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National Farm to School Network

News

USDA Announces 2018 Farm to School Grant Recipients

NFSN Staff Thursday, June 21, 2018

Congratulations to the newest USDA Farm to School Grant Program recipients! USDA announced today that 73 communities in 43 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 2018 awards total $5.2 million, and will impact 2.8 million students.

While this year’s funding will reach 6,006 schools, there are thousands more eager to have access to these crucial funds. In fact, 296 communities submitted applications this grant cycle, requesting nearly $21 million — four times higher than current available funding.

That's why the National Farm to School Network is working with a bipartisan and bicameral group of Congressional champions to strengthen this important grant program and support other farm to school priorities with the Farm to School Act. While the Farm to School Act has not been incorporated into current drafts of the farm bill, we’re continuing to work with our Congressional champions to find a legislative path to move these priorities forward.

Your voice is crucial in this ongoing work to advocate and advance farm to school at the federal level. If you haven’t yet done so, please take 2 minutes to add your name to our citizen sign-on letter and/or organizational sign-on letter in support of the Farm to School Act. And, continue sharing your #farmtoschool stories and successes with your members of Congress and on social media.

The USDA Farm to School Grant Program is an essential tool to improve the health of our children, our food system and our local economies. Join us in calling on Congress to continue and expand its support for this highly impactful program.

New Resources to Make Your Case: State Farm to School Networks and Positions

NFSN Staff Wednesday, June 20, 2018

By Hannah McCandless, NFSN Network and Partnerships Fellow

The National Farm to School Network’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2019 includes three strategies for farm to school at the state level: policy, networks and positions. These strategies have been shown to increase the capacity of the National Farm to School Network’s Core and Supporting Partners and farm to school practitioners across the country, and to expand the breadth of farm to school activities nationwide. Since our founding in 2007 the National Farm to School Network has maintained a State Farm to School Legislative Survey that documents all proposed and enacted state farm to school policies, as well as best practices for state advocacy. We are pleased to announce the release of two new companion resources: the State Farm to School Networks Toolkit and the State Farm to School Positions Guide. Used together or separately, these three resources support farm to school stakeholders from every state and territory leverage proven strategies to grow and sustain the farm to school movement. 

The State Farm to School Networks Toolkit is a compilation of network development tools, best practices, case studies, analysis, and tangible examples of how individual states are building teams to grow their statewide farm to school efforts. State farm to school networks are key to bringing together diverse sectors and stakeholders and to creating a united voice and set of priorities to propel the movement. But just as farm to school is not a one-size-fits-all model, nor are state farm to school networks. While each state farm to school network is unique, our research found that many share a set of best practices that facilitate growth at the state level and in turn support the national movement — what we call the Six Seeds of a Successful State Farm to School Network. The toolkit expands on each “seed” with a detailed look at the implementation of these best practices and examples shared by our Core and Supporting Partners, including starting a farm to school network, leveraging partnerships, and developing lasting and effective networks.



In addition, the toolkit includes a primer on general network models and development, four case studies highlighting successful tools and tactics, and an analysis on challenges for and the future of state farm to school networks. Throughout this resource, you’ll find a plethora of practical examples and useful tools that can help increase capacity and involvement in growing farm to school efforts in your state or territory. Explore the full toolkit here

The State Farm to School Positions Guide aims to help stakeholders strategically advocate for the creation of more state farm to school positions in state agencies and university Extension programs. The guide includes an extensive list of all known farm to school positions, both full- and part-time, in state agencies and university Extension; case studies highlighting the development, evolution, successes, and challenges of positions in four states; analysis of trends in developing state positions; and several example farm to school position descriptions. 



Across the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories, there are 157 farm to school positions (part-time and full-time), with 98 housed in state agencies and 59 in university Extension offices. The majority of state agency positions are based in Departments of Agriculture and Departments of Education. Positions based in Departments of Health, Social Services, and Environment also exist, though are not as common. The total full-time equivalent of all farm to school positions adds up to 86.975, a significant increase from 28 FTE documented in 2015. Although the majority of states and territories have at least one position focused on farm to school, more often than not, positions are only dedicated part-time to farm to school. The cases studies, analysis of trends, and example position descriptions in this guide give stakeholders the tools and information they need to advocate for the creation of new and expansion of existing farm to school positions in their states and territories. Explore the full guide here

Together, the State Farm to School Networks Toolkit, State Farm to School Positions Guide, and State Farm to School Legislative Survey work as a trio of resources to support states and territories in growing and institutionalizing the farm to school movement. The strategies outlined in these three resources are also mutually supportive: state networks can be instrumental in helping shape goals for state farm to school policies; state policies can dedicate funding for farm to school programs and positions; and state agency and Extension positions are important stakeholders in state networks. 

Currently, there are 29 state farm to school networks, 29 states with at least one full-time farm to school position, and 33 states with funded farm to school legislation. Preliminary data analysis suggests that states that have at least one of these strategies have higher state-wide participation in farm to school. That’s good news for the farm to school movement, and a good reason for farm to school advocates in every state and territory work towards these impactful strategies. Whether your state is already implementing these strategies or just looking to get started, we hope you’ll find new and useful information in these new resources to keep your state and territory farm to school efforts going. As the National Farm to School Network's tagline encourages, let’s employ these strategies to continue growing stronger together!

This Week in Farm to School: 6/19/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics: Farm to Summer
July 12, 2pm ET
The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) anticipates providing more than 200 million free meals to children across the U.S. when school is out of session this summer. The seasonality and flexibility of SFSP create a perfect opportunity to highlight local products and incorporate food education. Join this webinar to learn about USDA farm to summer resources and hear about innovative farm to summer initiatives from NFSN Core Partners in Kentucky and Massachusetts. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to ECE: Indigenous Foods in Early Care and Education Settings
August 2, 2pm ET
Incorporating indigenous foods into education and meals in early care and education (ECE) settings offers many benefits, including increasing children’s knowledge of tribal history and food ways and strengthening cultural, spiritual, and social connections in the community. However, ensuring indigenous foods are procured, prepared, and served in ways that align with state licensing and Child and Adult Care Food Program regulations can be challenging. Join this webinar to hear from speakers from the National Farm to School Network, the Institute for Agriculture Trade and Policy, and the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association and to learn about innovative practices and resources that help overcome these challenges and support the inclusion of indigenous foods in ECE settings and in CACFP. Register here

3. It’s Pollinator Week!
Eleven years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. June 18-24 is Pollinator Week. Learn more here


Resources & Research
1. New Resources: State Farm to School Networks Toolkit & State Farm to School Positions Guide
The National Farm to School Network is excited to announce the release of two new resources to support farm to school practitioners in strengthening their efforts to develop robust and sustainable statewide farm to school programs. The State Farm to School Networks Toolkit is designed to demonstrate best practices and lessons learned from 29 existing networks, and provides practitioners key strategies and approaches for developing and sustaining state farm to school networks. It includes a primer on general network models and development, a deep dive into state farm to school network best practices, case studies highlighting successful tools and tactics, and analysis of challenges for and the future of state farm to school networks. The State Farm to School Positions Guide aims to help stakeholders strategically advocate for the creation of more state agency and university Extension positions dedicated to supporting farm to school. The guide includes a list of all known existing state farm to school positions, four state case studies, an analysis of the current landscape of state farm to school positions, and sample job descriptions. Both resources can be downloaded at farmtoschool.org/resources.

2. New Report: State Policy Development for Oregon’s Farm to School Grant Program: Successes and Lessons Learned
RTI International and the National Farm to School Network have released a new study that documents and analyzes the outcomes of state farm to school legislation in Oregon. State Policy Development for Oregon’s Farm to School Grant Program: Successes and Lessons Learned describes Oregon’s farm to school legislative process, and identifies Oregon’s farm to school state policy design attributes that have successfully leveraged limited state resources to improve farm to school participation among school districts. Successes, challenges and lessons learned about the effect of policies on program implementation are shared.Farm to school policy advocates in other states and territories can learn from the findings of this study to support their policy efforts. Learn more here

3. Washington State Department of Agriculture report examines the challenge of getting local produce to schools and other institutions 
Serving local produce and minimally processed foods is a goal for many school cafeterias and other institutions, but there are challenges to reaching that end. To understand the challenges and potential solutions better, WSDA’s Regional Markets team studied supply chains in Washington state for local, minimally processed food from farm to school for 2016-2017. The study, “Value Chain Strategies for Source-Identified Minimally Processed Produce for the School Market,” was completed earlier this year. The study also sought to identify strategies for developing a “value chain” infrastructure and building relationships to help local farms meet the demand for these products from schools, hospitals, and other institutional buyers. Read more here

4. Tracking Shows Increase in Local Food Purchasing at Michigan Schools
Since 2014, the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems has partnered with the Michigan Department of Education to track local food purchasing by K-12 schools. This short report shares the K-12 local food purchasing results from the 2017 MEGS+ application and compares these to the 2014 results. Read more


Policy Updates
1. Senate Agriculture Committee advances farm bill without farm to school 
Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee voted 20-1 to pass its version of the farm bill, allowing the bill to be brought before the full Senate for a vote later this month. While none of the National Farm to School Network’s top policy priorities have been included in the Senate’s draft bill, there are a number of other provisions in the draft that support local and regional food systems, rural business development, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, and healthy eating initiatives. For example, the bill maintains the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program as fresh only, increases funding for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program, and creates a Harvesting Health Pilot Program. The National Farm to School Network Policy Team continues to look for opportunities to advocate for important farm to school priorities when the bill draft comes to the full Senate floor. 


Farm to School in the News
West Virginia serves local in summer meals
School nutrition professionals in a West Virginia district are working to include local food in summer meals. "The students get to try different varieties of tomatoes, different varieties of radishes, cucumbers, carrots, everything that I can get my hands on. If they have the ability to bring it to me, then we are using it in this program,” said Kanawha County Schools Child Nutrition Director Diane Miller. (WOWK-TV)

4th Annual Northeast Farm to School Institute kicks off
Twelve Northeast school teams are gathering this summer to build Farm to School action plans for the next academic year at the Annual Northeast Farm to School Institute, offered by Shelburne Farms and NOFA-VT. Over eight years, the Institute has supported farm to school programs at 74 schools and districts, reaching over 54,000 Northeast students. (Shelburne Farms

Texas Farm Fresh program expands to summer
The Texas Department of Agriculture's Farm Fresh program, which provides locally produced food for school meals, is expanding to include summer-meal programs across the state. About 40% of Texas schools participate in the program, which is supported by the US Department of Agriculture. (KXAN-TV

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.

Evaluating Oregon’s Farm to School Policy

NFSN Staff Monday, June 18, 2018

As the farm to school movement has taken root in communities across the country over the past 20 years, so have efforts by U.S. state and territory legislatures to propose policies that support local procurement, school gardens and food and agriculture education in their states. In the last 3 years alone, over 200 farm to school policies have been proposed in state legislature and territories, which represents an important move toward the institutionalization of farm to school by generating awareness, building coalitions, and taking ownership of farm to school growth and implementation. But how do we know what makes state farm to school policies effective in programmatic implementation?  

To build on existing information about policy best practices, we partnered with RTI International to document and analyze one of the country’s most ambitious state farm to school policies. Oregon has been a pioneer in institutionalizing farm to school programs, and their legislative efforts to support local procurement have resulted in a total of $4.5 million in grants to 124 school districts. Our new report, State Policy Development for Oregon’s Farm to School Grant Program: Successes and Lessons Learned, examines the ins-and-outs of Oregon’s procurement policy efforts to provide an analysis of successes, challenges and lessons learned for future farm to school policy in both Oregon and other states and territories.

The study finds that Oregon’s farm to school legislation has been overwhelmingly successful in meeting its intended impacts, especially as they related to the effectiveness of the farm to school grants in providing access to locally grown, nutritious foods to school districts, principally low income. However, the process of conducting the study also revealed some challenges with the legislation, such as with logistics, purchasing strategies and grant administration. Farm to school policy advocates in other states and territories can learn from these findings to support their own policy efforts. The four overarching lessons from this study include: 

  • Importance of Inclusion: Not all school districts were able to participate in the Oregon Farm to School grant program when it was a competitive grant program. When the program was converted to an opt-in program and distributed grants to schools based on their number of school lunches served, participation increased among low-income school districts, distributors, and farmers.
  • Importance of Training: Although school districts may be somewhat familiar with administrative processes related to grants, the claim process for accessing the reimbursements through this grant program was significantly different, and districts would have benefited from additional training. 
  • Preparation of Implementing State Agencies: State agencies that will be implementing the state policies must be on board and adequately staffed to ensure timely processing of claims and provision of technical assistance. 
  • Clarity in Bill Language: The language of any farm to school legislation must specifically target the intent of the farm to school policy. For example, through this study, we learned that during the early implementation phase school districts were purchasing milk and bread produced in the state using grant funds. Although these were local products, schools were already purchasing them before the grant was available. Evolution of the policy resulted in new language that restricts “prior purchased processed or produced foods,” which now fully ensures that the grant funds go toward purchasing new locally grown and produced Oregon products, thereby stimulating the state’s economy.
Evaluating the effect of policies on program implementation is important for understanding policy successes and areas for improvement. This analysis of Oregon’s legislative efforts helps provide new information about the effectiveness of state policies that support healthy eating activities through a combination of targeted funding streams and state agency support. We hope its findings serve as a useful tool for policy advocates nationwide, as we together continue to strengthen state and territory legislative support of important farm to school efforts. Read the full report here

This project was funded by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read more on RTI International’s website.

This Week in Farm to School: 6/12/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding
1. Chef Ann Foundation Recipe Contest
Chef Ann Foundation partnered up with The Dannon Company, LLC to create a recipe contest featuring yogurt! Get your recipe used in schools across the country. Submit your recipe before June 30th. Learn more here

2. 2018 Chefs Collaborative & Niman Ranch Scholarship
This Scholarship is a rare opportunity to attend an exclusive, invite-only farmer celebration with Chefs Collaborative Members, farmers, and food professionals who are committed to responsibly-raised meat. In addition to being a special weekend with like-minded colleagues, previous Scholarship recipients share that this experience has helped them Change Menus, Change Lives. The Scholarship covers travel, lodging and meals and it is open to current Members of Chefs Collaborative. The deadline to apply is July 3. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Fundraising for Farm to School
June 19, 3-4pm ET
Fundraising for farm to school can be challenging. Join us to learn about different opportunities and avenues to fundraise for farm to school activities. This webinar will be led by Lea Madry, National Farm to School Network Development Director, and is open to the public. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: Farm to Summer
July 12, 2pm ET
The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) anticipates providing more than 200 million free meals to children across the U.S. when school is out of session this summer. The seasonality and flexibility of SFSP create a perfect opportunity to highlight local products and incorporate food education. Join this webinar to learn about USDA farm to summer resources and hear from National Farm to School Network Core Partners  about innovative farm to summer initiatives taking place across the country. This webinar is open to the public and will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here

3. Registration Open: 2018 Montana Farm to School Summit
September 13-14 // Missoula, MT
Registration is now open for the 2018 Montana Farm to School Summit: Cultivating Connections, held on September 13-14, 2018 at University of Montana in Missoula. Learn and share how schools and programs are cultivating connections across Montana through the core elements of farm to school--serving local foods, school gardens, and nutrition, agriculture, and food education. Workshops, field trips, and networking opportunities will provide inspiration, ideas, and resources. Anim Steel, co-founder of Real Food Challenge will provide an inspiring keynote address which is also open to the public. The conference features presenters from across Montana and the country. Learn more and register here


Research & Resources
1. Seeking Information: Organic Practices in Farm to School
The National Farm to School Network is seeking information about and examples of schools/districts incorporating organic practices into farm to school initiatives. This could include purchasing certified organic and/or organically grown or raised products, educating students about organic practices, or using organic (or certified organic) gardening practices. Please complete this form with contact information for example schools/districts. The National Farm to School Network may contact these schools/districts for more information or to request their participation in a case study. For more information, or if you are unable to access the Google Form, contact Lacy Stephens, National Farm to School Network Program Manager, at lacy@farmtoschool.org.


Policy Updates
1. Senate Ag Committee Shares Draft Farm Bill
On June 7, the Senate Agriculture Committee released its draft farm bill. While no farm to school priorities have been included in this draft, the bill does show support for local & regional food systems. (Read in-depth analysis of this bill on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog.) The bill is expected to be marked-up / amended by the full Agriculture Committee on June 13. The National Farm to School Network’s Policy Team continues to be actively engaged as the farm bill process progresses, and is committed to advocating for policies that support farm to school priorities.

2. NASDA Gives Support to Farm to School Priorities

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) has sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the House Agriculture, Senate Agriculture, and House Education and the Workforce Committees in support of two of the Nation Farm to School Networks federal policy priorities: Geographic Preference and increasing funding for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program from $5 million to $15 million. The National Farm to School Network values the partnership of NASDA and numerous individual State Departments of Agriculture in ensuring that locally grown and produced foods are part of school meals. Together, we recognize the importance of connecting students with their agricultural communities and giving local producers the opportunity to supply the nutritious foods students consume while at school. We look forward to continuing our partnership with NASDA to ensure these farm to school priorities are elevated in the House and Senate over the coming months. NASDA's full letter of support can be read here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Farm to School Supervisor, Oakland Unified (Oakland, CA) 
The Farm to School Supervisor will manage the administration and operations of school site produce markets, implement the program’s procurement policies and practices, and promote Oakland Unified School District’s Farm to School Program. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Grand Traverse Band, students partner to plant traditional Native American garden
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians is teaming up with a northern Michigan school to grow the student's knowledge of ancient gardening techniques. The band and the TBA-ISD Farm-to-school Program are working with TCAPS' Central Grade School to create a three-sisters garden behind the school. (Up North Live)

Iowa students grow vegetable, pollinator gardens
Roughly 100 kids were busy planting a garden in the heat at Riverside Elementary in Sioux City, IA at the end of May. The students started by planting flowers and carrots in the garden plot, just across the street from the school. The flowers help attract pollinating insects to garden, in it's 6th growing season. Last year the kids grew just under 2,000 lbs. of produce and close to 2-tons at all three school gardens. (Siouxland News

Farm to School program teaches Washington kids about food systems, farming
St. Basil Academy students traveled to Jimenez Family Farm to hear Filipe Jimenez’s story about becoming a farmer. The kids experienced picking, washing and packaging asparagus for market, while asking plenty of questions. (Union Bulletin

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: 6/5/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 05, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 


Grants & Funding
1. Request for Technical Assistance Proposals: Approaches to Reducing Consumption of Sugar
The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, is launching a new initiative to identify locally-supported policies that will reduce sugar consumption and build capacity for policy change. FLPC is offering pro bono technical assistance to community organizations, food policy councils, and local and state government entities across the United States interested in implementing innovative sugar-reduction policies. A request for proposals application is open until July 31, 2018. Learn more here

2. Chef Ann Foundation Recipe Contest
Chef Ann Foundation partnered up with The Dannon Company, LLC to create a recipe contest featuring yogurt! Get your recipe used in schools across the country. Submit your recipe before June 30th. Learn more here


Webinars
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: State Farm to School Positions
THIS WEEK - June 7, 2-3pm ET
State-supported farm to school positions within state agencies and Extension offices offer vital leadership and support to further institutionalize the farm to school movement. Join this webinar to learn about a new resource from the National Farm to School Network which highlights the growth and prevalence of state-supported farm to school positions and offers tools, resources and best practices for advocating for and maintaining state positions. Hear from NFSN Core Partners as they share their success, challenges and lessons learned and take away practical steps to advancing state-supported positions. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Fundraising for Farm to School
June 19, 3-4pm ET
Fundraising for farm to school can be challenging. Join us to learn about different opportunities and avenues to fundraise for farm to school activities. This webinar will be led by Lea Madry, National Farm to School Network Development Director, and is open to the public. Register here.

3. Good Food, Good Jobs: Working for a Just Food System
June 6, 12-1pm ET
In this webinar presented by Community Food Centres Canada and the Metcalf Foundation, we’ll ask how do we make food jobs good jobs? What are the strategies and demands within the food movement that could lead to good jobs? Labour market policy expert Tom Zizys will present compelling ideas and successes from the labour movement that could benefit the food movement. Sonia Singh, Leadership Development Coordinator at the Food Chain Workers Alliance, will bridge the food and labour divide to explore current challenges, inspiring examples, and new possibilities for good food jobs. Register here


Research & Resources
1. Oregon's Farm Field Trip Toolkit
The Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network recently updated and revised its Farm Field Trip Toolkit for educators. The Toolkit is a step-by-step guide for implementing successful farm field trips, with a new focus on tools for educating students about the important role of farmworkers in our food system. The Toolkit also includes: field trip activities; supplemental classroom lessons; visuals and handouts; relevant educational standards; and, evaluation tools. View the toolkit here

2. Inside the Push to Bring Racial Equity to Land Grant Universities
Academics and food systems advocates are working from within public universities to acknowledge and address 150 years of structural racism.  The shift this group is advocating might sound symbolic, but it has the potential to impact the way hundreds of thousands of students are educated every year. Read more on Civil Eats


Job Opportunities
1. Policy Specialists, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (Washington, D.C.) 
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is currently seeking candidates for three Policy Specialist positions. These positions are located at NSAC’s DC office on Capitol Hill and are full-time exempt positions. Learn more here

2. Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Green Plate Special (Seattle, WA)
Green Plate Special seeks a Marketing and Communications Coordinator who will creatively communicate the story and mission of GPS through visual and written communications and design. Learn more here

3. Executive Director, Blue Sky Funders (Oakland, CA or remote) 
Blue Sky Funders Forum seeks an executive director to serve as the chief executive of Blue Sky, with primary responsibility for shaping its vision and strategic direction, managing day-to-day activities and operations, and attracting new partners, funders, and members. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Oregon school gardens teach math, science and the delights of fresh fruit and vegetables
Oregon school gardens have more than doubled since 2012, according to surveys by Rick Sherman, Oregon Department of Education Farm to School coordinator and NFSN Oregon Core Partner. Sherman has mapped 673 school gardens and fostered 12 regional hubs across the state. According to research, garden-based education improves science, math and language arts learning, as well as improved student food behavior. (Oregon School Boards Association)

New York Students Eat 100% Local for New York Food Day
“As a result of the farm to school initiative and local foods day we were able to pilot the purchase and processing of an all-beef all-local hotdog,” said Martin Broccoli, Agricultural Economic Development Specialist, CCE. “We were able to do it at a price point that fit within the budget guidelines and captured economic impact that normally leaves our community. This is a big win for school lunch.” (Oneida Daily Dispatch)

Let it grow: Connecticut students learn to garden
Growing lettuce requires a lot of work, more than 1,900 students across Stamford, Conn. learned as part of the Eighth Annual Lettuce Challenge. More than 71 classrooms at 18 schools participated in this year’s competition, which gave students six weeks to grow heads of buttercrunch lettuce. The three best plants from each classroom were submitted for judging by local horticulture experts. (Stamford Advocate

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: 5/29/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 


Grants & Funding
1. Farm to ECE Funding Opportunity – Act Now to Leverage Funds in Your State
The federal budget passed in March 2018 included historic increases for key federal early care and education programs, notably the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which funds the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, was increased by $2.37 billion. Some of this new influx of funding will be used for quality improvements to early care and education that can include farm to ECE initiatives. Review this new memo from the National Farm to School Network and the Policy Equity Group for more information and ways to take action in your state. For more information, contact Lacy Stephens, Program Manager at the National Farm to School Network, at lacy@farmtoschool.org or Soumya Bhat, Director of Early Childhood Equity Initiatives at the Policy Equity Group, soumyab@policyequity.com


Webinars
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: State Farm to School Positions
June 7, 2-3pm ET
State-supported farm to school positions within state agencies and Extension offices offer vital leadership and support to further institutionalize the farm to school movement. Join this webinar to learn about a new resource from the National Farm to School Network which highlights the growth and prevalence of state-supported farm to school positions and offers tools, resources and best practices for advocating for and maintaining state positions. Hear from NFSN Core Partners in South Carolina, Missouri and Oregon as they share their success, challenges and lessons learned and take away practical steps to advancing state-supported positions. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Fundraising for Farm to School
June 19, 3-4pm ET
Fundraising for farm to school can be challenging. Join us to learn about different opportunities and avenues to fundraise for farm to school activities. This webinar will be led by Lea Madry, National Farm to School Network Development Director, and is open to the public. Register here.

3. Good Food, Good Jobs: Working for a Just Food System
June 6, 12-1pm ET
In this webinar presented by Community Food Centres Canada and the Metcalf Foundation, we’ll ask how do we make food jobs good jobs? What are the strategies and demands within the food movement that could lead to good jobs? Labour market policy expert Tom Zizys will present compelling ideas and successes from the labour movement that could benefit the food movement. Sonia Singh, Leadership Development Coordinator at the Food Chain Workers Alliance, will bridge the food and labour divide to explore current challenges, inspiring examples, and new possibilities for good food jobs. Register here


Research & Resources
1. Simone Washington Teaches Students About Creating Consensus and Setting Differences Aside
How do stakeholders find common ground when they share the same goals but hold vastly different opinions? Simone Washington, the social mission strategy and policy manager at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade and NFSN Advisory Board member, will share a pragmatic and productive approach to building consensus in her workshop, “How to Become Allies Fighting the Same System, Role Play, Power Analytics, Conflict and Resolution Techniques” and the University of Vermont’s Breakthrough Leaders for Sustainable Food Systems Program in June. In this blog, Washington discusses the art of building consensus. 

2. Join the #GirlsAre Movement
In honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports month, the National Farm to School Network has joined the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for #GirlsAre, a nationwide campaign to empower girls to celebrate their athleticism and get moving. Sign the #GirlsAre pledge today at girlsare.org and follow along on social media using the hashtag #GirlsAre through Friday, June 1.


Job Opportunities 
1. Executive Director of Nutrition Services and Warehouse, Oakland Unified School District (Oakland, CA) 
The Executive Director of Nutrition Services and Warehouse will plan, organize, control, and direct the District’s Nutrition Services Program. This is a great opportunity for a Food Service Director interested in opening OUSD’s new Central Kitchen and building on the district’s strong Farm to School program. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Utah students tour farms during Farm Field Days
Events like Farm Field Days are designed to teach children about the inner workings of the farm. In one workshop, second-graders got a chance to sample fresh milk after learning how cows make milk. Another activity allowed students to make a “living necklace” by tying a capsule with a wheat seed, water and cotton inside to learn how crops grow. (Herald Journal

Colorado students learn to cook, grow food used in recipes
A program at a Denver Public School is a hit with kids and their parents. Marie L. Greenwood Academy has a Cooking from the Garden class, where students cook in the classroom first and then plant the crops of the foods they just ate - so when students harvest when they return in August, they’ll know how to prepare healthy dishes from the garden bounty. (CBS 4 Denver

North Carolina students serve up fresh veggies, honey, eggs from school’s garden
Students in West Marion Elementary’ s Garden Club showed off their green thumbs by preparing a farm-to-table meal for parents, volunteers and community members. The menu consisted of a vegetarian stew or honey burgers with honey bacon, potato salad, cole slaw and strawberry cheesecake for dessert served with fresh honey tea or lemon water. "We grew almost everything we are serving,” said student Colin Ivy. (McDowellNews.com)

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: 5/22/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 


Grants & Funding
1. Farm to ECE Funding Opportunity – Act Now to Leverage Funds in Your State
The federal budget passed in March 2018 included historic increases for key federal early care and education programs, notably the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which funds the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, was increased by $2.37 billion. Some of this new influx of funding will be used for quality improvements to early care and education that can include farm to ECE initiatives. Review this new memo from the National Farm to School Network and the Policy Equity Group for more information and ways to take action in your state. For more information, contact Lacy Stephens, Program Manager at the National Farm to School Network, at lacy@farmtoschool.org or Soumya Bhat, Director of Early Childhood Equity Initiatives at the Policy Equity Group, soumyab@policyequity.com

2. CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Funding
CDC announces the availability of FY 2018 funds to implement CDC-RFA-DP18-1813: Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). This five-year program will provide funding to communities to improve health, prevent chronic diseases, and reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic populations with the highest risk, or burden, of chronic disease. Approximately 32 projects will be supported by this funding, with average yearly funding level expected to be approximately $781,250. Applications are due July 16, 2018. Learn more here

3. CDC High Obesity Program Funding
CDC announces the availability of fiscal year 2018 funds to implement CDC-RFA-DP18-1809: High Obesity Program. This five-year program will fund land grant universities to leverage community extension services to implement evidence-based strategies that increase access to places that provide healthier foods and safe and accessible places for physical activity in counties with an adult obesity rate of over 40%. Farm to ECE initiatives could support suggested program strategies including, "Working with food vendors, distributors and producers to enhance healthier food procurement and sales," and "Establishing healthy nutrition standards in key institutions" including early care and education. See the Notice of Funding Opportunity for more information and contact Lacy Stephens, NFSN Program Manager, at lacy@farmtoschool.org to discuss how NFSN can partner in or support your farm to ECE focused proposal.   

4. Jump Start Healthy Changes Grant
Fuel Up to Play 60: Jump Start Healthy Changes Grants offer funding for schools to improve opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. Funds are awarded for schools to implement at least one Healthy Eating Play and one Physical Activity Play from the Fuel Up to Play 60 Playbook. K-12 schools that are enrolled in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program for the school year and participate in the National School Lunch Program are eligible to apply. Applications are due June 13, 2018. Learn more here

5. 2018 CACFP Meal Service Training Grants
To assist States and CACFP operators with implementation of the updated CACFP meal patterns, Congress appropriated funds for the provision of noncompetitive grants for States to provide hands-on training and technical assistance. These meal service training grants will assist State agencies in providing job skills training for CACFP operators on ways to plan and prepare and serve nutritious foods. Learn more about specific training focus areas and how to apply here


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Happy Birthday CACFP! Resources to Celebrate & Support Nutrition
May 23, 2pm ET
Did you know that this May marks the 50th anniversary of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)? To celebrate, Healthier Generation is partnering with the National CACFP Forum – and we’re both gearing up to party all month! Looking to learn even more? RSVP today to participate in a LIVE webinar co-hosted by both organizations on May 23rd at 2pm ET.    

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: State Farm to School Positions
June 7, 2pm ET
State-supported farm to school positions within state agencies and Extension offices offer vital leadership and support to further institutionalize the farm to school movement. Join this webinar to learn about a new resource from the National Farm to School Network which highlights the growth and prevalence of state-supported farm to school positions and offers tools, resources and best practices for advocating for and maintaining state positions. Hear from NFSN Core Partners in South Carolina, Missouri and Oregon as they share their success, challenges and lessons learned and take away practical steps to advancing state-supported positions. Register here.

3. NFSN WEBINAR Fundraising for Farm to School
June 19, 3-4pm ET
Fundraising for farm to school can be challenging. Join this webinar to learn about different opportunities and avenues to fundraise for farm to school activities. This webinar is open to the public and will be led by Lea Madry, National Farm to School Network Development Director. Register here

4. Healthy Eating in Practice 2018 Conference
August 26-29, 2018 // Asheville, North Carolina
Healthy Eating in Practice is a hands-on conference for practitioners, researchers, and influencers, focused on changing the culture of healthcare to better support healthy eating behaviors, particularly in children and families, and prevent chronic diet-related diseases. Register by June 1 to take advantage of early-bird pricing. Learn more here.


Resources & Research
1. Karen Washington: It’s Not a Food Desert, It’s Food Apartheid
In an interview with Guernica, activist and organizer Karen Washington discusses why the phrase “food desert” isn’t the most accurate way to describe neighborhoods that lack access to healthy food. Instead, she uses “food apartheid.” “‘[F]ood apartheid’ looks at the whole food system, along with race, geography, faith, and economics,” she tells Brones. “You say ‘food apartheid’ and you get to the root cause of some of the problems around the food system. It brings in hunger and poverty. It brings us to the more important question: What are some of the social inequalities that you see, and what are you doing to erase some of the injustices?” Read more here

2. Join the #GirlsAre Movement
In honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports month, the National Farm to School Network has joined the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for #GirlsAre, a nationwide campaign to empower girls to celebrate their athleticism and get moving. Sign the #GirlsAre pledge today at girlsare.org and follow along on social media using the hashtag #GirlsAre through Friday, June 1.

3. NEW CDC Infant and Toddler Nutrition Website
CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity has released a website that brings together existing information and practical strategies on feeding infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months of age. Topics include breastfeeding, formula feeding, feeding from a bottle, essential vitamins and minerals, introduction of solid foods and beyond (including what foods and drinks to encourage and what to limit or avoid), knowing when your child is hungry, mealtime tips and routines. View the website here


Policy Updates
1. 2018 Farm Bill Update + Call to Action
Last Friday, the House’s draft of the 2018 Farm Bill - H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 - was voted down 198-213. While the House Majority party is determining whether to bring H.R. 2 back for another vote, the National Farm to School Network turns its focus to the Senate’s draft. With no farm to school priorities included in the House version, the Senate’s draft is a curial opportunity to ensure that supportive farm to school policies are included in this important legislation. NFSN encourages all farm to school advocates to call their Senators and share the importance of farm to school in their communities. Find your Senator’s contact information and a sample call script here. Thank you for making your voice heard!

Jobs & Internships
1. Program Specialist, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (Washington, D.C.) 
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), Division of Health and Wellness, seeks a Program Specialist to manage its Farm to School Program and the USDA Foods in Schools program for DC. Job #3555. Learn more here

2. Director of Programs, Farm to Institution New England (Remote, New England) 
Farm to Institution New England seeks a Director of Programs to manage FINE's farm and sea to campus program and food service program. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Massachusetts student garden draws national attention
The vegetable and berry garden at Haverhill High School in Haverhill, Mass., was designed with raised beds, making it accessible to all students at the school - particularly those with special needs, who plant, care for and harvest the crops. The students also learn to cook with their bounty, and they enter their vegetables into the Topsfield Fair each year for judging. The National Education Association - National Farm to School Network’s 2018 National Partner of the Year - was on hand at the school’s Spring Planting event last week to see what this innovative farm to school program looks like in action. Throughout 2018, NFSN is partnering with NEA to make stronger connections with educators & ESPs and build meaningful partnerships that strengthen local farm to school efforts. (The Eagle-Tribune)

Tennessee students enjoy fruits of their labor
Jere Whitson Elementary School students were offered something for lunch last Friday that had never been available to them before.  As children came through the cafeteria serving line, they were offered an opportunity to try some freshly picked lettuce — lettuce that had been grown in a garden on the school's property. (Herald-Citizen

D.C. middle-schoolers explore the world on a plate
D.C. sixth-graders are participating in a year-long after school program called Cooking Skills and World Cuisine. Once a week, the students learn about cultures across the globe and healthful food choices through cooking (and eating). On this day, students learned about Ethiopian culture, such as how extended families often share meals and that the person sitting next to you is supposed to refill your drink. This month they also made food from Germany and Jamaica. (Washington Post

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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