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National Farm to School Network

News

It's not only about race, but it's always about race

NFSN Staff Wednesday, February 28, 2018
By Molly Schintler, Communications Intern

Every month, National Farm to School Network staff gather to engaging in ongoing learning and discussion about racial and social equity in farm to school. This month, we started our conversation with each staff member sharing a story, thought, or resource relating to Black History – a timely discussion, as February is Black History Month. One staff member shared a few words that had stuck with them, offered by a NFSN Core Partner: “It’s not only about race; but, it’s always about race.” Hearing these words struck me, too. I would encourage you to re-read the quote a few times, sit for a moment, and think about this short, simple statement. These words resonated with me because they encompass how I approach my work with NFSN.  Farm to school is not only about race; but it’s always about race. 
The National Farm to School Network is committed to racial and social equity as a central tenant of farm to school. Why? Because troubling racial and ethnic disparities exist in our food system:
  • Black and Latino youths having substantially higher rates of childhood obesity as compared to their White peers.
  • Native Americans are twice as likely as White people to lack access to safe, healthy foods, ultimately leading to higher obesity and diabetes rates.
  • Many food system workers take home poverty-level wages, with women, Blacks and Latinos most likely to earn the lowest.
  • With regards to land ownership, Latinos make up 3.2 percent of today’s farm owners, American Indians or Alaska natives 1.8 percent, Black or African people 1.6 percent, and Asians constitute less that 1 percent.
We believe that farm to school programs rooted in equity can, quite literally, grow and cultivate a more fair and just food system for all Americans, Native Americans, and citizens of the U.S. Territories. 

Black history - and more specifically, black history in the US food system - is important to understand because our food system was built inequitably.  This is to say that the social and racial injustices of our current food systems exist by design. (Learn more by watching Ricardo Salvador’s keynote address at the 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference here.) The racial disparities that permeate the food system are not happenstance, but rather a result of our nation’s history of exploiting people of color, particularly Native Americans and African Americans. As much as farm to school is about cute, toothless kids pulling fresh carrots from a school garden and farmers supplying local foods for school lunch, it is also about the real, true history of food in this country. This real, true history includes stolen land and slavery and Jim Crow, which, naturally, gives one less of a warm and fuzzy feeling when compared to the cute kids with carrots in a school garden.  

And that brings me back to “It’s not only about race; but, it’s always about race.” For me, this is an important reminder that our work in growing healthy kids and supporting local agriculture through farm to school activities isn’t only about addressing racial inequities. But, race must always be part of the conversation because racial inequities are a reality of the food system that we work within. Farm to school is not only about race, but it’s always about race. 

As long as I show up and hold space for a comprehensive farm to school discussion, then there will be space for it to be about cute kids, local carrots, and race. If you are wondering how you can show up for racial justice in the US food system or better integrate racial equity into farm to school, there are some great resources available that I invite you to explore:   
  • Read over the National Farm to School Network’s commitment to racial and social equity in farm to school here
  • Register to attend the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference this April 25-27 in Cincinnati, OH.  The conference program features a number of workshops focused on equity and justice in farm to cafeteria, as well as a “Re-Framing Food: Food Systems work through a Racial Equity Lens” short course. Learn more and register here
  • Check out the multicultural and non-English resources available in our Resource Library
  • Watch our recent “Advancing Equity Through Farm to School” webinar here
As our staff continues to learn about and deepen out understanding of inequity in our food system, we’ve collected a robust list of resources and readings that we’ve found helpful to deepening our understanding of this important work. You can explore our list of suggestion (and send us your recommendations!), here. As you begin to delve into learning more about racial and social justice in food systems, it’s important to remember that no single training or article holds all of the answers. Similarly, we often remind ourselves that learning about equity in the food system is a journey, not a destination. Understanding how culture and history have influenced food takes time and dedication. For me, Black History Month reminds me to reflect on the ways that I show up for racial and food justice while challenging myself to learn more.  But there isn’t anything inherently special about February for taking time to reflect, learn, and challenge each other and ourselves.  Indeed, every month is a great time to commit to making racial equity a priority in our work. 

This Week in Farm to School: 2/27/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 27, 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. 

National Farm to School Network News

1. NFSN Names 2018 National Partner of the Year: National Education Association
As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors, networking and partnership building are at the core of the National Farm to School Network’s efforts. To support this work, we’re expanding engagement in farm to school through the annual designation of a “National Partner of the Year.” In 2018, we are excited to announce the National Education Association (NEA) as NFSN’s National Partner of the Year. Through intentional programmatic collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to better connect NFSN and NEA members towards fostering a nation of healthy, well-nourished kids engaged in our food system. Learn more here.

2. Farm to School Act Update
Introduced last fall, the Farm to School Act of 2017 is gaining momentum. While the marker bill has yet to be attached to a legislative vehicle (a bill that will pass), there are 13 House members and 12 Senators signed on as co-sponsors. Please reach out to your Representatives and Senators to ensure they know you want them to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation. Please also thank the current cosponsors! Moreover, lend your support by adding your name to our citizen and organizational sign-on letters. Your voice is crucial for helping us continue to advocate for this important legislation. With questions or for support in contacting your representatives, contact Policy Director Maximilian Merrill at maximilian@farmtoschool.org.

3. NFSN submits comments on USDA's Requests for Information: Food Crediting in Child Nutrition Programs

The purpose of this Request for Information was to help FNS gather feedback from a wide variety of stakeholders on how FNS' crediting system can best address today's evolving food and nutrition environment, as well as to offer first-rate customer service to those operating and benefitting from the Child Nutrition Programs. National Farm to School Network stressed that it hopes, "FNS will begin to shift away from including manufactured and processed food items in the crediting system, with an aim to provide nutritious and naturally nutrient-dense foods from local farms."


Grants & Funding 
1. Request for Applications: Agriculture in the Classroom Program 
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture in the Classroom Program (AITC) serves nearly 5 million students and 60,000 teachers annually through workshops, conferences, field trips, farm tours, and other educational activities. Programs emphasized by the NIFA AITC office include: Agriculture and Science literacy; Agricultural careers; Nutrition; and, Pre-service and professional develop opportunities for teachers. Applications may be submitted by State agricultural experiment stations, State cooperative extension services, all colleges and universities, other research or educational institutions or organizations, Federal and private agencies and organization and individuals. View the Request for Applications here. Applications are due Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

2. Action for Healthy Kids Grants

Action for Healthy Kids is now accepting applications for school grants for the 2018-2019 school year. Schools may apply for School Breakfast grants to pilot or expand their school breakfast programs or Game On grants to fund physical activity and nutrition initiatives. Parents and parent groups can apply for Parents for Healthy Kids grants to bring health programs to their children’s schools through parent engagement. Visit ActionforHealthyKids.org/Grants for more information. The application deadline is April 6. 

3. Wallace Center Mini-Grants and Scholarships

The Food Systems Leadership Network, an initiative of the Wallace Center at Winrock International, is currently accepting application for Organizational Capacity Building Mini-Grants (up to $1,000 per organization) and Professional Development Scholarships (up to $500 per individual). The deadline to apply is Thursday, March 1. Learn more here


Webinars

1. Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities
February 28 // 5pm ET
USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition invite you to attend “Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities.” This webinar will cover what USDA means by “farm to school”, the different ways to incorporate farm to school programs into your business plan, and how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation.  Funding, including grant opportunities, will be covered. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School

March 1 // 2pm ET
One of the primary objectives of farm to school is to strengthen the connection that communities have with local food producers. Farmers and producers can also garner economic and social benefit through these strengthened relationships. Join this webinar to hear from farm to school practitioners and farmers about innovative yet practical approaches to engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities and learn how this engagement contributes to kids, communities, and farmers winning through farm to school. Register here.  

3. The Business of Farm to School
March 15 // 5pm ET
This webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities- hint- it’s not just school lunch! This webinar is coordinated by USDA Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and is geared towards farmers and producers selling to schools as a new market. Register here

4. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Family Engagement Through Farm to Early Care and Education

April 5 // 2pm ET
Parent and family engagement in the early years of life is vital to healthy development and healthy relationships. Farm to early care and education (ECE) offers a unique opportunity to engage families in activities in the ECE setting while offering nutrition, culinary and gardening education that can impact food practices and health behaviors in the home. Join the National Farm to School Network,  the Farm to Family Project, and Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness to hear about innovative programs that are leveraging farm to ECE as a key to family engagement and, in doing so, increasing healthy food access, healthy behaviors, and healthy relationships for children, families and communities. Register here.

5. Food Systems Leadership Network: Non-Profit Boot Camp eLearning Series
Ongoing
The Food Systems Leadership Network, an initiative of the Wallce Center, is offering a free Non-Profit Boot Camp eLearning Series focused on strengthening the fundamentals of food-focused, non-profit, community based organizations: strategy, fundraising, HR, and finances. Each three-week course consists of three, 30-minute webinars immediately followed by a group office hours session on Zoom. Course participants are then eligible for free one-on-one coaching and consulting from the trainer. Course 1: Demystifying Strategic Planning continues this Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 3pm EST for its third and final lesson. Click here to register for the webinar. By joining the Food Systems Leadership Network site you can access the recordings of sessions 1 and 2, and course-related resources. The second course in Non-Profit Boot Camp series, Course 2: Fundraising Fundamentals with Diana Abellera and Aimee Retzler, will start Wednesday, March 7 at 3pm EST with “Thinking Through Your Development Plan.” Click here to register for all three sessions of Fundraising Fundamentals.


Take Action
1. 2019 USDA Farm to School Census
The time is finally here to prepare for the next USDA Farm to School Census! The Census will be distributed in the winter of 2019, but school districts and partners should begin tracking activities that are happening right now. Need help tracking local food purchases and farm to school activities?  Check out these evaluation resources and connect with your USDA Regional Farm to School Lead. A copy of the Census questionnaire will be made available to the public as soon as it is finalized.


Events

1. Early Bird Deadline Approaching for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. 6th Annual Every Kid Healthy Week
April 23-27, 2018
Every Kid Healthy is not just a sentiment; it’s an annual week-long recognition of wellness achievements in school communities across the country, launched by our partners at Action for Healthy Kids in 2013. Join us in celebrating the sixth annual Every Kid Healthy™ Week from April 23–27 by helping schools host fun and interactive health-promoting events. For more information on how to get involved and additional resources to help you plan an event, go to EveryKidHealthyWeek.org. #EveryKidHealthy

3. Resignation Open for 41st Annual National Food Policy Conference
Coordinated by the Consumer Federation of America, the National Food Policy Conference is a unique collaboration among consumer advocates, the food industry and government, and a key national gathering for anyone interested in agriculture, food and nutrition policy. View an updated agenda with confirmed speakers and register here.


Job Opportunities

1. Education and Training Specialist, Institute for Child Nutrition (ICN)
The University of Mississippi's Institute of Child Nutrition is seeking to hire a full-time Education and Training Specialist. Learn more and apply here.

2. Farm to School Educator, Corvallis Environmental Center
The Farm to School Educator will work as an integral part of the Corvallis Environmental Center team, and will be responsible for daily implementation of the Corvallis Farm to School program educational activities. Learn more here

3. Paid Internships, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is seeking a Grassroots Intern and a Policy Intern to join their team this spring and summer. Both internships are paid, full-time, and located at NSAC’s office in Washington, DC. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News

Farmers growing stronger on St. Croix, Virgin Islands
With the help of staff, former students who came to the island to help and other volunteers, the Farm to School program is being resurrected. Last week, Bibb lettuce was sent to the St. Croix schools and 90 cases were shipped to St. Thomas. (St. Thomas Source

Jack Johnson drops by for school lunch in Hawai'i
Mililani High School hosted musicians Jack Johnson, Paula Fuga and Kawika Kahiapo for lunch last week as it continued to develop its from-scratch lunch menu utilizing locally produced food as part of the state’s ‘Aina Pono Farm to School Program. (Star Advertiser)

California students are learning the farm-to-table chain behind their meal

“What we’re trying to do is give them an experience of the awareness, the sustainability, the business, the pleasure, the value of food and all these different aspects,” said Glory Johnson, one of the board members managing the program. “The value of what we’re teaching them will be a healthier way of eating and appreciating the food we have.” (Orange Country Register)

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.

Growing the “Farm” in “Farm to School”

NFSN Staff Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Farm to school is as much about the farm as it is the school. Farmers and producers are the movers and shakers that make local foods served in schools and early care and education settings possible. From the cafeteria to the classroom, their products are used to educate students about where food comes from and generate excitement for trying new, healthy foods. And farm to school is just as much a win for farmers, too!

However, farmers are often underrepresented in the farm to school movement. That’s why the National Farm to School Network is committed to providing learning opportunities, sharing innovative resources, and propelling new ideas to support farmers and producers in the farm to school movement. 

For example, we focused our 2017 Innovation Awards, with funding support from Farm Credit, on celebrating beginning farmers (in their first 10 years of farming) and farmer veterans for their exemplary efforts in selling local produce to schools and engaging kids in learning where their food comes from. Our two awardees – John Turner of Wild Roots Farm Vermont and Dylan Strike of Strike Farms in Montana - shared their stories with us on our blog, in webinars and social media takeovers, helping inspire more farmers and schools to take the first steps in getting involved. The awards also supported their ongoing engagement in farm to school activities in their own communities. Dylan used the Innovation Award to host fall farm field trips free of charge to Bozeman, MT-area schools and continued to strengthen relationships with several schools that purchase his produce for school meals and Montana Harvest of the Month activities. Jon Turner expanded his educational outreach and engaged in new projects to support food systems learning opportunities for the K-12 community in Addison County, VT. He specifically focused on establishing a compost system with Bristol Elementary School and Mt. Abe High School, which included mentoring students to lead the composting project and working with a local illustrator to develop a comic series about composting to educate and engage more students in local food systems activities. 

Dylan Strike and students at Strike Farms. 

Jon and Dylan are just two examples among many of farmers who’ve found success with farm to school. Here’s a snapshot of some of the other stories that farmers have shared with us:  

Clearview Farm - Massachusetts
Rick Melone, owner of Clearview Farm, explains that business relationships with schools have provided his farm a valuable and necessary market. “I’m too small to work with huge markets like Whole Foods and other grocery store whole-salers," he says. "But I can bring a truck load of apples in (to schools) and they will use them that day.” It's schools that have become one of his most reliable and valuable customers.

Fisheads Aquaponics - Georgia
One of Fisheads Aquaponic’s first regular customers was Burke County Public Schools, located just 17 miles from the aquaponics operation. Burke County Schools has a standing order for Fisheads lettuce, and the positive relationship helped Fisheads expanded to selling to several other school districts, as well. In order to keep up with demand for their produce, Fisheads is doubling their production with the addition of a second greenhouse and hiring more staff. 

Moon on the Meadow Farm - Kansas
Jill Elmers says that her business relationship with schools has given her farm, Moon on the Meadow, a consistently reliable market. “The core items that they (schools) buy, they know how much they need every week, and so those sales are consistent.” 

In 2018, we’re excited to continue connecting with farmers and producers and sharing more resources and opportunities for farmers and schools to dig in to new partnership opportunities. Here are several upcoming webinar opportunities to hear more stories of success and learn about resources for jumpstarting farm to school partnerships: 

Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities
February 28 // 5pm ET
Hosted by USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, this webinar for farmers and food producers that will cover different ways to incorporate farm to school into your business plan, how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation, and funding opportunities. Register here
 
Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School
March 1 // 2pm ET
Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this webinar will explore how farmers and producers can garner economic and social benefits through farm to school, and will feature several guest speakers who wills hare innovative yet practical approaches for engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities. Register here

The Business of Farm to School
March 15 // 5pm ET
Hosted by USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, this webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities - hint, it’s not just school lunch! Register here
 
If you’re ready to take your farm to school partnerships to the next level, we hope you’ll join us in Cincinnati this April for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference! With 36 skill-building workshops, inspiring keynote addresses, short courses, field trips, poster presentations and lots of networking opportunities, this one-of-a-kind gathering will help you bring real food solutions home to your community. Learn more and register here

In the meantime, check out more great stories about the farmers who make farm to school happen on our blog, explore resources for getting started in our free Resource Library, or find local farm to school networking event taking place in your state in our national events calendar

This Week in Farm to School: 2/20/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 20, 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. Slow Food's Plant a Seed Campaign
Slow Food is excited to launch their Plant a Seed campaign for Spring 2018. This year, they are focusing on the Three Sisters — bean, corn and squash. They are able to offer free kits to the first 300 schools in need. Use promo code plantschoolfree if you would like a kit but cannot afford to pay. Once those run out, or if you have the budget to pay, you can use plantschoolhalf for a 50% discount. If you're not using this for a school garden, they ask that you pay full price. Order your school garden kit here


Webinars

1. State Of The Farm Bill: A Conversation With U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Staff
February 22 // 2pm ET
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future is delighted to welcome U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forest Committee staff for a discussion about the state of the farm bill. Learn about the process for reauthorization, where things stand now, and what is to come for the farm bill. Hear about different bills being proposed to protect, reform, and add to the bill. Engage in a discussion with these insiders on the Hill about the state of SNAP, funding for local food programs, urban agriculture, and local food and healthy food access programs in the farm bill. Submit your questions for the presenters when you register or bring them with you to the conversation. Register here

2. Webinar: Farm to Institution New England (FINE) Metrics
February 27 // 11-12pm ET 
The New Hampshire Food Alliance is excited to share their newly created webinar series highlighting the importance of food systems work going on across New Hampshire, and in many cases the information presented proves valuable throughout the Northeastern region. The next webinar will feature work by Farm to Institution New England, and their research on the impact of the farm-to-institution sector, including barriers and recommendations about local food procurement and policy. Register here

3. Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities
February 28 // 5pm ET
USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition invite you to attend “Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities.” This webinar will cover what USDA means by “farm to school”, the different ways to incorporate farm to school programs into your business plan, and how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation.  Funding, including grant opportunities, will be covered. Register here.

4. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School

March 1 // 2pm ET
One of the primary objectives of farm to school is to strengthening the connection that communities have with local food producers. Farmers and producers can also garner economic and social benefit through these strengthened relationships. Join this webinar to hear from farm to school practitioners and farmers about innovative yet practical approaches to engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities and learn how this engagement contributes to kids, communities, and farmers winning through farm to school. Register here.  

5. The Business of Farm to School
March 15 // 5pm ET
This webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities- hint- it’s not just school lunch! This webinar is coordinated by USDA Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and is geared towards farmers and producers selling to schools as a new market. Register here


Events
1. Registration Open for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. School Nutrition Association’s Spring Industry Boot Camp
May 9-10 // National Harbor, MD
Are you an industry representative new to the multi-billion-dollar school nutrition market, or a seasoned veteran that wants to brush up on the intricacies of this complex segment? Designed specifically for industry partners, SNA's Spring Industry Boot Camp is a dynamic educational seminar that provides a thorough overview of today's school nutrition environment, including new information on procurement ethics, a tour of a local cafeteria and a two-hour panel discussion with major city school nutrition directors. Reserve your spot here

3. National Children & Youth Garden Symposium 2018
July 11-14 // Ithaca, NY
National Children & Youth Garden Symposium is excited to be back to Ithaca, New York this year. Join this gathering to network with like-minded teachers, garden designers, community leaders, program coordinators, and others involved with connecting kids to the natural world. Registration opens in April. Learn more here


Job Opportunities
1. Program and Production Coordinator, Montezuma School to Farm Project 
The Montezuma School to Farm Project (MSTFP) seeks a Program and Production Coordinator. MSTFP's mission is to unite local agricultural heritage with its growing future by engaging students at the crossroads of sustainable agriculture, resource conservation, health and economics through educational experiences in outdoor garden classes, on field trips and summer farm camps. Apply here by February 26 at 5pm MT. 

2. Chef Educator & Kitchen Manager, Greensboro Children’s Museum
Greensboro Children’s Museum seeks to hire a full-time, Edible Schoolyard Chef Educator & Kitchen Manager. This position is responsible for leading and coordinating all aspects of the cooking school at The Edible Schoolyard at GCM. Learn more here

3. RFS Programs Outreach Coordinator, Catholic Charities New Hampshire 
The NH Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities NH, seeks a Recipe For Success (RFS) Program Outreach Coordinator. The RFS Program Coordinator position is responsible for coordination support of USDA Summer Food Service Sponsorship and Cooking Maters. Learn more here

4. Assistant Director of Education, Wright-Locke Farm Conservancy
Wright-Locke Farm Conservancy is hiring an Assistant Education Director to help develop, manage, and facilitate outdoor youth programs for its 2018 program season. The Assistant Education Director is a full-time position held March-October 2018. Learn more here

5. Farm Educator, Calypso Farm & Ecology Center

Calypso Farm & Ecology Center in Fairbanks, Alaska is seeking a full-time Farm Educator for April 3-September 29. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Nutrition and school gardens off to great start in Louisiana 
Students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade at Bains Lower Elementary School have been gardening and learning about nutrition this year during their Play 30 physical activity time. (The Advocate)

Illinois students learn to cook healthy foods

Convinced she didn't like red bell pepper, the fourth-grader tried it on a slice of homemade pizza – and found out it tasted good. "Also I never thought I liked pepperoni," Brooklyn said. "Now I like it." Trying new foods, and learning how to cook healthy foods, is a goal of the after-school cooking class at St. Peter School that complements efforts to offer healthier foods in the school cafeteria. (Herald-Whig)

Indiana serves up first batch of school-raised beef to students

Cheeseburgers and beef tacos were on the menu this week at Maconaquah Middle School. But these weren’t just any cheeseburgers and tacos. They were made from a cow raised by students right outside the cafeteria doors. (Kokomo Tribune)

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.

National Education Association Selected As 2018 NFSN National Partner of the Year

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 20, 2018
As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors, networking and partnership building are at the core of the National Farm to School Network’s efforts. Partnerships are integral to our success, and are essential to the growth and long-term sustainability of the farm to school movement. That’s why our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan includes a key goal to facilitate expanded engagement in farm to school through new and diverse partnerships and promotion, including the designation of a “National Partner of the Year.” Through intentional programmatic collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to both educate our members about the work of national partners, and increase knowledge of farm to school and our organization in diverse sectors. 
This year, we are pleased to announce the National Education Association (NEA) as our 2018 National Partner of the Year. NEA is the nation's largest professional employee organization, committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA’s 3 million members – from every state and more than 14,000 communities – work at every level of education, from pre-school to university graduate programs. Furthermore, NEA’s membership represents nearly 500,000 Education Support Professionals (ESP) – school support staff who work to meet the needs of the whole student. Working as food service staff, custodians, secretaries, classroom paraeducators, bus drivers, and in many other jobs, these essential educators (who make up nearly one-third of the education workforce) help ensure that children are safe, healthy, well-nourished and well-educated. ESP can be tremendous advocates and resources for helping connect students, parents and community allies with farm to school activities, though are often underrepresented in the farm to school movement. 
Through this year-long partnership with NEA, we look forward to making stronger connections with educators and ESP across the country, while additionally providing resources and tools for our members to build meaningful partnership with educators and ESP in their communities to strengthen local farm to school efforts. NEA and NFSN have a successful history of collaboration, including efforts around policy advocacy, storytelling on our blog, and celebrating events like National Farm to School Month and National Teacher Day. We look forward to deepening our partnership and furthering these efforts in 2018 to better educate and engage our membership in each other’s work. 
Stay tuned for opportunities to learn more about NEA and dig into this partnership with us throughout 2018!

This Week in Farm to School 2/13/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 13, 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. Frontera Farmer Foundation 2018 Grant 
The Frontera Farmer Foundation is committed to promoting small, sustainable Midwestern farms serving the Chicago area by providing them with capital development grants. These grants are for capital improvements of up to $12,000. Who Should Apply: small and mid-size farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin that sell their food products to customers in the Chicago area at farmers markets and otherwise. Deadline to apply is March 11, 2018. Learn more and apply here.

2. Get Out and Grow School Garden Grant & Sweepstakes

The Get Out and Grow School Garden Sweepstakes is open to School Administrators and Foodservice Directors of K-12 schools. Schools can win up to $15,000 cash towards a school garden and a visit from a Team USA Athlete. Who Should Apply: State accredited K-12 school located in the 50 United States and D.C. Deadline is March 11, 2018. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars
1. NFSN WEBINAR Advancing Equity Through Farm to School
February 13 // 3-4pm ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) recognizes racial and social equity as a central tenet of farm to school and has just released an organizational equity statement to publicly convey NFSN's commitment to advancing equity through farm to school and to share our equity journey. Join NFSN partners and staff on February 13 at 3pm ET to review the organization's equity statement and to hear from farm to school practitioners about their successes and challenges with advancing equity through farm to school. Register here

2. Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities

February 28 // 5pm ET
USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition invite you to attend “Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities.” This webinar will cover what USDA means by “farm to school”, the different ways to incorporate farm to school programs into your business plan, and how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation.  Funding, including grant opportunities, will be covered. Register here.

3. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School

March 1 // 2pm ET
One of the primary objectives of farm to school is to strengthening the connection that communities have with local food producers. Farmers and producers can also garner economic and social benefit through these strengthened relationships. Join this webinar to hear from farm to school practitioners and farmers about innovative yet practical approaches to engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities and learn how this engagement contributes to kids, communities, and farmers winning through farm to school. Register here.  

4. The Business of Farm to School

March 15 // 5pm ET
This webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities- hint- it’s not just school lunch! This webinar is coordinated by USDA Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and is geared towards farmers and producers selling to schools as a new market. Register here


Events
1. Registration Open for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. Save the Date and Call for Proposals: Iowa Farm to School Conference 2018

June 28-29 // Ankeny, Iowa
The Iowa Farm to School Coalition is pleased to invite individuals and groups to submit presentation proposals for the 2018 Iowa Farm to School Conference. The goal of the conference is to support and inspire those interested in or already implementing farm to school and farm to early care and education all around the state by covering a variety of topics. Please take this opportunity to share your expertise and creative ideas to help grow the farm to school movement in Iowa. Submission deadline is March 31st. Read more and see the proposal template here. Please submit your proposal via this Google Form: https://goo.gl/forms/jEXJQUD6LdFwjfoC3.


Research & Resources 
1. To Root Gardens in Schools, Create Curricular Connections
A recent study in the journal Health Behavior and Policy Review, by Dr. Katherine Gardner Burt and Tisch Food Center team members, concludes that supporting teachers to connect gardens with core academic subjects is critical to help school gardens grow deep roots in schools. Read more here

2. New Study: Making Nutrition Education Work in Schools

Findings from Dr. Kathleen Porter and Tisch Food Center team members give insight into the why-to and how-to of successfully adopting and sustaining nutrition education programs. To make it work, it is important to: 
  • Build motivation for nutrition education, for instance by emphasizing timely, tangible results, and framing it as fitting into a whole child approach to education 
  • Choose the right nutrition education program(s) based on a school’s needs and culture, involving a range of decision makers in the process 
  • Expand the school’s capacity for nutrition education, by identifying champions, creating routines and processes, and coordinating with existing school wellness efforts 
  • Sustain nutrition education by engaging a wide range of school community members and weaving nutrition education throughout the school’s curriculum. Read more here
3. Food Systems Leadership Network -  Community Food Systems Mentorship Program
The Wallace Center at Winrock International’s new Food Systems Leadership Network initiative includes a Community Food Systems Mentorship Program. This program seeks to provide emerging leaders with the opportunity to closely engage with more seasoned leaders as thought partners and coaches. The goal of this program is to create a space for experienced leaders to lend an ear to emerging leaders, and share their wisdom, knowledge, and expertise from years of practice in the good food movement. This Program will be offered twice annually, and will include 8 hours of one on one mentorship over a 3 month period for each mentee. The Spring application closes Feb. 15. Learn more here.  

Job Opportunities
1. Wisconsin Farm to School/Institution Director, The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is hiring a full time Wisconsin Farm to School/Institution Director. This position has a statewide responsibility to stimulate the State’s economy by increasing the market share of Wisconsin food and agricultural products, and to foster new investment in agriculture and agricultural infrastructure in Wisconsin. The deadline to apply is Feb. 25. Learn more here.

2. Network Manager, Chicago Food Policy Action Council

Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) seeks a Network Manager. The CFPAC Network Manager will support CFPAC’s priorities by working in coordination with CFPAC Board and staff members, organizations, vendors, suppliers, processors and producers as well as staff at City of Chicago Departments and Agencies, and national partners. Learn more here.

3. Communications Director, Practical Farmers of Iowa

Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking a communications director to be based with the organization in Ames, IA. This is a new position, added to bring Practical Farmers’ communications to a higher capacity as the organization grows. Learn more here

4. Multiple Positions, Pie Ranch
Pie Ranch cultivates a healthy and just food system from seed to table through food education, farmer training, and regional partnerships. They are seeking to hire a Director of Finance and Administration, Chef Educator, and Programs and Events Manager

5. FoodCorps Service Members
FoodCorps service member applications are open for the 2018-2019 school year. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2018 at 6pm PST. Learn more here.  


Farm to School in the News
Oneida Nation harvests fish and produce from self-sustaining greenhouse
Oneida Nation High School students have partnered with Oneida veterans and community members to build an aquaponics operation that’s expected to grow 500 pounds of fish and hundreds of heads of lettuce for school meals every year. The program got off the ground in 2016 thanks to a Farm to School grant from the USDA. (FOX 11)
 
Community partnerships build school gardens in North Carolina
School gardens in Cabarrus County will soon be overflowing with delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs thanks to community collaboration between Cabarrus Health Alliance, the Dole Food Company, Earth Fare, and the NC State Plants for Human Health Institute. (Independent Tribune

Elementary school program puts Missouri students in the kitchen
Most students at school cafeterias are usually not on the same side of the counter as cooks, but that's different after school at Callaway Hills Elementary School — because the students are the cooks. "I think it's pretty good because I can cook for my family and grandparents," North Elementary School fourth-grader Gavin Wilson said. (News Tribune)

New York, High school agriculture class working to build community garden
Before the end of 2018, there may be a community garden at the Fenner Fields complex on Fenner Street — a garden offering fruits and vegetables and maybe even a fiber crop from alpacas. The garden is a project created by students in the Cazenovia High School Agriculture Program, one they not only created but are funding through grants. (Eagle News Online)

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: 2/06/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 06, 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. 

Webinars

1. Edible Inquiries: Food Policy Research Connections Webinar
February 12 // 2:30pm ET
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Food Policy Networks project is pleased to announce a new interactive webinar series, “Edible Inquiries: Food Policy Research Connections.” Join us for the inaugural webinar in which will feature four researchers who have recently published articles about evaluating the internal organization and community impacts of food policy groups. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Advancing Equity Through Farm to School
February 13 // 3-4pm ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) recognizes racial and social equity as a central tenet of farm to school and has just released an organizational equity statement to publicly convey NFSN's commitment to advancing equity through farm to school and to share our equity journey. Join NFSN partners and staff on February 13 at 3pm ET to review the organization's equity statement and to hear from farm to school practitioners about their successes and challenges with advancing equity through farm to school. Register here

3. Beef to School Webinar
February 13 // 4:00pm EST
Join USDA's Office of Community Food Systems, Montana Beef to School Project, Montana State University, and school food service directors to learn about successful strategies for serving local beef in schools. The webinar will explore the Montana Beef to School Project’s findings and resources - including two new beef to school solicitation templates designed to help school districts purchase local beef! Participants will also hear from two school food service directors who will share their strategies and lessons learned for purchasing and serving local beef in schools. Register here


Events

1. Registration Open for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Scholarship applications to cover the cost of registration fees and/or selected short courses continue to be accepted until Feb. 12 at 8pm ET. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. National CACFP Week is March 11-17 
CACFP Week (March 11-17, 2018) is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of how the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) works to combat hunger. The event is sponsored by the National CACFP Sponsors Association.

3. 2018 Michigan Good Food Summit - Save the Date!
October 22 // East Lansing, MI 
This October, the Michigan Good Food Summit will amplify under-represented voices across the food system as it continues advancing the Good Food Charter’s vision of equity, sustainability and a thriving economy for all of Michigan and its people. Whether you’re a food consumer, grower or buyer; line cook, server or chef; advocate, educator or policymaker – join the gathering in East Lansing to connect with others advancing good food and equity in Michigan! Learn more here.


Take Action
1. Food Policy Networks council directory update
The Food Policy Networks team is conducting a 2018 update of the food policy council directory and wants to know what your food policy council has been up to.  If you are listed as the main contact for an FPC or similar group in the United States or Canada, you should have received an email last week requesting that you fill out this year’s survey by February 16. If you represent a council that IS NOT CURRENTLY IN the directory or did not receive the email, please go here.  

2. The Better Selves Fellowship
Knoll Farm is hosting a fellowship for individuals working in the fields of social justice, human well being and conservation who can benefit from time to pursue a specific project, question or need. You have the goal; they provide you with inspiring accommodations, work space, healthy food and a supportive community environment to pursue your goal. This self-guided Fellowship is awarded to 40 people who can attend their choice of two summer sessions. Learn more here


Resources 
1. New Study Suggests America’s Nutritional Divide Goes Deeper Than Food Access
“A new study by economists at New York University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago adds more evidence to the argument that food deserts alone are not to blame for the eating habits of people in low-income neighborhoods. The biggest difference in what we eat comes not from where we live per se, but from deeper, more fundamental differences in income and, especially, in education and nutritional knowledge, which shape our eating habits and in turn impact our health.” Read more here.

2. Land Justice - The Biggest Thing We Forget When Talking About Food Justice
“The food justice movement is one of the most promising political developments of the last generation. It has broadened and deepened environmentalism by knitting together concerns about economic inequality, labor rights, environmental health, and sustainable agriculture. But what often goes unmentioned in our discussions of food justice is that it all begins with land—who owns it, how they own it, and how it gets passed down from one generation to the next. This is something Savi Horne never forgets: Food justice requires land justice.” Read more here


Job Opportunities
1. Director of Programs, Georgia Organics
Working under the supervision of the Executive Director, the full-time Director of Programs will have strategic and operational responsibility for key program areas and serve on the senior management team. Learn more here.

2. Environment Program Officer, Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is seeking an individual to join the Washington, D.C., office as a program officer for the Mississippi River team.The foundation supports scaling up implementation of key agricultural practices through federal and state policy, as well as supply chain initiatives. Learn more here

3. Mid-Atlantic Outreach Coordinator, The Common Marker
The Common Market Mid-Atlantic seeks a Customer Outreach Coordinator (Philadelphia based). The Common Market’s mission is to strengthen regional farms while making the local bounty accessible to communities and the schools, universities, hospitals, restaurants, and retailers that serve them. Learn more here

4. Michigan Good Food Outreach Specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and MSU Product Center
The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) in partnership with the MSU Product Center is seeking an Academic Specialist to support outreach and business assistance efforts that will allow Michigan food production, processing and distribution businesses to build capacity and increase healthy food access in low-income urban and rural communities. Visit http://careers.msu.edu/ and look for job posting #485535 under faculty/academic staff to learn more. 

5. Director of Child Nutrition Programs, Oregon Department of Education
The Oregon Department of Education is recruiting for a permanent, full-time Director of Child Nutrition Programs. This position is located in Salem, Oregon, and is in Management Service. Learn more here

6. Executive Director, School Garden Project of Lane County
School Garden Project of Lance County seeks an energetic, creative, and inspired person to join their team as Executive Director. Apply by Feb. 23. Learn more here.  


Farm to School in the News
New Mexico bills propose produce in school meals
New Mexico’s House and Senate have introduced bills making an appropriation to provide New Mexico-grown fresh fruits and fresh vegetables for school meals. (SchoolNutrition.org)

Indiana farm able to grow during winter months
For Woodbury and his family, being able to grow produce year-round is an important part of their vision for the farm. Nature’s Gift Organics has focused its business on local consumers. Nature’s Gift has started partnering with Johnson County schools as well, ensuring that students have fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria. This farm to school program is part of a larger movement looking more closely at where the food we eat comes from. (Daily Journal)

Rhode Island elementary school to create garden
The students at Narragansett Elementary School are set to discover a world of growing and planting with the rollout of a school garden in the spring. As part of the University of Rhode Island’s Cooperative Extension School Garden Initiative (SGI), a plan which seeks to set up gardens in voluntary schools to expose students to the benefits of such spaces, the new project will serve as a platform for hands-on, STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) learning and align itself with curriculum requirements. (Narragansett Times)

School Food Focus and FoodCorps to merge

FoodCorps has announced it will bring the work of School Food Focus into its existing operations connecting kids to healthy food in schools. This move boosts FoodCorps’ ability to support schools across the country in procuring more local, nutritious foods for their cafeterias, providing kids with access to healthier school meals.. (FoodCorps)


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.

Announcing Keynote Speakers for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

NFSN Staff Thursday, February 01, 2018
As the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference approaches, we are excited to share more details about the conference program. 36 conference workshops in 12 tracks will cover a wide range of farm to cafeteria content – from Youth Leadership and Engagement to Equity and Justice in Farm to Cafeteria, and Local and Sustainable Procurement to School Gardens and On-site Farms.  You can check out the full conference agenda and workshop descriptions here. In addition to workshops, we’re also offering 8 short course and 11 field trips to explore the farm to cafeteria landscape across the Ohio Valley region.  And there’s more!

We are thrilled to announce our conference keynote speakers. Rodney K. Taylor is the Director of Food and Nutrition Services for the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCSP), in Va. FCPS is the 10th largest district in the U.S. with 188,000 students, in 194 schools, providing 149,000 meals per day. Prior to his employment with FCPS, Rodney was the Director of Nutrition Services, for the Riverside Unified School District, in Riverside, California.  

A noted pioneer and expert in farm to school salad bars, he is particularly known for establishing the “Farmers’ Market Salad Bar” program in 1997, while working as Director of Food and Nutrition Services in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, in Santa Monica, Calif. Rodney is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the California Endowment’s “Health Heroes” Award and the Loma Linda University Award for “The Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles---For Outstanding Commitment to the Public’s Health.” 
Haile Thomas is 17 years old, an international speaker, health activist, the youngest Certified Integrative Health Coach in the United States, and the founder/CEO of the nonprofit HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth). Haile founded HAPPY when she was 12 years old to address the need for free/affordable plant-based nutrition and culinary education in under served/at-risk communities, as well as in schools and through annual summer camps.

Haile has personally engaged over 15,000 kids and thousands of adults around the world since beginning her activism in 2010. She was inspired to pursue this passion after her family successfully reversed her father’s type-2 diabetes without the use of medication, only healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and upon learning that kids were also increasingly being diagnosed with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. All of Haile’s programs, projects, and initiatives, are geared towards engaging, educating, motivating and empowering young people to make healthy lifestyle choices to live their best life. Haile and her work have been featured on the Today Show, Food Network, CNN, Dr.Oz, Teen Vogue, Fortune, O Magazine, and Experience Life Magazine to name a few.

To highlight a local perspective of farm to cafeteria, we are honored to share that Dr. Roger Rennekamp, Associate Dean and Director of Ohio State University Extension, will be our Welcome Speaker. Dr. Rennekamp will share how the OSU Extension system and Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation discovery theme, also known as InFACT, align with principles of the Farm to School movement. He will also give examples of how the university—an institution with 17,000 students on its meal plan—is getting closer to reaching its goal of serving 40 percent local or sustainably grown foods by 2025.

Read more about our keynote speakers here

Early bird registration is open now through March 9th, and we are accepted conference scholarship applications until February 12th at 8pm EST. For more information on registration and scholarships, please visit our conference website. We look forward to hosting you and your farm to cafeteria team in Ohio! 
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