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Farm to ECE Opportunities in North Alabama

NFSN Staff Wednesday, May 29, 2019
This post is part of our Farm to ECE Procurement Blog Series, which is devoted to the many ways that early care and education sites connect children and their families to local food and local food producers. Read previous posts in this series here. Have a farm to ECE procurement story to share? Contact Lacy Stephens at lacy@farmtoschool.org 


Strawberries. Sweet potatoes. Squash. Microgreens. These are just some of the Alabama-grown fresh fruits and vegetables that the Farm Food Collaborative (FFC) has been distributing to local restaurants, grocery stores, and schools across North Alabama since 2013. Now, Natalie Bishnoi and Carey Martin-Lane, FFC co-managers, are bringing these fresh fruits and vegetables to early care and education (ECE) settings. 

FFC offers a unique model for farm to ECE procurement as they are a food hub housed within the Food Bank of North Alabama. Originally established to support farmers selling “fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to Alabama schools, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants and workplace cafeterias,” FFC helps farmers obtain GAP certification so they can sell their products in wholesale markets and distributes local foods to major grocery chains and school sites in North Alabama. FFC recently extended their local procurement service to ECE settings by launching a pilot project at 5 ECE sites in the Huntsville and Madison County region of Alabama.

The concept for the farm to ECE procurement pilot launched in 2017 when FFC connected with the Alabama Partnership for Children. The two organizations along with other ECE and food systems partners began building a statewide farm to ECE coalition. The coalition contributed to pilot planning by hosting focus groups and developing a survey to determine the interest and potential engagement level of ECE providers in the region. The pilot officially launched in spring of 2018 with weekly deliveries of strawberries to the 5 ECE sites, and quickly expanded to include cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, peaches, squash, zucchini, blueberries, watermelon, apples, and satsumas.

FFC had to overcome several challenges to bring fresh, locally grown food to these ECE sites. First, many ECE providers lacked equipment or staff to prepare fresh food on site. To begin to address this, FFC launched the pilot with strawberries, an easy snack that requires minimal preparation. This approach also helped FFC win over hesitant staff at the sites. The cook at one site in particular was very hesitant about local foods. After strawberry season, his whole perception and attitude toward serving fresh food had changed and he was very enthusiastic, especially about the quality of the produce.

FFC also found that the ECE sites needed additional support to both incorporate fresh, local food into their food budgets and encourage child acceptance of new foods. In the pilot, FFC targeted ECE sites participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and educated providers on using local foods within the CACFP meal pattern. In addition, FFC provided educational resources – book recommendations, coloring sheets, garden-related activities, USDA recipes, etc. – for ECE providers to use when introducing new foods to familiarize children with the food and teach them how crops are grown and harvested. These materials include a parent newsletter with program information, age-appropriate cooking activities, and explanations about WIC and SNAP eligibility requirements. “Again, part of our mission that is so important to us is [food] access. A lot of people qualify [for WIC and SNAP] without realizing it,” Natalie notes.



FFC also had to navigate the much smaller quantity of product required for ECE sites. Instead of asking farmers to deliver these microcases to the individual ECE sites, farmers deliver to the food bank, or in some cases, FFC will pick up the orders and transport them in a Food Bank-shared refrigerated van to the sites themselves. Their advice for tackling the transportation and logistics of Farm to ECE? Pair up with a food hub. “They have the procurement and distribution piece established already and pooling resources is imperative for sustainability,” Carey explains.

FFC sees their success not just in the increased amount of local foods served to and eaten by young children, but in the increased interest in and focus on healthy local foods at the ECE sites they are working with. One site is starting a garden with the help of Master Gardeners, and another will be connecting with an on-site farmers’ market for families and community members. FFC attributes much of the success of the pilot to the collaboration and support of the Alabama Farm to ECE Coalition. The work has also been heavily influenced and informed by farm to ECE networks and stakeholders in other states. “We are extremely grateful to states like Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina,” Carey says. “They have been so helpful and willing to share information. That really is just a part of the farm to school/ECE culture. We are all trying to make our kids as healthy as possible. That’s a wonderful thing.

With the support of the Alabama Farm to ECE Coalition and national partners, FFC is planning for growth and expansion of local food procurement in ECE sites across Alabama. FFC will be expanding to 12 sites in North Alabama this summer and will start reaching new areas of the state in subsequent years. Eventually, FFC would like to have its own processing capability to provide ECE sites with local, pre-chopped fruits and veggies, increasing opportunities for more ECE sites to serve local products in meals and snacks. Natalie notes that once an ECE site gets involved with serving fresh, local food to their kids, they are hooked – the ECE providers and kids alike. As demand continues to grow, FFC will be working hard this strawberry season to keep up with interest and to grow farm to ECE across the state. “Our local farmers are able to select varieties that are delicious and nutritious. When our prime harvest season is here, we want to make sure we are taking advantage of it for the kids, community, farmers and the local economy.”  

This Week in Farm to School: 5/28/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 28, 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. Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program
Due: June 4
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requests applications for the Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program (FASLP) for fiscal year 2019 to increase knowledge of agriculture and improve the nutritional health of children. The anticipated amount available to fund grants under this authority in FY 2019 is approximately $869,498. FASLP is intended to increase the knowledge of agriculture and improve the nutritional health of children and to bring together stakeholders from the distinct parts of the food system. The initiative is part of a broader effort to not only increase access to school meals for low-income children, but also to dramatically improve their quality. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to School Resource Roundup: Resources for Implementing State Farm to School Strategies
Wednesday, May 29 // 3 PM ET    
Responding to the rapid growth and interest in farm to school, the National Farm to School Network’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan prioritizes building the capacity of its partners to advance farm to school at the state level through three complementary strategies: (1) state farm to school networks, (2) state farm to school positions at state agencies and university Extension offices, and (3) state farm to school policies. To support these efforts, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) has developed an accompanying resource for each of the three strategies:
Join the National Farm to School Network and special guest State Farm to Vermont Law School, coauthors of the State Farm to School Policy Handbook,  to learn more about these resources and how to apply these strategies in your state. Register here
 
2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics In Farm to School: Child Nutrition Reauthorization and Federal Policy Advocacy - How You Can Get Involved
Thursday, June 6 // 1 PM ET
The next Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) is at the forefront of food policy discussions in Washington. A diverse community of voices should be heard in policymaking, but do you find it challenging to get involved? Join Chloe Marshall, National Farm to School Network Policy Specialist, to learn about CNR and how you can advocate with impact! Participation in this webinar in not considered lobbying. Register here

3. Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group 2019 Call for Proposals
Deadline: June 8
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) is seeking engaging session proposals for the 2019 conference. The conference will be held in Jersey City, NJ November 7-9. They look for sessions that tackle systemid issues of inequity in the food system with engaging activities and presentations that prioritize the leadership and voices of the most impacted by the issue discussed. Learn more here.


Research & Resources
1. Call for Information: Farm to ECE State Survey/Evaluation Tools and Data
In recent years many states have conducted state level farm to ECE surveys and assessments. We are working to compile these tools and data to serve as a resource for others and supplement our learnings from the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey. If you have state farm to ECE survey/evaluation tools and data to share, please send to Lacy Stephens, NFSN Program Manager, at lacy@farmtoschool.org

2. EQUITY Now Available in Spanish: Local Food for Little Eaters: A Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Guide to Local Food Purchasing
The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is pleased to announce Spanish translations of Local Food for Little Eaters: A Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Guide to Local Food Purchasing and profiles of successful farm to Migrant & Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs nationwide. This guide gives step-by-step instructions and interactive tools that MSHS programs can use to begin purchasing and using more local foods. Download the Spanish translation here.


Job Opportunities
1. Strategy & Partnerships Coordinator, FoodCorps (New York, NY)
FoodCorps seeks a Strategy and Partnerships Coordinator to join our growing team. The Strategy and Partnerships Coordinator will provide increased efficiency across FoodCorps’ work on systems change through strong management of logistics and projects. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
Mississippi middle school students sell veggies to the community from student-led garden
Jackson State University partnered with Blackburn Middle School to dig up their very first Learning Garden. Students displayed their hard work, sharing their fresh vegetables with the community. (WLBT 3)

How Black Farmers Are Trying To End Centuries Of Racism In America’s Food System
As a broader national reparations debate plays out, there are calls for the consideration of a more specific population: black farmers. (Huff Post)

Pennsylvania schools make meals more environmentally conscious
Some school districts in Pennsylvania are creating more environmentally conscious menus by buying local produce and meats, and planting gardens and orchards. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Can We Stop Kids From Being Shamed Over School Lunch Debt?
School lunches carry a small price tag, but for low-income families the cost can add up - and despite efforts to stop lunch shaming, some schools punish children who can’t pay. (Civil Eats)

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: 5/21/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 21, 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. 

 

News from the National Farm to School Network
1. National Farm to School Network Names New Executive Director
National Farm to School Network has announced Helen Dombalis as its new Executive Director. Helen is a nationally recognized leader in cultivating equitable food systems through strategic farm to school partnerships and policy advocacy, and previously served as the Senior Director of Programs and Policy for the National Farm to School Network. As Executive Director, Helen will collaborate with stakeholders nationwide to explore and execute farm to school innovation, programming, and advocacy to advance racial and social equity and to grow and sustain the farm to school movement. Read the full announcement here

2. Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 20-24, 2020 // Albuquerque, New Mexico
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Are you passionate about supporting local agriculture and fostering a culture of food literacy in your community? This event is for you. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Grants & Funding
1. USDA AMS Grants: Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP)
Due: June 18
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) Request for Proposals is now open. LFPP supports the development, coordination, and expansion of local and regional food businesses to help increase access and availability to locally and regionally produced agricultural products. The National Farm to School Network is interested in partnering with applicants to provide training and technical assistance or evaluation services for grant proposals. If you would like to discuss NFSN contract services for grants or collaborative proposals, please contact Lacy Stephens, NFSN Program Manager, at lacy@farmtoschool.org by May 30th.


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Farm to School: Cafeteria, Classroom, Community
Wednesday, May 22 // 1 PM ET
Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers through the core elements of farm to school - local food procurement, school gardens, and food and agriculture education. This Webinar Wednesday session hosted by the School Nutrition Association will offer an overview to farm to school, including why it matters and how it supports the goals of child nutrition program, promoting successes, and evaluating your activities. Speakers include Helen Dombalis and Alena Paisono from the National Farm to School Network. Participants will be provided tips and tools for implementing successful farm to school activities. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDNs/NDTRs. Register here.

2. Webinar: Developing a Food Procurement Policy or Profile
Tuesday, May 28 // 2 PM ET 
Hosted by the Chesapeake Foodshed Network, this webinar will provide guidance on how a school, college, or hospital can develop a food procurement policy or profile. Developing a policy or profile can institutionalize good food values that prioritize support for local farmers and food producers, sustainable or regenerative agriculture practices, and women and minority-owned farms and food businesses. Register here.

3. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to School Resource Roundup: Resources for Implementing State Farm to School Strategies
Wednesday, May 29 // 3 PM ET    
Responding to the rapid growth and interest in farm to school, the National Farm to School Network’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan prioritizes building the capacity of its partners to advance farm to school at the state level through three complementary strategies: (1) state farm to school networks, (2) state farm to school positions at state agencies and university Extension offices, and (3) state farm to school policies. To support these efforts, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) has developed an accompanying resource for each of the three strategies:
Join the National Farm to School Network and special guest State Farm to Vermont Law School, coauthors of the State Farm to School Policy Handbook,  to learn more about these resources and how to apply these strategies in your state. Register here

4. Webinar: National Farm to School Network’s Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool for Farm to School Programs and Policy
Thursday, May 30 // 1-2 PM ET
In this upcoming webinar, hosted by the Michigan Farm to Institution Network and the Michigan Local Food Council Network, National Farm to School Network (NFSN) staff members will share their assessment tool that helps to identify inequities embedded within programs and policy and support decision-making to advance racial and social equity. Guest speakers are Helen Dombalis, Executive Director, and Alena Paisano, Program Manager of Seed Change in Native Communities, both from NFSN. Register here.

5. Webinar: School and Community Farm Stands Webinar
Thursday, May 30 // 3-4 PM ET
School gardens can be used to engage the community through school and community farm stands, which take on various issues centered around food access and education. Please join us in virtual panel discussion where we will dig into some different ways in which farm stands are being implemented, and impacting students and the community. This session will follow a unique format and will give a lot of time for audience questions. If you have a question for the panelists, please share in you registration so that they can seek to address it. Register here.

6. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: Child Nutrition Reauthorization and Federal Policy Advocacy - How You Can Get Involved
Thursday, June 6 // 1 PM ET
The next Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) is at the forefront of food policy discussions in Washington. A diverse community of voices should be heard in policymaking, but do you find it challenging to get involved? Join Chloe Marshall, National Farm to School Network Policy Specialist, to learn about CNR and how you can advocate with impact! Register here

7. Course: Breakthrough Leaders for Sustainable Food Systems
May 20 - June 6 // Online & Burlington, VT
True leadership is about the capacity of people and communities to shape the futures they desire. This 3-week online and on-campus cross-disciplinary program develops visionary leaders by offering solutions to the social, environmental, diet, and health impacts of our food system. The University of Vermont is a recognized leader in the food systems movement, providing learners with unique access to hands-on learning and collaboration with scholars, activists, leaders, and professionals in the field. Learn more here


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to Community Programming Director, Farm Fresh Rhode Island (Pawtucket, RI)
Farm Fresh Rhode Island is seeking a full-time Farm to Community Programming Director. The Farm to Community Programming Director is responsible for supervising all of Farm Fresh RI’s Farm to School and Nutrition Education program activities by managing relationships with community partners, managing program staff, supervising performance measurement, and participating in Farm Fresh RI Farm to School and Nutrition Education program strategy. Learn more and apply here.

2. Farm to School Coordinator, Green Mountain Farm to School (Newport, VT)
The Farm to School Coordinator will work with school staff to develop, implement and evaluate Farm to School program activities such as taste tests, farm field trips, school gardens, nutrition education and more. This position is part of the Lyndon Economic opportunity AmeriCorps Program (LEAP). Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Warm Springs second-graders visit Sisters farm
In April, 40 second-graders from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs traveled on a school bus to Sisters, OR. They disembarked on ancestral lands of the Northern Paiute tribe, which is now the home of Seed to Table Farm. Seed to Table was invited by tribal members to help expand experiential, nutrition education through gardening and outdoor experiences. During last month’s visit, the students tasted food right out of the ground, planted seeds and learned about the five main things plants need to grow. Now a month later, the students returned to reap the harvest they’d planted in April. (The Nugget Newspaper)

Farm to table program nourishes students at Massachusetts high school
The concept of farm-to-table really hits home for students at Haverhill High School who plant vegetable and berry gardens each spring, harvest their crops to enjoy throughout the summer, then enter their bounty into the Topsfield Fair in the fall for judging. About 75 students in several different special education programs are involved in this program of hands-on learning. (The Eagle-Tribune)

Alabama students harvest knowledge in the garden
The harvest has been plentiful in the first year of the expanded raised bed garden at Maplesville High School. The raised beds have kept the agricultural science students busy and given them opportunities to teach some of the younger students at the K-12 school about plants. (The Clanton Advertiser)


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

Farm to School and National Agriculture in the Classroom

NFSN Staff Monday, May 20, 2019
By Elizabeth Esparza, Communications Intern


Food and agriculture education is a core element of farm to school and is vital to developing comprehensive and impactful farm to school programs. The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO) and its member state programs, such as the Healthy Communities of the Capital Area (HCCA) in Maine, provide K-12 teachers with educational resources and programs that use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and more. 

Education is a priority area for farm to school, making NAITCO and HCCA natural and ideal partners for increasing farm to school efforts at both the national and state level. The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization is a national nonprofit aimed at working in K-12 education to increase agricultural literacy, the ability to understand and communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects our quality of life. They work with agriculture programs in most of the 50 states and D.C. to provide resources and standards-based lesson plans and activities. In 2017 alone, NAITCO reached 7.3 million students and 118,000 teachers in K-12, and uses their state partnerships and national conference to demonstrate agriculture related lessons to K-12 classroom teachers from around the US.

Florida Agriculture in the Classroom (FAITC), in partnership with the Florida Nutrition and Wellness Program works to increase agriculture education by holding teacher workshops together throughout the state.FAITC demonstrates K-12 lessons and activities, while FNW’s Chef Paula talks about food and garden harvest, safety, and demonstrates simple recipes that teachers can prepare in the classroom. Together, the two organizations partner to hold a statewide recipe contest to further promote each groups’ programs and increase agricultural education throughout Florida.

Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC), a part of the Maine Department of Agriculture, works to promote the understanding of agriculture and natural resources among students, educators, and the general public. MAITC works closely with Maine Farm to School Network (MFSN) to further increase the reach of the resources, trainings, and conferences available to teachers. MAITC offers grant support to teachers for a broad range of farm to school activities, which provide teachers with training and resources to help start and maintain school gardens, bring agriculture activities to their classrooms, and attend conferences

In addition to helping educators attend the MFSN conference, MAITC works to increase access to resources that enhance farm to school activities in their classrooms and schools. The Read ME Ag program enlists volunteers to read a new book written each year about Maine agriculture.

To learn more about the opportunities and benefits of partnerships between agriculture in the classroom and farm to school, watch a recording of our May 2019 Trending Topics Webinar: Farm to School and National Agriculture in the Classroom.

Announcing Our New Executive Director

NFSN Staff Wednesday, May 15, 2019
By Jessica Gudmundson, Interim Executive Director, and Miguel Villarreal, Advisory Board Chair



In December 2018, the National Farm to School Network Advisory Board announced the beginning of an Executive Director search to identify the next leader of the National Farm to School Network. After an extensive search process led by members of the Advisory Board, we are pleased to announce that Helen Dombalis has been selected as Executive Director, beginning May 15, 2019.

The Transition Committee received more than 100 applications from candidates across the country for the Executive Director position. Over the past five months, the committee conducted a rigorous and thorough process of reviewing these applications and holding multiple stages of interviews with numerous well-qualified candidates. National Farm to School Network staff and Core and Supporting Partners also participated and provided feedback during various stages of this process. 

With significant consideration given to the skills, experiences and expertise needed to successfully guide the National Farm to School Network in its next phase of growth, the Advisory Board has selected Helen Dombalis to serve in this important leadership role. Helen’s current position as National Farm to School Network’s Senior Director of Program and Policy - and nearly ten-year history of working with NFSN and partner organizations - have distinguished her as a nationally recognized leader in cultivating equitable food systems through strategic farm to school partnerships and policy advocacy. Helen’s farm to school expertise, leadership skills, commitment to racial and social equity, and experience with the organization’s partners and funders make her an exceptional individual for the role of Executive Director. We are confident that under her leadership, the organization’s success and impact in achieving its mission and vision will continue to flourish. 

Please join us and the Advisory Board in welcoming Helen as Executive Director by making a donation and showing your support for National Farm to School Network’s new leadership! Your financial support helps National Farm to School Network accomplish our important work, and your donation today will help usher in an exciting new chapter for the organization. You can also send your congratulations to Helen by posting on the National Farm to School Network’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

We are grateful to the other members of the Transition Committee (Haile Johnston, Johanna Herron, Dan Carmody and Diane Harris), as well as the full board, staff, partners and the entire National Farm to School Network community for your engagement and support throughout this important process. 

As the National Farm to School Network begins its next chapter, there is much to be excited about as we continue innovating, strategizing and strengthening this important movement. Staff and partners have been busy developing the organization’s 2020-2022 strategic plan, planning for the 2020 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference and releasing new resources like the Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool for Farm to School Programs and Policy and State Farm to School Policy Handbook: 2002-2018. And we’re not even half-way through 2019! 

We thank you all for your continued support and partnership as we welcome Helen into her new role. May we continue growing stronger together!

- Jessica Gudmundson and Miguel Villarreal

This Week in Farm to School: 5/14/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 14, 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. USDA AMS Grants: Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP)
Deadline: June 18
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced the availability of $23 million in grants to support the development and expansion of local and regional food markets, enterprises and producer-to-consumer marketing. AMS will host two webinars to help farmers, producer groups, and other potential applicants to understand the program requirements. The webinar for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program will be offered on May 22, and the Grants.gov Overview Webinar on May 21. Application are due June 18, 2019. Learn more here



Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to School Resource Roundup: Resources for Implementing State Farm to School Strategies
Wednesday, May 29 // 3 PM ET    
Responding to the rapid growth and interest in farm to school, the National Farm to School Network’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan prioritizes building the capacity of its partners to advance farm to school at the state level through three complementary strategies: (1) state farm to school networks, (2) state farm to school positions at state agencies and university Extension offices, and (3) state farm to school policies. To support these efforts, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) has developed an accompanying resource for each of the three strategies:
Join the National Farm to School Network and special guest State Farm to Vermont Law School, coauthors of the State Farm to School Policy Handbook,  to learn more about these resources and how to apply these strategies in your state. Register here

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: Child Nutrition Reauthorization and Federal Policy Advocacy - How You Can Get Involved
Thursday, June 6 // 1 PM ET
The next Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) is at the forefront of food policy discussions in Washington. A diverse community of voices should be heard in policymaking, but do you find it challenging to get involved? Join Chloe Marshall, National Farm to School Network Policy Specialist, to learn about CNR and how you can advocate with impact! Participation in this webinar in not considered lobbying. Register here

3. EQUITY Webinar: Indigenous New Hampshire Food Ways & History
Thursday, May 23 // 12PM ET
The Indigenous NH Collaborative Collective is a collaboration between the University of New Hampshire’s Anthropology Department, Paul and Denise Pouliot of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People, historians, students and archeologists. This long-term project intends to reframe New Hampshire’s history from an Indigenous perspective. In this webinar, hear from leaders of the collective about current projects and the story map, learn about Indigenous Food Ways from Paul Pouliot and a school garden project that integrates Indigenous food and history. Register here

4. EQUITY Webinar: Structural Racism in the Food System: Perspectives from Black Women Scholars
Friday, May 24 // 12 – 1 PM PT
Join this INFAS webinar to hear from three Black Women Scholars from Historically Black Colleges and Universities  - Kimberly N. Carr, Monyai Chavers, and Lindsey Lunsford - describe their unique perspectives on Structural Racism in the Food System. These three INFAS Graduate Fellows are engaged in scholarship in three diverse areas examining the intersections of inequities in food, food systems, and sustainable agriculture. Register here.

5. Webinar: Local Food in Government Statistics - a National Farm to Institution Metrics Collaborative Webinar
Tuesday, May 28 // 3:30 PM ET
On this webinar, Jeff O'Hara from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service will provide a snapshot of how data collection around local food has advanced in recent years at the national level. He will dive into the recently released Census of Agriculture and share how the results are improving our understanding of local food markets within the past 5 years. O'Hara will also identify trends in local food market activity that are not currently being captured by existing federal government statistics. Register here.

6. Education and Health: Twin Pillars for Thriving Students
Tuesday, May 28, 2019, 12:30-2:00 PM // Washington, D.C.
Healthier students miss fewer days of school, are better able to focus and learn in class, and they also grow into healthier and more productive adults. Creating healthy and supportive school environments that honor the connection between wellness and learning requires the education and health sectors to work together in new ways. Join the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Healthy Schools Campaign for a conversation highlighting the inextricable link between health and education. Learn more here

7. Request for Proposals: Farms, Food & Health Conference
Submissions deadline: June 3 // Conference: Sept. 26-29, Traverse City, MI
The request for proposals is open now to present at the 2019 Farms, Food & Health Conference, September 26-29, 2019 in Traverse City, Michigan. This unique conference brings together health practitioners, employers, teachers, farmers, poverty reduction advocates, human resource professionals, foodservice directors and others interested in connecting the dots between healthcare, wellness and locally grown food.  Conference organizers seek panel discussions, lectures or workshops that offer skill training, resources, action items and/or clear steps on ways to implement a change. Submissions are due on June 3, 2019. Learn more here.

 
Research & Resources
1. Journal Article: Identifying Indicators of Readiness and Capacity for Implementing Farm to School Interventions
Farm to school interventions are recommended strategies to improve dietary behaviors among school-aged children. tools are needed to assess community readiness and capacity to optimize farm to school implementation. The objective of this study was to identify and prioritize factors to inform tailored farm to school implementation by practitioners working in diverse contexts. Read the full study here.

2. EQUITY Resource: Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics
This tool, developed by Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, offers an expansive list of metrics that U.S. food system practitioners and food movement organizations can use to hold ourselves accountable for progress towards a more equitable food system. The metrics are either currently in use or are recommended by food system practitioners and food movement organizations in the United States. They are described, cited, and organized by themes: food access, food and farm business, food chain labor, and food movement. Download the resource here.

3. Research: USDA Food and Nutrition Service: School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study
This study is the first nationally representative, comprehensive assessment of the school meal programs since the updated nutrition standards for school meals were phased in beginning School Year 2012-2013. The study results are presented in four separate reports summarizing study findings related to (1) foodservice operations, (2) the nutrient content of school meals as offered and served, (3) meal costs and revenues, and (4) student participation, dietary intake and plate waste. A study methodology report that describes the study design, sampling and data collection and a Summary Report that provides a brief overview of the study and key findings from the various reports are also available. Read more here.

4. EQUITY Food Sovereignty Stories Series
Brought to you by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, this new video series explores what food sovereignty can look like for diverse social movements across the US. View the first video in the series here.


Job Opportunities
1. Program Coordinator, Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network (Eugene, OR)
The Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network is hiring a Program Coordinator to support members of Oregon’s farm to school and school garden community in their work to incorporate healthy, local food into school meals and implement farm and garden-based education. Learn more here.

2. Policy Director, Fair Food Network (Washington, D.C.)
Fair Food Network is looking for an experienced government relations professional to lead its outreach, advocacy and policy-related relationship building work, with an emphasis on Washington, DC relationships and legislation. Learn more here.

3. Communications Manager, Farm to Institution New England (FINE) (Remote, New England)
FINE seeks a dedicated communications professional to lead its communications and information technology efforts. The communications manager is a key member of this remote team, and is central to both the external network services and programs FINE offers, as well as to the internal work of running a small, dynamic nonprofit. Learn more here.

4. Farm to Institution New York State Training Coordinator, American Farmland Trust (Saratoga Springs, NY)
American Farmland Trust is seeking a full-time Farm to Institution New York State Training Coordinator to help develop and facilitate training programs and other educational tools to support New York institutions to expand their local food purchasing. Institutions will primarily consist of K-12 schools, but also could include colleges and universities, hospitals and others. Learn more here.

5. Multiple Positions, Community Grows (San Francisco, CA)
CommunityGrows is hiring for several, year-round positions. CommunityGrows (CG) co-cultivates healthy youth through growing gardens in low-income, diverse communities. Through outdoor, environmental and nutrition education, CG helps high-needs youth, especially those living in public housing in San Francisco, develop the confidence, skills and experience to live a healthy life and become leaders in their communities. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Virginia elementary school's garden lab supplies cafeteria kitchen
When it's ripe, produce from Frederick Douglass' garden lab is harvested, cleaned, and served to its students. The garden opened in 2012 as the school was being remodeled. Last month, Virginia's First Lady Pamela Northam launched her Farm-to-School initiative to increase annual statewide local food purchases to at least $22 million by 2022. (Local DVM)

Vermont District expands farm to school programming
This past September, Windham Northeast Supervisory Union kicked off a new school meal program: the Farm to School Cafe. While breakfast and lunch menus still look familiar to students and families, they now feature a variety of locally grown products and the large majority of meals are prepared from scratch. (VT Digger)

Washington project helps make kids lifelong healthy eaters
Eight Head Start centers in Washington are incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into their curriculum, thanks to a new partnership with the Washington State University Skagit County Extension. The project connects people with produce grown at local farms, like Viva Farms. “Part of our mission is to supply and provide organic food to our community,” said Steve Crider, Farm to School lead for Viva Farms. “Exposing kids early to a variety of food and colors and stuff they may not get at home helps make them healthy eaters for life.” (Skagit Valley Herald


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: 5/7/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 07, 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. 

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar: Trending Topics in Farm to School: Farm to School and National Agriculture in the Classroom
Tuesday, May 7 // 1 PM ET
Food and agriculture education is a core element of farm to school and vital to developing a comprehensive and impactful farm to school programs. The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO) and its member state programs provide K-12 teachers with educational resources and programs that use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies and more. Join this National Farm to School Network (NFSN) webinar to hear from NAITCO about resources, information, and partnerships and learn from Healthy Communities of the Capital City, NFSN Core Partner in Maine, about how Agriculture in the Classroom partnerships have expanded farm to school initiatives in their state. Register here

2. Farm to School Resource Roundup: Resources for Implementing State Farm to School Strategies
Wednesday, May 29 // 3 PM ET    
Responding to the rapid growth and interest in farm to school, the National Farm to School Network’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan prioritizes building the capacity of its partners to advance farm to school at the state level through three complementary strategies: (1) state farm to school networks, (2) state farm to school positions at state agencies and university Extension offices, and (3) state farm to school policies. To support these efforts, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) has developed an accompanying resource for each of the three strategies:
Join the National Farm to School Network and special guest State Farm to Vermont Law School, coauthors of the State Farm to School Policy Handbook,  to learn more about these resources and how to apply these strategies in your state. Register here
 
3. Greening School Food: A Northeast Forum on Healthy, Climate-Friendly School Food
Thursday, May 9 // Albany, NY
Leading food service professionals from Northeastern school districts will share successful strategies for promoting climate-friendly, plant-based menus and implementing waste reduction in school cafeterias. National and regional nonprofits will discuss resources and map out strategies and policy reforms to scale up climate-friendly school food. Forum participants will share their experience, gain valuable information and cultivate new relationships in several round-table discussions. Register here.
 
4. 2019 Starting and Sustaining a School Garden Conference
Friday, May 10 // Novi, MI
School gardens can spring up anywhere – a schoolyard, an empty lot, a rooftop, even a parking lot. They are a powerful tool to connect youth to the natural world and beyond, regardless of setting, demographics or learning style. Be prepared to help make those connections by attending the 2019 Starting and Sustaining a School Garden conference. Seasonal Learning in the Garden will be the theme for the conference to assist educators in coordinating their curriculum with what is going on in the garden. There will be break-out sessions by season and by grade level, and all activities will be connected to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Learn more here.
 
5. Wisconsin School Garden Day
Thursday, May 23
The Governor of Wisconsin will be proclaiming Thursday, May 23, 2019 the very first Wisconsin School Garden Day! Wisconsin School Garden Day honors and celebrates the educators, students, families, community leaders, and all people who have made garden-based education a reality and an asset in their schools and communities throughout the state. You can participate in Wisconsin School Garden Day by engaging in some type of garden-based education activity or celebration on May 23, 2019 (or another day that week) in solidarity with youth garden programs across the state. Learn more here.
 

Research & Resources
1. The Farm to School Census is Coming! 
The Office of Community Food Systems is excited to announce that the third Farm to School Census will launch this September! According to the 2015 Farm to School Census, schools have invested nearly $790 million in local communities. Have we reached a billion yet? Help us find out by ensuring your district participates this fall. For more information about the Census and farm to school in general, contact a USDA Farm to School Regional Lead.

2. SNAP into Gardening Resource from SNAP-Ed
SNAP-Ed agencies across the country are involved in community and school gardening. If garden projects are part of your spring plans, the SNAP-Ed Connection has you covered! Learn more about SNAP-Ed gardening projects and resources in the SNAP-Ed Library. Head to the updated Gardening Resources page to learn more.

3. Sharing the Table: A Roadmap to Reducing and Recovering Surplus Food in Schools, The Center for Green Schools 
Starting food reduction and recovery programs can seem daunting at first due to the number of steps to consider before beginning. However, with the right support and guidance, these programs can be successfully developed and implemented in schools with relatively low cost. This Roadmap to Reducing and Recovering Surplus Food in Schools serves as a guide for school stakeholders, using examples from efforts by the school districts in Oakland and San Diego, California to reduce and recover their surplus food from school meals. It focuses on best practices to save surplus food at school, as well as resources for school food waste reduction. Read the full guide here.


Job Opportunities
1. Garden Educator, CitySprouts (Cambridge, MA)
The CitySprouts Garden Educator position is an opportunity to deepen and expand skills and knowledge in the area of informal education and youth development. The Garden Educator is responsible for delivering the CitySprouts program to three school partners during the school year and to lead one middle school program, in both after school and summer. Learn more here.

2. TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator, CitySprouts (Cambridge, MA)
The Community Engagement Coordinator at CitySprouts will lead volunteer efforts for both school families and community members in Cambridge and Boston. Through their service, members will expand CitySprouts’ family engagement plants with partner schools through volunteer and special event opportunities in the school gardens/ They will leverage the service of 300 volunteers throughout our network of 22 partner schools in order to engage in garden education and building projects. Learn more here.

3. Nutrition Education Fruitful Data Systems AmeriCorps VISTA, Farm Fresh Rhode Island (Providence Rhode Island)
Farm Fresh Rhode Island seeks an analytical and thoughtful Nutrition Education Fruitful Data Systems AmeriCorps VISTA with demonstrated initiative and clear organizational communication skills to increase Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s capacity to make data-driven decisions. An integral part of Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s team, our nutrition education department works with community institutions and the public school system to ensure greater access to healthy locally grown food across populations. This position offers a unique opportunity to design a sustainable data management system to catalog efforts and successes, helping us research the changing food landscape by identifying key farm to school stakeholders and advocates in RI. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Junior Iron Chef Competition Highlights Minnesota's Innovative Approach To School Lunch
On Thursday night in Minneapolis, teams of middle schoolers and professional chefs competed in an Iron Chef-style battle. The winning dish will go on the school lunch menu. Yup, fresh, creative food in the cafeteria. Minneapolis Public Schools is teaming students with local chefs. (CBS Minnesota)

Growing season on North Carolina college farm
The Guilford College Farm is home to healthy foods served in the cafeteria, including kale, lettuce and beets.  It’s also a place where a wide range of students are able to experience growing and maintaining fruits and veggies for the College. Once the food is harvested, it is washed, weighed and bagged for the cafeteria and for storage. (The Guilfordian)

Washington students help grow fresh produce for their community
There's a growing effort at a high school in Burien to feed the community with fresh produce harvested by students and their neighbors. On Earth Day, students at New Start High School helped prepare the "Shark Garden" for another busy season. New Start Biology Teacher Kelsie Maney helped turn the dusty property into a vibrant community center and neighborhood green space. (King 5 News)

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