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National Farm to School Network

News

Local Sourcing for Childcare: A Recipe for Farm to ECE Success

NFSN Staff Monday, March 18, 2019
In celebration of National CACFP Week, the National Farm to School Network is launching a series of blogs devoted to the many ways that early care and education sites connect children and their families to local food and local food producers. The Farm to ECE Procurement Blog Series will feature guest writers highlighting farm to ECE procurement successes from across the country. Have a farm to ECE procurement story to share? Contact Lacy Stephens at lacy@farmtoschool.org


By Maire Dekle,  Common Market

Butternut squash and honeycrisp apple soup. Free-range chicken quesadillas. Fresh-baked rainbow carrot whole-wheat muffins. 

Hungry yet? This is just a sampling of the scratch-cooked, locally sourced food children at The Caring Center get to enjoy each day!

Chef Erica Lewis and her kitchen crew serve up morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack for about 170 children at this early care program, located in West Philadelphia. The Caring Center has long had a commitment to serving healthy, home-cooked meals, but as many food service professionals could attest, there can be all kinds of challenges: from limited cold-storage space for fresh produce and meat, to the additional prep time and labor required, to the legwork needed to identify quality ingredients (sustainably produced, minimally processed, and ideally, locally sourced). 

Erica and The Caring Center partner with The Common Market, a nonprofit local food distributor based in Philadelphia, to help lighten that legwork and source sustainable produce, meat, grains, and more. The Common Market works with a network of family-owned farms in the Mid-Atlantic, teaming up with producers to source, aggregate, and distribute their products to food service staff like Erica.

In just the last three months, The Caring Center has sourced more than 3,500 pounds of food from local producers, supporting dozens of small- and mid-sized family farms within our region. Ground turkey, chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, and the much-loved Honeycrisp apples have been among the top items, and feedback has been very positive. (One child even tried chicken for the first time…and discovered he liked it!)

How does The Caring Center make local sourcing work for them? Erica identifies where farm-fresh foods will have the greatest impact, be most cost-effective, and meet parents’ requests: antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken and turkey; produce in peak season; whole wheat flours. She sources other items from broadline distributors, bread and milk distributors, and occasionally retailers. The Caring Center participates in the Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), receiving reimbursement for meals. At this point, Erica and her assistant Tammy have mastered their CACFP-compliant recipes, recording, and reporting.

Additionally, thanks to grant funding, The Common Market is able to offer a discount to child care providers, with the goal of building capacity around local food sourcing and preparation. Chefs like Erica who have the skills and know-how to work with fresh ingredients gain new experience in local sourcing — and can pass those skills on to other ECE staff.

The Caring Center’s farm to ECE commitment continues beyond the kitchen. At family-style meals in their classrooms, children are encouraged to try new foods: from Brussels sprouts to blueberries, acorn squash to new apple varieties. Posted profiles of featured farmers provide more information for families and staff about where their children’s food is coming from. Farm to ECE programming on-site includes Erica’s cooking classes and gardening. (This past summer’s crop featured cantaloupes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, basil…and one watermelon!)

Erica and The Caring Center have demonstrated that they are local sourcing superstars. They consider quality food service to be an integral part of their program, with local foods as a part of their appeal. But what are their additional secret ingredients for farm to ECE success? For local sourcing to be a sustainable part of a center’s food program, food service staff and leadership must have the passion and intent to make healthier, more sustainable choices for the children they serve. 

We’ve also seen that this work needs to be built on a foundation of staff expertise around both nutrition and budgeting. Erica has been in food service for 25 years (at The Caring Center for 18!) and acknowledges that she has her cooking and administrative work down to a well-organized system, making the most out of the kitchen space and equipment she has. Having that experience gives her room to experiment and take on new challenges — and opportunities. 

Erica has recently started training other child care staff and directors through the Action for Early Learning Alliance in West Philadelphia. She’s sharing how to set up kitchens, where to source quality ingredients, and how to stay CACFP-compliant while offering nutritious, delicious food. Her ultimate goal? 

“I want to show that they don’t have to go the way of offering processed foods with lots of additives. We can get better food for our children in the city of Philadelphia.”

The Caring Center is an early childhood education provider for children 6 weeks to 8 years old, nationally accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and rated Keystone STAR 4. The Common Market Mid-Atlantic is a mission-driven distributor of sustainable, local farm foods, connecting institutions and communities with good food from over 200 producers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. 


Starting the conversation: House hearing on child nutrition programs

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 12, 2019
 
By Chloe Marshall, Policy Specialist

On Tuesday, March 12, the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services within the House Education and Labor Committee held the first hearing of the new Congress on child nutrition programs, what could be the first hearing in preparation for the next Child Nutrition Act reauthorization (CNR). The “Growing a Healthy Next Generation: Examining Federal Child Nutrition Programs" hearing focused on the importance of these programs, including farm to school and how it helps children succeed in school and life.

Key topics discussed by committee members included the impact of nutrition programs on children’s access to food, regulatory challenges that school nutrition staff face, and the urgency of addressing children’s health early in life.

Witnesses included Dr. Eduardo Ochoa, the Principal Investigator for the Children’s HealthWatch Little Rock site at Arkansas Children’s Hospital; Cheryl Johnson, Director of Child Nutrition & Wellness for the Kansas State Department of Education; Donna Martin, Director Of School Nutrition Programs for Burke County Public Schools in Waynesboro, GA; and Nikki Berlew O’Meara, mother of two and member of Moms Rising. Witnesses were asked a number of questions ranging from how they’ve been navigating new nutrition standards to their thoughts on whole and flavored milk for children.

While no specific questions about farm to school were asked during the hearing, Rep. James Comer (R-KY) and Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) acknowledged the positive impacts farm to school has made in their home states. "As a farmer myself, I understand the importance of supporting local farmers by providing school access to local farm fresh ingredients,” said Rep. Cormer. In introducing Ms. Martin, Rep. Allen noted that he's visited Burke County schools for farm to school events on several occasions. "In fact, as a member of Congress, I've never missed that event and never will - obviously you can tell, I love good food!" he said. "I've seen first hand students growing their own food there - it's incredible."

As part of her testimony, Ms. Martin shared several ways that farm to school has been an important part of child nutrition programs in Burke County. "I'm incredibly proud of our farm to school program that provides farm fresh produce to our students. We found that when we started offering local fresh produce - like collards, berries, peaches - our fruit and vegetable consumption rates doubled,” Ms. Martin said. “We are fiscally sound because we offer seasonal fresh produce. We work with the Burke County farmers to provide local fruits and vegetables at very competitive prices. I've had local farmers beating down my door to set up contracts with me. In the school nutrition world we call this a win win win - a win for the farmer, a win for the kids, and a win for our local economy.”

Donna Martin shares testimony during the "Growing a Healthy Next Generation: Examining Federal Child Nutrition Programs" hearing.
While several representatives expressed concerns about how burdensome nutrition standards seem to be for schools, Ms. Martin noted that Georgia successfully implemented nutrition standards through farm to school activities: “If kids taste it, they will eat it. If kids grow it, they will eat it. If kids cook it, they will eat it. It's all about getting kids involved, and you have to do nutrition education.”

In closing the hearing, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) noted that with child nutrition programs, "Congress has consistently recognized through bipartisan support that a quality education includes making sure that every child has access to healthy and nutritious food." She specifically named farm to school as one of the programs that helps make this happen.

National Farm to School Network was pleased to hear praise for farm to school in the hearing. It’s a promising sign of opportunity for the farm to school movement as this critical legislation is developed. Additionally, the positive response to farm to school signals recognition of the important role it plays in the success of all of the other child nutrition programs.

While CNR is intended to be reauthorized every five years, it has been nearly 10 years since the last reauthorization. Known as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the last (and current) CNR has provided monumental support for the farm to school movement by legislating the creation of the USDA Farm to School Program, which provides annual competitive grants and technical assistance to help schools, farmers, non-profits, state agencies and other entities implement and expand farm to school activities across the country. Since the first grants were awarded in FY 2013, demand for the highly successful program has been more than four times higher than available yearly funding. Opportunities to make the program accessible to more communities with an increase in annual funding is one of the policy initiatives the National Farm to School Network is exploring as we prepare for this next CNR.

What other ways can the next CNR support your farm to school efforts? We want to know! Join one of our upcoming CNR Listening Sessions, beginning March 19, to share your thoughts and ideas for our future CNR policy initiatives. And, make sure you’re subscribed to our e-newsletter to receive updates and action alerts as the CNR process continues.


The 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: 3/12/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 12, 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. Carton-2-Garden Contest
Deadline: March 25, 2019
Open to public and private schools, contest winners will be selected based on their implementation of an innovative garden creation featuring creative and sustainable uses for repurposed milk and juice cartons. Your school can get started by collecting at least 100 empty cartons from your home, community, or cafeteria. After gathering cartons, it’s time to design and construct purposeful garden items and structures using them. Learn more here

2. Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Deadline: May 24
The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) 2019 Request for Applications (RFA) is now available. The purpose of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The agency, commission, or department responsible for agriculture within any of the 50 States, DC, and US territories is eligible to apply directly to the USDA for grant funds. Organizations or individuals interested in the SCBGP should contact their state department of agriculture for more information. Learn more here.

3. FY 2019 Team Nutrition Training Grants
Deadline: June 2
FNS has announced two grant opportunities under the Team Nutrition Training Grant Program that will help State agencies implement job-skills training programs focused on addressing identified State and local needs impacting the quality of school meals. Up to $9 million dollars in grant funds are expected to be awarded in FY 2019. State agencies that administer the National School Lunch Program may submit an applications. Applications are due June 2. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Summer Programs at School Gardens and Farms
Tuesday, March 26 // 1-2 PM PST
Looking for ideas to keep your school gardens tended and active during the summer? Are you thinking of new ways to bring garden-based learning to a community garden or farm site? Join SGSO for a webinar on the ins and outs of running kids day camp programs on educational gardens. Erin Jackson, Education Director at Gallatin Valley Farm to School, and Amy Carlson, Garden Education Director at Life Lab, will share their years of experience and resources for creating day camp programs. From promotions to post assessments and everything in between, this hour long webinar will provide you with inspiration and ideas to create or enhance summer programming on your educational garden or farm. Register here.

2. Food Sovereignty Summit
September 23-26, 2019 // Green Bay, WI
Mark your calendars! The First Nations Development Institute and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin will be hosting the national Food Sovereignty Summit in September in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This is a great conference for those involved in Tribal and native food systems - native farmers, Tribal agriculture staff, non-profits, policymakers, and other leaders - to come together in collaboration to build healthier food systems. Learn more here.

3. 2019 Community Food Systems Conference: Request for Proposals
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Georgia Farmers Market Association are currently welcoming proposals for workshop sessions at our 2019 Community Food Systems Conference. We will be accepting proposals until April 15, 2019 at 11:59pm EST. We seek submissions from leaders in food security, social justice, and sustainable agriculture. Learn more here.


Research & Resources
1. EQUITY 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
April 1-21, 2019
Sign up for the FSNE 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge coming up in April! In its fifth year, the Challenge is a great way to learn about the history and impacts of racism on our current food system while inspiring participants with resources and tools to build racial equity in their work and lives. Coordinated by the Food Solutions New England network, the Challenge will help participants across the country raise awareness, shift attitudes and change outcomes. This year a Discussion Guide will be available for groups who want to do the Challenge together. Learn more and sign up here.

2. Article: Food Justice as a Dual Process, with Deep Roots in the Black Freedom Struggle
The struggle for food justice is often viewed as linear path to food justice that begins with dismantling oppression, followed by the building of sustainable solutions or community-based interventions. Yet, the struggle for food justice is a dual process related to power with deep roots in the historical arc of food politics in the Black Freedom Struggle in the civil rights era. A new JAFSCD article examines and explores this process. Read more here

3. Webinar Recordings: Network Weaving with June Holley and Yasmin Yonis
From the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future's Food Policy Networks project, this three part webinar series focuses on the different aspects of and approaches to network development. Webinar One is on the basic structure and governance of networks, Webinar Two discusses engagement and communications strategies, and Webinar Three is about self-organizing strategies and coordinating multiple projects. Check them out!

4. Rachel's Network Catalyst Award for Women Environmental Leaders of Color 
Rachel's Network is a community of women at the intersection of environmental advocacy, philanthropy, and leadership. This award recognizes women of color making an environmental impact in communities across the US, taking into account their service to a healthier natural world, positive impact on their communities, and their history of collaboration. Applications due April 14.  Learn more here


Policy Updates
1. NFSN SERIES Child Nutrition Reauthorization Listening Session Series
With the Farm Bill checked off of the Congressional to do list, policymakers are planning to pick back up their efforts to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR). National Farm to School Network is interested in hearing from farm to school advocates and stakeholders about what they'd like to see in the next CNR. If you're interested in learning more about farm to school opportunities in CNR or have thoughts to share about how CNR can support your farm to school efforts, please join one of our upcoming CNR Listening Sessions. Hear the latest CNR updates, share your ideas for farm to school in a new bill, and learn about ways you can get involved. Four sessions are available, and open to anyone interested in or involved in farm to school efforts: 
2. House Committee holds first CNR 2019 Hearing
On Tuesday, March 12, the House Education and Workforce Committee is holding its first hearing in preparation for the next Child Nutrition Act reauthorization (CNR). The “Growing a Healthy Next Generation: Examining Federal Child Nutrition Programs" hearing begins at 10:15am ET and can be live streamed here. Check the National Farm to School Network blog for a recap of the hearing later this week. 


Job Opportunities
1. EQUITY Racial Justice Fellowship, CoFED (Nationwide)
CoFed builds the leadership of young people of color to practice cooperative values, economics, and strategies for collective liberation. Their 6-month fellowship is a fantastic opportunity for young cooperators of color working to close the racial wealth gap by advancing community ownership of land and the food system. You'll work on a Fellowship project, participate in training opportunities, and build your network. Applications due March 15. Learn more here

2. Development Manager, Healthy Schools Campaign (Chicago, IL)
Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC), a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to making schools healthier places for all students, is seeking a full-time Development Manager who will support the mission and goals of the organization by helping to grow and implement a sustainable and vibrant fundraising program. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
Farm to school day takes root in New Jersey school 
St. Gregory the Great Academy recently hosted a Farm to School Day, where local farmers came to the school to help teach students about how their food is grown. The young people also got to hear about the importance of locally sourced food from area farms from Douglas Fisher, New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture, and Carrie Lindig, the state conservationist. (The Monitor)

Virginia high school students earn grant for greenhouse project
Students enrolled in a Virginia high school's hospitality and tourism academy recently secured a $10,000 grant to support a project to help provide healthy food to the surrounding community. Part of the plan includes finishing construction of an on-campus greenhouse that could be used as a community garden and educational resource. (Daily Press)

South Carolina Students Treated to ‘Taste of Gullah’ 
Charleston County School District’s Nutrition Services Department recently teamed up with Chef GioVanni Richardson, founder of ‘A Taste of Gullah,’ to connect curriculum to the cafeteria during Black History Month. The students enjoyed a Gullah cuisine menu of okra gumbo, all meat pilau, rutabagas with greens, southern succotash, mandazi, and assorted fruit. "The Gullah culture is part of the academic curriculum," said Joe Pettit, CCSD’s Nutrition Services Field Officer. "By connecting the curriculum to the cafeteria, we’re completing that circle for the students and allowing them to taste what they are studying.” (The Charleston Chronicle
  
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.

FoodSpan: Teaching the food system farm to fork

NFSN Staff Monday, March 11, 2019

Guest post by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

While public interest in where our food comes from continues to grow, there is a dearth of resources available for teaching young people about the food system. That’s a key reason the FoodSpan curriculum created by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has hit the mark with a lot of educators, especially those teaching social studies, science, and family and consumer sciences, but also health and language arts.

As of March 1, FoodSpan lesson plans had been downloaded nearly 57,000 times. This free online curriculum contains 17 lesson plans that span the food system from production through consumption and also includes lessons on food waste, food safety and food policy. It culminates with a food citizen action project, which gives students an opportunity to put their new knowledge to work by designing an intervention to address a food system problem.

“FoodSpan provides the materials and lessons necessary for our students to investigate critical issues surrounding public health, equity in food resources, sustainability, and the environment,” said Mike Wierzbicki, a social studies teacher at North County High School in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. “The lesson plans are filled with tremendous visuals that capture student attention and promote a deep understanding of material.”

FoodSpan dovetails well with the work of the National Farm to School Network, which works to empowers children and their families to make informed food choices.

This inquiry-based curriculum is designed for high school students but has been frequently adapted for use at both higher and lower education levels. It is written at a ninth-grade reading level. FoodSpan lessons also align with national education standards including NGSS, NCSS, CCSS for English Language Arts & Literacy, and NHES.

Teachers can use FoodSpan in its entirety, or pick and choose lessons they think will be most relevant or engaging for their students. The most downloaded lesson is the introductory “Exploring Our Food System.” It gets students thinking about food in a systemic way, for example by following food items through the supply chain, and by looking at relationships among myriad players in the food system, including people, institutions, and natural resources. Lessons on crops and on the industrialization of agriculture are also among the most popular.

The curriculum includes 140 activities, including 62 extension activities. Among many other things, students are challenged to:

  • Assess the food environment in their school
  • Create food maps
  • Devise educational and advertising campaigns
  • Develop presentations for policy makers
  • Investigate a foodborne illness outbreak
  • Debate controversial food system topics
  • Journal about their personal views after each lesson
  • Produce art projects (e.g., posters, infographics, videos)
  • Watch and discuss food-related films
Teachers who want to get up to speed on a food system topic before presenting it to their students can benefit from CLF’s Food System Primer, which offers short readings on many topics, along with links to further reading. Teachers can also point students to this resource, particularly if they have been assigned to write a report on a food system topic.

CLF also maintains a Food System Lab in a Baltimore greenhouse, providing “real-world examples of solutions to these pressing issues” in the food system, as Wierzbicki put it. The Lab uses its aquaponics and composting projects as jumping-off points to discuss larger food system topics.

The Center for a Livable Future (CLF) has been a leader in “food system thinking” for more than 20 years. CLF teaches about the food system, both at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and through online courses available to the public. It has produced a textbook called Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Public Health, Environment, and Equity.

Learn more about the FoodSpan curriculum here.

Gearing up for Child Nutrition Reauthorization in 2019

NFSN Staff Friday, March 08, 2019

By Chloe Marshall, Policy Specialist 

“Our kids deserve healthy food!”
“School lunch is important because we need to eat and be healthier.”
“Feed the future with real, healthy meals!”

After having passed a farm bill and confirming this year’s budget, our congressional leaders are discussing the possible return of a major opportunity for farm to school advocates - the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization (CNR). On Jan. 28, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry announced to the National School Board Association that “if we can put politics aside...there is a clear pathway for child nutrition programs to be reauthorized yet this year.” With this announcement, we find ourselves gearing up for what could be another journey to defend nutrition standards, increase funding for school meals, and of course, pave the way for embedding farm to school practices in our food system. Here’s our reflection on where CNR stands now and what we can do moving forward as a network:

What is a CNR?
The Child Nutrition Act reauthorization (or CNR for short) authorizes federal school meal and child nutrition programs including the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program, among others (see table below). The last CNR, known as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, was groundbreaking for farm to school stakeholders nationwide. For the first time, the legislation supported farm to school directly by providing $5 million in annual mandatory funding for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program. A major victory for the National Farm to School Network and farm to school champions across the country, this program funds competitive grants and technical assistance for farm to school activities that increase the use of and improve access to local foods in schools. Policies like this ensure more schools across the nation have a pathway to practicing farm to school, even if their local district hasn’t shown support yet.

Programs Included in CNR: 
School Breakfast Program (SBP)
National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
Farm to School Grant Program
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
The package of bills that make up CNR is meant to be reauthorized every five years, but irreconcilable differences between House and Senate versions of bills prevented this from happening in 2016. As the National Farm to School Network prepares for a possible return of CNR this year, we want to hear your voice! As our name implies, we are truly a national network of stakeholders, and our policy agenda is driven by advocates like you. We invite you to join one of our CNR Listening Sessions, beginning March 19, where you can weigh in on our future CNR policy initiatives. 

What Can You Do to Prepare for CNR?

Right now:
In the near future:
  • Prepare your asks - as a constituent, what actions do you want to see from your legislators as CNR is debated?
  • Cultivate your legislative champions
If and when the Reauthorization takes place:
  • Provide feedback to the National Farm to School Network
  • Contact your legislators

Have questions about CNR or want to learn more about how you can be a farm to school policy advocate? Contact Chloe Marshall, Policy Specialist, at chloe@farmtoschool.org.

This Week in Farm to School: 3/5/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 05, 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. Test Kitchen Grant, No Kid Hungry
Deadline: March 15
The Test Kitchen is a concept accelerator designed to help nonprofits, schools, faith organizations, and local governments turn their best ideas into validated strategies and promising practices. This year’s focus is on ending childhood hunger in the summer. Organizations selected for the first cohort will receive grants up to $10,000 and technical assistance from No Kid Hungry (NKH) to test a new model, strategy, or program designed to provide more kids with meals in the summer. Learn more and apply here

2. Native Youth and Culture Fund Grants, First Nations Development Institute 
Deadline: March 12
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is now accepting proposals for its Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF) for projects that focus on youth and incorporate culture and tradition to address social issues in Native communities. First Nations expects to award approximately 20 grants between $5,000 and $19,500 each for projects of no longer than one year in length. Learn more and apply here

3. Slow Food Plant a Seed Kits
Slow Food believes biodiversity is key to a sustainable, adaptable — and delicious — future. The Plant a Seed campaign gives you the tools to get amazing flavor back on your plate. The Plant a Seed kit features six seed packets: three from the Ark of Taste, and three from Row 7. There is a limited number of free kits available for school gardens, request one here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: NFSN National Partner of the Year - Intertribal Agriculture Council
Thursday, March 7 // 1-2 PM ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is excited to announce the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) as NFSN’s 2019 National Partner of the Year. The IAC, a non-profit, Tribal membership organization, serving all tribal producers and communities across the country, was established in 1987 to pursue and promote conservation, development and use of Indian agricultural resources for the betterment of Indian communities. Through intentional programmatic and policy advocacy collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to better connect NFSN and IAC members and continue growing farm to school in Native communities. Join this webinar to learn more about IAC and NFSN's collaboration and how members can get involved in this work. Register here.

2. Webinar: Summer Programs at School Gardens and Farms
Tuesday, March 26 // 1-2 PM PST
Looking for ideas to keep your school gardens tended and active during the summer? Are you thinking of new ways to bring garden-based learning to a community garden or farm site? Join SGSO for a webinar on the ins and outs of running kids day camp programs on educational gardens. Erin Jackson, Education Director at Gallatin Valley Farm to School, and Amy Carlson, Garden Education Director at Life Lab, will share their years of experience and resources for creating day camp programs. From promotions to post assessments and everything in between, this hour long webinar will provide you with inspiration and ideas to create or enhance summer programming on your educational garden or farm. Register here.


Resources & Research
1. EQUITY Conversation Guide: Talking about Racism, Racial Equity and Racial Healing 
Many people would like to talk about the impact of racism and the need for racial healing in our country, but don’t know where to start. W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Home Conversation Guide helps frame a respectful dialogue , where people and their experiences are recognized and affirmed. Developed in collaboration with racial healing practitioners from across the country, this guide includes: sample agreements participants create together for safe, healing spaces; conversation starters; paths for deeper sharing; and, ways to encourage bravery and willingness. View the conversation guide here

2. EQUITY New Report: $23 billion gap between white and nonwhite school districts
EdBuild has released a new report which examines school district revenues based on racial and socioeconomic characteristics at the national and state level. The report finds that nationally, predominantly white school districts receive $23 billion more than their nonwhite peers, despite serving a similar number of children. White school districts average revenue receipts of almost $14,000 per student, but nonwhite districts receive only $11,682. That’s a divide of over $2,200, on average, per student. Read EdBuild's full report here. Find more background information in this NPR article

3. Call for School Garden Vignettes
Do you have a school garden story that you would like to see published in a book collection for school garden researchers and practitioners? Organizers from the University of Oregon and University of Georgia would like to hear from you! They are inviting school garden practitioners to submit vignettes (short stories, narrative essays, creative works--poems, images, visual art, etc.) that showcase something you find valuable, challenging, enriching, surprising, or important about working with learners in school gardens. Contributors can be anyone who has experience working with school gardens in a K-12 context. Accepted contributions will be included in a book that links school garden research with practice. Contact Dr. Sarah Stapleton with questions and to submit an abstract (100-200 word description) by April 1st, 2019 at sstaplet@uoregon.edu.


Job Opportunities
1. Executive Director, Grow Portland (Portland, OR) 
Grow Portland is hiring a skilled Executive Director to guide the delivery of its school garden and healthy eating programs in Portland, Oregon. Grow Portland is the leading, local nonprofit organization dedicated to school garden education with more than 15 public school partners. Learn more and apply here

2. Administrative and Program Assistant, Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network (Eugene or remote in OR) 
This position will handle a wide range of administrative and program support related tasks for OFSSGN. The position is part-time starting at 12-15 hours a week and has the potential to increase hours as the need increases. Learn more and apply here

3. Marketing Specialist, San Francisco Unified School District (San Francisco, CA)
The Marketing Specialist will help create awareness with students and adults about the District’s groundbreaking efforts to improve the school meal experience. This work includes designing menus, developing and maintaining artifacts and various social media channels within SFUSD and the broader community, and leading creative marketing strategies to help grow and support SNS programs. Learn more and apply here

4. Dining Space Redesign Project Manager, San Francisco Unified School District (San Francisco, CA)
The Dining Space Redesign Project Manager will lead the expansion of this project from pilot to a districtwide initiative, reaching all SFUSD schools. This is a creative, detail oriented role that engages with people of all ages, from students, to vendors, to construction managers. Learn more and apply here.

5. AmeriCorps - Nutrition Educator, Clark County Food Bank (Vancouver, WA)
The Nutrition Educator will work to implement hands-on, interactive nutrition education to low-income children, teens, adults and families. Through teaching topics like healthy cooking, grocery shopping on a budget, and growing a portion of your own vegetables, the Nutrition Educator will build client skills and confidence in order to empower them to pull themselves out of poverty. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
African Day of School Feeding: Investing in Nutrition Education
An international example of farm to school! The fourth edition of the African Day of School Feeding was celebrated in Abidjan under the theme “Investing in home-grown school feeding for achieving Zero Hunger and sustaining inclusive education for all, including refugees, returnees and internally-displaced persons in Africa”. Around 200 representatives of governments, civil society, and UN agencies participated in the event, including 14 ministers and deputy ministers. (World Food Program)

Montana students grow veggies, meet farmers
A Montana school is serving fresh produce and herbs grown in on-campus garden beds as part of a farm-to-school program. The school also started a monthly "Farmer in the Classroom" series, which brings in local people involved in agriculture to speak to students. (Sidney Herald)

Oklahoma elementary students taste vegetables grown in tower garden
Freedom Elementary’s student council has been growing vegetables and herbs in the school’s tower garden. This is the third year they have had the tower garden at the school. (KSWO)
  
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: 2/26/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 26, 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. Test Kitchen Grant, No Kid Hungry
Deadline: March 15
The Test Kitchen is a concept accelerator designed to help nonprofits, schools, faith organizations, and local governments turn their best ideas into validated strategies and promising practices. This year’s focus is on ending childhood hunger in the summer. Organizations selected for the first cohort will receive grants up to $10,000 and technical assistance from No Kid Hungry (NKH) to test a new model, strategy, or program designed to provide more kids with meals in the summer. Learn more and apply here

2. Native Youth and Culture Fund Grants, First Nations Development Institute 
Deadline: March 12
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is now accepting proposals for its Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF) for projects that focus on youth and incorporate culture and tradition to address social issues in Native communities. First Nations expects to award approximately 20 grants between $5,000 and $19,500 each for projects of no longer than one year in length. Learn more and apply here


Webinars & Events
1. Farm to School Resource Roundup
Wednesday, February 27, 3-4 PM ET
Join us for the first ever National Farm to School Network (NFSN) Farm to School Resource Roundup Webinar. The February webinar will feature three new resources from NFSN that aim to increase equitable access to farm to school initiatives, including the NFSN Programs and Policy Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool; Supporting Farm to School with Non-Profit Hospital Community Benefit Dollars; and City & School District Farm to School Policy Opportunities. Register here.

2. Trending Topics Webinar: NFSN National Partner of the Year - Intertribal Agriculture Council
Thursday, March 7 // 1-2 PM ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is excited to announce the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) as NFSN’s 2019 National Partner of the Year. The IAC, a non-profit, Tribal membership organization, serving all tribal producers and communities across the country, was established in 1987 to pursue and promote conservation, development and use of Indian agricultural resources for the betterment of Indian communities. Through intentional programmatic and policy advocacy collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to better connect NFSN and IAC members and continue growing farm to school in Native communities. Join this webinar to learn more about IAC and NFSN's collaboration and how members can get involved in this work. Register here.

3. Northern Nevada School Wellness Conference
Saturday, March 16 // Reno, NV
The Nevada Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Division is excited to host its second Northern Nevada School Wellness Conference in Reno on March 16, 2019 at the Truckee Meadows Community College Dandini Campus. All administrators, school wellness coordinators, teachers, food service staff and community stakeholders are encouraged to attend! Register here.


Research & Resources 
1. Slow Food Plant a Seed Kits
Slow Food believes biodiversity is key to a sustainable, adaptable — and delicious — future. The Plant a Seed campaign gives you the tools to get amazing flavor back on your plate. The Plant a Seed kit features six seed packets: three from the Ark of Taste, and three from Row 7. There is a limited number of free kits available for school gardens, request one here.


Job Opportunities
1. Education Director, Lexington Community Farm Coalition (Lexington, MA)

The Lexington Community Farm (LexFarm) is seeking an Education Director to manage education programs. The Education Director will operate, implement, and teach education programs during the 2019 farm season in accordance with LexFarm’s calendar of programs and corresponding curricula. The Education Director will manage online sign-ups, day-of set up, scheduling, and instruction of farm and garden classes for a variety of ages. The Education Director will communicate with specialty program instructors to set up and schedule specialty programs. Learn more here.

2. Program Director, Edible Schoolyard (Berkeley, CA) 
The Edible Schoolyard Project is looking for an Program Director to oversee the management of the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley. The role will develop systems, procedures and structures that enable the team to provide the highest quality instruction to our diverse students. In addition, the Program Director will provide day-to-day direction for the Kitchen and Garden Managers and play a key role in the planning and execution of educator trainings and outreach. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Tennessee schools serve their own meat products
Pork produced at Central High School was served by students in every McMinn County School cafeteria on Tuesday, February 19. Specifically, 100 students from the county’s FFA chapters were present at all nine schools not only serving the locally raised and made sausage, but also educating their peers about the process. (The Daily Post-Athenian)

Kentucky students use aquaponics to “food deserts”
Students at a Kentucky middle school are maintaining an indoor aquaponics system where they can grow vegetables while learning about agriculture. The initiative is part of a student-led project to think of solutions for "food deserts" -- communities that are far from grocery stores and have limited access to fresh food. (Courier Journal)

New York school gets creative with local food in recipes
Students at a New York state school recently tasted muffins made from locally-produced beets as part of the district's farm-to-school program. School nutrition professionals prepare the local fare in creative ways, and previous recipes have included a kale apple salad, kale pesto and butternut squash macaroni-and-cheese. (27 East)

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.

Farm to ECE in Family Child Care

NFSN Staff Wednesday, February 20, 2019
By Elizabeth Esparza, Communications Intern

Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) is a group of strategies and activities that offer increased access to healthy, local foods, gardening opportunities, and food-based activities to enhance the quality of educational experience, while also expanding healthy food access and family engagement. Nearly one quarter of children spend time in family child care homes before they reach kindergarten. Because farm to ECE adapts readily to diverse settings and ages and abilities of children, farm to ECE is a great fit for family child care homes. 

In North Carolina, the Wake County Smart Start Farm to Child Care program is a collaboration of multiple organizations that work together to support child care facilities in Wake County that serve low-income families and children. The Farm to Child Care program supports ECE providers, children, and families in accessing  healthy, nutritious food. Comprised of Wake County Smart Start, Advocates for Health in Action, NC Cooperative Extension, and Shape NC, the Farm to Child Care program works together to support the almost 170 family child care home facilities in the county.

The program holds training to help child care providers better understand how to use what’s in season and to give them the skills to be able to move from canned to fresh and local food. Because family child care facilities don’t buy their food in large quantities, the Farm to Child Care program’s training focuses on diverse ways that family child care providers can obtain local foods, including directly from a local farmer and from an onsite garden. Overall, the program focuses on trainings that encourage family child care home facilities that want to focus on healthy living to make their programs holistic, incorporating the core elements of farm to ECE - local procurement, gardens, and food and nutrition education -  into multiple aspects of their program. 

In 2017, grants from the WK Kellogg Foundation brought together five organizations to form the Georgia Farm to ECE Learning Collaborative. Comprised of Georgia Organics, Quality Care for Children, Little Ones Learning Center, Voices for Georgia’s Children, and The Common Market, the collaborative partnership works to provide mini grants, free resources, materials, training, and professional development opportunities to early care providers interested in incorporating farm to ECE activities into their ECE environments, including educational activities and  meal services. 

Of the 18 Learning Collaborative sites throughout Georgia, eight are family child care homes. With support from the learning collaborative, these family child care homes create farm to ECE action plans, and receive on-site technical assistance in classrooms, training and professional development, menu consultation, and other resources to utilize in their programs. The Learning Collaborative sites are able to use the mini grants they receive to pay for books, materials, and professional development, offering them the opportunity to implement successful farm to ECE strategies into their programs.

Jackson Child Care uses their Farm to Table program to ensure that their children are ready for kindergarten, recognizing that 3-5 year olds are at the perfect age to use farm to ECE activities to align with standards. With the Creative Curriculum© as a foundation , the Farm to Table program uses farm to ECE activities to meet Virginia’s early learning standards for math, language/reading, art, and physical and cognitive development. A large part of Jackson Child Care’s program involves bringing the children out in the community and using community connections to help children learn about their food system and gain support and resources to make Farm to Table successful. Through field trips to local grocery stores and farmers markets, children are able to see and hear where their food comes from and interact with the people who grow and sell their food.

To learn more about the opportunities and benefits of farm to ECE in family child care homes, watch a recording of our February 2019 Trending Topics Webinar: Farm to Early Care and Education in Family Child Care.  Also check out USDA Team Nutrition's new version of it's popular Grow It, Try It, Like It! nutrition education materials, specifically for family child care homes. The resource has been updated and customized with posters, fruit and vegetable cards and recipes for for use by family child care homes. Download the resource here. Learn more about farm to ECE and Creative Curriculum© in Policy Equity Group’s A Guide to Using the Creative Curriculum to Support Farm to ECE Models

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