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This Week in farm to school: 1/26/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 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. Scholarships available for National Farm to Cafeteria Conference 
Scholarships are now available for the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, a biennial event hosted by the National Farm to School Network that will convene more than 1,500 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Scholarship awards will cover short course and/or registration fees for the conference, pending available funds. Costs associated with travel, lodging and field trips are not covered by the scholarship award. In order to ensure the conference reflects the full diversity of farm to cafeteria constituents, scholarships are prioritized for farmers, farmer support organizations, youth (through age 22), persons of color, food service professionals, among others. Additional preference will be given to first-time conference attendees and presenters. Representation from all regions of the country will also be taken into consideration when evaluating scholarship applicants. The application is available online at farmtocafeteriaconference.org. Applications must be received or postmarked by 5pm (EST) on February 29, 2016.  

2. Call for Proposals: 5th Annual UVM Food Systems Summit
The University of Vermont Food Systems Summit is an annual event drawing scholars, practitioners, and food systems leaders to engage in dialogue on the pressing food systems issues facing our world. The 2016 Summit will feature several rounds of concurrent sessions organized by Summit participants. We invite you to propose ideas for concurrent sessions in response to the 2016 Summit theme: "What Makes Food Good?" The Summit will be held June 14-15, 2016 in Burlington, VT. Submit and view proposals here

3. Webinar: Healthy Schools Campaign
The ABCs of School Gardens Webinar
Wed., March 9, 9-10am CST
Interested in starting a school garden or need help gathering excitement for an existing one? Join this webinar to learn: how garden-based learning positively impacts student learning and to explore ways school gardens offer hands-on, experiential learning opportunities in a wide array of disciplines and promote student health. This seminar is part of Healthy Schools Campaign’s highly-regarded Fit to Learn professional development for principals and educators. Register here


Policy & Action
1. Senate Agriculture Committee passes its draft of Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization
Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved their version of the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR). The bipartisan bill, Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016, is a big victory for the farm to school movement, with all priority policy pieces recommended in the Farm to School Act of 2015 included. A full summary of the bill markup is available here. Learn about the next steps in the reauthorization process and how you advocate for farm to school priorities in CNR here


Research & Resources
1. Sea to Campus Case Studies
Farm to Institution New England has released a series of case studies that explore how and why institutions are serving up locally caught seafood. The case studies focus on what lessons these sea to institution pioneer have to share with others that have yet to develop local seafood programs. The case studies highlight models from three higher education institutions, two public K-12 schools, and one hospital. View the case studies here


Farm to school in the news
RGJ Citizen of the Year: Jeff Bryant of Urban Roots - Congratulations, Jeff, NFSN Nevada State Co-Lead!
Jeff Bryant is working to make Northern Nevada a better place, not just for today, but for generations to come. Bryant is the executive director of Urban Roots, a nonprofit that teaches youngsters where their food comes from. For his work in 2015, Bryant has been selected as the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Citizen of the Year. (via Reno Gazette-Journal)

Quincy schools eye increase in locally sourced food in cafeterias
- shout out to Simca Horwitz, NFSN Massachusetts State Co-Lead!
The 5,000 daily meals dished out to Quincy, Mass. students already feature some local fare, but a USDA Farm to School Grant will now help expand initiatives like one started last school year to add local fish to the menu. Simca Horwitz, NFSN Massachusetts State Co-Lead, discusses the benefits the grants have had on area schools. (via Boston Globe

Senate bill offers hope for nutrition act
- shout out to Erin McGuire, NFSN's Policy Director!
In a critical first step forward, the Senate Agriculture Committee passes its draft of the long-delayed Child Nutrition Act reauthorization. “Farm to school programs are a great way to help introduce kids to healthier eating habits and teach them about where their food comes from,” said Erin McGuire, Policy Director at the National Farm to School Network. “We applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee’s decision to expand the reach of the Farm to School Grant program by providing this additional funding.” (via Morning Ag Clips)

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. 

Creating healthy food environments for Latino kids

NFSN Staff Thursday, January 21, 2016
Guest post by Lisa Ellis-Veraza, Salud America! 

Salud America! The RWJF Reach Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children has worked since 2007 to increase evidence and policy recommendations to prevent Latino childhood obesity. The 50,000 member network includes researchers, community leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders working together to increase advocacy support and the number of Latino advocates seeking policy solutions to combat childhood obesity. See Salud America!’s research here.

High school students in El Paso aren’t only learning how to grow fruits and vegetables, they’re learning how to prepare and sell them, too. (Photo credit: Ana Suffle)

Healthy school food is a key component of growing a healthier next generation. But offering nutritious food in schools is particularly vital for our growing population of Latino students, who face higher risks of obesity and diabetes than their peers. 

According to a new research review from Salud America! The RWJF Reach Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children, Latino students are more frequently exposed to unhealthy foods in their school and neighborhood environments than their white peers. The review indicates when a school’s proximity to fast food increased, so did Latino students’ body mass index. It also suggests that Latino-majority schools tend to have weaker policies regarding school snacks and drinks, and may be less likely to implement nutritional guidelines.

This situation has dire health consequences, as it is expected 30 percent of the U.S. student population will be Latino by 2030. If obesity remains unchecked, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one of every two Latino children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime. So how can we ensure healthier food environments for Latino kids?

Let’s consider school food! Most students, including Latinos, consume up to half of their daily calories at schools, and the nutritional value of the foods and beverages available at schools play a major role in influencing students’ diets and weight. School policies that reduce access to sugary snacks and drinks are likely to reduce Latino students’ consumption of unhealthy items during the school day, and positively impact student weight trends.

Michaelie Love advocated for a healthy breakfast cart at her high school in Texas.

There are many things that can be done to help drive wellness policy and system changes like these at schools. For example, student Praxina Guerra and her mentor, Cathy Lopez, advocated for hydration stations across their school’s campus in order to encourage students to drink more water and less sugary beverages. In Texas, student Michaelie Love worked in her school to offer up a healthy breakfast cart for fresh food options in the morning, and Cecil Whisenton brought healthier vending machines to her Latino-majority high school.

Farm to school initiatives can also create healthy food environments. For example, see how high school student Elena Dennis's summer school cooking camp in California brought students to local farms and taught them how to make healthy meals from scratch. Programs like Elena’s “Camp Cauliflower” are teaching kids how to grow, cook and enjoy nutritious food, planting the seeds of healthy habits for a lifetime. 

We also know students are more likely to consume fruits and vegetables when schools offer opportunities to learn in school gardens. Watch how Bowie High School’s garden in largely Latino El Paso, Texas, helped the whole community learn about healthy foods in a culturally relevant way. Or, see how teacher Lonnie Schlerandi started a school garden in Austin, Texas, that inspired students to get involved in growing produce and distributing it to school and community members.

So how can you get involved in helping create healthy food environments for Latino children? Salud America! has created an online haven for healthy change where you can become a Salud Leader and share your story, learn what changes are happening in your area, be inspired by educational videos, access research and policy briefs, sign petitions and more. 

Best of all, all of our content can be shared using social media – a primary way Latinos access health information. Once you register to be a part our network, you can access free community health reports, maps, videos, policy updates and more to drive change for Latino childhood obesity prevention. Join us, and together we can help unite the Latino voice for childhood health! 

Earlier this week, we joined Salud America for a tweetchat about ways to create healthier school environment for Latino kids. See a full recap of the conversation here

Senate Agriculture Committee passes CNR draft

NFSN Staff Wednesday, January 20, 2016
   Watch Senator John Thune’s (R-SD) remarks on the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 at the Senate Agriculture Committee business meeting. 
This morning, the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved their version of the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR). The bipartisan bill, Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016, is a big victory for the farm to school movement, with all priority policy pieces recommended in the Farm to School Act of 2015 included. 

Under the bill, funding for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is doubled from $5 million to $10 million per year, helping schools across the country increase their local food purchases and expand food and agriculture education. The bill also increases the ability for tribal schools and feeding programs to serve culturally significant foods and increase the scope of the USDA Farm to School Program to include early care and education centers, summer food service program sites and after school programs. You can find a full summary of the bill markups here

During the brief committee business meeting, farm to school was mentioned by Senators on both sides of the aisle. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), champion of the Farm to School Act of 2015, commented, “Farm to school programs offer support to farmers and local economies, while teaching kids about nutritious foods and where they come from. The program has helped schools across the country meet nutrition standards by offering children local, fresh produce that tastes great.”

Senator John Thune (R-SD) focused his comments on the benefits to Indian Country, noting that tribal leaders “have expressed their deep desire to make traditional foods integral parts of their nutrition programs” and that “farm to school programs have proven to be successful in providing greater access to locally grown and culturally significant foods to students in South Dakota.”

This exciting progress in the Senate Agriculture Committee is the first of many steps in the reauthorization process. With the committee markup completed, the bill will now be sent to the Senate floor for final debate. The exact timing for the Senate floor debate is not yet known, but the bill is widely expected to pass without major difficulty. The House of Representatives must then work through its own version of the bill. See this handy flowchart to follow along with the process.

We need your help to keep the momentum going! 

If you have a Senator in the Senate Agriculture Committee (check here), thank them for their fantastic work so far. Share this message and/or graphic on social media: Thank you @(insert Senator here) for your bipartisan support of healthy kids & #farmtoschool in #CNR2016 bill!

If your Member of Congress  is not on the committee, let them know you want to see a CNR with strong support for farm to school programs brought to the Senate floor for passage. Share this message and/or graphic on social media: We need a strong CNR with #farmtoschool to grow healthy kids. @(insert Senator here), bring #CNR2016 to the Senate floor!



Thank you to everyone that has lent their voices to CNR so far. This victory is a direct result of your advocacy efforts and hard work to demonstrate the importance of farm to school to Congress. Thank you! 

This Week in farm to school: 1/19/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 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. 



Webinars & Events
1. Scholarships available for National Farm to Cafeteria Conference 
Scholarships are now available for the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, a biennial event hosted by the National Farm to School Network that will convene more than 1,500 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Scholarship awards will cover short course and/or registration fees for the conference, pending available funds. Costs associated with travel, lodging and field trips are not covered by the scholarship award. In order to ensure the conference reflects the full diversity of farm to cafeteria constituents, scholarships are prioritized for farmers, farmer support organizations, youth (through age 22), persons of color, food service professionals, among others. Additional preference will be given to first-time conference attendees and presenters. Representation from all regions of the country will also be taken into consideration when evaluating scholarship applicants. The application is available online at farmtocafeteriaconference.org. Applications must be received or postmarked by 5pm (EST) on February 29, 2016.  

2. Registration now open for the Midwest Farm to School Conference
The Midwest Farm to School Conference is coming to Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Wednesday, March 2, 2016! This full day event will bring together those interested in building the farm to school initiative in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, including food service professionals, teachers, students, farmers, ranchers, parents and other engaged in farm to school activities. Throughout the day, the event will spark connections and provide the necessary paths to bring the farm to more of our region’s schools. A keynote address will be given by Chef Robert Rusan, a School Nutrition Association's 2015 School Nutrition Hero. Farm to school is not a "one size fits all" program - come share what you know and learn from others as we build a healthier future for our kids, schools, farms, and communities. Register by Feb. 1 to receive an early bird discount! More information is available here.

3. Applications available for the Northeast Farm to School Institute
Vermont FEED is excited to invite school communities in New England and New York to apply for the 2016-2017 Northeast Farm to School Institute – a unique, year-long professional development program for 12 selected school teams! The Institute is designed for schools with farm to school programming that are looking to boost their program’s impact in the cafeteria, classroom, and community. Institute school teams spend three days at the Kickoff Summer Retreat at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont, where they will participate in professionally-led workshops, network with their peers, and create a farm to school action plan. Each team will also have an experienced farm to school coach to support them in carrying out their action plan through the school year. Applications are due March 11, 2016. Learn more and apply here

4. Webinars: USDA Farm to School - NEW REGISTRATION LINK
Looking for great resources to help launch a successful farm to school program in 2016? The USDA Farm to School team has you covered with a new Planning Farm to School Success webinar series. The series will guide viewers through the USDA Farm to School Planning Toolkit with eleven 30-minute webinars. Note the link to register for the webinars has been update. Register and learn more here

5. Webinar Series: Food Forward
Food Forward is a free webinar series on plant-based meal options. In this informational two-part series, hear from a panel of school foodservice professionals that successfully implemented plant-strong entrees that appealed to all customers, while embracing the health, environmental and financial benefits.

Webinar 1: Powering Up with Plant-Strong Programs
January 27, 4-5pm EST
Learn why K-12 school districts across the country are increasing their plant-strong menu offerings each week to complement the national nutrition standards while meeting student demand. Register here.

Webinar 2: Powering Up with Plant-Strong Menus and Marketing
February 10, 4-5pm EST
As a follow up to Powering Up with Plant-Strong Programs, attendees will hear a more in-depth discussion on menu planning and marketing ideas that can increase participation and excitement, while promoting sustaining health habits to every customer. Register here


Policy & Action
1. Senate Agriculture Committee releases its draft of Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization
On Monday evening, the Senate Agriculture Committee released its draft of the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR). Nearly all of the policy changes recommended in the Farm to School Act of 2015 have been included in this draft along with a doubling in funds for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, raising the grant funding level from $5 to $10 million. The Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to pass this bill out of committee will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 20. This is a major victory for farm to school, but this Senate Agriculture Committee draft is only the first step of many in signing CNR into law. The next step will be for the committee to agree on a final version of the bill and send it to the Senate floor for voting. Sign up for the National Farm to School Network newsletter and follow us on Twitter for the latest CNR updates. 

2. Farm to School Program Models Survey
Green Mountain Farm-to-School and Food Connects seek to better understand and develop farm-to-school program service models that generate revenue and commitment from schools in order to establish sustainable and permanent programming in communities. You are invited to participate in a brief survey to help them compile crucial best-practice methods and information. The survey closes Friday, Jan. 22. Take the survey here. 


Research & Resources
1. Healthy Communities Navigator Tool
Trust for America's Health has released Healthy Communities Navigator: Cross-sector Grants, Success Stories and Policy Papers, a dynamic searchable interactive platform that provides stakeholders with community and population health resources, grants and examples. View the tool here.  

2. New Study: Latino Kids Have Less Healthy Food Options In and Near Schools
Salud America! has released a report that finds children in high-density Latino neighborhoods more frequently have easy access to unhealthy food options in cafeteria vending machines or within a few blocks of their schools. Read the “Making a Healthy School Environment the Norm for Latino Kids” study here

3. Free online course: An Introduction to the U.S. Food System
An Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health is a free, six week course offered online through the Johns Hopkins University partnership with Coursera. Topics include food security, food animal production, aquaculture, food waste, and the farm bill. Learn more about the course and register here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. FoodCorps Service Member Application Open
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. Learn more about this opportunity and apply here

2. Program Manager, FoodWhat
FoodWhat is a youth empowerment and food justice organization that uses food, through sustainable agriculture and health, as the vehicle for growing strong, healthy, and inspired teens. FoodWhat seeks a highly motivated, detail-oriented and energetic person to join our staff in this newly created position of Programs Manager. This position will work in concert with our Farm Manager and Executive Director in the planning and implementation of our farm-based Spring, Summer, and Fall core youth programming, in-school Winter Community Educator program, and year-round Junior Staff training. Learn more here.  

3. School Farm Coordinator, The Delta Schools
The Delta School is a newly founded progressive prek-12 independent school in The Mississippi Delta. The School Farm Coordinator is a full-time position that offers critical support teachers and students to ensure that a school can maximize the educational potential of the school garden. Learn more and apply here


Farm to school in the news
How Agriculture is Helping These At-Risk Teens
BoysGrow, a Kansas City nonprofit, helps teenage boys find footing in the world through growing and selling fresh vegetables. The young men work on an 10-acre farm, and produce and market their own organic food and artisan farm products like salsa and barbecue sauce. Civil Eats

The Montauk Fishburger: Sustainable Local Food for School Lunches
An alliance of Hamptons, N.Y. chefs has come up with a plan to introduce students to sustainable local eating. Their new fishburger, which includes only local species of wild finfish that are rated sustainable, will be served on bread rolls utilizing organic flour from indigenous strains of wheat harvested in the area. Curbed: Hamptons

Connecting the classroom, cafeteria, and community to the local agricultural 

Farm to school efforts have proven to be a winning proposition for all involved in Maryland. Farmers and distributors are benefitting from local business, money is put back into the local economy, and students are eating healthier foods and being educated on agriculture. Hagerstown Magazine

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

This Week in farm to school: 1/12/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 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. The National Collaboration to Promote Health, Wellness, and Academic Success of School-Age Children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced the availability of funds to implement a National Collaboration to Support Health, Wellness and Academic Success of School-Age Children.  The FOA "will fund national nongovernment organizations to support states, school districts, and schools for nationwide implementation of cross-cutting approaches to promote .health and prevent and control chronic diseases and their risk factors." Approximately $2,250,000 per year is available for  per year for five years.  Deadline to apply is January 19. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Save the Date: 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Save the date for the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, to be held June 2-4, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is a biennial event that convenes a diverse group of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The conference is hosted by the National Farm to School Network, in partnership with local host organizations. The scholarship application opens Jan. 15. Registration opens Feb 15, 2016.

2. Growing Power: Save the Date and RFP
Save the date for Growing Power’s International Urban and Small Farms Conference, Nov. 18-20, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wis. The bi-annual conference theme for 2016 is "Let's Scale it Up! Growing Food and Farmers: Best practices in growing, distribution and community building.” Learn more about the conference and submit a proposal to present here
 
3. Webinars: USDA Farm to School - NEW REGISTRATION LINK
Looking for great resources to help launch a successful farm to school program in 2016? The USDA Farm to School team has you covered with a new Planning Farm to School Success webinar series. The series will guide viewers through the USDA Farm to School Planning Toolkit with eleven 30-minute webinars. Note the link to register for the webinars has been update. Register and learn more here

4. Webinar: Chef Ann Foundation
Procurement Methodology and Best Practices for the Scratch-Cooking Production Environment 
Thursday, Feb. 11, 4pm EST
Join Beth Collins, Director of Operations at Chef Ann Foundation and the Culinary and Nutrition Services team at Minneapolis Public Schools to learn their procurement strategies for supporting their scratch-cooking menu program. It's that "planning" time of  year! Register here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Illinois Farm to School Network Coordinator, Seven Generations Ahead
Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) is seeking to hire a full-time Illinois Farm to School Network Coordinator to work in tandem with SGA’s Farm to School Program Manager to build upon SGA’s body of farm to school work and work collaboratively across the state to advance farm to school goals. The position will focus on developing and facilitating the Illinois Farm to School Network, designed to engage private and public sector agencies, non-profits, schools, health departments, and other community institutions in advancing local, sustainable and healthy food access and education in Illinois. Learn more here

2. FoodCorps Service Member Application Open
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. Learn more about this opportunity and apply here

3. Oxbow Education (“Ox Ed”) Farmer-Educator
Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center is looking to fill a full-time, seasonal farmer-educator position to plan and oversee the growing and upkeep of Ox Ed one-acre Kids’ Farm and Living Playground. As part of the Ox Ed team, the farmer-educator will assist in delivering farm and environmental education programs in the spring, summer, and fall. Learn more and apply here


Connecting to Cherokee culture with farm to school

NFSN Staff Friday, January 08, 2016
By Anna Mullen, Digital Media Associate
 Garden signs at Cherokee Central Schools. (Credit: Cherokee Central Schools)

From school gardens and farm visits, to Harvest of the Month initiatives and local food taste tests, farm to school activities are adaptable to every educational setting. That’s what makes farm to school exciting – the opportunities are endless! 

In Western North Carolina, Cherokee Central Schools use farm to school practices to engage students in healthy eating while connecting them to Native culture. Serving 1,250 elementary, middle and high school students from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, the school district integrates Cherokee culture into all aspect of learning – and the cafeteria is no exception. 

For several years, Janette Broda, the district’s Child Nutrition Director, has worked to include locally grown foods in school meals. With the addition of two FoodCorps service members and a USDA Farm to School Grant in 2014, the district expanded their farm to school activities. Local foods like apples, cabbage and romaine lettuce have become staples on the lunch menu, the campus’s nine raised garden beds have been expanded to 22, and a campus greenhouse hydroponic system has been added.  

With support from the National Farm to School Network, Broda and FoodCorps service members Katie Rainwater and Alison Villa have further connected students to their Native heritage through farm to school activities. In the garden, they’ve planted traditional Cherokee crops with edible, medicinal and craft uses, like corn varieties with hard seeds that can be used for making jewelry. Many of the heirloom crops grown in the garden came from seeds handed down by generations of local Cherokee farmers, which students have marked with colorful signs that label the plants in both Cherokee and English.  

 Students create garden signs and posters. (Credit: Cherokee Central Schools)
In the cafeteria, the team coordinated with the middle school art class to create a mural that depicts the four seasons and highlights traditional Cherokee foods. They’ve also purchased posters featuring seasonal produce labeled in Cherokee and English to be featured in all three school cafeterias. 

For the classroom, a farm to school resource library has been developed for teachers. The library includes nutrition education materials, study guides and resources to help create comprehensive lesson plans that integrate farm to school principles into classroom curriculum. For example, the 5th grade science class recently conducted a compost trail test to project how much their landfill waste could be reduced by composting cafeteria food scraps. 

Two newly purchased mobile kitchens with induction stoves, blenders and cooking tools are also getting good use. Katie and Allison move these pop-up cooking stations between classrooms and the school greenhouse, where students learn to transform freshly harvested vegetables into delicious snacks, like salads, pesto and smoothies. The team is now developing a food safety plan and working towards GAP certification so garden produce can be harvested and served directly in school meals. 

At Cherokee Central Schools, farm to school not only get kids excited about fresh, healthy food, but creatively connects students to their Native heritage. From the school garden to art class, and the cafeteria to science lessons, these farm to school activities are planting the seeds of a vibrant, healthy future. 


This Week in farm to school: 1/5/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 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. Save the Date: 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Save the date for the 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, to be held June 2-4, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is a biennial event that convenes a diverse group of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The conference is hosted by the National Farm to School Network, in partnership with local host organizations. Registration opens Feb 15, 2016.

2. Webinars: USDA Farm to School
Intro to Farm to School: Planning and Building a Team
January 14, 1pm EST
How does a farm to school team function? Learn tips and best practices for building a farm to school team, facing struggles and surprises, and building a foundation for a successful project. Register here. 

Setting Goals and Establishing an Evaluation Baseline

January 28, 2pm EST
How do you know if your activities are helping local farmers and improving student health? Learn how to integrate program planning/evaluation tools and techniques that will document outcomes and show the impacts of farm to school programs. Register here. 

3. Webinar: PolicyLink and Healthy Food Access Portal
Leveraging Institutional Purchasing Power to Expand Access to Healthy Food
Thursday, Jan. 12, 2-3:15pm
You’re invited to join PolicyLink and the Healthy Food Access Portal for a discussion on leveraging university, hospital, and public school purchasing power to expand access to healthy food. Learn more and register here.

4. 2016 Annual Soil & Nutrition Conference, Feb. 8-9, Stockbridge, Mass.
The 5th Annual Soil & Nutrition Conference will gather farmers, researchers, nutritionists and food system advocates for a multidisciplinary conversation exploring the potential to improve food quality through regenerative agriculture that builds soil, crop and ecosystem health. The conference will explore how soil health and crop quality are interrelated, and how a renewed focus on the food qualities that industrial agriculture forgot – flavor and nutrition – can help drive transformation with important societal benefits. Learn more and register here. 


Research & Resources
1. New Study: Effects of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act
It’s been just over five years since the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed into law, requiring foods served as part of the National School Lunch Program to contain more whole grains, vegetables and fruits. A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics reveals that school lunches have indeed gotten healthier, and close to the same number of students are still participating in the school lunch program. Read the study here.  

2. Documentary: In Defense of Food
Join author Michael Pollan on a fascinating journey to answer the question: What should I eat to be healthy? Busting myths and misconceptions, In Defense of Food reveals how common sense and old-fashioned wisdom can help us rediscover the pleasures of eating and at the same time reduce our risks of falling victim to diet-related diseases. Information about the documentary and resources, including a comprehensive education program for middle school students created by the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education and Policy at the Teachers College, Columbia University, are available here. 

3. Documentary Screening Opportunity
Filmmaker Ernie Zahn has created a 25 minute documentary about the plight of tomato farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida titled Fair Tomatoes. The film discusses workers’ efforts to expose unjust working conditions, raise the living wage, and encourage the big buyers of tomatoes to rethink how they do business. Ernie is eager to share this film wildly through screening events, particularly in the Southwest. If you are interested in hosting a screening of Fair Tomatoes or would like to learn more, please contact Ernie directly at ernie@npeaches.org.


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Research and Policy Program Manager, Detroit Food Policy Council
The Detroit Food Policy Council seeks a Program Manager to plan and implement the Council’s research and policy activities. The successful candidate will be familiar with land use, economic development and policy related to urban food systems. Learn more and apply here. 

2. Executive Director, Friends of Great Kids Farm
Friends of Great Kids Farm seeks qualified applicants to serve as Executive Director of their dynamic organization in Baltimore. The Executive Director will oversee execution of Friends of Great Kids Farm’s mission: to support and promote Baltimore City Public Schools’ Great Kids Farm. Learn more and apply here. 

3. Director, Minnesota Food Charter Network

This position will foster the development of the Minnesota Food Charter Network and implementation of Food Charter strategies, represent the Minnesota Food Charter Network in communities, manage budget and business operations, and provide direct support to multiple teams charged with various Minnesota Food Charter Network responsibilities. Learn more here (Job ID: 305825). 

4. Illinois Farm to School Network Coordinator, Seven Generations Ahead
Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) is seeking to hire a full-time Illinois Farm to School Network Coordinator to work in tandem with SGA’s Farm to School Program Manager to build upon SGA’s body of farm to school work and work collaboratively across the state to advance farm to school goals. The position will focus on developing and facilitating the Illinois Farm to School Network, designed to engage private and public sector agencies, non-profits, schools, health departments, and other community institutions in advancing local, sustainable and healthy food access and education in Illinois. Learn more here. 


Farm to school in the news
Getting a taste of new veggies
This Farm-to-Child Care initiative in Minnesota saw impressive results after encouraging child care program to offer local, fresh veggies to young children through taste tests and other farm to child care curriculum. (via Detroit Lakes Online)

From farm to classroom: McKinley students learn to plant, harvest and cook
McKinley Elementary in Davenport, Iowa has surpassed its sixth year of farm to school activities for kindergartners through fifth-graders. Read about the impacts of their successful farm to school model. (via Quad-Cities Online)

Bel Air High students learn about fish, plant farming in new aquaponics lab
Students in the Environmental Science II class at Bel Air High School are learning to grow and harvest crops through aquaponics systems, and how the food their growing contributes to a healthy diet. (via Baltimore Sun)


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. 

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