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News

National Farm to School Month 2018 Roundup

NFSN Staff Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Highlighting Actions from Across the Nation



By Anna Defendiefer, Communications Intern

For the past 31 days of National Farm to School Month, millions of students, farmers, educators, and communities across the U.S. have been celebrating the movement that connects kids to healthy, local food and supports local economies. From Florida to Alaska and everywhere in between, people are understanding the power that farm to school can bring to kids, farmers, and communities - that’s what National Farm to School Month is all about! 

This year’s campaign encouraged participants to take action and try new things to further embrace the farm to school movement in their local communities. Hundreds of people across the country told us the activities they planned to try this month in our Take Action Pledge:

  • Harvested the school garden, cooked a meal, saved the seeds for next season, and amended the soil to get ready for spring - Alaska
  • Scheduled a Growing Gardens Class for preschoolers - Colorado
  • Taught students about healthy eating and exercise by using pumpkins as weights to do lunges and Russian twists - Connecticut
  • Partnered with a local dairy to name a baby calf - Delaware
  • Installed and planted a rain garden full of native pollinator plants - Oregon
  • Worked with a local dairy farm to teach students how farmers produce milk, yogurt, and cheese - Arizona
  • Students constructed a greenhouse for the school farm and grew food for the Mighty Mustang Backpack Meals Program - Mississippi
  • Celebrated “Garden Day” at a local elementary school, where each grade planted a different kind of seed - Texas

 

At the National Farm to School Network, we’ve been leading Farm to School Month celebrations by sharing farm to school inspiration and stories from partner organizations including School Nutrition Association, National Head Start Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and Newman’s Own Foundation. We also highlighted innovative approaches to farm to school by talking about breakfast and reducing plate waste in the cafeteria. 

On social media, we celebrated by encouraging people to share their ideas and help spread awareness for the farm to school movement using #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool. Over 6,000  social media posts celebrated farm to school this month, showcasing hundreds of activities and events. We were so inspired by the creative ideas and excitement for the farm to school movement we saw! 


Regionally, millions of students and teachers took a collective “crunch” into delicious local produce this month - states in the Great Lakes region, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia all ate local apples, while Florida enjoyed some cucumbers for “Cucumber Crunch!” Policymakers created Farm to School Month proclamations in Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Utah. Some states celebrated by creating exciting farm to school events: Georgia “Kickin’ It with Kale,” Iowa Local Food Day, Louisiana Farm to School Conference, the D.C. Greens Summit, Massachusetts Farm to School Awareness Day, New Jersey Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, Texas Farm Fresh Challenge, and Mississippi Farm to School Week all helped spread awareness in a fun environment!

 
States also showcased their seasonal harvests in a variety of ways: California designated peppers as their “Harvest of the Month,” Idaho celebrated Harvest Day, Minnesota celebrated Minnesota Thursday, Maine hosted a Harvest Lunch Week, New Hampshire celebrated kale, Hawaii celebrated ‘Ulu (also known as breadfruit), and Nebraska launched Nebraska Thursdays. And that's just a snapshot!

Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you, who take action and try new things every day to encourage local food sourcing and food, agriculture, and nutrition education to students across the nation. While Farm to School Month has come to an end, we encourage you to keep the momentum going and continue to celebrate the positive power that farm to school brings to kids, farmers and communities. To stay up-to-date on the latest stories, new resources, policy actions, learning opportunities and more, join our network. Let’s keep taking action all year long!

Thank you to this year’s National Farm to School Month sponsors - CoBank, Newman’s Own Foundation, U.S. Highbush Blueberry CouncilCaptain Planet Foundation, Farm Credit, FarmLogix, Organic Valley, and High Mowing Organic Seeds - as well as the Featured Partner and Outreach Partner organizations that helped us spread the word about farm to school far and wide throughout October. And, thanks to YOU for being a farm to school champion in your community!

Plate Waste Warriors: How Schools Are Reducing Food Waste

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The blog is sponsored by CoBank, who shares the National Farm to School Network's mission of growing farm to school to support farmers and vibrant rural communities. We thank CoBank for being a sponsor of our 2018 National Farm to School Month Celebrations. 
By Elizabeth Esparza, NFSN Communications Intern

Observe any school cafeteria during a typical lunchtime, and you are bound to witness a perplexing problem. On the one hand, you would certainly see students who rely on school meals to meet their daily nutritional needs getting the food they need. Simultaneously, on any normal day, you would also undoubtedly notice the staggering amount of waste that cafeterias across the country inevitably produce. 

Though plate waste abounds, schools and communities throughout the country are stepping up to fight the issue with creative solutions. Reducing plate waste in schools is an important things to consider in ensuring that all students get the food they need while working to send less food to the landfill. Here are a few examples of how school campuses across the country are taking steps to put more food in tummies, and send less food into trash bins. 

The Natural Resources Council of Maine recently published a how-to Guide to Reduce Wasted Food in Maine’s K-12 Schools. One of the study’s coauthors, Ryan Parker, formerly a commercial farmer, was interested in how much it was costing school districts to purchase and prepare food that would ultimately be thrown away. Recognizing the barriers schools encounter in reducing their food waste such as limited staff time, serving mandates, and the length of lunchtime, the guide focuses on composting and share tables, two great ways to make sure the food they produce doesn’t go to waste. Public schools produce 1.9% of food waste in the country, which amounts to 36.5 pounds of food per student per year. Though there is certainly more waste to be found in other areas such as households, schools provide a great opportunity to teach and influence students to create positive habits for the future. Check out the guide from some practical examples that can be implemented at any school. 

The Campus Kitchens Project, a national program of DC Central Kitchen, has an innovative model to turn what could be waste into much needed meals for the community. The program works with students at 65 universities and high school campuses throughout the country to transform unused food from cafeterias and other community kitchens into meals for their hungry neighbors. With a model that targets the many root causes of hunger, Campus Kitchens not only feeds those who need it and keeps food from going to waste, it also creates opportunities for high school and college students to gain leadership and entrepreneurial skills that can benefit them into their future careers. Here’s an example of the impact one school has made through the program: Gonzaga College High School, located in Washington, D.C., has recovered 28,990 pounds of food since launching in 2005. The Campus Kitchen cooks twice a week, and delivers twice a week to mostly senior, low-income housing communities - watch the video the learn more! Overall, schools participating in The Campus Kitchen Project in the 2016-2017 academic year recovered 991,872 pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to waste, and prepared 378,423 nutritious meals for those in need. 

Another key strategy for reducing food waste is educating students about why this is an important issue in the first place. The more students know about food waste, food insecurity, and the complete cycle of the food system, the more likely they are to be conscious of what's left on their plate at the end of a meal. In Michigan, fifth graders at Traverse Heights Elementary have had a hands-on lesson with bananas (rescued from a local grocery story) that illustrated how much food is wasted despite the fact that many people are food insecure. In Arkansas, Washington Elementary School found success when students led a food plate waste audit. In the months following the audit, students reduced their milk waste by 20% and shared various unopened lunch meal items (e.g. milks, apples, oranges, etc.) as afternoon snacks with other students. And in Hawai'i, the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's 3R’s School Recycling Program focuses on educating students to reduce, reuse and recycle waste in gardens, schoolyards, cafeterias, and classrooms. The program trains students leaders to engage their school community in implementing a school-wide recycling system by conducting classroom presentation, creating campaign materials, and serving as mentors on campus. Empowering students to feel knowledgeable and invested in taking action to reduce waste in the cafeterias and throughout their school campuses is an important step in creating lasting impacts on reduced school food waste. 

Whether they utilize share tables, composting, or transforming food, schools and communities are working to combat food waste by reducing what they are able to, reusing what they can, and repurposing what is left. 

If you are interested in fighting food waste in your school, here are some more resources to get you started:

Are you taking steps to reduce food waste in your school? We’d love to hear about it! Send us a note via our Story Form or tag us in a post on social media. 

This Week in Farm to School: 10/30/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 30, 2018
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 Head Start Association Garden Grants
The National Head Start Association and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation have launched a new multi-year Garden Grants initiative, which seeks to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to more Head Start children and families, increasing healthy food access and fostering a lifelong love of gardening. Grant recipients will receive $5,000, plus a garden kit, to create or expand a garden in their community. Schools, community action programs, non-profits, hospitals, community centers and inter-generational groups that hosts Head Start programs are eligible to apply.  Application deadline for the 2018/2019 program year is November 15, 2018. Learn more here

2. USDA FY 2019 Farm to School Grant RFA
The FY 2019 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open to applicants. Due to additional funding made available to the Farm to School Grant Program through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $7.5M in FY 2019 funding.  Applications are due Dec. 4, 2018. Learn more and apply here


Webinars & Events
1. National Farm to School Month - Last Chance to Share How You're Celebrating!
How are you celebrating National Farm to School Month? The National Farm to School Network wants to know! Share what actions you're taking for farm to school this October by adding your name to the Take Action Pledge. Everyone who completes the pledge form will be entered to win farm to school prizes for a school of their choice! Eleven (11) winners will be randomly drawn, and prizes include a "Build-Your-Own Blueberry Day" from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, assets from the Captain Planet Foundation Project Learning Garden™ program, organic dairy products from Organic Valley, and seed packets from High Mowing Organic Seeds. Whether you’re hosting a taste test in the cafeteria, harvesting school garden produce or making a new farm to school connection, no action is too small! Take 2 minutes to add your name to the pledge and enter to win by Oct. 31, 2018. Learn more at www.farmtoschool.org/pledge.  

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics: NFSN Seed Change in Native Communities Cohort
November 1, 2-3pm ET
In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, our November Trending Topics webinar will feature partners from the National Farm to School Network's Seed Change in Native Communities project. Since 2017, the Seed Change project has helped to create dozens of school gardens in Native communities, put local and indigenous foods on the plates of hundreds of children, and supported the inspiring work of five school communities dedicated to expanding and sustaining farm to school programming for the next generation of Native youth. Register here.

3. EQUITY Equity & Access in the School Garden Movement Webinar
Today! October 30, 1-2pm PT
School gardens can be a powerful tool for promoting racial and social equity, but equally important are the ways school garden organizations and school garden educators approach equity and access. Please join Suzannah Holsenbeck of Common Ground, Ida Sobotik of Community Groundworks, and Sam Ullery of the DC Office of State Superintendent of Education as they discuss what equity in school gardens means to their organizations. They will share case studies and offer suggestions for how your organization can tackle issues around equity and access in your work. Register here.


Research & Resources
1. New Report: Cultivating Opportunity: An Overview of USDA's Fiscal Year 2015 and 2016 Farm to School Grantees’ Growing Achievements
The USDA Farm to School Grant Program is one way schools, State agencies, Indian Tribal Organizations, producers, and nonprofit organizations are working together to incorporate local and regional foods into the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). This report explores the history and benefits of farm to school programs across the country and dives deeper into the strategies and outcomes of USDA’s Farm to School Grant Program. Read the report here. 

2. Benefits of Farm to School: Evidence from Canada
The Benefits of Farm to School: Evidence from Canada demonstrates the impacts of farm to school activities, which include public health, education and learning, the environment, community connectedness and the economic benefits. It is complemented by the United States’ National Farm to School Network’s fact sheet, which provides an extensive list of benefits and sources backed by research from the US. The positive impacts of farm to school programs in Canada are becoming clear, but more evaluation is needed to better understand – and grow – the movement to put more healthy, local food on the minds and plates of Canadian students. The development of this fact sheet is an important first step. Read the report here

3. JAFSCD and JAIE Call for Papers and Commentaries
The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development and the Journal of American Indian Education jointly seek manuscripts and commentaries on practice-relevant and pedagogical research related to Indigenous food sovereignty issues, especially tribal and government policy, grassroots community organizing, culturally defined foods and practices, and the transfer of Indigenous knowledge.The deadline for manuscript submissions is January 15, 2019. Read the full description here.

4. New Report: Army fell short of its recruiting goal, in part due to obesity
Mission: Readiness, an organization of retired admirals and generals, recently released a new national report, ‘Unhealthy and Unprepared,’ on the recruiting challenges currently confronting our armed forces. This year, the Army fell short of its recruiting goal for the first time since 2005, due in part to the 31 percent of 17-24 year-old recruits who are disqualified from serving in the military due to obesity. Overall, 71 percent of young people between the ages of 17 and 24 do not qualify for military service. This new report details how parents, educators, and policymakers can improve children’s health, prevent obesity, and grow the pool of eligible recruits by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity from a young age. Read the report here


Job Opportunities
1. Policy Specialist, National Farm to School Network (Washington, DC)
The National Farm to School Network seeks a Policy Specialist to lead implementation of the organization's policy priorities, including influencing federal administrative, rulemaking, and legislative actions, and supporting the development of its biennial report of state level policies supportive of farm to school. The Policy Specialist will cultivate relationships with policymakers and their staff, partner organizations and advocacy coalitions, manage and facilitate NFSN's Policy Group, and educate and mobilize NFSN stakeholders around key issues. This position is based in Washington, DC. Deadline to apply is Nov. 16, 2018. Learn more and apply here

2. Community Programs Coordinator Americorps VISTA, Youth Garden Project (Moab, UT)
The Community Programs Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA member will work directly with Youth Garden Project’s many community-based programs and events. Ideal candidate will be flexible, collaborative, able to work independently, exhibit strong leadership, and enthusiastic about YGP’s mission of cultivating healthy children, families, and community through the process of connecting people with food from seed to table. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
Rep. Panetta visits school garden program in California
Rep. Jimmy Panetta visited an elementary school in Watsonville to observe the impact of a school garden program designed to provide young children in resource challenged communities with fresh healthy food and knowledge about where it comes from. (Santa Cruz Sentinel

Composting enriches Farm-to-Table Program at Florida School
Visitors at Sugar Mill Elementary might be surprised to spot strawberries, papayas, peppers, pineapples, bean, avocados, lettuce and melons around the campus. Students from each grade take turns tending to their fruits and vegetables, which they've grown over several weeks. Eventually, they harvest what they've grown and make a meal. (Port Orange Observer)

Ohio school employees experience farming up close and personal
Serving food to children is the core focus of about 50 Ashtabula Area City Schools nutrition service workers who got the opportunity to see the details of the farming process at area farms. (Star Beacon)
  
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.

How State Departments of Agriculture Grow Farm to School

NFSN Staff Monday, October 29, 2018
Guest post by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture


New Jersey State Department of Agriculture, 8th Annual Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government and stakeholders. NASDA appreciates its partnership with the National Farm to School Network (NFSN), as connecting farmers with new markets and children with healthy food is a common sense opportunity to create vibrant communities of all sizes. Across the nation, NASDA Members support farm to school activities in several creative ways. Read just a few of our success stories below:

Georgia Department of Agriculture
In 2014, the Georgia Department of Agriculture implemented a farm to school program, “Feed My School,” to help school nutrition programs utilize locally grown foods. Through identifying barriers to sourcing Georgia grown products and creating practical solutions for school nutrition directors, the department has reached over one-third of the state’s K-12 population. 

“Georgia Grown Test Kitchens” have tremendously aided the formulation of new meals and program implementation methods as they develop, test and share menu plans for schools across the state. Following the Feed My School program’s initial success, the department of agriculture has set a new goal to include 20 percent locally grown products in every school meal. To learn more about the Feed My School program and the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s goals, visit www.FeedMySchool.com.

New Jersey Department of Agriculture
The New Jersey State Department of Agriculture hosted a program this September to recognize New Jersey farmers’ farm to school efforts. This year’s winner, recognized during the 8th Annual Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, was Terhune Orchards. 

Terhune Orchards regularly hosts classes from schools and events for children all year round. The orchard currently has a tour program that explores how crops grow, and life on the farm. Also, in one of the orchard’s barns, it features a life size story about corn showing the growth stages of corn until it is ready for harvest. “We feel strongly that it is important to show children how food is grown and to teach them about the importance of eating healthy,” said Gary Mount, Terhune Orchards owner and operator.

During the 2017-18 school year, the influence of the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program led to 255 schools purchasing some local produce from their main distributor, 223 districts buying local produce directly from farms, 212 districts using a curriculum that ties cafeteria meals to healthy eating education and 114 districts organizing field trips to farms.

West Virginia Department of Agriculture
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is collaborating with the West Virginia Department of Education and West Virginia University Extension Service on a USDA Farm to School Implementation Grant project totaling $91,540. Together, they are designing and executing a two-year strategic plan that expands market opportunities for farmers. In addition to benefitting farmers, the project will increase awareness of West Virginia agriculture and provide resources to farmers, buyers and producers statewide. Stay updated on the program’s progress by visiting the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s website

On a federal policy level, NASDA supports increased funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program from $5 to $15 million in order to incubate more farm to school programs throughout the United States. We also encourage Congress to provide additional regulatory flexibility to school food procurement practices. In order to provide this clarity, Congress should expand existing local procurement and geographic preference language to specifically allow “local” as a product specification for school food, provided competitive bidding is maintained. 

For those looking to learn more about their state’s farm to school initiatives, or if you have ideas on how to collaborate, NASDA suggests contacting your state department of agriculture. Search NASDA’s directory here

Celebrating Farm to School with Head Start Gardening!

NFSN Staff Thursday, October 25, 2018
Guest post by the National Head Start Association



Gardens offer untapped potential in low-income communities
Head Start strives to provide at-risk children with the support they need to reach their full potential in school and in life. Head Start recognizes good health and nutrition as the foundation of school readiness and child development, and takes a comprehensive approach to supporting and promoting the health and well-being of children and families. This approach includes high-quality health and nutrition standards that are required to be culturally and developmentally appropriate, meet the nutritional needs of all individual children, follow the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and USDA recommendations, and served as family-style meals to promote staff-child interactions and healthy socialization. However, we believe there is untapped potential for garden projects in Head Start and Early Head Start programs which can further improve the health and development of children in vulnerable communities, where fresh foods are most scarce. 

Recognizing the importance of strong health and nutrition in early childhood and understanding many at-risk children and families suffer from lack of access to fresh foods, the National Head Start Association (NHSA) has partnered with the National Farm to School Network to celebrate National Farm to School Month and to spread awareness on this critical issue. In celebration of National Farm to School Month, NHSA is expanding our reach, resources, and partnerships with organizations related to farm to early care and education, with the overall goal to increase access to gardening and its many benefits to low-income communities.

Numerous benefits to starting gardening early
Gardens and the fresh foods they provide in early care and education programs offer numerous benefits, ranging from increased access to nutritious and local foods for children in their vital years of development, to improved physical activity and hands-on learning related to agriculture, health, and nutrition. But not only does gardening contribute to positive child health outcomes, it also fosters healthy interactions and social skills between children, teachers, and families. Additionally, when schools and communities support local food systems, the surrounding economy thrives. 

Research to support these many benefits has grown in recent years and as a result, local fresh foods and gardens have spread through communities and schools. However, most families in vulnerable communities are still food insecure and often live in areas with little to no access to fresh foods, or “food deserts.” Far too often, low-income children and families lack access to basic fresh foods.

So in addition to the National Farm to School Network, NHSA has also joined forces with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation.
Through our partnership with Scotts Miracle-Gro, we will work with Head Start programs across the country to support children, families, and communities in the growing of their own fresh produce for life. This multi-year initiative will make garden grants, garden kits, educational curriculum, and garden training available to all Head Start programs, with the goal of creating more edible gardens for young children and their families. The partnership also includes a webinar series, as part of NHSA’s Year of Whole Health, to share information about how to create and sustain a successful Head Start garden program and the benefits for children, families, staff, and the surrounding community. 

By partnering with the National Farm to School Network and Scotts Miracle-Gro, NHSA’s goal is to expand access to gardens, fresh foods and nutrition education materials for children, families, and staff across the Head Start field. NHSA hopes that each new garden grown or current garden maintained will stimulate healthy child development, family and community engagement, and sustainable locally sourced foods. 

How can you help?
Through these partnerships, NHSA encourages all families, teachers, and program leaders in Head Start and across the early care and education field to share educational materials and resources with your communities and find ways to incorporate gardens into your programs and schools. 

  • Visit the NHSA & Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Garden Grants Initiative website to apply for a grant for your Head Start or Early Head Start program and learn about future webinars and resources. 
  • Join us in celebrating National Farm to School Month! Check out NFSN’s Celebration Toolkit for ideas on how your community, school, or program can spread awareness and support locally sourced foods. Did you know that October is National Head Start Awareness Month, too? Head Start programs can celebrate both by raising awareness of Head Start’s impacts and the ways they’re growing healthy kids and healthy families through farm to school activities. 
  • Read through NFSN’s Growing Head Start Success with Farm to Early Care and Education report to understand more about the role Head Start can play in promoting farm to ECE.   
  • Read through the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey produced by NFSN and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems. This information is easily shared with families, teachers, and communities through the Fact Sheet, Infographic, and Sharing Toolkit provided in the above link. 
  • Search other helpful resources in NFSN’s resource database to understand more about the benefits of gardening and supporting local fresh foods and how you can spread this initiative to all children and families in need.
To stay up-to-date with the National Head Start Association’s work, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Happy Farm to School Month!

This Week in Farm to School: 10/23/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding
1. USDA FY 2019 Farm to School Grant RFA
The FY 2019 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open to applicants. Due to additional funding made available to the Farm to School Grant Program through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $7.5M in FY 2019 funding.  Applications are due Dec. 4, 2018. Learn more and apply here

2. 2019 Youth Garden Grant
Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States or US Territories planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. The selection of winners is based on demonstrated program impact and sustainability. The top 5 programs will be awarded grant packages worth $2,100. Grant packages worth $500 will be awarded to 20 additional programs. Applications are due December 17. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. National Farm to School Month - Share How You're Celebrating, Enter to Win!
How are you celebrating National Farm to School Month? The National Farm to School Network wants to know! Share what actions you're taking for farm to school this October by adding your name to the Take Action Pledge. Everyone who completes the pledge form will be entered to win farm to school prizes for a school of their choice! Eleven (11) winners will be randomly drawn, and prizes include a "Build-Your-Own Blueberry Day" from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, assets from the Captain Planet Foundation Project Learning Garden™ program, organic dairy products from Organic Valley, and seed packets from High Mowing Organic Seeds. Whether you’re hosting a taste test in the cafeteria, harvesting school garden produce or making a new farm to school connection, no action is too small! Take 2 minutes to add your name to the pledge and enter to win by Oct. 31, 2018. Learn more at www.farmtoschool.org/pledge.  

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics: NFSN Seed Change in Native Communities Cohort
November 1, 2-3pm ET
In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, our November Trending Topics webinar will feature partners from the National Farm to School Network's Seed Change in Native Communities project. Since 2017, the Seed Change project has helped to create dozens of school gardens in Native communities, put local and indigenous foods on the plates of hundreds of children, and supported the inspiring work of five school communities dedicated to expanding and sustaining farm to school programming for the next generation of Native youth. Register here.

3. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to School and 21st Century Food Service Programs
November 15, 7-8pm ET
In 2018, National Farm to School Network teamed up with National Education Association as its National Partner of the Year. Growing from this partnership is a movement to challenge schools to build 21st Century food programs. We want to enrich the connection between schools and fresh, healthy, and locally sourced food. Additionally, we will build a new school nutrition workforce that will anchor this lofty project in our school communities. Join this webinar to hear from participants in this new partnership that are already reaping the benefits. Register here

4. Massachusetts Farm to School Farm & Sea to School Conference 
December 6, 2018 // Leominster, MA
On December 6, 2018, Mass. Farm to School will hold its fifth statewide conference, The Massachusetts Farm & Sea to School Conference. This year’s theme is Setting the Table: Communities Creating Change.  The conference seeks to amplify traditionally underrepresented voices in the Massachusetts food system and identify strategies and resources for promoting racial equity and social justice as we grow the farm & sea to school movement. Register here

5. Farm to Cafeteria Canada National Farm to School Conference - Call for Proposals
Farm to Cafeteria Canada's (F2CC) National Farm to School Conference will be held in Victoria, British Columbia, May 15-17, 2019 and we are now accepting proposals. Building on the success of the 2015 Changing the Menu conference, this event is designed to advance activity to bring more healthy, local and sustainable foods into the minds and onto the plates of students in preschools, schools (K-12) and campuses across Canada. We invite you to join your colleagues from across Canada as they INSPIRE, INNOVATE, and organize for IMPACT. Deadline to submit is December 20, 2018. Learn more here.


Research & Resources
1. Native Farm-to-School Resource Guide
First Nations Development Institute has released a Native Farm-to-School Resource Guide, a comprehensive manual for planning and implementing farm-to-school programs in Native American communities. The Native Farm-to-School Resource Guide was developed by identifying existing Native and non-Native farm-to-school programs and analyzing best practices, lessons learned, biggest challenges and case study examples of programs that achieved high-level impact and long-term sustainability. The result is a process guide for planning Native farm-to-school programs as well as a guide for tribal officials to engage their leadership and create buy-in for the farm-to-school process. Learn more here

2.  USDA Seeking Nominations for Beginning and Minority Farmer Advisory Committees
The USDA has reopened nominations for both the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee and the Minority Farmer Advisory Committee. This who applied in the last nomination period (which closed last June) do not need to reapply. Consideration will be given to nominations received on or before November 1, 2018. Applications and nomination packages can be downloaded here.


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to School Planning Consultant, City of Providence (Providence, RI)
The City of Providence has re-opened the Request for Proposals for a Farm to School Planning Consultant. This consultant will lead the City and Providence Public Schools in developing an Action Plan to better integrate local foods, school gardens, and food systems/nutrition education into our school district. Proposals are due by 2:15 pm on October 29th. Learn more here or contact Rachel Newman Greene at Rnewmangreene@providenceri.gov with questions or for more information.

2. Member and Strategic Partnerships Manager, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (Location Flexible)
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) amplifies the impact of philanthropic and investment communities in support of just and sustainable food and agriculture systems. SAFSF seeks a full-time Member and Strategic Partnerships Manager to support, mobilize, and expand SAFSF’s membership and secure new revenue in support of its strategic direction. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
Betti Wiggins recognized in 50 Most Influential People in Health Care
Betti Wiggins, officer of nutrition services for Houston Independent School District and NFSN Advisory Board member, has been named one of Time Magazine's 50 most influential people in health care in 2018. Read Betti's profile here. Congratulations, Betti! 

Michigan teacher runs farm to cafeteria program powered by students with disabilities
They might not know it, but when hundred of Detroit students eat a school lunch, they are consuming vegetables grown just a few miles away by one of the city’s most innovative programs for students with special needs. Last week, for example, schools in the city’s main district received hundreds of pounds of butternut squash that were grown and packaged at Drew Transition Center, a school where students with severe disabilities prepare to enter adult life. (Chalkbeat)

How schools are fighting back against obesity in Mississippi
With salad bars and vegetable gardens, the Tupelo Public School District exposes its pre-K and elementary students to healthy food sources and eating habits. Yet even as the district fights back with education and farming experience, obesity in Mississippi is a public health crisis. Across the state, poor examples set by adults and entrenched advertising campaigns promote cases of childhood obesity that set the youth on a path toward life-threatening chronic diseases. (Daily Journal)

Massachusetts students’ garden bounty reaps awards at Topsfield fair
Tilling and tending the soil not only fosters the pride and confidence that comes from growing food with your own two hands, but this year, it also yielded Page youngsters an additional reward: several top honors at America’s oldest agricultural fair. (The Daily News)

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

Newman’s Own Foundation is Focused on Fresh Food Access

NFSN Staff Friday, October 19, 2018
Guest post by Newman's Own Foundation
Paul Newman spent his life giving back and supporting others in their efforts to give back. He was particularly passionate about fresh food, which is why Newman’s Own Foundation is proud to highlight nutrition as one of its four focus areas.

At the beginning of October—National Farm to School Month—Newman’s Own Foundation announced $1.7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to supporting fresh food access. This adds to the more than $38 million Newman’s Own Foundation has donated since 2010 to healthy food and nutrition programs. 

This most recent set of grants went to 37 organizations involved with everything from healthy cooking for kids, urban agriculture, farmers markets, community gardens, and more. Let’s take a look at what a few of these organizations are doing to promote nutritional education and fresh food in schools across the U.S. 

Edible Schoolyard NYC: In support of their mission to offer edible education for every child in New York City, Edible Schoolyard NYC partners with the city’s public schools to cultivate healthy students and communities through hands-on cooking and gardening education. 

Wellness in the Schools: Wellness in the Schools partners with public schools to provide nutrition and fitness education, healthy scratch-cooked meals, and active recess periods. Their goal is long-term change by shifting school cultures and teaching kids healthy habits to learn and live better. 

Jones Valley Teaching Farm: Good School Food is Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s primary program. It encourages hands-on learning with food as the main teaching tool. Read more about Newman’s Own Foundation’s Road Trip to Jones Valley Teaching Farm

Healthy Schools Campaign: Cooking Up Change, part of Healthy Schools Campaign in Chicago, “puts student voices front and center in the national dialogue about school food.” The program challenges students to create their own healthy, great-tasting meals that satisfy the requirements for the national school meal program.  

“Newman's Own Foundation is proud to support the people and the nonprofit organizations they represent who each and every day work to improve access to fresh foods in their communities," said Bob Forrester, President and CEO of Newman's Own Foundation. "Through their diligent efforts, they are making a significant difference in the lives of thousands of children and families around the country and an overall contribution to the health of our nation.”

In addition to offering aid to other organizations, Newman’s Own Foundation formed its first Nutrition Cohort in 2014 to address challenges around nutrition. The Cohort consisted of six nonprofits and a research university which all gathered to share best practices, coordinate their efforts, and brainstorm ideas for improving nutrition. Working together gave the organizations the opportunity to make a larger impact. 

Get involved!

Here are a few ways you, too, can take action for farm to school in your own community.
  • Volunteer at your local school or community garden
  • Get in touch with schools and encourage them to serve local meals
  • Thank your school nutrition staff
  • Participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and support local farmers
  • Take the family to a farmers market
  • Support Newman’s Own Foundation nutritional grantees
Don’t forget to share your story and encourage others to get involved during National Farm to School Month and throughout the year. 

National Farm to School Network thanks Newman's Own Foundation for being a sponsor of our 2018 National Farm to School Month Celebrations!

This Week in Farm to School: 10/16/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding
1. USDA FY 2019 Farm to School Grant RFA
The FY 2019 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open to applicants. Due to additional funding made available to the Farm to School Grant Program through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $7.5M in FY 2019 funding.  Applications are due Dec. 4, 2018. Learn more and apply here. For more information, join OCFS for a special two-part webinar on Oct. 16 and Oct. 17 at 1pm ET.  These webinars will review the important details of the FY 2019 Farm to School Grants and walk candidates through the application process.

2. One Earth Award 
There's an exciting, new opportunity for teens! The One Earth Award provides four students whose creative works encourage the awareness of, and meaningful responses to, pressing issues of human-caused climate change with $1,000 scholarships. In addition, special awards are also available for students and educators from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. All students in grades 7-12 (ages 13 and up) are eligible to participate. Visit artandwriting.org for more information, and visit the deadlines and guidelines page for information on when and how students can submit their work.

3. Annie’s Grant for Edible School Gardens
Want a school garden? Annie’s believes that showing future generations how sustainable food is grown changes their lives. Connecting kids to gardens helps them to start thinking more holistically about their food, their communities, and the planet. Applications are due November 1. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. October is National Farm to School Month!
National Farm to School month is here! 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. Share how your celebrating National Farm to School Month by signing the Take Action Pledge and you'll be entered to win farm to school prizes for a school or early care and education site of your choice! Visit farmtoschool.org/month to get involved. 

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics: NFSN Seed Change in Native Communities Cohort
November 1, 2-3pm ET
In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, our November Trending Topics webinar will feature partners from the National Farm to School Network's Seed Change in Native Communities project. Since 2017, the Seed Change project has helped to create dozens of school gardens in Native communities, put local and indigenous foods on the plates of hundreds of children, and supported the inspiring work of five school communities dedicated to expanding and sustaining farm to school programming for the next generation of Native youth. Register here.

3. Webinar: Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior - Journal Club 4: A Plate Waste Evaluation of the Farm to School Program
October 22, 1-2pm ET
Program evaluation is an important part of determining any intervention’s success. In this presentation, we will discuss the study design and methodologies used to evaluate a new farm to school program. Specifically, the benefits and drawback of the quarter-waste method will be discussed within the context of evaluating school-level nutrition interventions. Register here.

4. NH Food Alliance Webinar: Farm to School as a Catalyst to Local Food System Change
October 23, 12-1pm ET
Since October is National Farm to School Month, we thought it was fitting to have an opportunity to learn about the New Hampshire Farm to School (NHFTS) Program and how they are facilitating connections between food producers, K-12 schools, and the broader community as a whole. NHFTS began in 2003 and has found tremendous success in bringing local food into over half of the public schools in the state! Register here.

5. Celebrate National Farm to School Month in Early Child Care and Education Settings: Farm to CACFP
October 25, 2-3pm ET
Learn more about Farm to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) during this interactive webinar brought to you by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Participants will learn how Farm to CACFP efforts big and small can be successfully implemented in a variety of settings; how early exposure to gardening, farming, and local foods can benefit young eaters; where to find free Team Nutrition materials focused on garden-based nutrition education that can be used in early care and education sites; and how California-based North Bay Children’s Center’s Garden of Eatin program is helping to change the way children think about food through hands-on experiences. Register here.

6. Equity & Access in the School Garden Movement Webinar
October 30, 1-2pm PT
School gardens can be a powerful tool for promoting racial and social equity, but equally important are the ways school garden organizations and school garden educators approach equity and access. Please join Suzannah Holsenbeck of Common Ground, Ida Sobotik of Community Groundworks, and Sam Ullery of the DC Office of State Superintendent of Education as they discuss what equity in school gardens means to their organizations. They will share case studies and offer suggestions for how your organization can tackle issues around equity and access in your work. Register here.

7. Farm to School and 21st Century Food Service Programs
November 15, 7-8pm ET
In 2018, National Farm to School Network teamed up with National Education Association as its National Partner of the Year. Growing from this partnership is a movement to challenge schools to build 21st Century food programs. We want to enrich the connection between schools and fresh, healthy, and locally sourced food. Additionally, we will build a new school nutrition workforce that will anchor this lofty project in our school communities. Join this webinar to hear from participants in this new partnership that are already reaping the benefits. Register here


Research & Resources
1. Farm to Childcare: An Analysis of Social and Economic Values in Local Food Systems
Farm to childcare (F2CC) is a next step in developing farm to institution links between local producers and organizations. F2CC can reach young children at a critical point in their habit formation and biological development, as well as provide economic opportunities  for local farmers. In a qualitative case study, researchers from North Carolina State University investigate the social and financial tensions in F2CC work. In doing so, they provide strategies that can be used to better achieve the social goals of farm to childcare programs. Read more here.


Job Opportunities
1. Maine Harvest of the Month Program Coordinator,  Maine Department of Education (Augusta, ME)
The Harvest of the Month Coordinator will develop and oversee the Maine Harvest of the Month Project and will actively recruit schools to participate. The position will develop marketing materials for school nutrition programs and conduct trainings and technical assistance to schools to ensure they have the tools for success. For interest and more information please contact Stephanie Stambach at stephanie.stambach@maine.gov

2. Local Food Program Manager, North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)
The Extension Local Food Program Manager provides program management and coordination for NC Cooperative Extension’s Local Food Program. This position will work with other local food leadership groups to build Extension’s statewide capacity in local food systems. This will happen mainly through resource development, managing the local food web portal and online courses, participating/ leading cross disciplinary curriculum and training development teams, co-chairing the Local Food Program Team and delivering training. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
School Lunch Day recognizes Iowa farm sources
Apples and honey from Iowa orchards and apiaries, sweet potatoes from a farm in Grinnell and pork from Iowa Select Farms will create Thursday’s meal for Ottumwa’s school children. During National Farm to School Month, the I Department of Agriculture, using grant money from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, is bringing attention to Iowa-grown food to school children around the state. (Ottumwa Courier)

North Carolina students learn about food at Agriculture by the Slice
Fifth-grade students at Lexington City Schools had a chance to learn about the science, math, agriculture and other processes that go into making a pizza during the Agriculture by the Slice program at the Davidson County Fairgrounds on Tuesday morning. (The Dispatch)

Kentucky farm to school program is a win-win
October is Farm to School Month, and Kentucky has plenty of reasons to celebrate. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture staff has recruited 907 schools in 77 school districts to participate in their Farm to School program. Some school districts are the largest food procurers in each county, so this program provides many benefits to Kentucky farmers and students alike. (Surf KY News)

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