelyn Sullivan (Zero Hunger Intern, Congressional Hunger Center), Jenileigh Harris, and Mackenize Martinez (Partnership Communications Intern, Intertribal Agriculture Council). Read more here.

2. National Farm to School Network Receives Donation from National Co+op Grocers To Launch Equity Learning Lab
National Co+op Grocers (NCG) and partners within the natural/organic foods industry have made a generous contribution to the National Farm to School Network to fund a new equity learning lab, aimed at advancing equity within the farm to school movement. NCG led the fundraising effort as part of its annual grocery and wellness conference and tradeshow, Co+nvergence, held on June 26 in St. Paul, Minn. Read more here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: State Local Purchasing Incentive Bills 
Thursday, August 1 // 1-2 PM ET
Providing an increased meal reimbursement to schools and early care and education sites purchasing and serving local foods not only increases the amount of fresh, local foods in meal program, but can provide increased revenue streams for local producers. Many states are exploring or pursuing local food incentive bills and a few states have passed and implemented successful legislation, providing important models for future legislation. In this webinar, presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll hear from key stakeholders about the passage and enactment of the MI Ten Cents a Meal Program and the New Mexico Grown Local Produce Grant. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute
January 19-24, 2020 // Santa Cruz, CA
Join 20 other School Garden Support Organization teams from across the nation to strengthen your organization’s goal of enhancing professional development and ongoing support for school garden programs in your region. Apply here by August 2, 2019. 

3. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 20-24, 2020 // Albuquerque, NM
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Do you have expertise to share? We’ll be seeking proposals for conference content (workshops, posters, etc.) from stakeholders interested in sharing their models and strategies for making farm to cafeteria initiatives a reality in their communities. The Request for Proposals will open in August. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Resources & Research
1. EQUITY Webinar Recording: Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics
This webinar recording provides an introduction to the newly published guide, Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics, including examples of metrics in four different themes and ways the guide can be used. Two food system leaders also share how they are using data and metrics to drive system change. This webinar was sponsored by the national Racial Equity in the Food System workgroup committee and the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Watch the recording here.

2. Webinar Recording: Kick off the Summer with Farm to Head Start and Early Care and Education!
Farm to early care and education (ECE) includes the use of local foods in meals and snacks, gardening opportunities, and food, nutrition, and agriculture learning activities to promote health and wellness and enhance the quality of ECE settings. How can a Farm to Head Start/ECE help your program serve fresh, local food? Learn how it works through presentations from national experts and Head Start program examples. This webinar was sponsored by USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Head Start, and National Farm to School Network. Watch the recording here


Policy News
1. TAKE ACTION for Farm to School in the next CNR 
National Farm to School Network is taking steps now to ensure that the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) strengthens farm to school opportunities across the country! Farm to school activities – including procurement of local food for school meals, school gardens, and food and agriculture education – have been proven to help students build healthy eating habits and support family farmers by expanding market opportunities. You can help! Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 (S. 2026, H.R. 3562) and Kids Eat Local Act (S.1817, H.R. 3220) to encourage members of Congress to provide the federal dollars needed by community-grown initiatives. Have another five minutes? Make a quick call to your members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor these bills! Learn more about farm to school opportunities in the next CNR here

2. USDA Announces 2019 Farm to School Grant Awards
National Farm to School Network congratulations the record-breaking 126 awardees of the 2019 USDA Farm to School Grants, announced last week. This included 19 NFSN Core and Supporting Partner Organizations and the National Farm to School Network! Read more about the 2019 awards - and the importance of Congress continuing to support this highly impactful program - on our blog


Job Opportunities
1. Program Analyst, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (Alexandria, VA)
This position is located in Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). FNS serves as the Nation's first line of defense against hunger. Through the agency's nutrition assistance programs, FNS provides children and needy families' access to food and a more healthful lifestyle. FNCS Headquarters Offices provide the policies and regulatory support regarding the nutrition assistance program administrated through Congressional action. Learn more and apply here

2. Junior Associate, Public Health, Bloomberg Philanthropies (New York, NY)
Bloomberg Philanthropies seeks a Junior Associate to support the Program Manager for the Obesity Prevention program. H/she will provide program management support, high level administrative support, research and analysis. Strong written and oral communications, attention to detail, flexibility/availability and project management skills are a must. Learn more and apply here


Farm to School in the News
Locally-raised bison meat to be introduced into Oklahoma lunch program
The Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami Public Schools will develop a partnership to facilitate planning the introduction and regular consumption of locally raised bison meat into the student lunch program. (The Miami News - Record)

Minnesota kids enjoy locally grown food
Last week was Farm to Summer Week in Minnesota, and children throughout the state ate locally grown foods to celebrate. The USDA's Summer Food Service Program offers free meals to children under 18 while school is out. Those meals are important. "When school's not in session, a lot of kids are at risk of going hungry. So what we're trying to do is take advantage of the summer growing season here in Minnesota by incorporating items grown by local farmers in those summer food service meals." (Public News Service)

Maine students learning how to farm and grow crops
"This program is actually very important to this community. Because there are a lot of people out there who can't get good food. A lot of people are suffering from food inequality. What we're trying to do is basically we're trying to get more food out there for people who truly need it," said Randi Bolen, an incoming Junior. (WABI

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.

USDA Announces 2019 Farm to School Grant Recipients

NFSN Staff Monday, July 22, 2019

Congratulations to the newest USDA Farm to School Grant Program recipients! USDA announced last week that a record-breaking 126 projects in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have been awarded farm to school grants to explore, expand or scale up their farm to school activities. The 2019 awards total $9 million, and will impact 3.2 million students in 5,400 schools. 

Eighteen National Farm to School Network Core and Supporting Partner organizations were selected for 2019 grants, including: 

Alabama - Feeding the Gulf Coast
California - Center for Ecoliteracy
Colorado - Livewell Colorado
Illinois - Seven Generations Ahead
Iowa - Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children
Kansas - KC Healthy Kids
Maine - Healthy Communities of the Capital Area
Minnesota - Minnesota Department of Education; Reviewing the Countryside
Montana - Montana Office of Public Instruction
Nebraska - Center Rural Affairs
Nevada - Urban Roots Garden Classrooms 
Ohio - Cuyahoga County District Board of Health
Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Department of Education
Rhode Island - Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Vermont - Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets
Virginia - Fairfax County Public Schools
Wisconsin - WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection 

National Farm to School Network is also excited to be the recipient of a grant, which will allow us to offer 10 unique experiential learning opportunities in conjunction with our 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020. Save the date! We hope you'll join us and take advantage of this unique opportunity to see innovative farm to school efforts in action and network with farm to school stakeholders from across the country! 

This year’s grants are recording breaking - both in total number of projects supported and total amount of funding awarded - thanks to increased discretionary funding from Congress through appropriations bills for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. But, this increased funding is temporary. Annual mandatory funding for the program is only $5 million. The extra boost of appropriations funds allowed USDA to awards 52 more grants this year than the previous highest year of 2016, when 74 were awarded. It’s important that we continue to advocate for a permanent increase in funding for this highly valuable program so more communities can access these important resources, grow new programs, and experience the benefits of farm to school. 

That's why the National Farm to School Network and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition are working with a bipartisan and bicameral group of Congressional champions to strengthen this important grant program and support other farm to school priorities with the Farm to School Act of 2019. The bill, sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), David Perdue (R-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), will expand funding for and programmatic scope of the highly successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program, including: 

  • Increasing annual funding to $15 million and increasing the grant award maximum to $250,000,
  • Advancing equity by prioritizing grants that engage diverse farmers and serve high-need schools, 
  • Fully including early care and education sites, summer food service sites & after school programs, and 
  • Increasing access among tribal schools to traditional foods, especially from tribal producers. 

Your voice is crucial in this advocacy work! Take 2 minutes to add your name to our petition and/or our organizational sign-on letter in support of the Farm toSchool Act. Have an extra five minutes? Make an even greater impact by calling your members of Congress and asking them to co-sponsor this bill. Find step-by-step instructions and a call script for calling your members of Congress here.   

The USDA Farm to School Grant Program is an essential tool to improve the health of our children, our food system and our local economies. Join us in calling on Congress to continue and expand its support for this highly impactful program! 


National Farm to School Network and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition are partnering to advance farm to school priorities in the next Child Nutrition Reauthorization, with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms.

This Week in Farm to School: 7/16/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 16, 2019
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. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: State Local Purchasing Incentive Bills 
Thursday, August 1 // 1-2 PM ET
Providing an increased meal reimbursement to schools and early care and education sites purchasing and serving local foods not only increases the amount of fresh, local foods in meal program, but can provide increased revenue streams for local producers. Many states are exploring or pursuing local food incentive bills and a few states have passed and implemented successful legislation, providing important models for future legislation. In this webinar, presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll hear from key stakeholders about the passage and enactment of the MI Ten Cents a Meal Program and the New Mexico Grown Local Produce Grant. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. Call for Proposals: 2020 Green Schools Conference and Expo
March 2-4, 2019 // Portland, Oregon
The 2020 Green Schools Conference & Expo is coming to Portland! Mark your calendars for March 2-4. What’s more, you have the chance right now to be part of the conference program. Session proposals are being accepted until July 22nd that focus on what it means to be a green school: efforts to reduce environmental impact, improve health and wellness, increase sustainability literacy, and address whole-school sustainability. This year, bonus points will be given to sessions that address the conference’s four priority topics for 2020: student leadership, career & technical education, climate change education, and equity and inclusion. Read more information and submit your session here.

3. First Nations Food Sovereignty Summit
September 23-26, 2019 // Green Bay, Wisconsin
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin (Oneida) again are co-hosting the national Food Sovereignty Summit. It will be held September 23-26, 2019, at the Radisson Hotel in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The conference workshops are divided into three tracks: Sustaining Food Systems, Strengthening Tribal Sovereignty, and Caring for Our Lands. Full information and a registration link can be found here.

4. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 20-24, 2020 // Albuquerque, New Mexico
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Do you have expertise to share? We’ll be seeking proposals for conference content (workshops, posters, etc.) from stakeholders interested in sharing their models and strategies for making farm to cafeteria initiatives a reality in their communities. The Request for Proposals will open in August. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Resources & Research
1. Call for Resources: Farm to School/ECE Procurement and Child Nutrition Program Resources  
In partnership with National Center for Appropriate Technology, National Farm to School Network was recently awarded a cooperative agreement with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) to develop a Farm to School Producer Training Program. Our first step is aggregating farm to school/ECE training resources that have content focused on USDA Child Nutrition Programs and local procurement. We are especially interested in content targeted at farmers and producers. Please send any and all relevant resources (name of resource and link) to Jenileigh Harris, NFSN Program Intern, at programs@farmtoschool.org.

2. EQUITY Article: It’s Great That We Talk About ‘Food Deserts’ — But It Might Be Time To Stop
The common belief is that providing low-income neighborhoods with supermarkets will solve food deserts, but studies show this can have little effect. What actually causes food inequality goes beyond location, and extends to bigger structural inequalities around income, education, nutritional knowledge and, importantly, race. Read more here

3. NFSN RESOURCE Farm to ECE Procurement Blog Series 
Early care and education (ECE) sites are leading the way with innovative approaches to connect children and their families to local food and local food producers. National Farm to School Network's Farm to ECE Procurement Blog Series highlights successes and key learnings from farm to ECE programs and partners across the country. Explore the blog series here.


Policy News
1. Take Action for Farm to School in the next CNR
National Farm to School Network is taking steps now to ensure that the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) strengthens farm to school opportunities across the country! Farm to school activities – including procurement of local food for school meals, school gardens, and food and agriculture education – have been proven to help students build healthy eating habits and support family farmers by expanding market opportunities. You can help! Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 (S. 2026, H.R. 3562) and Kids Eat Local Act (S.1817, H.R. 3230) to encourage members of Congress to provide the federal dollars needed by community-grown initiatives. Have another five minutes? Make a quick call to your members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor these bills! Learn more about farm to school opportunities in the next CNR here


Farm to School in the News
Florida farm to school 'revolutionary"
Twenty-nine school gardens, a new 5-acre farm and relationships with local farmers bring fresh produce to Sarasota students. “We have great relationships with their local farmers and they love working with us and providing for the children. It’s really fulfilling for them to know that their products are going right into the schools,” said Carrie McDonald, Sarasota’s farm to school coordinator. (Herald-Tribune)

Georgia elementary school to pilot new agriculture curriculum 
Musical rain catchers, hydroponic vegetable rigs and sensory gardens are among projects planned for new agriculture classes offered at a Bibb County elementary school this fall. Heard Elementary is among 20 elementary schools statewide chosen to pilot a new agriculture curriculum. Carol Dunn, the school’s new agriculture teacher, said she wants her students to understand where their food comes from. (The Telegraph)

In a New York City garden, students grow their community roots and critical consciousness
Iris, a high school student in New York City, took a course aimed at preparing public school students for college. As part of the course, she visited the Park Slope Food Co-op, among the oldest member-owned businesses in the United States. Members work monthly shifts in return for access to affordable, ethically sourced food and goods. Students enrolled in the course—called Community Roots—investigated the larger social, political and historical issues of food and place while gardening and learning about food-related activities. (Science X Daily)

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.

Growing Healthy Eaters in Georgia

NFSN Staff Thursday, July 11, 2019
This post is part of our Farm to ECE Procurement Blog Series, which is devoted to the many ways that early care and education sites connect children and their families to local food and local food producers. Read previous posts in this series here. Have a farm to ECE procurement story to share? Contact Lacy Stephens at lacy@farmtoschool.org.


Children enjoying a radish taste test at Tee Tee’s Daycare in Valdosta, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Kim Jackson, owner of Tee Tee’s Daycare .

Guest Blog By Gina Cook, Quality Care for Children

Beans, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes are just a sampling of the many fruits and vegetables that grow in Georgia. Because Georgia’s climate allows tremendous opportunities for farmers, just about any crop can be grown successfully somewhere within the state.

However, many children grow up in Georgia not knowing where their food comes from and how it is grown. Many childcare providers may have limited access to fresh, healthy, locally grown foods and serve only canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.  

In 2017, the formation of the Georgia Farm to ECE Learning Collaborative was made possible by a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Eighteen early care providers across the state were selected to receive mini grants, resources, materials, training, and professional development opportunities to incorporate farm to ECE activities, including gardening, local procurement, and nutrition education. Here are some of the take-aways and lessons learned from the Learning Collaborative's activities. 

Overcoming Barriers to Eating Local Foods
Limited Access to Local Foods
One would think since farming is the foundation of the state’s economic well-being, there would be more locally grown produce in the stores. However, this was not always the case and providers needed support to find out where to purchase local foods. The Georgia Grown website has been helpful in identifying what is in season and finding farms and locations to purchase local foods. 

Time
Local farm stands are usually only open certain hours during the day or on the weekends. Family childcare providers cannot get away during the day since they are usually the only ones caring for the children and weekends are filled with family commitments. So running to the grocery store, which stays open late, may be the only option. Some providers have been able to find local products at the grocery stores they frequent and others have focused their attention on the foods they can grow in the garden and serve on-site as first steps for serving local foods.

Cost
The childcare providers were concerned that children would waste the food, especially if it was more expensive to purchase. Offering exposures to new foods through taste tests and gardening increase children’s acceptance of new foods and can help decrease food waste. A few of the sites have been creative in their purchasing practices to help address costs. One site was able to purchase marked-down produce by developing a relationship with a local farmer. 

Preparation
Many of the providers have commented on the time involved in the preparation of fresh, local foods.  They must spend more time washing, cutting, and cooking. It was much easier for them to open up a can or put frozen vegetables in the microwave. Several of the sites have struggled with knowing what foods to purchase, especially when it comes to picky eaters, and how to prepare. Choosing foods that are easy to prepare and broadly appealing to little ones, like cherry tomatoes, snap-peas, and strawberries, can be one initial way to overcome this challenge.  Spoilage has been a main concern since fresh food tends to go bad much quicker.  However, one provider has purchased a food storage vacuum system that allows her to freeze what she grows or purchases.  

Local Food Successes 
Gardening
All of the providers in the Learning Collaborative have planted a garden with a variety of vegetables.  Some are able serve these at meals and snacks and invite families to come and experience first-hand the garden.  Parents have shared that their children’s excitement and pride in their gardens is contagious.  Not only are the children more likely to try fruits and vegetables if they participate in the growing process, but the parents are too!  One parent remarked, “I am learning to eat red pepper because my son is eating it at school.”  

Family Engagement
The participants of the Learning Collaborative agree that behaviors around food are difficult to change.  Some of the providers have commented that getting their families to try new foods has come with some resistance.  To address this issue, providers welcome parents to cook and participate in a taste test with the children. Providers also offer dishes with familiar flavor profiles that go well will family staples like beans and rice eaten by Hispanic families served by the childcare site.  Some of the gardens produce an abundance of vegetables and the sites have given some to the families in their care along with a simple recipe to make at home. 

Despite the challenges, all of the providers agree that the successes outweigh the barriers. Children are enjoying gardening and eating what they grow.  They try more foods and actually like them! They can even tell you how seeds grow!  This enthusiasm has spread to the families at the sites and now families are becoming more aware of what they are serving at home.  One provider tells the story of the little girl who ASKS for salad now!  

You can hear more about local procurement in family child care in Georgia from Gina and family child care owner, Maria Claudia Ortega, in this NFSN webinar, Farm to Early Care and Education in Family Child Care.  

Bottom photo: Families love working in the garden together! Photo courtesy of Maria Claudia Ortega, owner of My Little Geniuses in Marietta, GA

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