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This Week in farm to school: 4/26/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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

Webinars & Events
1. Register today! National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
June 2-4, 2016 // Madison, Wisconsin 
Don’t miss the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it a crucial leadership development opportunity to advance community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Event organizers expect more than 1,500 attendees, and the last event sold out before the registration deadline, so don’t wait. Registration closes May 16. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.

2. Webinar: How to Successfully Implement Salad Bars in Your School Cafeteria

Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools
Thursday, April 28, 3pm ET

School salad bars are one of the easiest ways to meet the fruit and vegetable standards for school lunch, increase participation in the lunch program, reduce plate waste and increase student’s fruit and vegetable consumption. The Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative has donated salad bars to more than 4,500 schools nationwide and has resources to help schools successfully implement salad bars. Hear from school food service directors about their experience with salad bars and how you can apply for salad bars from LMSB2S. Register here

3. Webinar: Farm to Summer: Incorporating local foods in Summer Food Service Programs

MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
May 3, 2016 2:00-3:30 pm ET
Summer Food Service Programs can be an ideal time to start looking at local purchasing. At the height of the Michigan farming season, there is more local product available than at any other time in the year. Farmers are often willing to sell seconds or bulk surpluses at a discounted rate, and what better way to take advantage of those than in your Summer Food Service Program! Join the Michigan Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, and MSU Center for Regional Food Systems for an interactive and informative webinar covering all things Farm to Summer. Hear about farm to summer programs happening in Michigan, learn how to incorporate local purchasing into your site’s meal program, and see how Farm to Summer programs can increase nutritional quality of meals and boost participation rates. Register here

4. Webinar: School Garden Education for Children Experiencing Behavioral and Mental Health Challenges
Slow Food USA
Tuesday, May 17, 2pm ET
School Gardens for students with behavioral and mental health challenges provide interesting opportunities to develop positive and empowering life skills. The Creeks School Garden in Portland Oregon integrates practical education theory and methods into tangible, thoughtful teaching exercises that results in dynamic behavioral changes. The Creeks School Garden team will describe: the learning characteristics of these special children, their school settings, the importance of community partnerships, and specific activities that help these student’s gain confidence and develop productive collaborative relationships. Learn more here

5. USDA's Minority Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee
May 10-12 // New Orleans
Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Office of Advocacy and Outreach is announcing a meeting of the Minority Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee. The committee is being convened to consider issues involving minorities. The members will deliberate on recommendations to be prepared for USDA Secretarial consideration. The meeting will be open to the public. Public written comments for the committee's consideration may be submitted by close of business on May 6. More details here

6. Call for Proposals: School Food FOCUS 2016 National Gathering

December 6-8, 2016 // Braselton, Georgia 
School Food FOCUS is seeking proposals that demonstrate how more healthful, regional and sustainable school food can drive food systems change. They seek innovative and dynamic speakers who can share the opportunities and challenges of institutional procurement. Ideal proposals will highlight inspirational success stories and emphasize the importance of equitable food access for all children. All proposals should be submitted to the online form by Friday, May 27, 2016. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. Survey Results: Farm to School in Early Care and Education Builds Healthy Kids with Bright Futures
In 2015, the National Farm to School Network surveyed early care and education providers across the country. Nearly 1,500 providers serving 183,369 young children in 49 states and Washington, D.C., responded and shared fascinating insight into the important work that they are doing to connect young children to healthy, local foods and food related educational opportunities. The results show that farm to school in early care and education is on the rise across the country. 54% of respondents are already doing farm to school activities and another 28% plan to start in the near future. A new infographic and factsheet are available with more survey results. To see the results and learn how the National Farm to School Network is working to expand farm to school in early care and education, visit farmtoschool.org/earlychildhood

2. CDC Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity: Data, Trends and Maps 
The CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity's Data, Trends and Maps online tool allows you to search for and view indicators related to nutrition, physical activity and obesity. You can search on the basis of a specific location or an indicator. Access this powerful data tool here.

3. Engagement and Cultural Competence Webinar Recording
Suzanne Bronheim, PhD from the National Center for Cultural Competence presented "Community Engagement to Address Cultural Competence" on March 31st.  During this thought-provoking and practical webinar, Bronheim discusses the difference between community engagement and community outreach, cultural brokering, and specific strategies program managers can use for engaging diverse communities.  This was the third cultural competence webinar provided by the National Center during the Healthy Places for Kids to Eat (HPKE) project. The HPKE project is part of a cooperative agreement between ASPHN and CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Watch the recording here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Executive Director, West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition
The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial, committed leader to help build and support West Virginia’s rapidly growing local food system. The position of WVFFC Executive Director is one that advocates for sound legislative policy to benefit West Virginia farmers and consumers, builds stakeholder partnerships, and continues the Coalition’s success in promoting food and agriculture as a critical part of West Virginia’s economy. Learn more here


Farm to school in the news
A Model Network: The National Farm to School Network - shout out to Anupama Joshi, NFSN Executive Director and Co-Founder! 
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group has profiled the National Farm to School Network as a model network on their blog. Read how our strategies of connecting people with information, policy advocacy and networking have supported the growth of the farm to school movement across the country. Read more here

Bill aims for slow food to simmer in La. schools - shout out to Katie Mularz, Louisiana State Lead! 
Louisiana Sen. Francis Thompson wants to incorporate a farm to school program in all Louisiana public schools. Thompson's Senate Bill 240, which overwhelmingly passed by the Senate last week, would require such a program be developed and implemented by the state departments of education and agriculture. (via The News Star)

Students use love of science & nutrition to help others enjoy healthier school lunches
Mays High School in Atlanta, Ga. uses aquaponics and hydroponics to grow year round herbs and vegetables and teach students about healthy eating. School officials say the program allows student to apply cutting edge, economical and sustainable methods that yield safe and nutritious food in Atlanta Public Schools cafeterias. (via Fox 5 Atlanta)

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: 4/19/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 19, 2016

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

Grants & Funding
1. USDA Grants for Food Safety Training, Outreach and Technical Assistance
The USDA has announced the availability of $4.7 million in grants for food safety education, training, 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, small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers, food hubs, farmers' markets, and others. The grants, offered through the Food Safety Outreach Program and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), are designed to help these stakeholders comply with new food safety guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Register today! National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
June 2-4, 2016 // Madison, Wisconsin 
Don’t miss the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it a crucial leadership development opportunity to advance community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Event organizers expect more than 1,500 attendees, and the last event sold out before the registration deadline, so don’t wait. Registration closes May 16. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.

2. Webinars: USDA Traditional Foods in Native Communities Webinar Series

This spring, USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems is hosting a four-part webinar series focused on integrating farm to school strategies in native communities. Each webinar will feature a guest speaker who will share tips, stories and best practices for keeping local food traditions alive in child nutrition programs that serve tribal populations. The second webinar is coming up: Incorporating Traditional Foods in Child Nutrition Program Menus on April 20, at 3pm EDT. Learn more and register here

3. Webinar: Food Systems Change through Procurement Policy

Wednesday, April 27th, 2:00-3:30 pm ET
Join FoodPolicyNetworks.org and Chesapeake Foodshed Network for an overview of the Center for a Livable Future’s recent report, Instituting Change, which examines the benefits and barriers to increased institutional procurement of regionally and sustainably produced food. Hear findings from a recent analysis of the economic potential for regional food procurement among institutions in the Chesapeake region. Finally, learn about the Center for Good Food Purchasing and implementation of the Center’s Good Food Purchasing Policy in Chicago and the Twin Cities. Register here

4. Webinar: How to Evaluate Economic Benefits of Local Food Systems

Thursday, April 28, 3pm ET
Local and regional food systems are helping revitalize rural and urban communities across the country.  The authors of a new USDA guide to evaluate the economic impacts of investing in farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), food hubs, and other local food systems will discuss the toolkit during a free webinar. The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices, developed by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in cooperation with Colorado State University (CSU), uses real-world projects, experiences, and applied research to help community leaders, planners, economic development specialists, public agencies, and private businesses or foundations evaluate the economic benefits of local and regional food systems. Register here

5. Webinar: How to Successfully Implement Salad Bars in Your School Cafeteria
Thursday, April 28, 3pm ET
School salad bars are one of the easiest ways to meet the fruit and vegetable standards for school lunch, increase participation in the lunch program, reduce plate waste and increase student’s fruit and vegetable consumption. The Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative has donated salad bars to more than 4,500 schools nationwide and has resources to help schools successfully implement salad bars. Hear from school food service directors about their experience with salad bars and how you can apply for salad bars from LMSB2S. Register here

Research & Resources
1. Survey Results: Farm to School in Early Care and Education Builds Healthy Kids with Bright Futures
In 2015, the National Farm to School Network surveyed early care and education providers across the country. Nearly 1,500 providers serving 183,369 young children in 49 states and Washington, D.C., responded and shared fascinating insight into the important work that they are doing to connect young children to healthy, local foods and food related educational opportunities. The results show that farm to school in early care and education is on the rise across the country. 54% of respondents are already doing farm to school activities and another 28% plan to start in the near future. A new infographic and factsheet are available with more survey results. To see the results and learn how the National Farm to School Network is working to expand farm to school in early care and education, visit farmtoschool.org/earlychildhood

2. New Community Action Model

Active Living By Design developed its initial Community Action Model and “5P” strategies (Preparation, Promotion, Programs, Policy and Physical Projects) as an evidence-informed framework for increasing active living and healthy eating in communities through comprehensive and integrated strategies. This new model highlights the importance of a community’s context, defines six essential practices that undergird success and focuses the action approach from the original 5Ps to our new 3P approach (Partner, Prepare and Progress). It also presents some expected impacts. This updated model can be useful to community coalitions and local leaders seeking a collaborative approach to creating healthier places and to funders seeking a tested approach for local investments. Learn more here

3. ChopChop: The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families
The award-winning ChopChop Magazine is an engaging tool for teaching kids about food and where it comes from, cooking, nutrition and health. Inspire and teach kids to cook real food through delicious, kid-tested recipes, fun food facts and puzzles, gardening activities and games to keep kids moving. Teachers use ChopChop as part of wellness and nutrition education programs throughout the country. Available in English and Spanish and endorsed by the Academy of Pediatrics, ChopChop is a quarterly magazine and does not contain any advertising. You can purchase a 1-year subscription (4 issues) for just $14.95. Teachers can purchase a special classroom package of 30 copies for $40 (shipping and handling included). Each teacher package includes curriculum which includes classroom activities, printables and math lessons in math, science, ELA and social studies. Download a free sample of ChopChop curriculum here.  ChopChop can also be purchased in large quantities of boxes of 50 copies for $65/box (includes shipping). For more information on custom programs and pricing, please contact Evilee Ebb at ev@chopchopmag.org. 


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Farm to Early Education Program Specialist, Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children
The Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children seeks a Farm to Early Education Program Specialist to implement its Farm to Early Education program and develop a statewide Farm to Early Education Coalition. Learn more and apply here

2. Nutritionist, Food and Nutrition Service

Food and Nutrition Service seeks a Nutritionist in its Child Nutrition Program. This position will including work on Team Nutrition materials to support the CACFP. Application closes April 25, 2016. Learn more here


Farm to school in the news
Teams compete for top prize in first Farm to School cook off
School cooks in Maine recently faced off in a farm to school cook off. The teams followed their own recipes and used locally sourced ingredients to create both breakfast and lunch meals. Two more competitions like this are lined up over the next month.  All of the recipes will be collected and put into a cookbook for Maine schools. (via WCSH6)

Eating local: Farm to School creates student learning from gardens to cafeterias
Nutrition education is homegrown in the Ferguson-Florissant School District (Mo.), where Kelly Bristow leads farm to school programming that gives children of all ages an appreciation of food and nutrition – from farm to plate. (via The St.Louis American)

Revamped School Garden Grows Veggies, Interest in Many Subjects
A school in New Jersey has discovered that student and faculty energy plus community-minded businesses and strong vision can be transformed into an outdoor classroom for teaching students about living off the land in a healthy manner. (via Cape May County Herald


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. 

The Results Are In: Farm to School in Early Childhood Supports Healthy Kids with Bright Futures

NFSN Staff Wednesday, April 13, 2016
By Lacy Stephens, Farm to Early Care and Education Associate



With 8 million children spending an average of 33 hours per week in early care and education settings, farm to school has the potential to set up a great number of young children for a lifetime of health and wellness. New survey results from the National Farm to School Network show just that: farm to school in early childhood is promoting healthy eating habits and providing high quality learning environments for thousands of children at a critical stage of development. 

In 2015, the National Farm to School Network surveyed early care and education providers across the country to better understand current initiatives, motivations and challenges in applying farm to school activities in early care and education settings. Nearly 1,500 providers serving 183,369 young children in 49 states and Washington, D.C., responded and shared insight into the important work that they are doing to connect young children to healthy, local foods and food related educational opportunities. 

We found that more than 50 percent of respondents were already incorporating farm to school activities into their early care and education settings and another 28 percent plan to start in the future. That means thousands of young children are benefiting from farm to school activities like learning where food comes from, planting and tending gardens, and eating locally grown food in meals and snacks. 



Teachers and early care providers agree that farm to school activities help create high quality learning environments that promote life long health and wellness, which are important priorities for children, providers and parents. Respondents identified these as their top three motivations for participating in farm to school:   

  • Teaches children about where food comes from and how it is grown (95%)
  • Improves children’s healthy (95%)
  • Provides children with experiential learning (94%)
One child care provider summed it up this way: “The farm to preschool movement makes our programs better in every way.” Farm to school activities are helping early care and education providers reach their goals of setting young children up for a lifetime of health and success. 



Want to learn more about the survey results and the role of farm to early care and education in supporting healthy kids and high quality educational opportunities? The National Farm to School Network has developed an infographic and fact sheet highlighting key information from the survey. A complete summary of the survey results will be available in mid-May. 

Help us reach reach more young kids, families, providers and communities with the many benefits of farm to school for all ages. Share the results of the survey with 5 people you know who care about our next generation, join the National Farm to School Network and connect with farm to school and early care and education leaders in your region. Get started by clicking below! 

Explore the results

2016 Innovation Awardees

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 12, 2016

As the backbone organization for the U.S. farm to school movement, the National Farm to School Network has the privilege to work with some of the country’s most enthusiastic, invested and creative organizations and individuals toward a future where all children, farmers and communities have the opportunity to benefit from farm to school activities. Our Core Partners are the farm to school leaders bringing these strategies into schools and communities at the state and regional level, expanding our capacity to keep this grassroots movement growing across the country.

With funding support from Newman’s Own Foundation and Farm Credit, the National Farm to School Network presented Innovation Awards in February 2016 to three new projects by our Core Partners in Georgia, the Great Lakes and the Northeast in celebration of their efforts to advance farm to school and to share their knowledge with practitioners. This year’s theme, Engaging Farmers and Producers in Farm to School, inspired projects that will use creative approaches to outreach and resource development to bring new farmers and producers into the farm to school movement.  

Projects will take place throughout 2016, and each will result in the creation of shareable information resources for farmers and farm to school practitioners about innovative strategies to engage farmers that can be used across the country. From sustainable fisheries to preschool pop-up markets, the following projects will highlight creative farm to school approaches that can inspire new opportunities in your community:

Sea to School in New England
Maine Farm to School, Massachusetts Farm to School, New Hampshire Farm to School
Award: $5,000 // Estimated completion by October 2016
Three Northeast states will create a Sea to School resource guide based on New England efforts including: case studies, best practices, recipes and an educational video appropriate for elementary school classrooms about sustainable fishing and aquaculture in the Gulf of Maine. To the extent possible, farmers/fishers will be engaged in this project and sea to school work through state and regional conferences and events throughout 2016. 
 
Growing Farm to School by Sharing Farmer Stories

University of Wisconsin, Madison - Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
Award: $5,000 // Estimated completion by October 2016
The six Great Lakes states will team up to develop a series of short videos featuring conversations between regional farmers and food service directors who have good working relationships. This series of professionally filmed and edited videos will highlight a diverse collection of farmers, production methods, success stories and relationships between farmers and food service directors.

Pop-Up School Market: Engaging Farmers at Preschools
Georgia Organics
Award: $5,000 // Estimated completion by December 2016
This project will pilot 10 pop-up farmers markets at childcare facilities across Georgia as direct marketing opportunities for small/medium family farmers, while engaging parents in farm to school through incentives to purchase, cook and eat healthy farm fresh food at home. Nutrition education and cooking demonstrations will be provided at the pop-up markets, and to the extent possible, farmers will be able to accept WIC vouchers. A shareable guide to pop-up markets will be produced as part of the project.

View an overview of the 2016 and 2015 Innovation Awards here

Help support more innovative ideas like these by making a donation to the National Farm to School Network. Your donations mean more healthy meals for students, more opportunities for farmers and more communities connecting around local food.
 
Help farm to school grow by making a donation today! 

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This Week in farm to school: 4/12/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 12, 2016

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

Grants & Funding
1. Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools
The Chef Ann Foundation has $250,000 available to support school lunchroom learning programs. Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools is a grant program designed to help increase kids’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables and create experiential nutrition education when and where students make their food choices: in the cafeteria. The $2,500 one-year grants support food costs to incorporate school-wide fruit and vegetable tastings into the school's nutrition program. Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is eligible to apply. Grants will be determined on an ongoing basis depending on available funding; there is no application deadline. Learn more here. An information webinar about applying for the grants will be offered on Wednesday, April 27 from 4-5pm ET. Register here


Webinars & Events
1. Register today! National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
June 2-4, 2016 // Madison, Wisconsin 
Don’t miss the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it a crucial leadership development opportunity to advance community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Early bird registration is open now, including pre-conference short courses and field trips. Event organizers expect more than 1,500 attendees, and the last event sold out before the registration deadline, so don’t wait. Registration closes May 16. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.

2. Webinar: School Food FOCUS
The Raw Deal: Strategies for Handling Fresh Poultry
April 13, 1-2 pm EST
Interested in procuring fresh poultry for your PK-12 school district but not quite sure how to get started? Don't be held back from integrating fresh poultry into your menus. Learn how to create a culture of food safety and hear directly from the experts as they share tips and resources for success. School Food FOCUS is a national collaborative that leverages the knowledge and procurement power of large school districts to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced. Register here

3. Webinars: USDA Traditional Foods in Native Communities Webinar Series
This spring, USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems is hosting a four-part webinar series focused on integrating farm to school strategies in native communities. Each webinar will feature a guest speaker who will share tips, stories and best practices for keeping local food traditions alive in child nutrition programs that serve tribal populations. The second webinar is coming up: Incorporating Traditional Foods in Child Nutrition Program Menus on April 20, at 3pm EDT. Learn more and register here

4. Call for Breakout Proposals: Southern Obesity Summit
November 13-15 // Houston, Texas
The Southern Obesity Summit (SOS) is the largest regional obesity prevention event in the United States, drawing hundreds of participants from 16 Southern States consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.  Together, these states join forces to fight obesity. Share your insights and expertise with your peers at this event. Breakout proposals will be accepted through May 13. Learn more here

5. School Garden Teacher Training, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center
OAEC’s School Garden Teacher Training supports your school in creating and sustaining garden-based ecological literacy programs and helps you build a strong cohort of colleagues. Our residential training is for individuals or teams of teachers, garden educators, administrators and core parent volunteers. Two trainings will be held: June 20-24, 2016 and July 11-15, 2016. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. New eBook: Teaching in Nature's Classroom: Core Principles of Garden-Based Education
In this publication, veteran farm and garden educator Nathan Larson shares a philosophy of teaching in the garden through fifteen guiding principles and engaging stories from the field. The book features vivid paintings by mural artist Becky Redelings, an inspiring foreword by Whitney Cohen of Life Lab, and connections to the research literature provided by Alex Wells and Dr. Sam Dennis of the Environmental Design Lab at UW-Madison. Thanks to generous public health funding, free ebook editions are currently available. Visit the Wisconsin School Garden Network at www.wischoolgardens.org to learn more about this publication and other free school garden resources.


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Farm to School Manager, Colonial School District
Colonial School District in New Castle, Delaware seeks a Farm to School Manager in its Nutrition Services department. This position is responsible, but not limited to, connecting & managing agricultural education programs to our Penn Farm initiative, managing and operating farm duties, organizing logistics and planning for CSA, farm to table, and school garden programs, support in grant writing, maintaining budgets, data collection of harvest records, plant yields and promoting healthy food programs into schools. Application closes April 14. Learn more and apply here

2. Vote: USDA Farm to School “One in a Melon” Awards
Know a school district in your state with a great farm to school program? Nominate them for a USDA Farm to School Award! USDA is currently running a friendly contest to designate a “One in a Melon” award winner in every state. Voting takes place via the USDA Farm to School Census website. The contest runs through April 15th. Find your school district here and vote today!


Farm to school in the news
Fulton, Mo. schools ahead of curve on food
Lawmakers in Missouri are considering legislation that would require school districts to source 10% of their food locally by December 2019. School nutrition professionals in one district describe steps they took to join the national farm to school trend. (via Fulton Sun)

Students stock schools with produce
This farm to school program has students getting their hands dirty while feeding lunchrooms with hundreds of pounds of fresh produce from the Hub at the Horizon Center in Gainesville, Fla. (via WCJB-TV)

Farm To School - Great Food Local
Strawberry farmers, representative from the Arkansas Children’s Hospital and USDA, county extension personnel and other stakeholders recently gathered to promote and brainstorm ideas to grow farm to school programs in their state. (via Newport Independent

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: 4/5/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 05, 2016

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

Webinars & Events
1. Register today! National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
June 2-4, 2016 // Madison, Wisconsin 
Don’t miss the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it a crucial leadership development opportunity to advance community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Early bird registration is open now, including pre-conference short courses and field trips. Event organizers expect more than 1,500 attendees, and the last event sold out before the registration deadline, so don’t wait. Registration closes May 16. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.

2. Growing Power Conference: Request for Proposals
November 18-20, 2016 // Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Save the date for Growing Power’s Urban and Small Farms Conference, to be held Nov. 18-20 in Milwaukee, Wis. The theme for the 2016 conference is "Let’s Scale It Up! Growing Food and Farmers: Best Practices in Growing, Distribution and Community Building”. The Request for Proposals is open through April 15. Registration is now open. Learn more here

3. Webinars: USDA Traditional Foods in Native Communities Webinar Series
This spring, USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems will host a four-part webinar series focused on integrating farm to school strategies in native communities. Each webinar will feature a guest speaker who will share tips, stories and best practices for keeping local food traditions alive in child nutrition programs that serve tribal populations. The first webinar will be: What Does Farm to School Look Like in Native American Communities? on April 6 at 3pm EST. Learn more and register here

4. Webinar: USDA Planning for Farm to School Success Series
Curriculum Integration
April 7, 2pm EDT
Experiential education is an important component of successful farm to school programs. This webinar will help you plan for your farm to school educational efforts and brainstorm food, agriculture, and nutrition-related educational activities with which you can engage students. Register here


Research & Resources
1. 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
As part of a commitment to racial equity and food justice, Food Solutions New England is working to normalize the conversation about race and racism. This exercise, originally developed by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. and Debby Irving, is about creating dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of power, privilege, and leadership. Participation in an activity like the Racial Equity Challenge helps people learn how to engage the complex problems that exist in the food system, and become better leaders. The 21-day challenge starts on April 10. Learn more and sign on here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Director of Program Strategy & Operations, School Food FOCUS
School Food FOCUS (FOCUS) is a national collaborative that leverages the procurement power of large school districts to make school meals across the country more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced. FOCUS seeks a dynamic, organized leader to direct program development and implementation during an exciting period of growth for the organization. The Director of Program Strategy & Operations will oversee all aspects of program design, delivery, and assessment for FOCUS Learning Labs, in addition to managing a growing staff and team of consultants. Learn more here

2. Nutritionist, Food and Nutrition Service

Team Nutrition is looking for creative Nutritionists, with excellent project management skills, to join their team in the Nutrition Education and Promotion Branch of the Child Nutrition Programs at the Food and Nutrition Service. This position closes April 11. Learn more and apply here

3. Education & Outreach Specialist, Washington State Department of Ag
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is seeking a farm to institution specialist to work with a dynamic and energetic WSDA team to increase use of locally-grown fruits and vegetables in state agencies, employee cafeterias, preschools, senior programs and other institutions. Learn more and apply here

4. Executive Director, Growing Gardens
Growing Gardens seeks a highly skilled and passionate individual to serve as Executive Director and uphold our mission to strengthen people and communities to grow their own food. Growing Gardens accomplishes this through a Home Gardens program working with families, a Youth Grow program in local schools, the Lettuce Grow program serving inmates in Oregon’s correctional facilities, and educational workshops. Learn more and apply here


Farm to school in the news
How One South Lake Tahoe School Got Kids To Love Salad
A South Lake Tahoe, Calif. school is growing its own fresh and healthy food year-round with the help of two Sierra Growing Dome greenhouses. Teachers say they see a noticable difference in kids who have taken classes in the domes since starting school - they're opting for many more vegetables at lunchtime. (via KUNR Public Radio)

From Garden to Cafeteria: Students learn to grow healthy food
Budding gardeners in 50 Atlanta Public Schools are growing food to help feed the district’s 45,000 students. “I can’t wait to see my friends in the lunch room eating our radishes,” said Maynard H. Jackson High School senior, Caston Noorullah. (via Atlanta INtown Paper)

A Burgeoning Effort to Restore Native Foods in an Unlikely Food Desert

The salmon and berries that once nourished a network of tribes in California’s Klamath Basin are now scarce. This effort with youth hopes to reverse the trend. (via Civil Eats)

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: 3/29/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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

Grants & Funding
1. Action for Healthy Kids: Breakfast and Game On Grants
Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) is now accepting School Grants for Healthy Kids applications for the 2016-2017 school year. Up to 550 schools will receive School Breakfast grant awards ranging from $500 to $5,000 to support increased breakfast participation. 500 schools will be awarded Game On grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 for physical activity and nutrition initiatives. Applications are due April 1, 2016. Learn more and apply here

2. Aetna Foundation: 2016 Cultivating Healthy Communities Grant Program
The Aetna Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its 2016 Cultivating Healthy Communities grant program. Aetna Foundation recognize that health is local: it begins in our homes, schools, jobs, and neighborhoods. By creating more chances to make healthy choices in these places, we can empower whole communities to lead healthier lives. With this RFP, they seek to fund programs that will increase opportunities for health in underserved, low-income communities. The five target areas are: Healthy Behaviors; Community Safety; Built Environment; Social/Economic Factors; and, Environmental Exposures. This will be a highly competitive, multi-staged funding opportunity and application process.  All Stage 1 applications must be received by April 15 at 3pm ET. Learn more here

3. Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools
The Chef Ann Foundation has $250,000 available to support school lunchroom learning programs. Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools is a grant program designed to help increase kids’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables and create experiential nutrition education when and where students make their food choices: in the cafeteria. The $2,500 one-year grants support food costs to incorporate school-wide fruit and vegetable tastings into the school's nutrition program. Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is eligible to apply. Grants will be determined on an ongoing basis depending on available funding; there is no application deadline. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Early Bird Discount Ends March 31
Don’t miss the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it a crucial leadership development opportunity to advance community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Early bird registration is open now, including pre-conference short courses and field trips. Event organizers expect more than 1,500 attendees, and the last event sold out before the registration deadline, so don’t wait. The early bird discount ends March 31. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.

2. Vermont FEED Training: A Dairy for Every Classroom, July 2016
A Dairy for Every Classroom is a professional development course intended for middle, high school, and career and technical education teachers who are looking to deepen or expand their personal knowledge, curricular connections, and project-based learning opportunities related to dairy agriculture and the contributions the industry makes to the health of people and their communities. This course has been developed with the needs of teachers in mind and will provide teachers the time and ability to focus on projects of their choice, as well as opportunities to learn from colleagues and experts from the field.  Utilizing a unique learning format, the course includes a three-day residential intensive at Vermont Technical College in July; an independent work project period; and a two-day curriculum retreat at Shelburne Farms in late September. Learn more and apply here

3. 2016 Sustainable Agriculture Education Association National Conference
July 29–31, 2016 // Santa Cruz, California
When it comes to food and agriculture education that is experiential, interdisciplinary, and systems-based, the SAEA conference strives to walk the talk. The SAEA champions innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture through the development, application, and research of teaching and learning practices. The goal of the conference is to connect educators, teachers, students, apprentices, staff, and administrators who focus on teaching and learning at the adult level. Presentation proposal submissions are accepted through April 17. Learn more here

4. Webinars: USDA Traditional Foods in Native Communities Webinar Series
This spring, USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems will host a four-part webinar series focused on integrating farm to school strategies in native communities. Each webinar will feature a guest speaker who will share tips, stories and best practices for keeping local food traditions alive in child nutrition programs that serve tribal populations. The first webinar will be: What Does Farm to School Look Like in Native American Communities? on April 6 at 3pm EST. Learn more and register here


Research & Resources
1. Toolkit: The Economics of Local Food Systems
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has realized a new resource created by the USDA and Colorado State University that will help communities and businesses evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local food systems. The Local Food System Toolkit provides detailed guidance in seven modules to measure and assess the expected economic impacts of local food investments. Using real-world projects, experiences, and applied research, it provides grounded, credible, and useable assessment methods. The Local Food System Toolkit can be used by policy makers, community leaders, private businesses or foundations to offer specific estimates that will help them decide whether to invest in initiatives that increase local food activity. Download the toolkit here.  

2. How to Track State Legislation: A Guide to Understanding the Process
This guide explains generally how a bill makes its way through the legislative process and how to track a bill though this process. It also provides links to every state legislature website and their session dates for 2016. Please note: this resource was created by CQ Roll Call, a for-profit entity, and is an advertisement for their StateTrack legislation tracking system. Even so, it is a helpful and concise resource if you are looking to start working on state policy. Download the resource here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Agricultural Marketing Specialist II (Farm to School Coordinator), State of South Carolina Department of Agriculture
The Farm to School Coordinator will plan, develop  and  implement the SC Farm to School Program. Responsibilities include working with grants, providing training and technical assistance for the program, identifying training and technical assistance voids in the Farm to School community and filling these needs by modifying existing resources and/or creating new program offerings. Learn more and apply at www.jobs.sc.gov. Application closes April 7.

2. FoodCorps Service Member Application Closes March 31
Are you a leader passionate about healthy food, farms and kids? Become a FoodCorps service member! FoodCorps recruits talented leaders for a year of paid public service building healthy school food environments in limited-resource communities. Applications are due by March 31, 2016 at 6pm PT. Learn more and apply here

3. Farm to ECE Professional Development Opportunities
The Penn State Extension Better Kid Care (BKC) Program provides professional development opportunities for early learning and care professionals who are caring for children, ages 0-8. All modules are also accepted for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential and CEUs are available for completed lessons (10 hours = 1 CEU) and are approved for professional development credit in 40 states and the District of Columbia. There are several modules available that address the goals of the Farm to Early Care and Education program. These include Fresh Harvest: Children Grow in the Garden, Children Can Cook!, Healthy and Hunger Free Children: Resources for Families: Let’s Move Child Care Obesity Prevention Series and Get Outdoors, Explore! Content for each two-hour module is available free of charge. There is a $5.00 fee for a certificate of completion. Visit http://extension.psu.edu/youth/betterkidcare for more information. 

4. Help Update The Real Food Standards
The national student-led Real Food Standards Council is undertaking the project of updating the Real Food Criteria—the standards by which we define ‘real food’ for hundreds of universities. Everyone is invited to participate in the revision process. The public comment forum will be open  until April 1, 2016. Your feedback and commentary will be considered by the student-led National Real Food Standards Council. This council is guided by a growing team of  industry and movement veterans generously serving as advisors to the project. Submit your feedback here
 

Farm to school in the news
A Local Apple a Day... Benefits Kids, Farmers and the Environment
The New York State legislature is reviewing a proposal that would reward school districts for sourcing locally grown ingredients in school lunches. The proposal, which is the first of its kind, would reimburse schools an extra five to twenty-five cents per meal for dedicating more of their purchasing budgets to local food. (via Huffington Post Blog)

Farm to School efforts growing in Nebraska
Preschoolers at five grade schools in Lincoln, Neb. will get their hands dirty this spring, thanks to a USDA Farm to School Grant. In addition to gardening, Lincoln Public Schools will use the grant to expand local food purchases and take students on farm field trips. (via Lincoln Journal Star)

School gardens becoming more popular
Prairie View Elementary in Eden Prairie, Minn., built its first edible with several garden beds in 2012. Within the last year, the school has also added three indoor tower gardens and four cold frame gardens that extend the growing season. It’s an example of a large number of school gardens sprouting up and expanding around the country. (via Eden Prairie News)

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

We agree: child nutrition programs should be about making kids healthier

NFSN Staff Thursday, March 24, 2016
By Donna Martin, EdS, RDN, LD, SNS, FAND, School Nutrition Program Director, Burke County Board of Education and Incoming President-Elect of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Erin McGuire, Policy Director, National Farm to School Network



We couldn’t agree more: child nutrition programs should be about raising a generation of healthy kids. A recent article published in Politico’s The Agenda makes the case that the Child Nutrition Act (CNA) historically has supported farmers not children, stating, “The School Lunch Act, in fact, has served a scrum of agricultural and other interests for the entire 70 years it has existed, each angling for a bigger share of the federal lunch plate.” With this statement we take no issue – agriculture has long had a vested interest in child nutrition programs and what goes on the plate of future consumers. 

The author further elaborates on the USDA Farm to School Grant Program saying,  “Nor is it clear how kids will be aided by grants to ‘increase awareness of, and participation in, farm to school programs.” This could not be further from the truth unfolding at farm to school sites across the country. In this multi-billion dollar bill that historically has served to put calories – of any kind – on the plates of children, advocates have fought hard to put in place programs that support nutrition education like the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. 

The USDA Farm to School Program was established with a $5 million allocation in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the last iteration of CNA). The program helps schools and other eligible entities support farm to school activities in their communities. Supported activities include identifying community stakeholders, purchasing product from local and regional farmers and processors, building school gardens, taste-testing curricula and farm field trips. The program has been incredibly successful, having a 5-1 demand to supply ratio, with 75 percent of grants made to schools, education and public health agencies, and non-profits. 

On the frontlines, communities are experiencing incredible behavior change and nutrition benefits from incorporating farm to school activities.  In Georgia, we have increased student consumption of green leafy vegetables with the addition of local collard greens – a farmer went so far as to tweak his soil to grow less bitter greens for our students! And we did away with french fries in the cafeteria after students went crazy for roasted red ranch potatoes purchased from a local grower. This isn’t just what we have seen in Georgia and across the country – it’s what the data shows. Students who participate in farm to school activities eat more fruits and vegetables, are willing to try new foods, consume less unhealthy foods and sodas and choose healthier options in the cafeteria and at home. 



In the delicate state of the CNA’s Reauthorization this year, those who support this win-win strategy for students, farmers and communities have managed to eke out another $5 million dollars for this important grant program in the Senate draft. In a tough fiscal climate, Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow have prioritized support for farm to school programs that help children, and in many rural areas, also support farming families. We commend the Senate Agriculture Committee’s leadership during this reauthorizing year – yes, they brokered a deal, and it included an increase in summer feeding programs (one of the most vulnerable times for hungry children) and protected healthy meal standards for children. Those mired in the fight for better child nutrition support swift passage of this bill in the Senate, because decisions impacting the health of our future generation should not be delayed any further. 

The National Farm to School Network, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have made policy recommendations to increase the flexibility of potential recipients of USDA Farm to School Grants to include summer feeding and after-school programs, as well as to increase farmer participation – an essential aspect of farm to school activities. As the author notes, we have also supported language for more, “culturally appropriate” foods at schools serving Native Indian students.”  We 100 percent stand by that. For too long the significant barriers to using culturally appropriate food in school cafeterias have been ignored. We should celebrate the rich diversity of agriculture products and traditional dishes in our country, and be able to serve them on school lunch menus. 

The USDA Farm to School Grant Program is one of the smallest grant programs, and yet a very effective nutrition education program in the Child Nutrition Act. When we talk about increasing nutrition for children at this important moment, it is essential that nutrition advocates protect what little we have and push for more, not call into question hard-fought and won programs that help students be healthy. 

Join us in urging Congress to continue its support of farm to school success by signing our petition. Add your name in support today.
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