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National Farm to School Network

News

This Week in Farm to School: 09/26/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 26, 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. NIFA: Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture presents the FINI Grant to support projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. The program will test strategies that could contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants that would inform future efforts, and develop effective and efficient benefit redemption technologies. Who is eligible to apply: See Part III, Eligibility Information in the Request for Applications (RFA) for details. Apply for the grant.

2. School Garden Grant from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Alaska Organic Fertilizer Company 
This grant opportunity supports school gardens in the United States, excluding it’s territories. BirdSleuth, Cornell Lab’s K-12 education program, will distribute $25,000 in grants to 20 schools that create or revitalize a garden that supports local wildlife, healthy living, environmental education, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning. Grants range from $500 to $2,000. The deadline for submitting grant applications is October 8. Read more and apply

3. Western Growers Foundation: School Garden Grant
Schools in California and Arizona, grades K through 12, can apply for the Western Growers Foundation School Garden Grant up to $1,500. The grants are designed to support new and existing school gardens. They are available to public schools, private charter schools, and private and charter schools with a nonprofit status. Nonprofit organizations and school districts supporting a garden at a public or nonprofit private school can also apply for the funds. Applications for the grant must be submitted by 3 p.m. Sept 30. Apply here

Webinars
1. Webinar: Economic Impacts of Farm to School
Wednesday, Oct. 11 // 12-1pm ET
This webinar is part of a wider effort to promote the release of the associated report “Economic Impacts of Farm to School: Case Studies and Assessment Tools” (a collaborative project of the National Farm to School Network and Colorado State University). Panelists will discuss findings of the new report, highlight the use of two key resources for conducting economic impact studies of food system initiatives and their application to farm to school economic impact assessment, and discuss continuing work to better understand the impacts of farm to school activities. Additional panelists include representatives from  USDA Office of Community Food Systems, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and Cornell University. Register for the webinar by submitting this form

2. Community Eligibility: Strategies to Improve Your ISP  
Wednesday, October 11 // 2pm ET
This webinar presented by the School Nutrition Association will focus on how to take the steps to improve your districts ISP and make community eligibility a more viable option. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.  Learn more and register

Events
1. NEW National Calendar of Farm to School Events
The National Farm to School Network is pleased to share a new national calendar of farm to school events, conferences and networking opportunities taking place across the country. Additional events will be added on an ongoing basis. Submit your farm to school event to the calendar by clicking the green "Submit Event" button. To be considered, events should be open to the public and specifically related to farm to school content. View the calendar here: farmtoschool.org/events

2. October is National Farm to School Month

National Farm to School month is right around the corner! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials, activity ideas and a new calendar of events for ways you can get involved in October. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to start planning. 

3. Minnesota Food Access Summit

October 25-27 // Duluth, MN
The 2017 Summit will be bigger and better than ever by welcoming up to 800 participants from a growing network of individuals and organizations dedicated to increasing healthy and equitable food access across Minnesota. Conference goals include: Bring together people working to advance reliable access to safe, affordable, healthy food, learn from each other’s lived experiences & stories, build connections across sector, cultural perspectives, and geography and cultivate alignment and momentum toward collaborative action. Learn more and register

Research
1. Development of the GREEN Tool
The GREEN (Garden Resources, Education, and Environment Nexus) Tool is an evidence-based model for school garden integration. The aim of this research was to develop a tool that captures how gardens are effectively established, integrated, and sustained in schools. Read more here

Job Opportunities
1. Leadership Development Coordinator, Food Chain Workers Alliance
The Leadership Development Coordinator is the principal staff member who manages the Alliance’s worker and organizer leadership development programs. These are principally the Justice in the Food Chain trainings and the annual worker leaders summit. Learn more and apply

2. School Chef, Sustainable School Lunch Program in San Francisco 
The Head Chef will be in charge of a menu focused on wholesome meals made from scratch with care, and served on-site to K-8 students and faculty. An ideal candidate understands local, organic foods and has an interest in what kids are eating in school. This position is responsible for carrying out Acre Gourmet's Real School Lunch Program on a daily basis and reports to the program manager. Learn more

3. Chair of the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems ; University of New Hampshire 
UNH seeks to hire a ANFS Department Chair. A competitive candidate will have scholarly research that aligns with the interdisciplinary mission of the department and demonstrated excellence in teaching/mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally,  candidates must hold a PhD. in a relevant field. Read more here

Farm to School in the News
Alaska Students' Spuds Sale From the classroom to the garden, the students at Soldotna Montessori Charter School have been hard at work growing, picking and cleaning a selection of produce to sell at today’s farmers market. “We have kale, potatoes, lots of stuff,” said fourth-grader Caitlyn Miller. “We don’t have carrots, though, they were a bust.” (Peninsula Clarion)

New Jersey Parents Get a Lesson in Homegrown Food at Back-to-School Night
Mallik said she feels the garden is an extension of Kings Road, and the reception helps parents not only get a better idea of what their kids are learning, but also gives them more information that will help them reinforce garden teachings at home. (Tap Into

Ohio School to Host Spinach Tasting Event

In an effort to highlight Farm to School month and National School Lunch Week, on Oct. 5 the Lorain Road school will be hosting a spinach taste-testing competition after the students harvest their first spinach crop from a new school garden. (Cleveland.com)

Louisiana Students Work with Master Gardeners

The LSU AgCenter has kicked off this year's training for the School Garden Initiative. The LSU AgCenter Lafayette Master Gardener Association, School Garden Initiative Committee is working to promote growing and learning with the youth in the community. (KATC)

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.

Magic is Growing in Maine

NFSN Staff Thursday, September 21, 2017


By Molly Schintler, Communications Intern 

Less than ten miles from the US-Canada boarder in far eastern Maine, sits the Indian Township school garden and greenhouse. Against the odds of the region’s short growing season, coupled with torrential rains this past spring, and followed by a drought in late summer, magic is growing. Donna Meader-York, the school’s librarian and farm to school champion, shared that this year’s squash harvest from their Three Sisters Garden has been a point of pride for all involved. Additionally, Donna was excited to tell us that the bountiful squash harvest has had an unexpected but positive impact. “Weeds and insects are down with tons of bees. Tons of bees buzzing around the squash blossoms!”

The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops - winter squash, maize (corn), and runner beans - of several Native American groups in North America. Traditionally, the Three Sisters are planted together as companion crops. As the plants grow, they support and benefit from each other. The maize grows tall which gives the beans a structure to climb, and the squash vines out along the ground which blocks weeds and holds moisture in the soil. All the while, the beans add nitrogen into the soil, which the corn and squash use to grow. Delicious cooperation! 

During the summer months, the produce from the Three Sisters Garden at Indian Township was donated to a local food pantry. Now that school is in session, each school garden harvest heads to the school kitchen. Donna told us that the spring rains delayed their corn and bean plantings, and that there is not much of a harvest from those crops this season. “There is a lot we learned with this garden, and we hope to get it right next growing season. Meanwhile, this winter, we are going to try to grow lettuce and spinach for our school salad bar in our newly repaired greenhouse!” The National Farm to School Network sees that the health of the soil, students, and entire community is growing in Indian Township, and we think that is pretty magical. 


Indian Township School is the recipient of a National Farm to School Network Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School mini-grant. Seed Change in Native Communities 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.


This Week in Farm to School: 9/19/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 19, 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. NIFA Announcement
The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced $945,400 in available funding to help foster the next generation of multicultural scholars in agricultural sciences.  Funding is made through NIFA’s Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP). The deadline for applications is October 31, 2017. See the request for applications for details.


Webinars

1. NFSN WEBINAR Growing Opportunities: Farm to School Benefits to Farmers and Producers
September 20 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about farm to school’s opportunities and benefits for farmers and producers. Catch a sneak peak of the National Farm to School Network’s forthcoming case studies on the economic impacts of farm to school, and hear firsthand experiences and tips from farmers in the movement. This webinar is generously sponsored by CoBank. Register here

2. NFSN WEBINAR Advocacy in Action: 2017 Farm to School Policy Opportunities

September 21 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about current federal legislative activities and state policy efforts that are advancing opportunities for the expansion of farm to school in K-12 and early care education settings nationwide. Register here

3. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model: Resources to Guide Implementation
September 21 // 1:00-2:00pm ET
This webinar will introduce a new resource that has been developed to support implementation of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model in schools and school districts. Presenters will provide implementation strategies for use in schools and school districts, and describe the steps that schools can take to move the WSCC model from theory to practice. Register here

4. How Regional Food System Investment Creates More Equitable Communities
September 21 // 3:30-5pm 
Wallace Center and the National Good Food Network (NGFN) will be hosting this webinar. Speakers will discuss the role that food business incubators, food hubs, and financial institutions can do to integrate social equity into food systems projects and programs. Register here


Events
1. NEW National Calendar of Farm to School Events
The National Farm to School Network is pleased to share a new national calendar of farm to school events, conferences and networking opportunities. Additional events will be added on an ongoing basis. Submit your farm to school event to the calendar by clicking the green "Submit Event" button. To be considered, events should be open to the public and specifically related to farm to school content. View the calendar here: farmtoschool.org/events

2. October is National Farm to School Month
National Farm to School month is right around the corner! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials, activity ideas and a new calendar of events for ways you can get involved in October. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to start planning. 

3. Mississippi Farm to Cafeteria Conference

October 12 // Jackson, MS
The Mississippi Farm to Cafeteria Conference brings farm to school practitioners and future practitioners together from across the state and region to share, learn, and help grow the farm to school movement. Register here

4. Rhodes Island Farm to School Conference
October 21 // URI Campus
“The conference is designed to empower educators to meet their academic goals by engaging students in outdoor classrooms,” said Cabaniss. “We’ve brought together school garden experts to inspire and support educators in garden-based learning. It will be an interactive experience, with participants involved in hands-on activities and idea sharing.” Learn more

5. Community Food Systems Conference 2017
December 5-7 // Boston, MA
This conference will address common underlying themes between food security, social justice and sustainable agriculture including obstacles in urban and rural environments and fostering community empowerment to create and sustain resilient local food systems. Registration is now open!

6. Campus Farmer Summit: "What's Growing on your campus?"
February 10, 2018 // Easton, MA
The Farm at Stonehill is pleased to be partner with Farm to Institution New England and the Vela Foundation to host this inaugural gathering of the campus farmer community in New England.  This one-day summit will be participatory in nature and may result in the establishment of a more official “Campus Farmer Network” if this is deemed a priority by attendees. Learn more


Resources

1.HEAL School of Political Leadership (SoPL)
SoPL is a new training program exclusive to HEAL member and ally organizations. Over the next year, SoPL will prepare a class of emerging leaders from our community to drive transformative political change in our food and farm systems. And we want someone from your organization to step into this leadership. Learn more and apply

2. Wasted: The Story of Food Waste 

This movie aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle, and eat food.  Audiences will see how several of the world’s most influential chefs make the most of every kind of food, transforming what most people consider scraps into incredible dishes that create a more secure food system. Check out the movie trailer


Job Opportunities
1. Executive Director, Grow Dat Youth Farm
Grow Dat Youth Farm seeks an Executive Director with a demonstrated commitment to social justice and experience growing nonprofit organizations. Grow Dat is a youth leadership development organization in New Orleans, LA with the mission to nurture a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food. Learn more and apply

2. Farm Operations Manager, Center for Environmental Farming Systems

CEFS is seeking a Farm Operations Manager. This position will plan and manage the implementation of production, research, and field demonstrations at the Small Farm Unit of CEFS. Apply here

3. Farm to School Consultant Coordinator, Intermediate School District

The Farm to School Consultant Coordinator will oversee 4 AmeriCorps VISTA members, to implement programming supporting the development of a school culture of health in schools served by the ISD. The Coordinator will integrate farm to school lessons and activities with state curriculum standards, and support school food service directors in their efforts to serve more healthful, locally grown foods. Apply here

 
Farm to School in the News
St. Louis students eating up farm to cafeteria
For the last several years, one St. Louis area school district has been feeding students produce that comes fresh from the fields. Staff in the Eureka High School kitchen cut up massive watermelons brought in that morning. Just a couple hours earlier, a forklift at the Rockwood School District’s warehouse was pulling that load of melons off the back of John Kopmann’s pick-up truck. (CBS St. Louis)

Alaska students' spuds sale
From the classroom to the garden, the students at Soldotna Montessori Charter School have been hard at work growing, picking and cleaning a selection of produce to sell at today’s farmers market. “We have kale, potatoes, lots of stuff,” said fourth-grader Caitlyn Miller. “We don’t have carrots, though, they were a bust.” (Peninsula Clarion)

Indiana high school garden grows in popularity with students
Raabe, a 2000 graduate of South Whidbey High School, said the general scope of the class is to show students how humans went from hunter-gatherer societies to cultivating and domesticating plants. Long ago, humans figured out ways to “coax” the plants to behave differently and provide more nutrition, he said. (South Whidbey 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: 9/12/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 12, 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. Seeds for Education Grant Program
Cash grants under $500 are available for plants and seeds, and in-kind donations from Nursery Partners can help stretch these dollars. Learn more and apply here.

2. Samull Classroom Herb Garden Grant
The Herb Society of America will select ten (10) schools/classrooms to receive $200 "Seed Money" to establish an indoor or outdoor herb garden. The funds may be used for supplies such as soil, plant trays, containers, child or youth sized tools, etc. Apply by Oct. 1. Learn more and apply here.

3. GreenWorks Grant
Project Learning Tree offers GreenWorks! grants up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. Students implement an action project they help design to green their school or to improve an aspect of their neighborhood’s environment. Apply by Sept. 30. Learn more and apply here.

Webinars
1.Professional Development for Garden Educators
TODAY! September 12 // 4pm ET
School Garden Support Organizations work to prepare teachers, organization staff, and community volunteers to lead students in garden-based learning activities. Learn different approaches School Garden Support Organizations use to lead high quality professional development for garden educators. Register here

2. Local Perspective on School Wellness Policy Implementation 

September 13 // 1pm ET
Alliance For a Healthier Generation presents this webinar focused on implementing school wellness policies following the USDA’s final rule. This webinar will highlight the local perspective, featuring speakers from California Project LEAN, the California Department of Education, and Arvin School District. Register here

3. NFSN WEBINAR Growing Opportunities: Farm to School Benefits to Farmers and Producers

September 20 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about farm to school’s opportunities and benefits for farmers and producers. Catch a sneak peak of the National Farm to School Network’s forthcoming case studies on the economic impacts of farm to school, and hear firsthand experiences and tips from farmers in the movement. This webinar is generously sponsored by CoBank. Register here

4. NFSN WEBINAR Advocacy in Action: 2017 Farm to School Policy Opportunities
September 21 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about current federal legislative activities and state policy efforts that are advancing opportunities for the expansion of farm to school in K-12 and early care education settings nationwide. Register here

Events
1. October is National Farm to School Month
National Farm to School month is right around the corner! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials, activity ideas and a new calendar of events for ways you can get involved in October. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to start planning. 

2. 2016 Food Week of Action
The global Food Week of Action (October 15-22) is an opportunity for Christians and others around the world to act together for food justice and food sovereignty. It is a special time to raise awareness about approaches that help individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty. Beyond examining our food choices, we must also recognize the lingering roots of racism embedded in our food system, which was founded on slavery and plantation agriculture, and still exploits the environment and workers in the food chain. Read more here

3. Farm & Food Leadership Conference 
September 25-26 // McKinney, Texas
Join small-scale farmers, farm-to-table chefs, local food enthusiasts, home gardeners, and others who care about where their food comes from and find out how you can help transform our food system! Learn more here

4. Widening the Welcome: The Future of Agriculture for Communities of Color
November 4 // Hartford, CT
The face of farming is radically changing. How can we encourage more African American/Black, Latinx and API/APA communities to be in the vanguard of these changes in New England? Join Hidden Acres Farm Inc. for a rare opportunity to raise the voices of global majority actors with a vested interest in agrarian-based ventures statewide and regionally. Learn more

Resources
1. Measuring Up: Demonstrating the Impact of Farm to Institution through Metrics
Measuring Up is a six-part blog series from Farm to Institution New England (FINE) designed to provide a data-driven account of the farm to institution landscape in New England. This series will draw from two years of work by the FINE metrics team dedicated to understanding key indicators for farm to institution success across institutional sectors. Read more

2. School Food Institute 
School Food Institute, an initiative of the Chef Ann Foundation. gives school food service professionals and childhood nutrition advocates the in-depth training, operational skills, and strategic vision necessary to make school food fresh, healthy, and sustainable. Eight engaging online courses give you a front row seat in Chef Ann Cooper’s classroom, where you can learn directly from a leader in school food change on how to transition school meal programs to scratch-cooked operations that provide real, healthy food to kids at school every day. Learn more here

Policy News
1. Farm to School Act of 2017 Introduced in Congress
The Farm to School Act of 2017 has been introduced in Congress with bipartisan support by legislative champions Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH). The Farm to School Act of 2017 builds on the success of the farm to school movement by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2017 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. Make sure Congress knows that farm to school is a powerful tool for supporting our kids, our farmers and our communities! 

Job Opportunities
1. Policy Associate, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) is currently accepting applications for a part-time policy associate. The deadline to apply is September 22, 2017. Learn more

2. Associate Director, The Cornucopia Institute
The Cornucopia Institute is seeking a full-time employee to join their team. The Associate Director will assist with the overall management of Cornucopia’s operations in support of its mission. Learn more

Farm to School in the News

An Indiana Community Garden Full of Education 
For the people living in the surrounding area of Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Terre Haute, it is very difficult to get quality fresh food. Because of these conditions, Rose-Hulman has partnered with the elementary to start an after school gardening program. (My Wabash Valley)  

From the Alaskan Garden: Kale: The Gateway Vegetable
“Mrs. Mercer, when are we going to make kale chips?” It happens every year without fail. The first week of school students are anxious to get back to the garden, dig in the dirt, and taste what has been growing.(Echo AK)

West Virginia Students Bringing in Harvest
Principal Jean Mewshaw said the gardening class is part of the school’s STEM program, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students learn about science and engineering through hands-on projects, such as building and maintaining the school’s community garden. (Parkersburg News and Sentinel)

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



Farm to School Act of 2017 Introduced in Congress

NFSN Staff Thursday, September 07, 2017

By Maximilian Merrill, Policy Director 

Yesterday, members of Congress took the first step toward a major win for local economies, farm families and the health of our nation’s children. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) introduced the bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2017

The two identical bills, originally introduced in the last Congress, build on the progress of the farm to school movement by expanding the highly successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program, which provides funds on a competitive basis to schools, nonprofits, farmers, and local, state and tribal government entities to help schools procure local foods and to support farm to school activities in cafeterias, classrooms and communities. In its first five years, the program has received more than 1,600 applications totaling more than $120 million in requests. With only $5 million available annually, the program has only been able to fund 365 awards. In other words, demand for the program is nearly 5 times higher than available funding. The Farm to School Act proposes an increase in funding to $15 million annually to level this disproportionate ratio of demand to supply. In addition, the bill will also ensure that the grant program fully includes early care and education sites, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers, while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.   

We know that farm to school activities have proven to be an economic driver for local farms across the country. In the most recent USDA Farm to School Census, schools reported purchasing nearly $800 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen and food processors in just one school year. Every dollar spent on local food generates up to an additional $1.60 in economic activity, indicating school districts’ local food purchases are driving over $1 billion in local economic activity. The Farm to School Act will expand these efforts by supporting the growth of farm to school activities in schools, while also ensuring that more farmers and local food producers can reap the benefits of these new market opportunities. 

In 2010, the National Farm to School Network and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition - along with our network of supporters from across the country - successfully advocated for the creation of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. In 2015, we teamed up again to advance farm to school priorities in the reauthorization process of the Child Nutrition Act, with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms. While CNR was not completed in the last Congress, we scored major victories with key Republicans and Democrats supporting farm to school priorities through the process (see more here). This puts us in a strong position for federal policy wins with the reintroduction of this marker bill. 

“Farmers have been struggling for years with a weak agricultural economy,” says Wes King, NSAC Policy Specialist. “One of the many benefits of farm to school programs is that they open up new, lucrative marketing channels to American producers. The Farm to School Act would create opportunities across the board – children win by gaining access to delicious local food and agricultural programming that is both fun and educational, schools and families win by helping children to maintain and/or improve their health, and farmers win by gaining new customers for their products.”

This grant program is an essential tool to improve the health of our children, our food system and our local economies. Help us champion the Farm to School Act of 2017 and grow farm to school across the country. Here are five ways to get involved: 

TAKE ACTION 
  • Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2017 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. (Note: individuals who signed on to support the previous Farm to School Act are still signed on – no need to submit your info again! Organizations, please re-sign on to show your support!)
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest Farm to School Act of 2017 news and opportunities to take action by signing up for our action alerts
  • Help spread the word about this important bill and the importance of farm to school activities in your community by posting to social media with the hashtag #F2SAct. Download our campaign graphics and sample messages here
  • Learn more about the Farm to School Act of 2017 in this fact sheet
  • As Congress considers the Farm to School Act of 2017 over the coming months, expect to hear more from us about steps you can take to encourage your legislators to support the bill. 

Seed Change is sprouting in Native communities

NFSN Staff Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Launched in April 2017, the National Farm to School Network's Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School project aims to expand farm to school activities in Native communities and leverage community-wide initiatives towards building food security and food sovereignty and revitalizing use of traditional foods. Five Native schools have been awarded Seed Change mini-grants to expand and promote farm to school in their communities in 2017. Here are brief updates about what the school have been working on:

Hardin School District 17H&1 – Crow Reservation: Crow Nation (Montana): From bringing local food into the cafeteria with a Harvest of the Month program, to a farmer visiting classrooms to teach students about local grains, farm to school is taking root in the Hardin School District. Work is being done to prep an unused school field for transformation into an orchard and outdoor learning space with native shrubs, berries bushes, and fruit trees. Students are sure to be harvesting farm to school goodness for years to come! 

Hydaburg City School – Hydaburg, Prince of Wales Island: Haida Nation (Alaska): The school's new garden and greenhouse have been running for less than a year, and already student-grown raspberries and sugar snap peas are being incorporated into the school's lunch program. YUM!

Indian Township School – Indian Township Reservation: Passamaquoddy Tribe (Maine): This farm to school team is led by the school's librarian and after school coordinator. Following an ample harvest of squash from their new three sister's garden this summer, they're already looking forward to planning next season's garden. 

Mala`ai Kula: Kaua`i Farm-to-School Pilot – Kaua`i Island: Native Hawaiians (Hawaii): This farm to school pilot program on the island of Kaua'i aims to connect students to culturally relevant foods, such as taro and sweet potatoes, while also encouraging farmers to grow more of these foods to better align with a native diet. Read more about Mala`ai Kula's commitment to serve culturally relevant foods here

Warm Springs K8 Academy – Warm Springs Reservation: Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Oregon): Warm Springs K8 Academy is creating a community-wide culture of wellness by engage students and their families in farm to school activities. In June, the school year's final family night, attended by over 1,000 students and family members, was a Powwow and dinner that served traditional and fresh foods including salmon and root vegetables. 

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.

Team Nutrition Helps Grow Farm to School

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 05, 2017
The National Farm to School Network would like to congratulate the recipients of the 2017 Team Nutrition Training Grants. Team Nutrition Training Grants are competitive three-year grants of up to $500,000 per state awarded annually as part of USDA's Team Nutrition initiative, which provides resources, training, and nutrition education lessons for schools and child care providers. Eleven states were awarded grants this year. Several of these awardees are NFSN Core or Supporting Partners and many of the grants will be used to expand farm to school and ECE activities across the states! 

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will provide nutrition education and gardening activities at 40 child care centers and family child care homes using Team Nutrition’s Grow It, Try It, Like It! materials. Child care providers will also receive training on planning meals to meet the updated Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern requirements and including more Missouri-grown fruits and vegetables. Participants will receive technical assistance and sub-grants to assist with taste testing activities, family engagement and nutrition education and will also have the opportunity to participate in the Culinary Skills Institute that will provide hands-on learning experiences with menu planning and food preparation to enhance child care providers’ abilities to implement the updated CACFP meal pattern requirements with local foods.

The Virginia Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition Programs (VDOE SNP) will use their grant to support “Cultivating a Healthy School Environment: Nourish and Flourish through Training and Technical Assistance” focusing on: 1) appealing and nutritious school meals, 2) nutrition education, and 3) school environments that promote healthy eating. Eight garden-themed regional workshops for school nutrition professionals and will be conducted using peer-mentors (Cultivators) and subject matter experts (Tillers) to focus on culinary skills with farm fresh produce. Participants will also learn how to implement Team Nutrition’s Dig In! and The Great Garden Detective Adventure lessons. Participants in pilot workshops have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the approach, calling the pilot training the “best workshop in 10 years!”

Other states using 2017 Team Nutrition Grant Funding to support farm to school and ECE efforts include Montana, Rhode Island and Iowa. The Montana Office of Public Instruction will expand connections between school and local farmers in order to promote student consumption of ten Harvest of the Month Montana-grown products in the school cafeteria. The Rhode Island Department of Education will provide nutrition education in the child care setting using Team Nutrition’s Grow It, Try It, Like It! materials. They will train child care providers to prepare meals that meet the updated Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern requirements and utilize Rhode Island-grown products in the meals and plan to collaborate with community nutrition partners to host events that provide recipes and cooking demonstrations for parents, caregivers and the community. Iowa Department of Education will support and improve healthy child care environments by delivering training to 30 child care centers and approximately 400 family day care homes on updated Child and Adult Care Food Program meal pattern requirements and ways to incorporate locally-grown foods on menus. They will also use Team Nutrition’s Grow It, Try It, Like It! nutrition education kit to encourage children to try new foods and grow healthy habits from the start.

Team Nutrition Training Grants offer valuable opportunity to expand and institutionalize farm to school and ECE into state training and outreach. Learn more about USDA’s Team Nutrition initiative and the innovative resources and opportunities the program offers here. We congratulate these awardees and look forward to watching farm to school and ECE flourish thanks to Team Nutrition Grants and the great work and innovation of these state agencies.   

This Week in Farm to School: 9/05/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 05, 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. Lowe’s Toolbox for Education® Grants
Each year, the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grants program contributes more than $5 million to fund improvements at public schools in the United States. Projects should fall into one of the following categories: technology upgrades, tools for STEM programs, facility renovations and safety improvements. Toolbox grant requests can range from $2,000 to $100,000. The Fall Grant Cycle is open through September 29, 2017. Learn more here

2. Target field trip grants

Some of the best learning opportunities happen outside the classroom. That's why Target is helping give students a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience through field trips (like visits to a local farms!). As part of the program, Target stores award Target Field Trip™ grants to K-12 schools nationwide. Each grant is valued up to $700. Deadline to apply is Oct. 1. Learn more here

3. Whole Kids Foundation's School Garden Grant

Created in partnership with FoodCorps, the Garden Grant program provides a $2,000 monetary grant to support a new or existing edible garden at either a K-12 school, 501(c)(3) Non-profit working in partnership with a K-12 school, or 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The application period is open September 1, 2017 through October 31, 2017. Learn more here

Webinars
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics: Farm to School for Children with Special Needs
September 7 // 2-3pm ET
Learn about opportunities and best practices for utilizing farm to school initiatives to support learning and development for every child. Hear success stories from leaders of programs across the country who are serving students with special needs. Register here.

2. Professional Development for Garden Educators
September 12 // 4pm ET
School Garden Support Organizations work to prepare teachers, organization staff, and community volunteers to lead students in garden-based learning activities. Learn different approaches School Garden Support Organizations use to lead high quality professional development for garden educators. Register here

3. Local Perspective on School Wellness Policy Implementation! 
September 13 // 1pm ET
Alliance For a Healthier Generation presents this webinar focused on implementing school wellness policies following the USDA’s final rule. This webinar will highlight the local perspective, featuring speakers from California Project LEAN, the California Department of Education, and Arvin School District. Register here

4. Tools for Assessing Economic Impact: A Primer for Food System Practitioners
September 19 // 3-4 pm ET
This webinar from Michigan State University's Center for Regional Food Systems is intended for food system practitioners interested in commissioning an economic impact assessment. It will introduce attendees to the concept and provide an overview of different tools to assess economic growth. Speakers will cover both standard commercial models and alternative, community-based approaches. Register here

5. NFSN WEBINAR Growing Opportunities: Farm to School Benefits to Farmers and Producers
September 20 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about farm to school’s opportunities and benefits for farmers and producers. Catch a sneak peak of the National Farm to School Network’s forthcoming case studies on the economic impacts of farm to school, and hear firsthand experiences and tips from farmers in the movement. This webinar is generously sponsored by CoBank. Register here

6. NFSN WEBINAR Advocacy in Action: 2017 Farm to School Policy Opportunities
September 21 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about current federal legislative activities and state policy efforts that are advancing opportunities for the expansion of farm to school in K-12 and early care education settings nationwide. Presenters will share stories and key learnings from recent policy efforts, and discuss advocacy opportunities for getting involved in current initiatives. Register here

Events
1. Join this year’s Green Apple Day of Service
Green Apple Day of Service is an opportunity to join schools across the world in celebrating the central role that schools play in preparing the next generation of leaders in sustainability. A school’s event improves the health and safety of the learning environment while strengthening student civic leadership, environmental literacy, and project management skills. Schools and the community leaders who support them can choose their own date for their project, and they have access to mini-grants and personalized guidance to help them make their projects a reality. Sign up to participate at greenapple.org.

2. Save the Date: Young Farmers Conference at Stone Barns

December 6-8 // Pocantico Hills, NY 
The Young Farmers Conference will feature insights from farmers, chefs, scientists, advocates, and other experts in the food and agriculture community. Lottery registration will open on September 6. Learn more

3. Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit
October 5-6 // Arlington, VA
This two day summit held at the Arlington Campus at George Mason University will feature speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities relating to urban Ag in Virginia. Learn more

4. Life Lab's School Garden Workshops
Fall 2017 // Santa Cruz, CA
In Life Lab's Garden Classroom on the UC Santa Cruz campus, professional trainers bring inspiration and information to educators interested in bringing learning to life in the garden. The 2017 Fall Educator Workshops are now open for registration. For more details and registration information, visit: www.lifelab.org/gcworkshops

Action Item
1. Survey: Keynote Speaker for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
The National Farm to School Network’s 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 26-27, 2018. Participate in this short survey to let NFSN know who you would like to see as the keynote speaker at the conference. 

Resources
1. Bake For Good Kids
King Arthur Flour presents the Bake For Good Kids program which encourages students to use "math + science + reading + baking know how = something delicious". This program will provide students the ingredients they need to make homemade bread while also teaching them how to do it.

2. Soil Education App 

STARTING WITH SOIL, a free interactive app designed for children, provides parents and educators with an easy and fun way to allow children to discover the importance of healthy soil and see first-hand the harmonious roles that plants, animals and people (even kids!) play in keeping soil balanced so that organic food can grow. Free Download here

Job Opportunities
1. Sustainable School Lunch Sous Chef, Presidio High School
Presidio High School in San Francisco is hiring for a full time Sous Chef.  The ideal candidate interested in a person who is passionate about local, organic foods and what children are eating in school. Read more

2. Farmer Training Program Manager, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
The Farmer Training Program Manager will provide year-round technical assistance (TA), mentoring, and training to small-scale direct market beginning farmers, and serve as the point person for all management responsibilities for the Farmer Training Team. Read more

Farm to School in the News
At Meeting Street in Rhode Island, garden is a source of food and learning
Meeting Street was founded in 1946, providing some of the nation’s first educational and therapeutic opportunities for children with disabilities. Four years ago, Connelly began a program to incorporate growing food into the art curriculum. Gardening branched out to become part of a Meeting Street education, from physical and speech therapy to literacy to science. (Providence Journal)

Missouri student garden teaches science and sharing
Fourth grade teacher, Vickie Gilbert said they meet state standards on plant life cycles through a hands on activity. "It’s something that sparks an interest in them and makes them want  to know more." (Fox 14)

USDA Awards $5.3 million in Grants for School, Child Care Nutrition Efforts

Team Nutrition Training Grants are competitive three-year grants of up to $500,000 per state awarded annually as part of USDA's Team Nutrition initiative, which provides resources, training, and nutrition education lessons for schools and child care providers. (USDA FNS)

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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