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This Week in Farm to School: 4/25/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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



Grants & Funding
1. National Black Farmers Association Scholarships 

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

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


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

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

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

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


Action Opportunities
1. Every Kid Healthy Week

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

This Week in Farm to School: 4/18/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Five Mini-Grants Awarded in Native Communities

NFSN Staff Monday, April 17, 2017

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

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

Celebrating 10 Years and 200 Partners

NFSN Staff Thursday, April 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome, Maximilian Merrill!

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The National Farm to School Network is excited to welcome Maximilian A. Merrill, Esq. MS, to our team as Policy Director! As an environmental lawyer, policy analyst, hydrologist and farmer, Maximilian has over a decade of experience in agriculture policy and family farm advocacy at the local, state and federal levels. 

Maximilian gained his passion for agriculture and the environment while growing up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. He has diverse educational and experiential background in agriculture, including undergraduate and graduate degrees in natural resources and hydrology from North Carolina State University, a J.D. from Vermont Law School, and professional experience as a cartographer and wetland scientist. Prior to joining NFSN, Merrill held positions with The Land Trust for Central North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Western Growers. While working with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Merrill designed, implemented and administered the Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, which protects family farms by purchasing agricultural easements and funding agricultural development projects. He also represented agriculture stakeholders on numerous state environmental committees and commissions.

As NFSN’s Policy Director, Maximilian will lead the development and implementation of our organization’s policy priorities, cultivate policymaker and coalition partnerships, and educate and mobilize our partners, members and stakeholders around key policy issues. NFSN serves as the leading voice of the national the farm to school movement, and a principle resource on national, state and local policies that impact farm to school efforts. Maximilian will lead our continued advocacy towards the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization through the Farm to School Act, and will prepare for advocacy for the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization.

When not on Capitol Hill, Maximilian continues to pursue his love of agriculture with regular visits to his once fallow family farm in Pennsylvania, where he spends time pounding in fence posts, reclaiming fields and raising bison. 

Maximilian is based in our Washington, D.C. office. Reach out to him with your policy questions, to brainstorm solutions to policy challenges, to share you successes or to find out how you can get involved in advocating for policy change. Send him a message or say hello at maximilian@farmtoschool.org

This Week in farm to school: 4/11/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Statewide Farm to ECE Network Building
Wednesday, April 12, 3:30 – 4:30 PM ET
Statewide farm to early care and education (ECE) network building is a key approach to institutionalizing farm to ECE and increasing opportunities for all children, families, and communities to reap the many benefits of farm to ECE. Join us for the April NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar where we will hear from Emily Jackson of the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network and Erin Croom of the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Coalition who will share models from their states and identify keys to success in building a statewide farm to ECE network. This webinar is open to the public so please share through your networks. Register here.

2. Webinar: How to Bring Farm Fresh into Schools with New USDA Meal Pattern Recipes 
Thursday, April 13, 4pm ET
The Lunch Box, a program of the Chef Ann Foundation, is launching fifty new tried and true, farm-to-school recipes to bring farm fresh meals to your students. Join their upcoming webinar to see all the new recipes and menu cycles and how they credit toward the school and child care meal patterns. Hear from Andrea Northup from USDA Farm to School and Jerilin Nunu from USDA Farm to Summer and Child Care about how school districts across the nation are procuring food from local and regional farms and ranches. They’ll also share best practices for lunchroom-based nutrition education. Register here


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


Farm to School in the News

$5.6 million for Oregon farm-to-school funding passes key committee
A bill directing $5.6 million to Oregon's farm-to-school food program has won unanimous approval from the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. (Portland Tribune

Montana made food the focus of HMS Harvest of the Month Program
Helena Middle School students got a Montana beef-centered treat Friday, concocted and served by their peers. The beef was provided thanks to a mini-grant the school recently received from the Montana Harvest of the Month Program through the Montana State University Extension. (Helena Independent Record

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: 4/4/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 04, 2017

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


Grants & Funding
1. Action for Healthy Kids Grants
Schools need resources to implement health and wellness practices that help students eat better and be physically active. Action for Healthy Kids’s School Grants for Healthy Kids can help your school health team achieve its goal to make every kid healthy and ready to learn. Action for Healthy Kids is now accepting grant applications for the 2017-2018 school year: School Breakfast Grants and Game on Grants. Applications are due Friday, April 7, 2017. Learn more here

2. RFA: USDA Team Nutrition Training Grants
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has released the Request for Applications for the FY 2017 Team Nutrition Training Grants program. Team Nutrition Training Grants can be leveraged to expand and support statewide farm to school and farm to ECE efforts. Examples of previous Team Nutrition Grants for farm to school projects include:  Colorado's CACFP: CHOP Program; Missouri's Growing with MO: Harvest of the Season; Montana's Harvest of the Month Program. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Promising Partnerships: Extension and Farm to Early Care and Education
New Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2pm ET - TODAY!
With the goal of bringing practical information to improve the lives of agricultural producers, consumers, families, and children, extension is a natural fit for partnership in farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) initiatives. The National Institute for Food and Agriculture, in partnership with the National Farm to School Network, will be offering a webinar to share extension and farm to ECE partnerships and projects. Register here.

2. Webinar: Statewide Farm to ECE Network Building
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 3:30 – 4:30 PM ET
Statewide farm to early care and education (ECE) network building is a key approach to institutionalizing farm to ECE and increasing opportunities for all children, families, and communities to reap the many benefits of farm to ECE. Join us for the April NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar where we will hear from Emily Jackson of the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network and Erin Croom of the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Coalition who will share models from their states and identify keys to success in building a statewide farm to ECE network. This webinar is open to the public so please share through your networks. Register here.


Resources
1. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income inequality, and teen births in nearly every county in America. The annual Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Explore the Rankings & Roadmaps here


Action Opportunities
1. 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
Food Solutions New England (FSNE) is committed to addressing all forms of racism in our food system. FSNE believe that we cannot talk about and work for sustainability, food security, and economic prosperity in our region without facing the realities of discrimination and social inequity in our food system and beyond. You’re invited to join FSNE’s 2017 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge: April 9 - April 29. Sign up here


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to School Program Coordinator
South Carolina Farm to School seeks a Farm to School Program Coordinator. 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. Applications are due April 16. Learn more here

2. Communications Coordinator
Georgia Organics seeks a Communications Coordinator to join its team. The Communications Coordinator conveys Georgia Organics' programmatic impact to the public, strengthens our brand, strategically leverages digital platforms to remain relevant, and builds donor and stakeholder loyalty and trust through effective storytelling. Applications due May 1. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Columbus schools using more Ohio-produced food
Columbus City Schools serves 3 million apples to students every year. “Prior to this year, because we never asked, our apples were coming from Washington state.” Now, they’re saving more than $40,000 in transportation costs by purchasing apples from Ohio growers. (The Columbus Dispatch)

Farm to school advocates gather in California
Nearly 350 people turned out for a three-day event aimed at getting more wholesome food into student meals. “Farm to school is all about connecting the classroom, the cafeteria and the community.” said Helen Dombalis, Programs Director for the National Farm to School Network. (The Modesto Bee)

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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