1. You Count! USDA Farm to School Census Closes Dec. 6
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems' third Farm to School Census closes on Dec. 6. Be sure your school district is counted! The Farm to School Census is the only national survey that examines school districts’ farm to school activities. It's imperative that all School Food Authorities (SFAs) - whether or not they currently participate in farm to school activities - complete the Census in order to have the most accurate picture of the scope, reach and impact of farm to school nationwide. The Census has been sent directly to SFAs. Please check with your SFAs to ask if they've submitted the Census, and make sure your efforts are counted! Learn more about the Census here.
Grants & Funding
1. USDA 2020 Farm to School Grant RFA Now Open
Deadline: December 13
The 2020 USDA Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. With additional funding made available through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $10 million in FY 2020 funding. Grants ranging in size from $20,000 to $100,000 will be available to schools, nonprofits, State and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to plan and implement farm to school activities. Applications are due Dec. 13, 2019. Learn more here.
2. NFSN Consultation Services to Support USDA Farm to School Grant Applicants
National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring this funding reaches the communities that need it most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance during the application process (thought partnership, preparing the grant application, evaluation) and during grant implementation (needs assessment, evaluation, action plan, virtual coaching). Learn more here.
3. USDA Regional Farm to School Institutes RFA
Deadline: December 27
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems is pleased to announce the new Regional Farm to School Institute Grant Request for Applications (RFA). This new grant for fiscal year 2020 will support the creation and dissemination of information on farm to school program development, and provide practitioner education and training, and ongoing school year coaching and technical assistance. The Food and Nutrition Service anticipates awarding at least two grants with a combined total of $150,000, to eligible 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations working regionally to promote farm to school activities and support practitioners. Learn more here.
4. Food System Vision Prize
Early Deadline: Dec. 5 / Final Deadline: Jan. 31
With a total of $2 million in prize money and a global network of partners, the Food System Vision Prize is an invitation for organizations, companies, governments, and other entities around the world to develop inspirational, concrete Visions for the food system of the future. The Prize, launched by The Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with SecondMuse and OpenIDEO, is driven by a central question: “How might we envision regenerative and nourishing food futures for 2050?” The Prize seeks systems-focused proposals that encourage people worldwide to take action and think collaboratively about the future. Submitted Visions should also reflect the Prize’s core beliefs that include diversity, resilience, equity, and the power of food to connect people. Learn more here.
Webinars & Events
1. EQUITY Webinar: Building Partnerships to Support Food Sovereignty in African American Communities
Dec. 3 // 3PM EST
This webinar is an opportunity to explore how and why African American communities are working together to enhance their food sovereignty. Following this introduction to the concept of food sovereignty and its role in African American communities, Malik Yakini with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and Lilly Fink Shapiro with the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative will discuss their partnership designing and co-leading the Food Literacy for All course. They will describe how the partnership was developed and its impact both in the community and on campus. The webinar also will introduce Kimberly Carr, a post-doctoral research associate in food sovereignty and racial equity at the Center for Regional Food Systems and Center for Interdisciplinarity at Michigan State University. The webinar is hosted by the Racial Equity in the Food System workgroup, coordinated by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Register here.
2. National Farmers Union’s Women’s Conference
January 19-21 // San Diego, California
Farming is never a one-woman job – it takes a village to run a successful operation. This conference will not only prepare attendees for success in agriculture, but it will also provide them with their own network of women farmers and ranchers they can reach out to throughout the year. Farmers, policy makers, educators, and specialists will present on a number of subjects, including financial management, farm labor, leadership, and more. Learn more and register here.
3. 2020 Sustainable Food and Farm Conference
February 7-9 // Grass Valley, California
Join conference attendees for a tour through some of Nevada County’s innovators in regenerative agriculture. This year’s tour includes: For the People Seeds, Legacy Ranching, and Mountain Bounty Farm. The conference features a full day of national and international heroes from the sustainable food movement. This year the Conference will feature one of the world’s most dynamic and provocative thinkers on agriculture and ecology, Dr. Vandana. Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm will share their award-winning regenerative farming techniques that have proven to increase both ecological health and profits. Jim Gerrish, international consultant for restoring rangelands, will help farmers and ranchers get the most of their pastures through high intensity, ecological management. Local experts will take the stage offering 20 food and farm workshops for a wide scope of interests across farmers, ranchers, home gardeners, and foodies. Topics include Agri-Tourism models, Growing More Food with High-Tunnels, Grazing for Fire Safety, Creating Value-Added Meat Products and more. Learn more here.
4. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 21-23, 2020 // Albuquerque, New Mexico
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Are you passionate about supporting local agriculture and fostering a culture of food literacy in your community? This event is for you. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!
Research & Resources
1. EQUITY Native Farm to School Champion Stories
November is Native American Heritage Month. To celebrate and recognize farm to school activities happening across Indian Country, National Farm to School Network has partnered with the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) to share a series of blogs profiling Native Farm to School Champions. These stories were organized and collected by IAC's Regional Technical Assistance Specialists, and top programs will be recognized for the farm to school leadership at the 2019 IAC Annual Meeting in December. IAC is NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year. Explore the Native Farm to School Champion profiles here.
2. Cornell University publishes feature package about New York Farm to School
NY Farm to School programs, which provide K-12 students with fresh, locally sourced foods and expand markets for farmers, are sprouting statewide thanks to efforts by Cornell Cooperative Extension to connect schools and growers. Specialists with CCE’s Harvest New York program apply findings by Cornell researchers in nutrition, agricultural economics and related fields to provide knowledge and expertise to launch or expand F2S projects; they also connect key players – growers, school food service directors, community organizers – around the table. CCE educators help K-12 teachers incorporate lessons on nutrition, food systems and related topics – much of it based upon curricula developed by Cornell’s NY Agriculture in the Classroom program. The Cornell Small Farms Program and the Farm to School Program Work Team bring together faculty, extension educators and community partners to ensure that the latest faculty and extension research informs these activities. Read more here.
1. Communications Intern, National Farm to School Network (Remote)
National Farm to School Network seeks a Communications Intern to support content development and dissemination of information and resources to NFSN stakeholders. As a member of the Communications team, the Communications Intern will work closely with NFSN staff and partners, gaining hands-on experience in digital media and farm to school programming. This is a remote position, working approximately 10 hours per week for twelve months. The deadline to apply is Dec. 6, 2019. Learn more here.
2. Director of Institutional Impact, Center for Good Food Purchasing (Bay Area, CA)
The Center for Good Food Purchasing is hiring a Director of Institutional Impact. The Director of Institutional Impact is responsible for building the performance and capacity of institutions and their vendors to align their food purchases with the five core values of the Good Food Purchasing Program. The director will be responsible for building and leading the Impact team, offering enrolled institutions training, technical assistance, peer-learning opportunities, and a variety of tools to help translate data into action. The Center for Good Food Purchasing is seeking a highly motivated and adept leader with deep experience in food procurement at large institutions, and a commitment to harnessing the individual and collective purchasing power of major institutions to drive increased food system equity and improved conditions along the food supply chain. The deadline to apply is December 9, 2019. Learn more here.
Farm to School in the News
Pennsylvania school district embracing locally-sourced food options
Two food service programs new to cafeterias in the Uniontown Area School District this year are providing students with fuel for the classroom and beyond. In an effort to engage more students in healthy eating habits and prepare them to take on the day, the district introduced two programs at the start of the school year that include partnering with an area farm to offer fresh, locally-sourced foods. (Herald Standard)
Montana schools on the cutting edge with Big Sky Farm to Table Program
Missoula County Public School students have a unique opportunity for hands on learning in the MCPS Ag program at Big Sky High School. No other school in the country has a state inspected butchering shop where students can literally make their own lunch. (Tri-State Livestock News)
Arizona farm-to-school programs revitalize health in nutritionally underserved communities
The Mesa program is part of a larger national effort called farm to school, which promotes better health in children through school gardens, education related to agriculture and food, and encouraging the purchase of local foods for use in school cafeterias. Some 42,000 U.S. schools take part, including more than 500 in Arizona. Most of the gardens are in communities where more than 50% of students receive free or reduced-cost lunch. (Cronkite News)