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News

Harvesting the Benefits of Hydroponics: Highlights from the Gro More Good Hydroponics Pilot Project

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Preschoolers getting ready to taste their hydroponically-grown lettuce. Source: San Pedro Elementary, San Rafael, California, March 2020 Final Survey
By Jenileigh Harris, Program Associate

National Farm to School Network in partnership with Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and collaboration with KidsGardening is excited to release Exploring Hydroponics: A Classroom Lesson Guide. This lesson guide is the product of the Gro More Good Hydroponics Pilot Project and includes basic how-to information for growing plants hydroponically in the classroom, lesson plans to help students learn through hands-on investigations, construction plans for simple hydroponic setups, and additional reference materials to support educators. The lessons are designed to align with third through fifth grade Next Generation Science Standards but can be adapted for both younger and older students and those with different abilities. The lessons are sequenced so that each topic builds upon the previous topics but the activities can also be used independently, in any order.

The Gro More Good Hydroponics Pilot Project, launched in the fall of 2019, was aimed at integrating indoor hydroponics growing systems into systemically under resourced schools across the country. National Farm to School Network supported hydroponics experts, KidsGardening, in developing the curriculum guide, Exploring Hydroponics: A Classroom Lesson Guide. During the 2019-2020 school year, the curriculum was used in conjunction with Scotts Miracle-Gro’s AeroGarden hydroponic kits in 15 schools across California, New York and Washington D.C. In addition to introducing hydroponics into their science, technology engineering and math (STEM) classrooms, pilot schools participated in peer learning and networking calls to share successes and challenges with each other.

“The grow station is the shining light in an amazing space. It draws visitors to it and opens up conversation about what we do at FoodPrints and Kimball. The students love to talk about it. Thank you for letting us participate!” -Kimball Elementary School, Washington, D.C.
Between the 2018-2019 and the 2019-2020 school year, there was an overall increase in both engagement of students in garden-based activities as well as the total number of students reached by gardening or farm to school activities that align with Next Generation Standards as a direct result of the hydroponics system and curriculum.

By March 2020, a total of 2204 students were reached through the pilot project with gardening or farm to school activities that align with Next Generation Science Standards across New York, Washington D.C., and California, and 1954 students were directly engaged in lessons or activities using the hydroponics growing system. Additionally, between September 2019 and March 2020, there was a perceived 20% increase in student interest and a 15% increase in adult interest (teachers, administration, teaching aides, community members) in gardening as a direct result of the hydroponics system and Exploring Hydroponics curriculum.

“The Exploring Hydroponics guide has really been a huge asset to our science curriculum.” -Amidon-Bowen Elementary, Washington, D.C.

Pilot schools cited many observed benefits and positive outcomes due to the hydroponics curriculum and growing systems for students, families and adults in their respective school communities. These include:

Benefits for Students  Benefits for Students, Families, Educators and Community Members
  • Interest and knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts
  • Increased demonstration of social-emotional development (e.g., cooperation, empathy, self-regulation)
  • Access to fresh fruits and vegetables 
  • Increased engagement
  • Improved attitudes, knowledge and behaviors
  • Improved knowledge about gardening, agriculture and food systems 


Teacher, Helene, leads students in exploring the hydroponics garden and learning about how far away their food comes from. Source: P.S. 32 The Belmont School, New York, January 2020 Site Visit
When schools began closing in March, some pilot schools were able to pivot and continue hydroponics and gardening learning at home. At Kimball Elementary, the FoodPrints teacher has encouraged kids to find bean or vegetable seeds, wrap them in damp paper towels, insert into a plastic bag, tape to a window with lots of sunlight and observe daily for germination. At other schools, teachers were able to take the hydroponics units home and update students remotely through online meetings and photos. The Exploring Hydroponics guide offers many remote-adaptable lessons and at-home opportunities including how to build an aeration system at home, map your meals explorations, exploring land use worksheets, discussion questions and digging deeper videos.

“I documented the plants before we left school, transplanted them with students into soil and we are studying how they are growing at home now via live meetings and pictures. Students have been engaged in a "regrow" vegetables from scratch lesson, and have shared amazing results of starting vegetables in water with scraps they normally would've thrown out.” –P.S. 32, The Belmont School, Bronx, NY
National Farm to School Network and Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation learned a lot from the schools as they piloted and adapted the Exploring Hydroponics curriculum, troubleshooted the AeroGarden grow kit, and brought the hydroponics learning experience to life for their students. By all measures, the Gro More Good Hydroponics Pilot Project has been a success: there was an overall increase in student and family engagement in gardening and farm to school activities as a direct result of the hydroponics growing system and curriculum. While the benefits and positive outcomes are substantial, opportunities for growth have also emerged:

Strategies for better curriculum integration of opportunities to encourage at-home hydroponics and gardening
  • Adapting curriculum for younger ages
  • More opportunities to support sustained implementation (e.g., to purchase pods and other necessary resources)
  • Incorporating more multimedia tools or approaches within curriculum (e.g., instructional video)
  • Collecting and disaggregating data based on race and income (e.g., which students are more likely to have access to gardening at home?)
  • More opportunities to engage families

Students giving presentations to their classmates about hydroponics. Source: P.S. 214, Bronx, New York, March 2020 Final Survey
National Farm to School Network and Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation are excited to see how schools continue to use their hydroponic curriculum and systems in the upcoming school year, whatever that may look like, and beyond. We know students increased their understanding of where their food comes from, the environmental impacts of growing food in soil versus water, their access to fresh produce, and we can’t wait to see these benefits grow. 

USDA Announces 2020 Farm to School Grant Recipients

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Congratulations to the newest USDA Farm to School Grant Program recipients! USDA announced on Monday that a record-breaking 159 projects in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Guam have been awarded farm to school grants to explore, expand or scale up their farm to school activities. The 2020 awards total $12.1 million, and will impact 2.5 million students in 7,610 schools. 

Twenty-six National Farm to School Network Core and Supporting Partner organizations have been selected for 2020 grants, including: 

Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Arizona Department of Education
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Guidestone Colorado
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Georgia Department of Education
Indiana State Department of Health
Kansas State Department of Education
Third Sector New England
Michigan Department of Education
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Nebraska Department of Education
Nevada Department of Agriculture
New Hampshire Department of Education
New Mexico Department of Public Education
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
Oklahoma State Department of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
The Food Trust
South Carolina Department of Agriculture
Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets
Virginia Department of Education
Washington State Department of Agriculture
West Virginia Department of Agriculture

Additionally, we’re thrilled to see that Hardin Public School District 17 H & 1– a former National Farm to School Network Seed Change Cohort Member, a current representative on our Native Communities Advisory Council, and one of the schools featured last year as a Native Farm to School Champion in our partnership with the Intertribal Agriculture Council – has received an Implementation grant to develop a traditional foods curriculum and build a high tunnel and greenhouse on school grounds. 

New this year, USDA has also awarded two Regional Farm to Institution Grants. First Nations Development Institute, serving tribal communities in the Midwest, and Shelburne Farms, serving school districts in the Northeast, have been awarded grants to develop and deliver farm to school training, create and disseminate information on developing farm to school programs, and provide ongoing coaching and technical assistance to farm to school practitioners in their regions. 

National Farm to School Network was a key leader in advocating for the creation of the USDA Farm to School Grant program, as well as advocating for additional funding for the program through appropriations bills for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 – which have allowed this year’s grants to be as substantial as they are. We know that the program is an essential tool for improving the health of our children, our food system and our local economies. And as the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts continue to be a reality in our country, these benefits of farm to school are more important than ever. Congratulations, again, to the 2020 grantees – we look forward to watching your farm to school projects grow! 

This Week in Farm to School: 6/30/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 30, 2020
NEW: National Farm to School Network has launched a new weekly e-newsletter to share a roundup of COVID-19 related resources and information with farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders - similar to what is shared weekly in these This Week in Farm to School blog posts. Sign up here to have this information delivered in your inbox weekly.

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. COVID-19 NFSN COVID-19 Relief Fund
Deadline: July 6
Round two of the National Farm to School Network's COVID-19 Relief Fund application is now open. Organizations that seek financial support of their efforts to connect kids and their families to just food through the support of local farmers and food systems are welcome to apply. In our commitment to standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and Native communities, where the coronavirus has had devastating impacts, organizations that directly serve and are led by Black people and Indigenous people will be prioritized in application review. Learn more and apply.

2. Food Waste Warrior Mini-Grants
Deadline: June 30
These mini-grants enable schools and districts to implement educational lessons and audits to help drive food waste reduction in cafeterias across the US as part of the World Wildlife Fund Food Waste Warrior initiative. Submission deadline is June 30. Learn more and apply. 

3. COVID-19 Reinvestment Fund's 2020 Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program
Deadline: July 10
The 2020 HFFI round has $3 million in grant funds available (grants from $20,000-$200,000) for food retail and food enterprises working to improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities. Funding for HFFI is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the Farm Bill. A webinar will be held on June 2 at 2 p.m. EST to confirm details about the application process and answer questions. No registration is required to join and a recording of the webinar will be accessible using the same link. Learn more and apply here.   

4. Call for Proposals: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health Prize
Deadline: July 30
A Culture of Health recognizes that where we live—such as our access to affordable homes, quality schools, good jobs, and reliable transportation—affects how long and how well we live, and that improving health and well-being requires collective efforts to create the conditions to ensure all residents have a fair and just opportunity for health. This request seeks an entity to re-imagine, lead, and manage the next two-year phase of the leadership and management of the national RWJF Culture of Health Prize. Learn more and apply. 

5. Pure Farmland™ Pure Growth Project
Deadline: July 31
Pure Farmland believes that good things are grown from the ground up. That’s why they created the Pure Growth Project— an initiative and grant program (ranging from $1,000 to $20,000) that supports community gardens in neighborhoods throughout the country and builds on our longstanding commitment to protect vital American farmland. View the press release. Learn more and apply. 

6. Farmers Advocating For Organic (FAFO) Fund 
Deadline: August 1 (LOI) and August 15 (Application)
Funded entirely by voluntary contributions from Organic Valley farmers, FAFO is the largest farmer-funded grant program in the U.S. and one of the few focused solely on organic. FAFO awards grants of $5,000-$50,000 to research, education, and advocacy projects that protect and promote the organic industry and the livelihood of organic farmers. Learn more and apply. 


Webinars & Events
1. Food Safety Focus Group with The National Young Farmers Coalition
The National Young Farmers Coalition is seeking produce farmers who grow for Farm to School programs to participate in an online Food Safety focus group this summer. This is a PAID opportunity for farmers to share their knowledge and experience, and learn more themselves. Each hour-long virtual focus group will feature a farmer co-facilitator discussing their operation and systems and 8 - 10 farmers asking the lead farmer questions and sharing their own experience with the topic. The farmer co-facilitator and participants will be paid for their time; $250 and $50, respectively, and be joined by Maggie Kaiser from the Coalition and Billy Mitchell from National Farmers Union. More information and sign-ups can be found at youngfarmers.org/focusgroups. You can also send questions directly to maggie@youngfarmers.org. 

2. EQUITY Virtual Workshop: People's Sovereignty Lab's Workshop: "Resisting and Reclaiming Land, Territories and Peoples Sovereignty"
Today! June 30 // 2PM CEST or 7AM CST 
This workshop, organized by the People´s Sovereignty network, aims at sharing the experiences of social movement and civil society activists from different regions of the world who are struggling to defend their rights and sovereignty over their territories and lives. This workshop brings together activists from the Basque Country, Guatemala, Kenya and the Six Nations in Canada who, along with a group of academics, are part of the People´s Sovereignty network experience and have recently engaged in a process of reciprocal learning and co-authorship that led to a forthcoming special forum of the Globalizations Journal. Learn more and register. 

3. COVID-19 Webinar: Safe Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfection in Child Care Facilities and Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Today! June 30 // 1PM ET
During this webinar, public health panelists will address how to more safely choose and use cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting products and practices for child care facilities and schools in this time of COVID-19. The speakers will also describe the differences between these different activities and how to know where and how often each should be done. There will be ample time for Q&A. Learn more and register here.

4. EQUITY Black Women on Black Food Sovereignty
Today! June 30 // 2pm ET
Join FoodShare Toronto for a conversation featuring four Black women leading the call for Black food sovereignty in Canada, the U.S.A., and the United Kingdom. Through our panelists’ uniquely valuable perspectives and experiences, we’ll explore what Black food sovereignty means, why it is important, and how we can collectively work to advance it. Register here. 

5. COVID-19 Taking Advantage of CEP This School Year
Today! June 30 // 2pm ET
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) provides school meals to students at no cost to them. With rising food insecurity due to COVID-19, CEP will be a lifeline for students and families in the coming school year. Among its numerous benefits, CEP simplifies counting and claiming (hello, meals in the classroom!), eliminates school meals debt, and improves student behavioral and academic outcomes. Join this webinar hosted by No Kid Hungry to learn more about how to make CEP work for your team and your students this year. Register here. 

6. Workshop Series: Edible Schoolyard Summer Training at Home
Starts June 30
Edible Schoolyard is hosting a free, multi-month summer program of online training and professional development sessions for the field of edible education. The program will consist of a four-part workshop series on adapting edible education to remote and home learning and a three-part panel series on the core values of nourishment, stewardship, and community. All sessions will be offered at no cost. Learn more and register here. 

7. Food Systems Mapping 101: Tools and Skills Call
July 2 // 2pm ET
Mapping can be a great tool for understanding what’s happening in your community food system. However, there are lots of tools to choose from when making a map. Next up in a series on food systems mapping is a call to learn about the available data sets and mapping platforms, and how to find the right tools for your needs. Carolyn Talmadge from Tufts University and Cynthia Caul from Chatham University will join Wallace Center staff to share their expertise and introduce you to some tools to help create useful and effective food systems maps. Register here.

8. EQUITY Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED) Build, Unlearn, Decolonize Learning Series
Deadline to apply: July 7
Drawing inspiration from abolitionist & decolonial pedagogy, CoFED’s Build, Unlearn, Decolonize program (BUD) is a 5-week-long cooperative education intensive designed to support teams of young BIPOC looking to build community health and wealth through thriving, cooperative food and land-based businesses. BUD will take place from September 14 - October 19, 2020, in virtual space. Open to teams of 2-3 people from ages 18-30, BUD is a life-changing experience where you and your crew can learn more about cooperative economics, decolonizing our food system, and creating community-led food solutions with a triple bottom line of food sovereignty, sustainability, and decoloniality. Learn more and apply.

9. National CACFP Sponsors Association's Child Nutrition Virtual Summit
Deadline to register: August 7 //  August 11, 12, 18, & 19
The National CACFP Sponsors Association is bringing training to your office! With offerings spanned over 4 days, the virtual summit allows up to 20 hours of Continuing Education Credits for food program training for $149. View the schedule and register here. Online registration deadline is August 7.

10. Honoring School Food Heroes Campaign
Kids can’t eat a virtual lunch, and farmers can’t sell virtual vegetables! It’s time to recognize the school food heroes who serve our children meals every day, and use their school food dollars to support our local food producers. Help appreciate these front line heroes by sharing this video and join TIPS for School Meals That Rock, Chef Ann Foundation, Life Time Foundation, Wellness in the Schools, and Whole Kids Foundation in celebrating our heroes. View the campaign video and learn more. 

11. University of Massachusetts' Online Organic Vegetable Production Class 
The UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture is offering an online class on organic vegetable production beginning July 6.  STOCKSCH 320 - Organic Vegetable Production is a 3 credit, college class taught by Stockbridge instructor, Renee Ciulla, who has experience both as a college teacher and an organic farmer.  This online course will cover the principles and practices of growing vegetables organically for both the professional small farmer and serious home gardeners. The UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture is offering 5 online classes during the 6-week summer session including Urban Agriculture and Professional Development in Sustainable Food and Farming. Classes offered during the second summer session will begin on July 6, 2020, and registration is now open.  For information on all 5 online classes offered this summer as well as the 13 classes offered this fall at UMass Amherst click here.


Research & Resources
1. EQUITY Indigenous Futures Survey Research Project
Deadline: August 1
IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance, and Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth are partnering with acclaimed researchers Dr. Stephanie Fryberg (Tulalip) of the University of Michigan and Dr. Arianne Eason of the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct the Indigenous Futures Survey -- a groundbreaking research project for Native peoples by Native peoples. The 15-20 minute survey launched Tuesday, June 23, 2020 and will close on August 1, 2020. IFS researchers are looking to reach as many Native relatives as possible, and are seeking to partner with organizations and tribal leaders to help disseminate the survey to at least 2,000 participants 18 years of age and older. IFS disseminating organizations and tribes can request access to data collected from the survey to be helpful to their future work. To participate in the IFP survey dissemination, or have questions regarding the survey, please email indigenousfuture@aspeninstitute.org or call (202) 736-2905. Learn more and take the survey.

2. National Museum of African American History and Culture's Talking About Race Resources
Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. The National Museum of African American History and Culture provides tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation. View the resources.

3. COVID-19 The Coronavirus Will Make Child Care Deserts Worse and Exacerbate Inequality
As COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders to protect public health continue, a quiet crisis is unfolding in child care programs across the country.  Without federal intervention, it is possible that licensed, reliable, high-quality child care will become a privilege of the wealthy, while millions of young children will end up in care of uncertain safety, reliability, and quality. Child care deserts will become the norm, holding back millions of working families, particularly working mothers, in the middle-class communities that were already falling behind economically prior to the pandemic. Read more.

4. Soul Fire Farm's BIPOC Led How-To Videos, Gardening Resources and Online Learning Resources
Soul Fire Farm's got you covered. This list of resources has everything you need to learn from BIPOC siblings paving the way to food justice, grow food, and support your community all while staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. View the repository.

5. BIPOC in Agriculture and Food: A Resource Guide
View this open source database of black, indigenous people of color in the agriculture and food spaces across the country.  Read more. 

6. National Young Farmers' Coalition Racial Equity Toolkit
This toolkit is a starting point to help farmers organize around transformative learning and action. It aims to orient and incite members toward preliminary consciousness-raising and direct action. This toolkit does not detail a universally applicable pathway toward resolving pervasive racialized oppression; it is an initial resource for people who are overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the problem, and need help determining how to start dismantling racism in their communities. View the toolkit.

7. EQUITY Declarations of Racism as a Public Health Issue
Across the country, local and state leaders are declaring racism a public health crisis or emergency. These declarations are an important first step in the movement to advance racial equity and justice and must be followed by allocation of resources and strategic action. American Public Health Association has created a growing list of states, cities and counties that are naming racism as a determinant of health. See the list here. 

8. Article: Food Waste in a School Nutrition Program After Implementation of New Lunch Program Guidelines
Researchers conducted a study to assess the amount of food waste by meal components according to the new National School Lunch Program guidelines among pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. Analyzing the results, researchers found that strategies to reduce food waste in school lunch should be researched and implemented. Read more.


Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
National Farm to School Network's response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic are grounded in a central goal of continuing to advance towards strong, just local and regional food systems. There is a need for immediate relief to the people most impacted by this crisis, while building towards longer-term policies that strengthen a resilient, just food system. As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. Our federal policy platform calls on Congress to strengthen its support for school meal and child nutrition programs, farmers and those who feed us, Native communities, essential workers, children and families, and others who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. Please add your voice by endorsing our federal COVID-19 policy platform, and help us advocate for key food systems priorities on Capitol Hill. Sign on here
 
2. COVID-19 USDA Extended Waivers through June 30, 2021 for SBP, NSLP, and CACFP
These flexibilities allow for:
- Meals that do not meet normal meal pattern requirements when necessary to keep kids fed;  
-Meals to be served outside of group settings and outside of standard times to facilitate grab-and-go and other alternate service options; & 
-Parent/guardian pick-up of meals for students participating in distance learning. View the full press release.

3. COVID-19 USDA Adds Digital Options for Farmers and Ranchers to Apply for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced that it will now accept applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) through an online portal, expanding the options available to producers to apply for this program, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. FSA is also leveraging commercial document storage and e-signature solutions to enable producers to work with local service center staff to complete their applications from home. Currently, the digital application is only available to sole proprietors or single-member business entities. Read the full press release. 

4. “Absolutely Essential”: USDA Cuts Red Tape for School Lunch Programs This Fall
Despite all these changes, school nutrition directors say there’s still a lot more than USDA can do to help them feed kids next year. Read more.

Job Opportunities
1. Healthy Food Access Program Manager, Kansas State University Extension (Manhattan, Kansas)
Deadline: July 18
Kansas State University is seeking a Program Manager to join our healthy food access team.  K-State’s food access work includes the Kansas Healthy Food Initiative (www.kansashealthyfood.org) and the Rural Grocery Initiative (www.ruralgrocery.org). This position will be responsible for providing technical assistance, assisting with grant development, event management, and managing partner and stakeholder relationships.  For best consideration, please submit your application materials using the link below by July 18. Learn more and apply.

2. Food Systems Researcher, The Lexicon (California)
The Lexicon, a California based NGO, is hiring food systems researchers with established domain expertise in the following subject areas: regenerative agriculture, food equity, food & climate change, supply chains, and agrobiodiversity. Applicants must have a secondary degree in a food or ag related field, demonstrable expertise in self-directed food research, and the ability to meet tight deadlines. Strong English language writing skills are a must, as is fluency in Google's suite of cloud based tools (Drive, Sheet, Doc, etc.) The work begins immediately and starts with a 3 month probationary period. Interested applicants can share a resume with Mary@thelexicon.org.


In The News
Stream: Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death
Arthur Jafa premiered Love is the Message, The Message is Death at Gavin Brown's enterprise in Harlem just days after the tumultuous 2016 election. Created earlier that summer, in the midst of an eruption of citizen documentation of police brutality towards Black people in the United States and subsequent protests, the seven-and-a half-minute video demanded viewers see the epidemic of racial violence that has always been in front of them. With Jafa’s support, 13 institutions have come together to amplify this work and simultaneously stream it for the first time. “What would America be like if we loved Black people as much as we love Black culture?”-Amandla Stenberg.  Learn more and watch the live stream.

COVID-19 How Garden-Based Education Programs Are Adapting to COVID-19
The novel coronavirus has forced many garden-based education programs to find new ways to engage students from a distance. Two programs located in the Southern United States, Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF) in Birmingham, Alabama and The Green Heart Project in Charleston, South Carolina, are finding similar ways to adjust their programs so they can continue to use gardening as an educational tool. (Food Tank)

COVID-19 Program Supports West North Carolina Farmers and Offers Food Relief During Pandemic
Asheville-based agriculture aid nonprofit Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project has stepped up to do what it does best: support Southern Appalachian farming communities by building connections to locally grown food. ASAP’s recently announced Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program connects farmers in Western North Carolina with smaller-scale food relief efforts, providing funding that covers costs to farmers. (Carolina Public Press)

Rediscovering Detroit’s Roots Through Indigenous Food
Through a collective maple sugaring effort, pop-up dinners, seed saving, and more, an urban community is reconnecting to its Indigenous foodways. (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.

Advisory Board Perspectives: Anneliese Tanner

NFSN Staff Thursday, June 25, 2020
This post is part of National Farm to School Network's new series of interviews with members of our Advisory Board about the impacts, challenges and opportunities that COVID-19 has brought about for the farm to school movement. 

Name: Anneliese Tanner
Title: Executive Director, Food Service and Warehouse Operations at Austin Independent School District
Organization: Austin Independent School District
Location: Austin, Texas
First-year on the National Farm to School Network Advisory Board

Scott Bunn, NFSN Development Director, sat down with Anneliese for a conversation about how the COVID-19 emergency has impacted her work, the challenges and innovations she’s seen, and what all of this means for the future of farm to school and our food system.

“My biggest hope as a silver lining to emerge from this is universal meals for all students. We have really seen as a nation that school food service is incredibly important for feeding all students, not just those most in need. We’ve seen economic conditions quickly take hold in parts of town that you wouldn’t have guessed before.” – Anneliese Tanner
Listen to the full podcast here:

How We’re Taking Action for Racial Justice (A Start)

NFSN Staff Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Last month, in the wake of the modern-day lynching of George Floyd, we shared a statement acknowledging that we know we cannot achieve food justice if we're not willing to do racial justice work. We also shared our commitment to being an anti-racist organization and an active participant in the fight for justice. As a predominantly White-led organization, we cannot be silent allies. We must act. 

As a follow up to that statement, we want to share some of the concrete, actionable ways that we will continue to deepen our commitment to being an anti-racist ally in this work: 

  • We will conduct an internal racial equity assessment by the end of 2020. From that assessment, in early 2021, we will develop a racial equity action plan based on where transformational change needs to take place within our organization and our work. 
  • We will build leadership capacity for our staff to take action and meaningfully engage in advancing racial equity through our work. 
  • We will invest our resources in ways that prioritize and center Black, Indigenous and other communities of color. One current example: round two of our COVID-19 Relief Fund will prioritize funding for organizations that serve and are led by Black people and Indigenous people. 
  • We will continue to move forward the other equity actions we committed to taking this year, shared by Helen Dombalis, our Executive Director, in January. See a list of those commitments here
We fully acknowledge that this is not a comprehensive list – there is much more work to be done. However, we aim for these actionable steps to move us in a direction of continuing to build the foundation of our commitment to being an anti-racist organization, and from which transformational actions and goals must follow. 

We share these actions in hopes that other White-led organizations – especially those who partner with us in the farm to school movement – can learn from us as an example. We valued your words of support and appreciation for Helen’s statement on Racial Justice in May. Now, we must move our words into action. 

This Week in Farm to School: 6/23/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 23, 2020
NEW: National Farm to School Network has launched a new weekly e-newsletter to share a roundup of COVID-19 related resources and information with farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders - similar to what is shared weekly in these This Week in Farm to School blog posts. Sign up here to have this information delivered in your inbox weekly.

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. COVID-19 Pacific Northwest Farm Aid Farmer Resilience Fund
Deadline: June 26
For Alaska, Oregon, and Washington Farmers, Farm Aid has created a fund to give farmers  struggling during COVID-19 a one time $500 emergency relief payment. Learn more and apply. Applications in Spanish available here.

2. USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program
Deadline: July 6
USDA has announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. There is approximately $1 million available for Planning Projects and $2 million for Implementation Projects. The close date is July 6. Learn more and apply.

3. COVID-19 NFSN COVID-19 Relief Fund
Deadline: July 6
Round two of the National Farm to School Network's COVID-19 Relief Fund application is now open. Organizations that seek financial support of their efforts to connect kids and their families to just food through the support of local farmers and food systems are welcome to apply. In our commitment to standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and Native communities, where the coronavirus has had devastating impacts, organizations that directly serve and are led by Black people and Indigenous people will be prioritized in application review. Learn more and apply.

4. COVID-19 Reinvestment Fund's 2020 Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program
Deadline: July 10
The 2020 HFFI round has $3 million in grant funds available (grants from $20,000-$200,000) for food retail and food enterprises working to improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities. Funding for HFFI is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the Farm Bill. A webinar will be held on June 2 at 2 p.m. EST to confirm details about the application process and answer questions. No registration is required to join and a recording of the webinar will be accessible using the same link. Learn more and apply here.   

5. Call for Proposals: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health Prize
Deadline: July 30
A Culture of Health recognizes that where we live—such as our access to affordable homes, quality schools, good jobs, and reliable transportation—affects how long and how well we live, and that improving health and well-being requires collective efforts to create the conditions to ensure all residents have a fair and just opportunity for health. This request seeks an entity to re-imagine, lead, and manage the next two-year phase of the leadership and management of the national RWJF Culture of Health Prize. Learn more and apply. 

6. Farmers Advocating For Organic (FAFO) Fund 
Deadline: August 1 (LOI) and August 15 (Application)
Funded entirely by voluntary contributions from Organic Valley farmers, FAFO is the largest farmer-funded grant program in the U.S. and one of the few focused solely on organic. FAFO awards grants of $5,000-$50,000 to research, education, and advocacy projects that protect and promote the organic industry and the livelihood of organic farmers. Learn more and apply. 


Webinars & Events
1. EQUITY White Fragility Conversation Group
June 24 // 4pm ET
What is white fragility? And how does it show up at your farm? Watch this video from Dr. Robin Diangelo, author of White Fragility, then join this discussion space with the Farm-Based Education Network. Register here

2. EQUITY Justice in Farm-Based Education: Roundtable Discussion
June 25 // 4pm ET
How can the Farm-Based Education Network support you as you identify and dismantle oppressive systems in your farm community? Join the Roundtable Discussion, facilitated by the Farm-Based Education Network, to share your thoughts. Register here. 

3. Regional Ohio Action for Resilience's Next World Conversations
June 25 // 7:30PM CT
Please join Regional Ohio Action for Resilience for a series of conversations that will be a facilitated dialogue between two leaders in the field of agriculture and food, followed by a conversation with you, the audience. In the face of interlinked challenges including climate change, pandemics, and systemic racism, a new vision of the future is needed. Our systems are breaking down and we are searching for and re-visioning what our future could look like. This series will address systems such as food, energy, education, democracy, health – major systems that impact our quality of life. Register here.

4. COVID-19 Webinar: Local Food Markets, Farm Labor and Metrics in a Time of Covid-19
June 26 // 12pm ET
The Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE) along with the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA) host this free webinar to discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on local food systems. Register here. 

5. COVID-19 Webinar: Safe Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfection in Child Care Facilities and Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic
June 30 // 1PM ET
During this webinar, public health panelists will address how to more safely choose and use cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting products and practices for child care facilities and schools in this time of COVID-19. The speakers will also describe the differences between these different activities and how to know where and how often each should be done. There will be ample time for Q&A. Learn more and register here.

6. Food Systems Mapping 101: Tools and Skills Call
July 2 // 2pm ET
Mapping can be a great tool for understanding what’s happening in your community food system. However, there are lots of tools to choose from when making a map. Next up in a series on food systems mapping is a call to learn about the available data sets and mapping platforms, and how to find the right tools for your needs. Carolyn Talmadge from Tufts University and Cynthia Caul from Chatham University will join Wallace Center staff to share their expertise and introduce you to some tools to help create useful and effective food systems maps. Register here.

7. COVID-19 Webinar Recording: Disinfecting, Cleaning, and Best Practices for Protecting Your Family

During the COVID19 PandemicSince the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic began there has been an onslaught of news, information, and emerging science on the topic. Discerning how to best keep family and loved ones safe can be challenging in these times. Since the Coronavirus started spreading in the US, there has been an increased use of disinfectants and cleaners that pose potential dangers of their own. During this webinar scientists presented their work on effective, non-toxic solutions to cleaning and disinfecting in the home. View the recording.

Research & Resources
1. The Ultimate List of Black Owned Farms & Food Gardens
It is clear that Black farmers need help now more than ever. We also need fresh produce they provide. Here is  a list of Black owned farms and food gardens that you can support. Learn more. 

2. BIPOC in Agriculture and Food: A Resource Guide
View this open source database of black, indigenous people of color in the agriculture and food spaces across the country.  Read more. 

3. Soul Fire's Reparations Map for Black-Indigenous Farmers
Members of the Northeast Farmers of Color Network are claiming their sovereignty and calling for reparations of land and resources so that we can grow nourishing food and distribute it in our communities. The specific projects and resource needs of farmers of color are listed here.

4. Agricultural Employer Checklist for Creating a COVID-19 Assessment and Control Plan
To prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19, agricultural employers can use this checklist to create a COVID-19 assessment and control plan for applying specific preparation, prevention, and management measures. This checklist has been developed based on the Agriculture Workers and Employers Interim Guidance from CDC and the U.S. Department of Labor. Read more. Ver recursos en español aquí.

5. COVID-19 NFSN Local Food in COVID-19 Response and Recovery
This fact sheet outlines some of the promising practices that school nutrition providers, early care and education centers, community partners, and state agencies have seen during COVID-19 while supporting local farmers and producers in accessing markets, while supporting families in accessing healthy food. View the resource.

6. National Young Farmers' Coalition Racial Equity Toolkit
This toolkit is a starting point to help farmers organize around transformative learning and action. It aims to orient and incite members toward preliminary consciousness-raising and direct action. This toolkit does not detail a universally applicable pathway toward resolving pervasive racialized oppression; it is an initial resource for people who are overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the problem, and need help determining how to start dismantling racism in their communities. View the toolkit.

7. Article: Household Food Insecurity, Coping Strategies, and Happiness: The Case of Two Public Housing Communities
While the module recognizes some of the strategies households employ to cope with food hardships, it hardly encompasses the salient strategies commonly used by low-income families. The purpose of this study is to identify the major strategies low-income households employ to cope with their food insecurity, and to gain insight into the process they go through toward making ends meet and into how the process may affect their sense of overall happiness. Read more.

8. Call for Proposal: Transforming School Food Politics Around the World
Due: July 15 
Sarah Robert and Jennifer Gaddis seek contributions for a second volume, tentatively titled Transforming School Food Politics Around the World. This edited volume will contain a curated collection of case studies that can help scholars, activists, policymakers, and students envision and create school food programs that are fair, culturally relevant, healthy, and sustainable.  View the full call for proposals. 

Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
National Farm to School Network's response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic are grounded in a central goal of continuing to advance towards strong, just local and regional food systems. There is a need for immediate relief to the people most impacted by this crisis, while building towards longer-term policies that strengthen a resilient, just food system. As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. Our federal policy platform calls on Congress to strengthen its support for school meal and child nutrition programs, farmers and those who feed us, Native communities, essential workers, children and families, and others who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. Please add your voice by endorsing our federal COVID-19 policy platform, and help us advocate for key food systems priorities on Capitol Hill. Sign on here

2. COVID-19 Minnesota Department of Agriculture Grants Support Farm to School Connections During COVID-19
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) anticipates awarding up to $124,000 through two new Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) mini-grants to respond to the disruptions COVID-19 has caused in traditional Farm to School markets. “During this period of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re looking for ways to support farmers and invest in schools differently,” Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said. “These mini-grants help preserve and expand markets that provide students with locally grown, healthy, nutritional food options.” Read more.

3. COVID-19 Farmers to Families Food Box COVID-19 Relief Program Gets 2-Month Extension in Northeast
Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), and Representative Peter Welch (D) announced that two Vermont-based entities, the Abbey Group and Willing Hands, have secured extended contracts through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue the delivery of food boxes throughout this summer through the end of August.  These two contracts will bring an additional $8.5 million in nutrition assistance to Vermont and the Upper Valley community in New Hampshire, most of which will go toward buying produce and dairy from local farms. Read more.

Job Opportunities
1. Property Manager, Farm Fresh Rhode Island (Providence, Rhode Island)
Deadline: July 7
Farm Fresh Rhode Island is seeking a full-time Property Manager for its soon-to-be-completed 60,000 sf Food Hub, located in the Valley neighborhood of Providence.  Farm Fresh RI will occupy approximately 30,000 sf and the remaining space will be tenanted by food and farm-related businesses. An ideal candidate is committed to supporting local farmers and agriculture and improving the local food system, has a proven track record in hands-on property and tenant management, and is a strong team player. Learn more and apply. 

2. Creative Coordinator, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development (Amana, Iowa) 
The Creative Coordinator leads social media, graphic design, and marketing for specific projects as well as for the organization. They are also responsible for managing websites, copyediting, research, and supporting special projects and publications. The position works in both of the organization’s focus areas: Food Systems and Creative Placemaking. Food system efforts include farm to school, farmers markets, farmer training, food safety, food hub development, food entrepreneur technical assistance, food production, and community food security. Learn more and apply.

In The News
School Lunch as We Know It Is Over
School nutrition professionals overhauled their operations on the fly. They feed families now, too. And they’re reinventing lunch programs for the coming year with fewer workers, untold variables, and multimillion-dollar budget deficits. Inside the effort to keep students fed while we rethink how to educate them safely. (The Counter)

COVID Questions Abound in School Lunch Planning and Prep
As the extent of the pandemic became more widely known, USDA announced 13 temporary COVID-19 waivers to help school districts meet the challenge of shifting meal delivery methods and menus away from the school cafeteria through the 2019-20 school year. While USDA has extended three of those waivers — non-congregate feeding, meal service times, and parent pickup — through Aug. 31, the School Nutrition Association (SNA), nutrition directors, and meal distributors and manufacturers agree schools need more certainty given the virus’ continued threat. (Agri-Pulse)

Gardening Projects in West Virginia Bring Kids, Families and Community Together
Several separate efforts to encourage gardening and healthy eating in Morgan County, WV have put down roots and grown with a wider community vision this spring. Local agencies and students have joined together to work with families and young people to teach the strategies, benefits and joys of gardening. They started with seeds and progressed to making box gardens and planting at people’s houses. (The Morgan Messenger)

Land Loss Has Plagued Black America Since Emancipation – Is It Time to Look Again at ‘Black Commons’ and Collective Ownership?
Underlying the recent unrest sweeping U.S. cities over police brutality is a fundamental inequity in wealth, land and power that has circumscribed black lives since the end of slavery in the U.S. (The Conversation)

‘Resilient Food Systems’: Carroll County Group Looks to Connect Gardeners With Food Banks
A Baltimore county group wants to gather modest-sized gardens together to create a big effect on the supply of fresh produce for food pantries. Neighbors Nourishing Neighbors is a new effort by a group of gardeners and people passionate about solving food insecurity. They’re working to gather home gardeners and start up new community gardens on church and government properties. (Baltimore Sun)

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 Juneteenth - Learning, Listening & Acting

Anna Mullen Friday, June 19, 2020

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to deliver the news that the Civil War was over and that slavery had been abolished. It's important to recognize that the Emancipation Proclamation, signed on January 1, 1863, did not immediately free all enslaved people – it took more than two years for this news of freedom to reach every part of the country. Texas was the last to find out, on June 19, 1865. 

While this Juneteenth celebrates the day 155 years ago that the last enslaved people in the United States learned that they were free, our country still has a long way to go towards realizing its claims of freedom and justice for all. At the National Farm to School Network, we acknowledge that racism, including anti-black racism, persists in our work and the farm to school movement at large. We have a responsibility and a commitment to correct this and to be an anti-racist organization. Our organizational vision is a food system centered on justice, and we know that we cannot achieve food justice without racial justice

Today, Juneteenth, we honor those that can celebrate the rich history, resilience, and joy found in the Black diaspora. Today we honor those who have fought, sacrificed, and died for justice. Today we honor those who cannot celebrate because there is still work to be done.

Today we celebrate with the Black community, including our staff, Partners, Advisors and members. And to White and non-Black people of color, we ask you to spend this day with us reflecting on the history of Juneteenth, what it symbolizes, and the work that still needs to be done to correct the lasting consequences of slavery and ensure justice for all. Here are some of the articles, videos, podcasts, and resources about Black history and resilience that our staff have been digging into and reflecting on together these past few weeks, that we hope might be helpful in your work to being an anti-racist, too. 

LISTEN & LEARN 
Read how Black Communities Have Always Used Food as Protest
. Amethyst Ganaway writes about how Black people in America have used food as a means of resistance, rebellion, and revolution for over 500 years. Here’s a snippet, relevant to our work in school food. "Noticing that most students didn’t eat or had never had breakfast before school, the [Black Panther Party] began to provide free meals for all students in their communities. Despite attempts to thwart the Free Breakfast Program, including police conducting raids while children ate, the government followed suit years later and began a similar program of their own." Read here

Watch The Hunger For Justice Series
. A Growing Culture is hosting a daylong broadcast of The Hunger for Justice Series, celebrating Black voices and the fight for justice in the food system. The broadcast, which starts at 12pm ET, will be held as a live event simulcast across A Growing Culture's digital channels, with over a dozen presenters. Watch here

Listen to Black Farmers and Scholars Talk About Resilience, Survival and Activism. Stephen Satterfield, host of the Point of Origin podcast, has two great interviews with Dr. Monica White, author of Freedom Farmers, and Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black. Listen here

Learn about Overthrowing the Food System’s Plantation Paradigm. Ashanté Reese and Randolph Carr write about the connections between abolition, prisons and our food system. "As we continue to uplift abolitionist demands, those of us also committed to land and food work must insist on building self-determining food economies and fully commit to overturning the food system’s plantation paradigm." Read more.  

Pick a book to dig into about anti-black racism and food. Epicurious has compiled a list of books that cover the intersection of race and food, and can be helpful ways to learn about anti-Black racism in the food system. Check it out here, and find a list of Black-owned independent bookstores you can order from here.
 

ENGAGE & TAKE ACTION
Listening, learning and reflecting are just one part of the work White people must do in racial justice work. If learning does not propel us into action, then those efforts have no purpose. Here are several ideas of actions you can take to honor Juneteenth today, and into the future. 

Join a Juneteenth event in your community, or digitally. Movement for Black Lives has an easy-to-search database on in-person and virtual events happening across the country on Juneteenth. Find an event to join here.  

Support your local bail fund. Support those protesting for racial justice by donating to your local bail fund. Bail fees further repress and cause harm to communities of color already suffering from structural racism in the legal system. During protests and their aftermath, pretrial detention is often used to suppress dissent and disrupt community organizing. Donate to your local bail fund through this list compiled by the National Bail Fund Network. (Thanks to Tides, our fiscal sponsor, for calling out this opportunity.) 

Start talking. Having meaningful, and sometimes difficult, conversations with those closest to you - including family, friends, and colleagues - is essential for confronting the underlying prejudice in White communities that perpetuates racial injustice, anti-Blackness and police violence. There are many great resources available to help you have these conversations - including guides for talking to children, older students, your parents or an elder, colleagues, and advice on finding entry points for these important conversations. 

This Week in Farm to School: 6/16/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 16, 2020
NEW: National Farm to School Network has launched a new weekly e-newsletter to share a roundup of COVID-19 related resources and information with farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders - similar to what is shared weekly in these This Week in Farm to School blog posts. Sign up here to have this information delivered in your inbox weekly.

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. 
COVID-19 Nourishing Neighbors Program to Support Summer Meals
Deadline: June 22 
Nourishing Neighbors (formerly known as Hunger Is), an initiative of the Albertsons Companies Foundation, has established a fund to help local families impacted by the current crisis. This new opportunity is specifically aimed at increasing participation in, and access to, the Summer Meals Programs this summer. Intermediary organizations, sponsors, and schools can apply for funding. Learn more and apply. Contact Christy.Duncan-Anderson@albertsons.com with additional questions. 

2. USDA Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets)
Deadline: June 26
USDA NIFA's Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program provides grants to non-profits to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector. The program encourages the development of training opportunities specifically designed for military veterans. NIFA requests applications for the AgVets to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for training programs and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans. The close date is June 26. Learn more and apply here.

3. COVID-19  NFSN COVID-19 Relief Fund
Deadline: July 6
Round two of the National Farm to School Network's COVID-19 Relief Fund application is now open. Organizations that seek financial support of their efforts to connect kids and their families to just food through the support of local farmers and food systems are welcome to apply. In our commitment to standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and Native communities, where the coronavirus has had devastating impacts, organizations that directly serve and are led by Black people and Indigenous people will be prioritized in application review. Learn more and apply.

4. USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program
Deadline: July 6
USDA has announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. There is approximately $1 million available for Planning Projects and $2 million for Implementation Projects. The close date is July 6. Learn more and apply here.

5. COVID-19 Reinvestment Fund's 2020 Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program
Deadline: July 10
The 2020 HFFI round has $3 million in grant funds available (grants from $20,000-$200,000) for food retail and food enterprises working to improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities. Funding for HFFI is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the Farm Bill. A webinar will be held on June 2 at 2 p.m. EST to confirm details about the application process and answer questions. No registration is required to join and a recording of the webinar will be accessible using the same link. Learn more and apply here


WEBINARS & EVENTS
1. EQUITY Interview with Ervin Watson on Implicit Bias and Inclusion
June 17 // 7 PM ET
Join Dalia Kinsey, RD, LD, SNS in an interview with Ervin Watson about implicit bias and inclusion. This will be a safe space for asking questions about bias and working toward change. 
Watch the interview live and interact in the chat either on Youtube or Facebook

2. Prescott College's Food Systems Friday Webinar Series
June 19 // 12 PM PDT
Join Dr. Robin Currey, Director of the MS in Sustainable Food Systems program at Prescott College, as the "Food Systems Fridays" series moderator for Episode 11 of Food Systems Friday. Learn more and register. Recordings of past webinars in the series are also available here

3. EQUITY White Fragility Conversation Group
June 24 // 4pm ET
What is white fragility? And how does it show up at your farm? Watch this video from Dr. Robin Diangelo, author of White Fragility, then join this discussion space with the Farm-Based Education Network. Register here

4. EQUITY Justice in Farm-Based Education: Roundtable Discussion
June 25 // 4pm ET
How can the Farm-Based Education Network support you as you identify and dismantle oppressive systems in your farm community? Join the Roundtable Discussion, facilitated by the Farm-Based Education Network, to share your thoughts. Register here. 

5. Webinar: Resources for Cultivating Conservation
June 18 // 1PM CT
Join the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service for a unique session with women conservationists as they discuss how to make a conservation plan for your land, find resources, and access funding to protect your land for future generations. Learn more and register.

6.  EQUITY Webinar: HEAL Food Alliance: BIPOC Producers - Sowing the Seeds of Liberation
June 18 // 1 PM ET
Join HEAL Food Alliance in a discussion based on the second plank of HEAL’s Platform for Real Food, Opportunity for all Producers. The webinar will address:  
-How the legacy of colonization and enslavement has shaped the US food and farm system today;
-Challenges and opportunities faced by farmers and fishers who are Black, Indigenous and People of color (BIPOC); and
-Ways to support BIPOC transforming our food and farm system
Register.

7. EQUITY Community Dialogue and Story Session with Lillie Pearl Allen and Delma Jackson III
June 19 // 3PM ET
Join the Center for Whole Communities for a dialogue and story session about liberation: dreamed and realized, internal and structural, for black lives and beyond. Learn more and register.

8. COVID-19 Webinar: Planning for the Worst: What Municipal Food Policy Leaders Are Learning From the COVID-19 Pandemic
June 22 // 2PM ET
Join the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Food Policy Networks for a panel discussion with food policy leaders from four cities who will talk about their experiences managing the COVID-19 pandemic. The presenters all hold positions within government and are members of the United States Conference of Mayors food policy working group. Learn more and register.

9. COVID-19 EQUITY Live Broadcast Series: The Hunger for Justice
A Growing Culture is hosting weekly live broadcasts with activists at the frontlines of the food movement and COVID-19 - a series called The Hunger for Justice. Watch past episodes and learn about upcoming ones here

10. COVID-19 EQUITY Virtual Intertribal Food Summit
June 20, 2020
The Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) has announced its Inaugural Virtual Intertribal Food Summit to be held Saturday, June 20 in the wake of challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants can attend this no-cost, virtual event across multiple platforms, including the live roundtable discussions via Zoom and Facebook Live. Presentation recordings will be available on YouTube, as well as on IAC’s new, “Resiliency through Agriculture E-Learning Platform." Register here


Research & Resources
1. COVID-19 EQUITY Backgrounder: How Food Sovereignty Activists See The Crisis as a Pivotal Moment for Change
This new special edition Backgrounder from FoodFirst covers the experiences and insights of farmers and farmworkers during the COVID-19 pandemic. "This is all shining a light on the fact our food system has to be changed. What exists is good for a market-based economy, but it’s not good for people." Read more

2. COVID-19 NFSN Local Food in COVID-19 Response and Recovery
This fact sheet outlines some of the promising practices that school nutrition providers, early care and education centers, community partners, and state agencies have seen during COVID-19 while supporting local farmers and producers in accessing markets, while supporting families in accessing healthy food. View the resource.

3. COVID-19 NFSN The Significance of Farm to Early Care and Education in the Context of COVID-19
As always, farm to ECE is a tool to meet the goals, vision, and values of an ECE. Included in this factsheet are reasons farm to ECE is even more relevant during a pandemic and a post-pandemic world in supporting providers in meeting the needs of children and families. This information can provide talking points and help you connect to interested providers, families, communities, and stakeholders to help build or rebuild farm to ECE initiatives and activities.
View the resource.

4. COVID-19 New Resources: Providing Multiple Meals at a Time for Children During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
The United States Department of Agriculture is working with state child nutrition agencies to provide safe and flexible meal service to children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These tip sheets provide information about using bulk foods and distributing multiple meals at a time.
1) For the Child and Adult Care Food Program
2) For the Summer Food Service Program
3) For the Seamless Summer Option of the National School Lunch Program

5. Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) Resiliency through Agriculture: E-Learning Platform  
This resource is an ongoing learning-in-motion platform for everyone interested in broadening their agricultural horizons with pragmatic, applicable ideas that can be brought home to improve the lives of Tribal members across the country. The E-Learning Platform is accessible through a web browser or mobile app by either downloading and installing the Mighty Networks app from your mobile device’s app store. Learn more.

6. Film: Fertile Ground
Fertile Ground takes a look at the extensive impact that industrial food systems currently have on Americans. The film follows advocates in Jackson, Mississippi who are using localized efforts to address food insecurity in under-served communities, shining a light on the potential for a healthier future through efforts to convert to communal, localized food systems. View the trailer. View the film. Learn more.

7. Call for Proposal: Transforming School Food Politics Around the World
Deadline: July 15
Sarah Robert and Jennifer Gaddis seek contributions for a second volume, tentatively titled Transforming School Food Politics Around the World. This edited volume will contain a curated collection of case studies that can help scholars, activists, policymakers, and students envision and create school food programs that are fair, culturally relevant, healthy, and sustainable.  View the full call for proposals. 

8. Podcast: Food Sleuth Radio 
Thursdays // 5PM CT
On June 18, hear from Judy Juanita, MFA, former Black Panther member as she describes the Panthers' free breakfast program for poor children, the historical struggles of Black people in the U.S., and food's role in promoting social justice in the Berkeley Food Institute keynote: "Black Liberation and the Food Movement." View archives here

9. Article: Online Grocery Shopping by NYC Public Housing Residents Using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits: A Service Ecosystems Perspective
This paper examines adoption of online grocery shopping, and potential cost and time savings compared to brick and mortar food retailers, by New York City public housing residents using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Read more.


Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
National Farm to School Network's response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic are grounded in a central goal of continuing to advance towards strong, just local and regional food systems. There is a need for immediate relief to the people most impacted by this crisis, while building towards longer-term policies that strengthen a resilient, just food system. As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. Our federal policy platform calls on Congress to strengthen its support for school meal and child nutrition programs, farmers and those who feed us, Native communities, essential workers, children and families, and others who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. Please add your voice by endorsing our federal COVID-19 policy platform, and help us advocate for key food systems priorities on Capitol Hill. Sign on here

2. COVID-19 USDA Extends Additional Flexibility for Feeding Children
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced a nationwide extension of another key flexibility for USDA’s child nutrition programs. This waiver allows local partners the ability to continue serving free meals to all children – regardless of where they live – through August 31. Read more here


In The News
How Food Hubs and Co-Ops Are Overcoming the USDA Farm Box Program’s Flaws
Despite a botched launch and execution, some small distributors are making big strides in supporting small farms and feeding hungry people. (Civil Eats)

UC Davis Professor Says Food Should Be Integral Part of School Curriculum
“Food for thought” shouldn’t just be a thought; it should be an integral part of any school curriculum,” says UC Davis agricultural entomologist Christian Nansen, an associate professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology. In a newly published article on “The School of Food” in Futurum, Nansen advocates that all school curricula be “rooted in a single dominator: food.” (Daily Democrat)

Colorado State Joins National Team Studying Pandemic’s Effects on Local Food Systems
Colorado State University food systems researchers are sharing in a $1 million cooperative research agreement to conduct a national study on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on local food systems. Some of the major partners include the Farmers Market Coalition; the National Farm to School Network; the National Grocers Association and the James Beard Foundation. (Colorado State University)

Uncertainty Persists Around Fall School Meal Distribution
With deadlines approaching on U.S. Department of Agriculture waivers that eased food distribution program rules for school districts while buildings were closed during the 2019-20 school year, uncertainty remains as to how meal programs should plan for the fall amid the threat of a second wave of coronavirus. (Education Dive)

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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