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National Farm to School Network

News

Announcing NFSN's 2017 National Partner of the Year: School Nutrition Association

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 16, 2017

By Helen Dombalis, NFSN Programs Director

As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors, networking and partnership building are at the core of the National Farm to School Network’s efforts. Partnerships have been - and continue to be - integral to our success as an organization, and are essential to the growth and long-term sustainability of the farm to school movement. From our Core Partner and Supporting Partner organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Territories, to national organizations with whom we collaborate on policy, resource development and movement building, the “network” part of our name is as much an action as it is a noun. 

Thus, our new three-year Strategic Plan (2017-2019) outlines the goal to facilitate expanded engagement in farm to school through new and diverse partnerships and promotion, including the designation of a “National Partner of the Year.” Through intentional programmatic collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to both educate our members about the work of national partners, and increase knowledge of farm to school and our organizations in diverse sectors. 

In this inaugural year, we are pleased to announce the School Nutrition Association (SNA) as our 2017 National Partner of the Year. SNA is a national, nonprofit professional organization representing more than 57,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. Our partnership to date with SNA has taken root through several avenues, including collaboration on policy advocacy, celebrating events like National Farm to School Month and National School Lunch Week, and frequent engagement on social media. We look forwarded to a deeper partnership with SNA in 2017 to further these efforts and to better engage our memberships in each other's work. 

School nutrition professionals have been integral to the success of farm to school to date; the local procurement figures we see reported in the USDA Farm to School Census are thanks to the tireless efforts of the folks working to plan meals, meet nutritional guidelines, source, cook, serve and educate students. In partnering with SNA, we celebrate these efforts and aim to better connect our members and school nutrition professionals towards fostering a nation of healthy, well-nourished kids engaged in our food system. In the coming months, we’ll be working closely with SNA to identify and share out resources to support SNA members in their work to implement farm to school, and tools for you to better engage at the local level with school nutrition operators. Stay tuned for opportunities to engage with SNA and learn more throughout 2017! 

This Week in Farm to School: 5/16/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 


News From NFSN
1. School Nutrition Association Selected As 2017 NFSN National Partner of the Year
As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors, networking and partnership building are at the core of the National Farm to School Network’s efforts. As such, we’ve launched a new initiative to expand engagement in farm to school through the annual designation of a “National Partner of the Year.”  In this inaugural year, we are excited to announce the School Nutrition Association (SNA) as our 2017 National Partner of the Year. Through intentional programmatic collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to better connect our members and school nutrition professional towards fostering a nation of healthy, well-nourished kids engaged in our food systems. Learn more on our blog.

2. USDA Demotes Rural Development 
Last week, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a new restructuring plan for the USDA which downgrades the Office of Rural Development and eliminates its Under Secretary position, effectively demoting Rural Development from a core USDA Mission Area. Many of the programs within the Office of Rural Development have been integral to incubating and supporting rural business (many of which are farms) and have been key to building infrastructure that supports farm to school efforts in rural communities. Under the restructuring, these programs may now be on the chopping block. The Office of Rural development has been a champion for rural economies, and NSFN will continue to advocate that this restructuring plan does not impede the progress family farmers have gained in the last decade to supply nutritious food to schools. Learn more about the restructuring and its potential impacts in this blog post from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Webinars 
1. Webinar: Garden to Cafeteria Toolkit Launch
May 18, 4pm EST
Slow Food USA has assembled a Garden to Cafeteria (GTC) toolkit to assist a school district in developing the necessary food safety protocols, training workshops, and partnerships to launch their own GTC program. Register here

2. Webinar: Economies of Local Food
May 25, 1pm EST
In recent years, a considerable effort has been made at improving data collection for local food systems, engaging and developing resources for practitioners to evaluate local food system activity, and to standardize the metrics used in reporting the impacts of local food grant and loan programs. The presenters will provide an overview of some of these initiatives. Register here.

3. Webinar: Tackling resilience through food policy councils
May 25, 1pm EST
The increasing prevalence and severity of environmental, political, and humanitarian emergencies are prompting governments and communities to think more about where their food will come from in such situations, and how their local food systems may contribute to (or lessen the impact of) them. Food policy councils can play an important role in assisting with these efforts. Register here.

Research & Resources
1. Study: How the quality of school lunch affects students' academic performance 
A new study from Brookings Institute looks at how school nutrition impacts educational achievement. Most researchers study this based on the quantity (calories) of food students receive but this one focuses on the quality of food. They found that in years when a school contracts with a healthy lunch company, students at the school score better on end-of-year academic tests (4% higher for all students and 40% for free and reduced lunch students).

2. Are your kids passionate about food? Here's how they can make a difference.
"Regardless of which side of the aisle you're on, kids' finding their voices about issues that matter to them is a splendid thing." For facts aimed at peaking students' interest in the food system along with 12 ideas for how kids can take action to make a difference through food activism, check out this Associated Press article

Action Opportunities
1. Help NFSN Compile State Policy Campaign Resources 
As the National Farm to School Network works to create a 2015-2017 addendum to our 2002-2014 state policy resource, we are collecting examples of state policy campaign resources, such as one-pagers, fact sheets, social media samples, graphics and other ways farm to school advocates have shared messaging in support of their efforts. Please send any such examples to Julia McCarthy, mccarthy.julia@gmail.com.

2. Make Sure Your Farm or Ranch Counts - Census of Agriculture
Farmers and ranchers: make sure you are counted! If you are "any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017)," please sign up to take the 2017 Census of Agriculture

Job Opportunities 
1. Operations Manager and Membership Engagement & Training Lead, HEAL Food Alliance 
The HEAL Food Alliance is seeking to hire an Operations Manager and a Membership Engagement & Training Lead. HEAL works to uplift the power of communities mobilizing for a healthy, green, fair, and affordable food system. Learn more here.

2. School Garden Coordinator, Belle Chasse Academy 
Belle Chasse Academy (BCA) is a K-8 charter school located on the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, La. (New Orleans metro area). They are looking to hire a full time (with benefits) School Garden Coordinator. Learn more here

3. Communications Coordinator, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) 
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) is a nonprofit that provides education, resources, and practical advice to help farmers grow organically. MOSES seeks a Communication Coordinator to be a part of their Spring Valley, Wis. based team. Applications are due Friday, May 19. Learn more here.

4. Development & Communications Coordinator, Community Food & Agriculture Coalition
Montana's Community Food & Agriculture Coalition (CFAC) is seeking a Development & Communications Coordinator to lead their donor engagement, communications and community outreach efforts. Applications are due Wednesday, May 31. Learn more here.

Farm to School in the News
Alaska students run greenhouses, grow lunch year-round
“We're trying to teach our kids to be entrepreneurs, and so we have contracts now with a few of the grocery stores on the island. We have a restaurant that the school owns that we supply our produce for,” said superintendent Nick Higson. “We supply quite a bit of the produce for our school lunches.” (KTUU)

Mozart Meets Monet’ in Georgia school garden
Jefferson Parkway recently combined art and music with a “Mozart Meets Monet” cross-curricular lesson held in the school’s garden. Students learned about the life and accomplishments of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the history of Claude Monet and how his art was inspired by his love of his garden in Giverny, France. (The Newnan-Times Herald

Idaho: how does your garden grow?
Southside Elementary second-graders helped Elks Lodge members fill all the new, raised garden beds at their school. Now, every elementary school in the Lake Pend Oreille School District now has a garden, where kids can grow and eat their own vegetables. (Bonner County Daily Bee)

Farm to cafeteria: Massachusetts Food Hub receives new box truck

The new truck is added to a fleet of four that service the school system as part of the Food Hub program. “Working the food hub into our procurement system has given us additional access to a variety of fresh commodities such as apples direct from local farms.” (Worcester Magazine

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. 

Welcome, Lea Madry!

NFSN Staff Monday, May 15, 2017
The National Farm to School Network is excited to welcome Lea Madry to our team as Development Director! As a long-time social impact leader, both in nonprofit board roles and in philanthropy, Lea brings a deep well of fundraising experience to NFSN. Lea’s passion for farm to school comes from her belief that all kids deserve access to healthy food and communities and farmers alike thrive by emphasizing local, fresh food sourcing. 

Prior to joining the National Farm to School Network, Lea worked in development at several nonprofit organizations that support low-income communities, most recently the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and Bottom Line. Lea has also advised some of the nation’s largest nonprofits on development and marketing during her time as a nonprofit consultant at Plenty. While in consulting, one of Lea’s focus areas was peer-to-peer fundraising, through which she helped nonprofits of all sizes engage people in supporters’ networks to expand organizational reach and revenue. Earlier in her career, Lea was a finance attorney at the Chicago office of a large national law firm. During her time in practice, she held board leadership roles in nonprofits dedicated to creating access to the legal profession for diverse communities. She ultimately left the legal profession to pursue her commitment to social justice and empowering low-income communities by leveraging her development experience. An Ohio native, Lea is a proud first-generation college graduate who has a BA in sociology from the Ohio State University and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School. 

As NFSN’s Development Director, Lea will lead the organization’s strategic growth and manage the strategy and execution of all development efforts. In addition to growing traditional revenue streams such as individual giving, events, corporate partnerships and grants, Lea is charged with leading the implementation of NFSN’s emerging earned income and social investment strategies. 

Lea lives outside of Chicago with her husband James and their cat Duchess. She spends her weekends brunching, making condiments (and all things) from scratch while listening to NPR, watching sports, and exploring the treasures of her public library and local public parks.

Lea is based in Illinois. Reach out to her with your development questions, to brainstorm solutions to fundraising challenges, to share you successes or to find out how you can collaborate in raising awareness and money to support the farm to school movement. Send her a message or say hello at lea@farmtoschool.org

This Week in Farm to School: 5/09/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 


Grants & Funding

1. Food Safety Outreach Program, USDA NIFA 
The Food Safety Outreach Program will complement and expand the national infrastructure of the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Competitive Grants Program. Awardees will develop and implement food safety training, education, extension, outreach and technical assistance projects that address the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers. Grant applications will be solicited directly from those in local communities to include those from community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, food hubs, farm cooperatives, extension, and other local groups .Applications are due Tuesday, June 6, 2017. For more information, participate in the May 18th webinair or apply here

2. CHOICES Funding 
Funding from the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) will support states, cities, and counties in preventing childhood obesity and associated health outcomes by building local capacity among decision makers to choose and implement cost-effective strategies. The partnership will run from July 2017 to June 2018, and the CHOICES team intends to fund up to four health agencies during this 12-month project period. Monetary assistance will be available (contingent upon funding) at an expected average of $50,000 per awardee. Application are due Wednesday, May 31, 2017.  Learn more and apply here

3. 2018 Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge
The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. Rural entrepreneurs compete for $145,000 in startup funds. Apply here

Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Breakfast Matters - Back to School
May 11 at 3pm EST
The school year is ending, but the planning for the next academic year is already beginning. Join us as we share tips and tools for preparing your school district’s food and nutrition service strategies for the 2017–2018 school year. Topics will include forming an unpaid meal policy, making the most of the Community Eligibility Provision, and launching or enhancing your Breakfast After the Bell and afterschool meal programs. Register here.

2. Webinar: Tackling resilience through food policy councils
May 25 at 1pm EST
The increasing prevalence and severity of environmental, political, and humanitarian emergencies are prompting governments and communities to think more about where their food will come from in such situations, and how their local food systems may contribute to (or lessen the impact of) them. Food policy councils can play an important role in assisting with these efforts. Register Today!


Research & Resources
1. Research Brief: Farm to ECE in Pennsylvania: A Promising Start with Room for Growth
The Food Trust recently released their "Farm to ECE In Pennsylvania" research brief.  This is a valuable resource for anyone looking for methods to do some background research on what's going on in their state, or a useful example for framing farm to ECE from a statewide perspective.
 
2. New Study: Timing and duration matters for school lunch and recess
A new study finds that the duration and timing of lunch and recess is related to food choices and physical activity of school children. These findings could help schools make policies that promote healthier school lunches and increased physical activity during recess. Read more about the study here.
 
3. Power of Produce (PoP) Club Toolkit
University of Minnesota Extension is pleased to announce the release of the Power of Produce (PoP) Club Toolkit. The PoP Club is a farmers market incentive program for children. Each week children receive a $2 token to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. This program is the perfect addition to farm to school efforts since its goal is to engage children at farmers markets and empower them to make healthful food choices. Access the toolkit here

Action Opportunities
1. 4 Not-So-Easy Ways to Dismantle Racism in the Food System
This article offers four infographics that explain different aspects of how racism is built into the US food system. It also contains two solutions for each of them—some of the systemic changes needed to fully address it, and ways for individuals to take action. Read the article and explore the infographics and actions here

Job Opportunities 
1. Vice President of National Policy and Advocacy, Healthy Schools Campaign
Healthy Schools Campaign is seeking a Vice President of National Policy and Advocacy to oversee the organization’s national and state policy agenda. HSC advocates for all students to have access to a healthy school environment that includes nutritious food, physical activity, health services and clean air at school. For more information and to apply click here.

2. Coalitions Coordinator, Union of Concerned Scientists
As part of a 14-person interdisciplinary team, the Coalitions Coordinator will convene priority coalitions focused on addressing racial equity and social justice in the food system. Learn more and apply here.

3. Development Manager, Real Food Challenge
Real Food Challenge seeks a Development Manager to be a part of the largest student movement in the country fighting for food justice and a sustainable food economy. Priority will be given to applications received before May 18, 2017. Learn more here

4. Program Coordinator and Research Assistant, ASAP

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) seeks to fill multiple opening on their team to help their organization continue to build healthy communities through connections to local food. Applications for both positions are open throughSaturday, May, 20, 2017. Learn more and apply here.

Farm to School in the News
Salt stays and grains go in school meals
As his first major action in office, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the Agriculture Department will delay an upcoming requirement to lower the amount of sodium in (school) meals while continuing to allow waivers for regulations that all grains on the lunch line must be 50 percent whole grain. (AP News)
 
Governor Designates October “Farm To School Month In Hawai‘i”

In April, Hawai’i Governor David Ige signed a bill into law designating the month of October as “Farm to School Month in Hawai‘i,” and bringing attention and awareness to farm to school programs across the state. (Maui Now)

Chef in the Cafeteria

Kids love kale when it's prepared with care. ASAP’s weekly “Growing Local” radio series joins Biltmore chef Kirk Fiore for a local food taste test at North Buncombe Elementary in North Carolina. (Growing Local

Sustainable gardens grow in Oklahoma schools
Principal Chris Crelia is excited about students having the opportunity to plant, take ownership of the gardens and learn to become more mindful and responsible “about the Earth and taking care of not just the Earth but themselves with healthy living.” (NewsOK


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: 4/25/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 



Grants & Funding
1. National Black Farmers Association Scholarships 

In its third year, the NBFA Scholarship Program will award scholarships of up to $5,000 to African-American farmers/students or dependents of African-American farmers who plan to enroll or are enrolled in agriculture-related study at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school. The National Black Farmers Association Scholarship Program application deadline for the 2017-18 academic year is April 28, 2017. 

2. RFP: Nourishing Native Children: Feeding Our Future
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has launched the new “Nourishing Native Children: Feeding our Future” grant program, which falls under First Nations’ larger Native American Food Security Project. The project will provide grants to Native communities interested in expanding nutrition resources for existing programs that serve American Indian children ages 6-14. With the generous support of the Walmart Foundation, First Nations plans to award up to 10 grants of up to $15,000 each to continue or expand existing nutrition efforts. Proposals will be due Friday, May 5, 2017. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar Series: School Garden Support Organizations Best Practices 

April 25, 1pm PST
School Garden Support Organizations will present best practices, case studies, tools, and resources from 5 SGSO key topics. The first webinar in the sires “School Garden Program Sustainability and Finances” is April 25, 1pm PST. This webinar series is presented by The National School Garden Network, which connects individuals and organizations working to support school garden programs at a district, regional, statewide, or national level. Learn more here.

2. Webinar: Local Food for Campus Dining: Stats & Stories
April 27, 1pm EST
Join Farm to Institution New England (FINE) for Local Food for Campus Dining: Stats & Stories, a webinar on Thursday, April 27th from 1:00 to 2:15 pm ET featuring highlights from Campus Dining 101: A Benchmark Study on Farm to College in New England. This recently-released campus dining report presents data collected from dining operators at 105 colleges and universities in New England. Learn more and register here

3.National Children and Youth Garden Symposium 
July 12-15 // Greater Portland, Oregon & Vancouver, Washington area
NCYGS is the only national event of its kind where you can network with like-minded teachers, garden designers, community leaders, program coordinators, and others involved with connecting kids to the natural world. Find out more about this opportunity to learn and connect at ahsgardening.org


Action Opportunities
1. Every Kid Healthy Week

April 24-28
Join us in celebrating Every Kid Healthy Week, April 24-28! Launched by Action for Healthy Kids in 2013, Every Kid Healthy Week is a time for schools, students, parents and communities to recognize their school’s wellness achievements through fun and interactive health-promoting events. More information on how to get involved at EveryKidHealthyWeek.org.

2. Celebrate School Nutrition Employee Week
May 1-5 
School nutrition professionals are true heroes. On Friday, May 5, 2017, School Nutrition Employee Week (May 1-5) will end with a bang by celebrating the 5th Annual School Lunch Hero Day! School Lunch Hero Day is a chance to showcase the difference school nutrition professionals make for every child who comes through the cafeteria. Here are some creative ideas on how to recognize the hardworking professionals in your school cafeterias.  Additionally, SNA is offering veggie-rific School Lunch Hero Day logos and artwork that you can download and use over social media. 


Job Opportunities 
1. FoodCorps, Digital Communications Manager & Communications Coordinator

FoodCorps seeks two communications professionals to join its New York City-based team: Digital Communications Manager and Communications Coordinator. Applications will be accepted until the ideal candidates are identified. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Florida School Lunches are Farm to Table 
Gone are the days of small, novelty gardens at Miami-Dade public schools, filled with annuals that die out and require constant maintenance and replanting. They are being replaced by food forests, with edible perennials that are adapted to South Florida’s climate and continue to spread and produce crops with minimal upkeep.In past years, the food forests have sent home more than 20,000 bags of vegetables and fruits grown at school to students’ families. (Miami Herald)

Healthy school lunches that kids actually want to eat? These Louisiana schools show it's possible
Richland Parish and Lafayette Parish schools used grant money to build greenhouses to grow fresh produce. Martha Vinyard Elementary School in Tangipahoa Parish started a farm-to-school program that creates a relationship between the campus and a local farm, helping students try fresh vegetables and meet the people growing their food. (The Advocate

GREEN Tool offers evidence-based guidance for school garden success
To better understand what it takes to help a garden thrive, Kate Gardner Burt of Lehman College and her colleagues mapped out the characteristics of gardens that played an enduring role in the life of the school. Based on these findings, they defined a four-level process toward successful school garden integration. Dubbed the GREEN Tool, it’s one of the first evidence-based guide to planting and nurturing sustainable school gardens. (Reuters)


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: 4/18/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 


Grants & Funding
1. United Fresh Start Foundation Community Grants Program
The United Fresh Start Foundation is now accepting applications for its new Community Grants Program, established to help advance the organization’s mission to increase children’s access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Not-for-profit organizations focused on child nutrition, food access and creating healthy communities through increased access to fresh produce, can download the grant application here. Applications are due by April 20, 2017.


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: School Garden Program Sustainability and Finances
April 25, 1pm PST
School gardens are tremendously popular and valuable resources, but these programs often face questions about if they can continue year-to-year. In this Webinar, the National School Garden Network will discuss dedicated garden program staffing, community engagement, and other factors that lead to programmatic sustainability. You’ll also learn from successful initiatives to secure corporate sponsorships; community partnerships; legislation; and school or district-level investments that lead to financial sustainability. Learn more and register here

2. Every Kid Healthy Week
April 24-28
Join us in celebrating Every Kid Healthy Week, April 24-28! Launched by Action for Healthy Kids in 2013, Every Kid Healthy Week is a time for schools, students, parents and communities to recognize their school’s wellness achievements through fun and interactive health-promoting events. Find more info and get involved at EveryKidHealthyWeek.org.

3. Request for Proposals: Southern Obesity Summit
October 1-3 // Atlanta, Georgia
The Southern Obesity Summit Planning Committee invites individual applications for pre-conference sessions, breakout sessions, special sessions and Pillar workgroup sessions during the 11th Annual Southern Obesity Summit. These sessions  will help attendees develop strategies and provide resources and tools to use in their work to reverse the obesity epidemic through working together with other southern states. The deadline for submissions in May 1. Learn more here


Resources
1. Webinar Recording: Statewide Farm to ECE Network Building
Statewide network building is a key approach to institutionalizing farm to ECE. Watch a recording of the April NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar to hear from farm to ECE leaders who share models from their states and identify keys to success in building statewide networks. Watch the recording here


Action Opportunities
1. Be Counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture
In just a few months, America’s farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their operations and communities by taking part in the Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census captures a complete count of all U.S. Farms and ranches and those who operate them. NASS is in the final stage for preparing the 2017 Census of Agriculture mailing list. If you are new to farming or didn’t receive a 2012 Census of Agriculture questionnaire there is still time to be counted by signing up at https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/cgi-bin/counts/.  Simply click on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button below and provide the requested information.


Farm to School in the News
Hawaii farm to school program awarded NFSN grant
Mala‘ia Kula Kauai Farm to School Pilot Program is one of five schools selected for the National Farm to School Network’s Seed Change in Native Communities mini-grants. That means those involved with Mala‘ia Kula will be able to help develop school menus that include traditional foods like kalo; work with native producers for the school food supply chain and plant traditional crops; and break down barriers and reinvigorate traditional food philosophies. (The Garden Island)

Local farm to school efforts could expand amid state uncertainty
Despite concerns Wisconsin’s farm to school leadership could be cut in the next state budget, local proponents are carrying on with what an expanded outreach of homegrown healthy food selections. "What's happening in the classrooms and cafes is not going away. We know we have passionate schools and producers committed to farm to school," said Beth Hanna, farm to school director for Community GroundWorks and NFSN Wisconsin Core Partner. "What is at stake is the big picture planning ... needed to continue at significant levels or to scale up." (Green Bay Press-Gazette)

Massachusetts Representative gets a taste of farm to school education
State Representative Dylan Fernandes ate overwintered kale from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School’s garden, and it quickly became a new favorite. “This is truly the best kale I’ve ever had,” Representative Fernandes said during a tour of the school garden last Thursday. (The Martha’s Vineyard Times)

Schools Will Soon Have To Put In Writing If They 'Lunch Shame'
With policies to handle unpaid meals all over the map, the USDA will soon require that all school districts have a policy on what to do when kids can't pay. By July 1, those policies must be in writing and communicated to staff, parents and the community. (NPR)

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. 

Five Mini-Grants Awarded in Native Communities

NFSN Staff Monday, April 17, 2017

The National Farm to School Network’s new Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School project is taking off this month with the selection of five Native schools as mini-grantees. From planting native orchards to serving traditional foods in school meals, the schools will be expanding farm to school activities and leveraging community support to build food security and food sovereignty. Here’s a preview of the projects they’ll be working on:
 
Hardin School District 17H&1Crow Reservation: Crow Nation (Montana)
Partner with local entities and individuals to empower students in learning about traditional foods, preparation, storage and ceremony. Create a native orchard, featuring a variety of native berries, including buffalo berries, june berries and chokecherries.
 
Hydaburg City SchoolHydaburg, Prince of Wales Island: Haida Nation (Alaska)
Connect students with locally grown and traditional foods (such as rutabagas, parsnips and the Haida potato) by expanding the existing school garden to include a greenhouse. In May, students will celebrate Haida Day by giving Elders a tour of the new greenhouse and learning about the village’s old garden site.
 
Indian Township SchoolIndian Township Reservation: Passamaquoddy Tribe (Maine)
Engage students in traditional growing practices by reviving an existing greenhouse and school garden. Students will catch fish to be used as garden fertilizer, and will learn planting techniques like the Three Sisters. Food grown in the garden will supplement the school lunch program, summer food service and elderly food site.
 
Mala`ai Kula: Kaua`i Farm-to-School PilotKaua`i Island: Native Hawaiians (Hawaii)
Support an existing three-year pilot project to create a culturally relevant farm to school program at two Kaua`i schools. On Kaua`i, where 90 percent of food is imported, Mala`ai Kula is helping students build a healthier relationship with traditional food systems through school gardens and locally-grown foods in school meals.
 
Warm Springs K8 Academy Warm Springs Reservation: Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Oregon)
Help students make connections about where food comes from and how it relates to their cultural heritage by planting a school garden and promoting a healthy snacks program. The garden will also be used for science and nutrition education.

Stay tuned to hear more from these schools in the coming months. We'll be sharing their stories and successes in our e-newsletter, social media and here on our blog!
 
 
Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School is made possible with generous support from the Aetna Foundation, a national foundation based in Hartford, Conn. that supports projects to promote wellness, health and access to high-quality health care for everyone.

Celebrating 10 Years and 200 Partners

NFSN Staff Thursday, April 13, 2017

As the National Farm to School Network celebrates our 10-year anniversary, we embark on an exciting new chapter of our work to strengthen and expand the farm to school and early care and education (ECE) movement. It is with great excitement that we announce the selection of nearly 200 partner organizations across all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and, for the first time, U.S. Territories, to serve as our 2017-2019 Core Partners and Supporting Partners.  

Representing non-profits, state agencies, school districts, farms and universities, these partner organizations will work in collaboration with NFSN to advance the farm to school and ECE movement at the local, state and national levels. Serving as the primary contact for farm to school and ECE in their state, D.C. or Territory, Core Partners will take the lead on building capacity and support for farm to school and ECE, and serve as liaisons for information, resources, needs and opportunities with NFSN. Each Core Partner is supported in these activities by up to four Supporting Partner organizations. Together, NFSN’s Core and Supporting Partner organizations are recognized leaders in farm to school and ECE, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with them for the next phase of farm to school and ECE growth and evolution. 

You can connect with your state, D.C. or Territory Core and Supporting Partners here: farmtoschool.org/ournetwork

The selection of Core and Supporting Partners comes at an important juncture in NFSN’s work. The first decade of our efforts focused on developing a strong network of partnerships across sectors, building awareness and increasing activities at the state and regional levels through training, capacity building and policy advocacy. This approach resulted in unprecedented growth for the farm to school movement, with farm to school activities now reaching more than 42,000 schools across the nation. Since 2011, we’ve prioritized ECE settings as touch points for expanding our network and activities. Our 2015 Survey of Early Care and Education Providers indicates farm to ECE activity in 850 sites covering 48 states and Washington, D.C.

While this growth is impressive, we recognize that there remain significant hurdles to expanding access to farm to school and ECE so that it is a norm in all K-12 schools and ECE settings, and its benefits are available to all children and all communities. In the next phase of our work, advancing farm to school and ECE in areas of high-need – including locations with high poverty and obesity rates, high free and reduced price meal eligibility, lack of policy support, weak or nonexistent state networks, and minimal funds to support farm to school and ECE efforts – will be a priority. 

As our name implies, the National Farm to School Network is truly a network – a connected and collaborative group of passionate people working to make healthy kids, thriving farms and vibrant communities a reality in all places across our country. Our network is made up of Core and Supporting Partners, national staff, an Advisory Board and you - our 15,000 members. (Not a member? Sign up here!) We believe that robust movement building is possible only when we work collaboratively across all sectors and locations. So dig in! Meet your Core and Supporting Partners, learn what’s happening in your community and get involved. Get started by visiting our network map and selecting your location. With your engagement, the National Farm to School Network is Growing Stronger Together!
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