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This Week in Farm to School: 10/15/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 15, 2019
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
Deadline: October 18, 2019
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. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. EQUITY National Good Food Network Webinar: Equitable Food Oriented Development
October 17 // 3 PM - 4:15 PM EST
Join leading community food system practitioners and founders of the emerging Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD) Collaborative, as they present the EFOD framework for creating community-owned models of economic and social opportunity within traditionally disenfranchised and oppressed communities. Unique in being practitioner created and defined, EFOD has developed over many years of dialogue and practice in the field of food justice work (alt: food-based community development). This webinar will provide an introduction to the EFOD framework, present recent developments including research carried out in partnership with Daisa Enterprises and a new whitepaper written by the EFOD Collaborative, and introduce the Wallace Center's EFOD Regional Food Fellows. Learn more about how you can get involved. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Kids Win and Farms Win: What Do We Know About the Impacts of Farm to School
November 7 // 1 PM ET
Advocates claim that 'kids win, farmers win, and communities win' from policies, programming and initiatives that promote farm to school. However, what do we know about the extent to which this is true? Recent research funded by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides interesting insights into the kids win and farms win impacts of farm to school efforts. This webinar, featuring researchers from Colorado State University and University of Illinois, will highlight recent and ongoing research and important areas for future farm to school work. Register here.

3. NFSN EVENT Scholarships Open - 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference 
Deadline: November 1
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, NM, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene nearly 1,000 diverse stakeholders who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The scholarship application is open through Nov. 1. Learn more at farmtoschool.org/conference.


Research & Resources
1. Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE)
is now included in the SNAP-Ed Toolkit! Learn more about farm to ECE  as a research-tested policy, systems and environmental change intervention strategy in the updated SNAP-Ed Toolkit intervention listing: Farm to Early Care and Education (National).

2. School Leaders Campaign Toolkit
Nourished andReady to Learn! The farm to school connection is part of Vermont Farm to School Network's new campaign targeting school leaders to support and invest in farm to school and school nutrition. This resource discusses how to engage superintendents, curriculum coordinators, school boards, principals and business managers to build awareness and support for farm to school and school nutrition programs. Learn more here

3. Article: Farm-to-school education grants reach low-income children and encourage them to learn about fruits and vegetables
Journal of Translational Behavioral Medicine - Caroline B. Rains, Kristen C. Giombi, Anupama Joshi
For children from low-income families, school meals are a significant portion of daily caloric intake and hence an opportunity to address food insecurity. Oregon established its Farm to School Education Grant Program to increase knowledge of and preference for fruits and vegetables among children in low-income school districts. This article outlines the reach of the education grants and examines their influence on children’s food choices and behaviors related to fruits and vegetables. Read more


Job Opportunities
1. Program Coordinator - Growing Minds Farm to School Program (Asheville, NC)
ASAP is hiring a Growing Minds Program Coordinator position. Program Coordinator will assist in the development and implementation of Growing Minds programming, with a particular emphasis on farm to preschool and work with Dietetic Interns. This is a full-time, salaried position and requires experience in early childhood education. Learn more here


National Farm to School Month Highlights 
October is National Farm to School Month!
Schools, ECE sites, farms and communities across the country are celebrating the connections between students and local food this month. See highlights of how states are celebrating below. National Farm to School Network has free resources, a calendar of events, planning materials and activity ideas for ways you can get involved in October. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to find more and join us!

Mississippi celebrated its Farm to School Week Oct. 7-11 with the Farm to School Challenge. Schools got the opportunity to be competitive in areas of garden, procurement, or supreme (a combination of garden and procurement) activities. 

Michigan schools, early childhood programs, and other organizations joined forces with the Great Lakes region for one great crunch to celebrate the local apple harvest throughout the area.

Iowa residents unified the state around the success of it's farms, children, and schools through the National Farm to School Month Celebration of Iowa Local Food Day.

Kansas families got to experience Family Literacy Night On the Farm, an interactive event aimed to educate participants on dairy production, farm safety, and beyond. 


Farm to School in the News
Trout-farming, bee-keeping students in South Carolina earn first ‘Green Ribbon’
There are honeybees in the library, trout in the classrooms and vegetables in the yard at Dutch Fork Elementary. The school’s focus on environment, sustainable practices and conservation education recently earned it the first Green Ribbon in South Carolina. (The State)

Winter wheat grows with a strong STEM at Virginia school
With Lower School STEM teacher Robin Peacemaker putting her agronomy degree to work on the project, Loudoun Country Day School’s garden lab won’t be going dormant this winter. Peacemaker took over coordination of the garden this year and now has teamed up with Virginia Tech to help her students conduct some new experiments to determine the best winter grains to be grown in Loudoun’s climate. (Loudoun Now)

Maine students celebrate Harvest Day with their garden food
Students at Edna Drinkwater Elementary School painted gourds and participated in other seasonal events during their annual fall Harvest Day Oct. 3. It is a way for the school to celebrate its agricultural roots while incorporating the major school subjects into fun activities. (Village Soup)


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.

Honoring America’s Farmers

NFSN Staff Friday, October 11, 2019


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 2019 National Farm to School Month Celebrations.

Guest blog by CoBank

In recognition of National Farmer’s Day, CoBank honors America’s farmers and ranchers who toil each day to produce the food, fuel and fiber on which we all rely. Through our funding relationship with 21 local and regional Farm Credit associations, we support 70,000 producers with the essential financing they need, and also provide direct financing to thousands of farmer-owned cooperatives and agribusinesses.

CoBank appreciates the dedication, expertise and hard work it takes to raise crops and tend livestock. Only 2 million farmers and ranchers produce all of America’s food – that’s less than 1.5% of our population responsible for feeding 3.9 billion people, plus others around the world.  From nuts and produce, to grains and meats, to dairy, eggs and wine, U.S. production is a cornucopia of safe, affordable food, as well as cotton, timber and biofuels – and nearly 96 percent of the farms producing this plethora of agricultural products are family owned, often passed down through generations. 

The production these farmers achieve using both modern and traditional techniques and equipment forms a significant portion of the nation’s economy: in 2017, America’s farms contributed $132.8 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product; including related industries that rely on our farms’ output, agriculture, food and related industries contributed $1.053 trillion, or 5.4 percent, to our GDP.  

That value stems directly from the hard work of our farmers, who are up before dawn and working long past dusk, seven days a week. On this National Farmer’s Day, and every day, CoBank thanks American agricultural producers for their dedication to their mission to feed, clothe and fuel our population, as we continue to deliver on our mission to support agriculture and rural communities with the essential financing they need to thrive.

Welcome, Jenileigh Harris!

NFSN Staff Wednesday, October 09, 2019
National Farm to School Network is pleased to share that Jenileigh Harris has joined our staff as Program Associate. Since March 2019, Jenileigh has worked with NFSN as Programs Intern. 

Jenileigh has experience in education, scientific and legal research, and food and agriculture law and policy. She is passionate about food justice, systems change work, effective policymaking and utilizing education as a tool for advocacy. Jenileigh is a graduate of Vermont Law School (VLS) where she earned her master’s degree in Food and Agriculture Law and Policy. While at VLS, she co-launched the Racial Equity Working Group to host events and facilitate conversations and events celebrating racial and cultural diversity as well as highlighting racial and social inequities in the food system. She has continued working with the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at VLS as a policy research consultant on projects such as farm to school state policy, food system resiliency, and seafood fraud. 

In her new role as Program Associate, Jenileigh will continue contributing to National Farm to School Network and the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s cooperative agreement with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems to develop farm to school trainings for agricultural producers. Jenileigh currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO and enjoys mountain biking, trail running, yoga, cooking, reading, and drinking coffee. Welcome to your new role, Jenileigh! 

Reflections from the Road: Conference on Native American Nutrition

NFSN Staff Wednesday, October 09, 2019
By Mackenize Martinez, Partnership Communications Intern

As the Intertribal Agriculture Council Partnership Communications Intern working with National Farm to School Network, I recently had the opportunity to attend and present at the Fourth Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition in Mystic Lake, Minnesota. This is the only conference series in the world devoted to the food and nutrition of Indigenous Peoples. It brings together tribal officials, researchers, practitioners, funders and others to discuss the current state of Indigenous and academic scientific knowledge about Native nutrition, dietary health, and food science, and identify new areas of work. My role in helping co-lead a break out session titled “Farm to School as a Strategy for Advancing Food Sovereignty in Native Communities” with Alena Paisano, NFSN Program Manager,  was certainly a profound learning and networking experience. 

Our session focused on the ways that farm to school can be used as a strategy to decolonize our food system and take back our food sovereignty in Native communities. A key portion of our presentation also shared about the partnership between the National Farm to School Network and the Intertribal Agriculture Council that is helping to advance this work. In addition, NFSN’s recent Seed Change in Native Communities project was also discussed and these successes - which ranged all across Indian Country - were highlighted for audiences to view. In particular, we engaged with audience members from the Mala`ai Kula: Kaua`i Farm-to-School Pilot who participated in Seed Change to support an existing three-year pilot project to create a culturally relevant farm to school program at two Kaua`i schools. On Kaua`i, where 90 percent of food is imported, Mala`ai Kula helped students build a healthier relationship with traditional food systems through school gardens and locally-grown foods in school meals. I enjoyed seeing everyone come together in this space and share their farm to school experiences and knowledge.


Culturally relevant meals served at Kaua`i schools as part of the Mala`ai Kula: Kaua`i Farm-to-School Pilot. 
As a representative on the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance, the national executive board for the Intertribal Agriculture Youth Network, I was very much able to take a first-hand look into the concept of farm to school as a strategy for advancing food sovereignty in Native communities. In order to see how this national partnership is contributing to success in Native communities, it was imperative for me to establish a personal connection and to pinpoint how my passions align in this particular space. Naturally, as I presented to the breakout session, I expressed that my personal connection with farm to school stems from involvement in Intertribal Agriculture Council youth programming. These particular programs are so vital to Native youth because of the emphasis that is placed on developing qualities of leadership, building knowledge of traditional agricultural practices, and being equipped with the skills to take initiative for change back to our communities. While I attended the gathering to help educate others on this, I unequivocally gained a better understanding of how interconnected the roles of National Farm to School Network and Intertribal Agriculture Council are in serving youth through the many forms that farm to school takes. While I have been exposed to the idea of food sovereignty for a few years now, attending this conference gave me a refreshed look into the current efforts of this movement and how essential it is that traditional foods are implemented in school systems serving Native populations. The breakout session that Alena and I led was an effective way to get that particular conversation started.

In addition to helping facilitate our farm to school presentation, I experienced this conference as a first-time attendee. I am still in awe of the energy that this diverse group of individuals carried as we sat in general sessions. Some of my favorite moments from this conference included the keynote speech from Peggy Flanagan, Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota. Hearing from one of the highest-ranking Native American women in history was certainly empowering and hopeful. Lieutenant Governor Flanagan spoke of firsthand childhood experiences that included being a recipient of commodity foods and understanding the reality that individuals in these types of nutrition assistance programs face. Knowing that Native communities have her support in moving forward in the reach for food sovereignty is certainly exciting and opens an even wider expanse of opportunities for youth in farm to school.

In addition, through the keynote presentation of Sean Sherman, founder of The Sioux Chef, I learned a lot about the dynamics of Indigenous food systems and actions being taken to revitalize traditional diets on a larger scale. Farm to school is an approach that can help make this type of food revitalization more accessible to Native children because of the direct role that it plays in a child’s wellbeing and everyday life. Schools are institutions that serve as the foundation of a child’s knowledge, and that knowledge shouldn’t stop in the classroom. It should be carried into the cafeteria, as well. Mr. Sherman’s keynote presentation reminded us that in order to take back our food systems and revitalize those traditional diets, we first need to understand them. Farm to school is a way to bridge that gap between the classroom to the cafeteria and help establish traditional knowledge of food and nutrition at earlier ages. In addition, as a tribal member not currently residing on ancestral land, I enjoyed the discussions on access to traditional foods as an urban Native.

As an intern and someone pursuing post-secondary education in the agricultural science field, this conference was a definite experience of growth in knowledge, character, and leadership. I am looking forward to using this event as a milestone to look back on as my time working between the National Farm to School Network and Intertribal Agriculture Council Partnership continues. 

4 Steps to Host a Winning Farm to School Event with Highbush Blueberries

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Guest post by the US Highbush Blueberry Council

Fresh or frozen highbush blueberries aren’t just a nutritious and delicious menu staple beloved by students – they’re also a bite-sized bit of bluetiful inspiration for your next farm to school event. Whether you’re thinking of hosting a promotion for National Farm to School Month or are looking for year-round inspiration, these little blue dynamos are a cafeteria favorite, perfect for your next nutrition event. Here are four easy steps to get you started:

1. Get Inspired
Wondering where to start when planning a farm to school event? Draw inspiration from these K-12 case studies featuring three districts that have hosted successful promotions by celebrating fresh and frozen highbush blueberries all year-round:

  • Carrollton City School District, Georgia – Hosted a “Highbush Blueberry Bonanza Week” complete with a blueberry-themed food truck, nutrition education sessions and a highbush blueberry cooking class. The results: An 11% increase in lunch participation at junior high school; and 5% average increase in breakfast participation across elementary, middle and high school.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, North Carolina – Hosted a “Highbush Blueberry Day” to bring highbush blueberry education to the classroom, followed by student taste test of a new menu item: Highbush Blueberry Breakfast Bark. The results: 85% of students voted that the recipe was “yummy!”
  • Sebree Elementary School, Kentucky – During last year’s National Farm to School Month, in partnership with NFSN and USHBC, Webster County Schools won a sweepstakes for a “Build-Your-Own Highbush Blueberry Day.” This was extended to a full week of highbush blueberry fun, including a blueberry nutrition education session, a blueberry-themed art contest and blueberry taste tests for two recipes: a Blueberry Smoothie and a Blueberry Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette. The results: a 12% increase in breakfast participation that week. 


2. Learn from Others
It comes as no surprise that pulling off successful promotions like the ones above are a lot of fun, and a lot of work. Luckily, you can hear from three rockstar school nutrition pros directly in National Farm to School Network’s latest recorded webinar: Bring Farm to School to Life with Highbush Blueberries. The expert panel shared actionable advice on bringing a farm to school promotion to life, with some tips and tricks for planning and execution to make nutrition (and blueberries!) fun for all. 

3. Download the Playbook
Now feeling ready to take on an event of your own? Download the Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook, your go-to digital resource to inspire your staff, excite your students, and celebrate with your community. The playbook is packed with menu inspiration, virtual farm tours, nutrition guides, kid-friendly activities and more – everything you need to bring highbush blueberries and nutrition to your students in a fun and engaging way. Plus, it’s free to view, download and print from home! 

4. Have Fun
Lastly, and most importantly, have FUN! These events are a fantastic way to engage with students and make them feel involved in their nutrition choices – in a way that’s approachable, memorable and interactive. Incorporate activities and games into your promotion to add an exciting element that will bring a smile to students and staff alike. These fun memories will incite future passions for healthy eating!

Don’t miss out on all the highbush blueberry fun this National Farm to School Month! With these easy steps, you’re ready to celebrate nutrition and serve up a smile with your students. For more positively bluetiful news, kid-friendly ideas and yummy menu inspiration, visit BlueberriesInSchools.com.

This Week in Farm to School: 10/8/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 08, 2019
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. Get Schools Cooking Grants
Deadline: October 28, 2019
A program of Chef Ann Foundation, Get Schools Cooking (previously known as the School Food Support Initiative) provides school districts with the operational foundation necessary to transition their Food & Nutrition Service Departments from a heat & serve or processed model to one that is rooted in scratch cooking using real ingredients. Through Get Schools Cooking, food service teams are guided through an intensive, three-year program. Applications for the 2019 Cohort are now open. An information webinar is scheduled for Sept. 12. Learn more here.

2. Community Innovation Grants Program
Deadline: December 1, 2019
The Community Innovation Grants Program has been designed to allow the United Fresh Start Foundation to collaborate with like-minded stakeholders to increase children’s access, selection, and consumption of fresh produce while they are outside of school. The 2020 program is focused on supporting visionary initiatives and research that not only increases children and families’ access to fresh produce, but also broadens selection and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, whether at home, on weekends, during the summer, while out to eat, or any other time outside the traditional school day. A total of $50,000 in funds through the Community Innovation GrantsProgram will be awarded this year. A minimum of five grants will be awarded, in amounts warranted by applicants. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. EQUITY National Good Food Network Webinar: Equitable Food Oriented Development
October 17 // 3 PM - 4:15 PM EST
Join leading community food system practitioners and founders of the emerging Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD) Collaborative, as they present the EFOD framework for creating community-owned models of economic and social opportunity within traditionally disenfranchised and oppressed communities. Unique in being practitioner created and defined, EFOD has developed over many years of dialogue and practice in the field of food justice work (alt: food-based community development). This webinar will provide an introduction to the EFOD framework, present recent developments including research carried out in partnership with Daisa Enterprises and a new whitepaper written by the EFOD Collaborative, and introduce the Wallace Center's EFOD Regional Food Fellows. Learn more about how you can get involved. Register here

2. GSO Network Webinar: Winter Programming for SGSO’s in Northern Climates
October 8 // 3 PM - 4 PM EST
When much of the school year takes place in freezing temperatures, how do SGSO’s keep kids engaged with garden-based learning, and what are other roles that SGSO’s can take on when the garden is dormant? Discussion topics will include ways to bring gardening inside, as well as ways to create advocacy, training, and networking opportunities. Register here.

3. NFSN WEBINAR Kids Win and Farms Win: What Do We Know About the Impacts of Farm to School
November 7 // 1 PM ET
Advocates claim that 'kids win, farmers win, and communities win' from policies, programming and initiatives that promote farm to school. However, what do we know about the extent to which this is true? Recent research funded by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides interesting insights into the kids win and farms win impacts of farm to school efforts. This webinar, featuring researchers from Colorado State University and University of Illinois, will highlight recent and ongoing research and important areas for future farm to school work. Register here

4. NFSN EVENT Scholarships Open - 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference 
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, NM, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene nearly 1,000 diverse stakeholders who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The scholarship application is open through Nov. 1. Learn more at farmtoschool.org/conference.


Research & Resources
1. Article: Farm-to-school education grants reach low-income children and encourage them to learn about fruits and vegetables
Journal of Translational Behavioral Medicine - Caroline B. Rains, Kristen C. Giombi, Anupama Joshi
For children from low-income families, school meals are a significant portion of daily caloric intake and hence an opportunity to address food insecurity. Oregon established its Farm to School Education Grant Program to increase knowledge of and preference for fruits and vegetables among children in low-income school districts. This article outlines the reach of the education grants and examines their influence on children’s food choices and behaviors related to fruits and vegetables. Read more


Job Opportunities
1. Extension Associate - Farm to School Program Assistant (Baton Rouge, LA)
The Extension Associate is responsible to the Louisiana Farm to School (LA F2S) Program Executive Director and works under the direction of the LA F2S Program Director, and alongside the Farm to School Team. The successful candidate will plan, coordinate, and evaluate school-related programs within the Louisiana Farm to School Program, including Louisiana Harvest of the Month and Seeds to Success. Learn more and apply here


National Farm to School Month Highlights
October is National Farm to School Month!
Schools, ECE sites, farms and communities across the country are celebrating the connections between students and local food this month. See highlights of how states are celebrating below. National Farm to School Network has free resources, a calendar of events, planning materials and activity ideas for ways you can get involved in October. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to find more and join us!

Guam's Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has proclaimed October National Farm to School Month. During a signing ceremony, the department of education announced it is partnering with the economic development authority and local farmers to bring more local produce into school cafeterias. 

Idaho kicked off Idaho Farm to School Month with First Lady Teresa Little and state agriculture officials visiting the Notus School cafeteria Oct. 2. 

New Jersey celebrated its 9th Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week Sept. 23-27, which included presenting Philip’s Academy Charter School in Newark with the “Best in New Jersey Farm to School Award” and recognizing Cecil Creek Farm in Gloucester County as the winning farm for the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Farmer Recognition Award

New Mexico schools celebrated New Mexico Grown Week, Sept. 30 - Oct. 4. Farmington schools served up potatoes grown on the Navajo Nation, while schools in Taos ground blue corn into atole. Kids in Santa Fe Public Schools ate sunflower shoots and those in Albuquerque schools carved watermelons.

Virginia Farm to School Week is Oct. 7-11 and includes the annual "Crunch Heard 'Round the Commonwealth" on Oct. 9. Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam joined students at Matthew Whaley Elementary School on Monday for an early celebration of the event. 

Washington schools celebrated Taste Washington Day on Oct. 2. Governor Jay Inslee officially proclaimed Oct. 2 as Taste Washington Day - read the proclamation here

Wisconsin's Sugar Creek Elementary School welcomed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week to celebrate National Farm to School Month. 


Farm to School in the News
Tennessee county 'farm to school' initiative aims to bring local food to cafeterias
For nearly 70 years, students at Dresden High School in Tennessee have worked on the farm at the school. It’s the only one like it in the state. Now, the school district is looking for ways to incorporate farming into more facets of the curriculum and get more people involved. It's part of Weakley County Schools' new "Farm to School" initiative. (WPSD

School gardens open doors to learning, and fun, at nine Louisiana schools
For students at nine Lafayette schools, playing in the dirt isn’t only allowed, it’s encouraged as students plan, grow and harvest their own produce. Around 80 students, teachers and gardening enthusiasts gathered recently at Charles Burke Elementary, excited to learn about healthy living and successful plant cultivation as part of the LSU AgCenter’s school gardening program. (The Advocate)

Local beef nourishes Washington students and future farmers
As an aspiring farmer, Avery is already finding success in partnership with the high school, Lopez Locavores, and the Lopez Community Land Trust. And he’s not alone. He and Josh Kramer, another student, have met the criteria to sell USDA-approved beef from their cows to be used in their school’s cafeteria. Avery says he’s excited, “to share quality, grass-fed beef with the school.” (Islands Weekly)

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.

31 Day, 31 Ways To Celebrate Farm to School

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 01, 2019

By Anna Mullen, Communications Manager

The very best month of the farm to school-year is finally here! Let us be the first to wish you a very happy National Farm to School Month

National Farm to School Network advocated for the creation of National Farm to School Month by Congress in 2010 (House Resolution 1655) and since then, the yearly October festivities have brought together thousands of students, teachers, parents, farmers, food advocates, school lunch professionals, and community members from a wide range of sectors to raise awareness of the important role of farm to school in improving child nutrition, supporting local economies, and building vibrant communities. This National Farm to School Month, join the celebration of food education, school gardens, and lunch trays filled with healthy, local ingredients. 

With 31 days to celebrate, here are 31 ways to dig in

1. Become a member of the National Farm to School Network – it’s free! 
2. Explore our free resources for planning and promoting farm to school this month. 
3. See what celebrations are happening in your community and join in the fun.  
4. Sign up your organization to be a National Farm to School Month Outreach Partner
5. Donate to support the National Farm to School Network and help us bring farm to school to communities across the country every month. 
6. Share how your celebrating by using the hashtags #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool on social media. 
7. Follow the National Farm to School Network on social media - we're at @FarmtoSchool
8. Stay up to date on all things farm to school and farm to ECE by signing up for our e-newsletter
9. Learn about the benefits of farm to school
10. Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 and the Kids Eat Local Act to continue growing farm to school efforts through federal policy. 
11. Find out if your state has a farm to school / farm to ECE network. If yes, connect with them!
12. Eat in the cafeteria with students. 
13. Conduct a taste test of a new food. 
14. Visit a farm, orchard or pumpkin patch. 
15. Invite a farmer to visit your classroom. 
16. Take students on a tour of their school kitchen. 
17. Turn your thumbs green – whether in a raised bed, community garden plot, hydroponic garden or other plant growing space. 
18. Ask students and families to share their family food traditions and favorite recipes to create a class cookbook. 
19. Read a book together about food, farming or cooking. 
20. Visit a farmers market and say “Thank You!” to the growers who've produced your food.
21. Cook and enjoy a family meal together, incorporating local foods. 
22. Use arts and crafts such as coloring, painting, cutting and pasting or other creative projects to reinforce excitement for fruits and vegetables. 
23. Get moving with physical activity games. Try a relay race to collect fruits and vegetables and sort them by plant family or by color. 
24. Consider new recipes that are culturally appropriate and relevant to your community. 
25. Be brave a try a new food.
26. Celebrate school nutrition professionals by telling them "Thank You!" every day.
27. Take time to be mindful - a garden is a great place to do this. Use all five of your senses to enjoy the natural world around you. 
28. Organize a site visit for your policymakers to see farm to school in action. 
29. Make a bulletin board celebrating farmers and local food. 
30. Volunteer to serve on a school garden committee, district wellness committee, or another group that champions farm to school. 
31. Find even MORE ways to celebrate in our National Farm to School Month Celebration Toolkit

Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you taking small actions every day to grow healthier kids, support local agriculture and cultivate vibrant communities. These next 31 days are the perfect time to celebrate how far we've come, and dig in to keep growing the movement!
 
Special thanks to our 2019 National Farm to School Month Sponsors and Supporters, including CoBank and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, and our Outreach Partner organizations that are helping us spread the word about farm to school throughout October. And, thanks to you for being a farm to school champion in your community.
 
Happy National Farm to School Month!

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