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This Week in Farm to School: 1/29/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding
1. Clif Bar Family Foundation Small Grants
Deadline: February 1
The Clif Bar Family Foundation awards small grants for projects focused on one of five priority areas, including creating a robust, healthy food system, increasing opportunities for outdoor activity, and building stronger communities, a great fit for school garden projects. These grants are awarded for general organizational support as well as funding for specific projects. Learn more and apply here.

2. Action for Healthy Kids Game on Grants
Deadline: April 5
In order to get every kid healthy and ready to learn, Action for Healthy Kids’ Game On grants provide funding and resources for schools to improve or introduce new nutrition and physical activity programs. With a $1,000 grant, you can build a school garden, get equipment for active recess, host taste tests, and other nutrition promotion, start a before- or after-school activity club, and more. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to ECE: Farm to Early Care and Education in Family Child Care
Thursday, February 7, 1-2 PM ET
Across the country, there are over 213,000 licensed family child care homes and nearly one quarter of all children spend time in family child care before they reach kindergarten. Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) – including local food procurement, gardening, and food and agriculture education – is a great fit for family child care. Farm to ECE adapts to diverse ages, abilities, and settings and offers evidenced-based approaches to meeting educational and nutrition standards. Join this National Farm to School Network webinar to learn about new resources to support farm to ECE in family child care, hear about best practices from county level farm to ECE initiatives, and see examples of farm to ECE in family child care success. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to School Resource Roundup
Wednesday, February 27, 3-4 PM ET
Join us for the first ever National Farm to School Network (NFSN) Farm to School Resource Roundup Webinar. The February webinar will feature three new resources from NFSN that aim to increase equitable access to farm to school initiatives, including theNFSN Programs and Policy Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool; Supporting Farm to School with Non-Profit Hospital Community Benefit Dollars; and City & School District Farm to School Policy Opportunities. Register here. Register here.   
 
3. 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit
April 2-4 // Amherst, MA
The 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit is designed for food service operators, people who work at institutions, and local food advocates as well as farmers, processors, and distributors. The goal is to maximize collective impact and overcome challenges to buying more local food. The summit will feature programming that focuses on farm to school, farm to campus, and farm to health care, as well as cross-sector themes. Register here.

4. 2019 Canada National Farm to School Conference
May 15-17 // Victoria, BC
The 2019 Canada National Farm to School Conference will emphasize scaling-up efforts and evaluating impacts of farm and local food to school activities happening across Canada – putting more healthy, local and sustainable foods on the minds and plates of all students. This three-day event will feature field trips to inspirational projects in British Columbia, world-class keynote speakers, presentations, workshops and networking opportunities. Early Bird registration is now own through March 1. Learn more here.
 
5. Georgia Farm to School and ECE Summit
June 7-8 // Macon, GA
Save the date! The 7th Georgia Farm to School and Early Care and Education Summit will be held June 7-8 at Helms College in Macon. The Summit features dynamic, hands on education sessions, workshops, and field trips for early care providers and k-12 staff on gardening, cooking with kids, local procurement, and more! This event is co-hosted by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and Georgia Organics and presented by the Georgia Farm to School Alliance and the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Coalition. Registration opens in mid-March. Learn more here.


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to School Coordinator, Capital Roots (Troy, NY)
The Farm to School Coordinator will work to enhance the local food system by expanding access to healthy, affordable foods in our region's schools by working directly with farmers and producers to sell their products to institutions, as well as achieve higher levels of food safety certifications. Learn more here.

2. Director of Culinary Services, Thaden School (Bentonville, AR) 
The Director of Culinary Services will develop a vision, infrastructure, partnerships, and resources for the school that puts culinary services on par with the school’s other educational programs. Thaden School’s Meals program connects students to the myriad roles that food plays in our lives, as well as the ecological, scientific, economic and cultural dimensions of the plate. As the construction of Thaden's campus advances, students will grow and harvest increasing quantities of food for school meals, and will help with food preparation in our teaching kitchens. Learn more here

3. EQUITY  Seeding Power Fellowship (New York) 
The Seeding Power Fellowship is an innovative 18-month, cohort-based food justice fellowship program for experienced leaders working across sectors to build equitable food systems. In its inaugural year it will accept applications from leaders in New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island. Application deadline: January 31. Learn more here.  


Farm to School in the News
Louisiana community garden laying down roots to alleviate food desert
Local high school students who've grown up in urban areas are learning how to plant their own food for the first time. For some of them, it's the first time seeing the planting process because of where they live. (WBRZ)

Growing student success: Florida students plant gardens
A collaboration between the Flagler County UF/IFAS Extension and 21st Century Community Learning Centers focuses on students below grade level in math, language arts and/or science, with interactive, after-school curriculum. (Palm Coast Observer

Texas garden project combines science, community service
Fourth-graders at a Texas elementary school are tending to a community garden as part of a yearlong science and community service project. Students recently weeded the space, will record weather and crop conditions, collect soil samples for analysis and hold a farmers market to distribute their produce. (The Eagle)

 
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: 1/22/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding
1. Clif Bar Family Foundation Small Grants
Deadline: February 1
The Clif Bar Family Foundation awards small grants for projects focused on one of five priority areas, including creating a robust, healthy food system, increasing opportunities for outdoor activity, and building stronger communities, a great fit for school garden projects. These grants are awarded for general organizational support as well as funding for specific projects. Learn more and apply here.

2. 2019 Gro More Grassroots Grant 
Deadline: February 15, 2019
In 2019, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening will award 175 grants worth a collective total of $100,000. 150 grant recipients will be awarded a check for $500 to support their initiatives. The top 25 programs will receive a check for $1,000. The Gro More Grassroots Grant is open to all nonprofit and tax exempt organizations (including schools) in the United States and US Territories planning to use the funds to install new or expand existing youth focused gardens or greenspaces. Learn more and apply here.
 
3. Carton 2 Garden Contest 
Deadline: March 25, 2019
The fifth annual national Carton 2 Garden Contest, sponsored by Evergreen Packaging, is now accepting entries! Open to public and private schools, contest winners will be selected based on their implementation of an innovative garden creation featuring creative and sustainable uses for re-purposed milk and juice cartons. Your school can get started by collecting at least 100 empty cartons from your home, community, or cafeteria. Learn more and enter here


Webinars & Events
1. Trending Topics in Farm to ECE: Farm to Early Care and Education in Family Child Care
Thursday, February 7, 1-2 PM ET
Across the country, there are over 213,000 licensed family child care homes and nearly one quarter of all children spend time in family child care before they reach kindergarten. Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) – including local food procurement, gardening, and food and agriculture education – is a great fit for family child care. Farm to ECE adapts to diverse ages, abilities, and settings and offers evidenced-based approaches to meeting educational and nutrition standards. Join this National Farm to School Network webinar to learn about new resources to support farm to ECE in family child care, hear about best practices from county level farm to ECE initiatives, and see examples of farm to ECE in family child care success. Register here.

2. National Day of Racial Healing
TODAY - January 22
On January 22, join people across the country in celebrating our common humanity and taking collective action toward a more just and equitable world for the National Day of Racial Healing. The National Day of Racial Healing is a part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort. Learn more and find an event near you here.

3. White Privilege Conference
March 20-23 // Cedar Rapids, IA
WPC is a conference that examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world. The WPC provides a challenging, collaborative and comprehensive experience striving to empower and equip individuals to work for equity and justice through self and social transformations. Learn more and register here.


Resources & Research
1. 2019 NFSN National Partner of the Year - Intertribal Agriculture Council

As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors and communities, networking and partnership building are at the core of the National Farm to School Network’s efforts. To support this work, we’re expanding engagement in farm to school through the annual designation of a “National Partner of the Year.” In 2019, we are excited to announce the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) as NFSN’s National Partner of the Year. Through intentional programmatic and policy advocacy collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to better connect NFSN and IAC members and continue growing farm to school in Native communities. Read more on our blog.

2. NEW Farm to School Local Policy Resources
National Farm to School Network is pleased to share two new fact sheets to support the development of farm to school policies at the local level. Supporting Farm to School with Non-Profit Hospital Community Benefit Dollars - This fact sheet explores opportunities for farm to school practitioners to partner with non-profit hospitals, and how hospital can provide resources to support farm to school and foster public health. City and School District Farm to School Policy Opportunities - Local school wellness policies and city purchasing policies are policy interventions that have been successful in supporting farm to school activities. This fact sheet explores these local policy opportunities.

3. An Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System, Sixth Edition
Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems has updated their Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System (Sixth Edition). This resources identifies literature that links the social construction of whiteness and its intentional or consequential impact on structural racism within the United States’ local food movement. It is focused on recent peer-reviewed and gray literature materials that are national, regional, and local in scope that included significant references. The sixth edition contains 18 videos and 41 new citations. Learn more here.


Job Opportunities
1. Illinois Farm to School Coordinator, Seven Generations Ahead (Oak Park, IL)
Working closely with SGA's Farm to School Program Manager, the position will include developing and facilitating the Illinois Farm to School Network, advancing relevant statewide policies, building involvement from state agencies and a diverse array of farm to school stakeholders, and driving increased farm to school participation among schools, early childhood education centers, and other child nutrition programs - with an emphasis on those most in need - across Illinois. Learn more and apply here.

2. Executive Director, National Young Farmers Coalition (Hudson, NY)
The National Young Farmers Coalition seeks an Executive Director, to be the voice and leader for the national movement of young people in agriculture. The ideal candidate must have a deep understanding of agriculture policy and a drive to solve the most pressing challenges in food and farming today, an ability to motivate and unify a diverse set of farmer voices around a common cause, a strong commitment to equity and justice, and the skills to successfully grow the work of the Coalition. Learn more here

3. Nutrition Action Healthletter Project Assistant, Center for Science in the Public Interest (Washington, D.C.)
The Project Assistant will gather and compile data related to articles about the nutrient content of food products and provide general administrative support. This position works with the Nutrition Action Healthletter (NAH) team and reports to a Senior Nutritionist. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Garden at Illinois juvenile justice center offers chance for young people to grow
This spring, the garden at the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center in St. Charles will grow a bit, thanks to a two-year grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. Pam Ely with the Juvenile Justice Center said for many of the young people there the program provides their first experience gardening. For others, it may be their first exposure to healthy eating habits. (The Beacon-News)

Farm to fork offers fresh greens to Nebraska cafeteria
Many Nebraska schools are adding these towers to their greenhouses as a teaching tool to talk about sustainable agriculture. Several schools now have them, but Grand Island Northwest may be the first in the state with what it considers a whole farm of tower gardens. (NTV ABC)

New York schools promote wellness, local farmers
While January is a popular time of year to adopt resolutions for healthier habits, Forestville Central School is taking great strides to promote health and wellness district-wide, year ’round, beginning with Wellness Week this week. (Observer)

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.

Intertribal Agriculture Council Selected As 2019 NFSN National Partner of the Year

NFSN Staff Thursday, January 17, 2019
As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors and communities, networking and partnership building are at the core of the National Farm to School Network’s efforts. Partnerships are integral to our success, and are essential to the growth and long-term sustainability of the farm to school movement. That’s why our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan includes a key goal to facilitate expanded engagement in farm to school through new and diverse partnerships and promotion, including the designation of a “National Partner of the Year.” Through intentional programmatic collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to both educate our members about the work of national partners, and increase knowledge of farm to school and our organization in diverse sectors. 

This year, we are pleased to announce the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) as our 2019 National Partner of the Year. The IAC is a non-profit, Tribal membership organization, serving all tribal producers and communities across the country, established in 1987 to pursue and promote conservation, development and use of Indian agricultural resources for the betterment of Indian communities. The IAC is recognized as the most respected voice within the Indian community and government circles on agricultural policies and programs in Indian Country, and it conducts a wide range of programs designed to further the goal of improving Indian Agriculture, land management, cultural food systems, and local and international marketing. 

A key area of the IAC’s programmatic focuses is cultivating Native youth leaders. Youth leadership development opportunities provided by the IAC - including local, regional and national events - expose Native youth to land conservation and stewardship, traditional food preparation and preservation, agricultural production planning, entrepreneurial business ventures in food and agriculture, and resource management as a community development tool. While Native youth have always been a part of the IAC, efforts to focus on youth programming continue to formalize, and at the 2017 IAC Membership Meeting, the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance (NYFSA) was formed. 

National Farm to School Network has partnered with Native communities since early 2014, with an aim to gain a deeper understanding of the unique food access challenges Native communities face and identify and pursue viable solutions to overcome barriers to implementing farm to school. In partnership with numerous tribal communities and organizations, we’ve been learning that with a community-based and multi-generational framework, farm to school can be a nexus of economic development, food sovereignty, health and nutrition, and cultural revitalization. We’re excited to further this work in our year-long partnership with the IAC. Together, we’ll be exploring programmatic and policy advocacy collaborations, attending each other’s trainings and events, supporting youth leadership development, sharing out key learnings and resources, and promoting ways for our members to get involved in this work. 

Learn more about the Intertribal Agriculture Council on their website or social media sites: 

Stay tuned for opportunities to learn more about the IAC and dig into this partnership with us throughout 2019!

This Week in Farm to School: 1/15/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 


Grants & Funding 
1. Winston Equipment Grant
Due: January 31
Applications are open for the Winston Equipment Grant, which provides school nutrition programs with 10 pieces of equipment for their programs. Applications can be submitted by a school nutrition director who has been a member of SNA for at least one year. There are NO eligibility requirements for a certain percentage of free/reduced eligible students! Learn more and apply here

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to ECE: Farm to Early Care and Education in Family Child Care
Thursday, February 7, 1-2pm ET
Across the country, there are over 213,000 licensed family child care homes and nearly one quarter of all children spend time in family child care before they reach kindergarten. Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) – including local food procurement, gardening, and food and agriculture education – is a great fit for family child care. Farm to ECE adapts to diverse ages, abilities, and settings and offers evidenced-based approaches to meeting educational and nutrition standards. Join this National Farm to School Network webinar to learn about new resources to support farm to ECE in family child care, hear about best practices from county level farm to ECE initiatives, and see examples of farm to ECE in family child care success. Register here.

2. Green Apply Day of Service
Green Apple Day of Service is an opportunity to join schools across the world in celebrating the central role that schools play in preparing the next generation of leaders in sustainability. A school’s event improves the learning environment while strengthening student civic leadership, environmental literacy, and project management skills. Since it began in 2012, Green Apple Day of Service has inspired over 900,000 volunteers in 80 countries to act in support of sustainability at their schools. With one in eight people around the globe attending a school every day, there is more work to be done! Schools and the community leaders who support them can choose their own date for their project, and they have access to mini-grants and personalized guidance to help them make their projects a reality. Sign up and register your project by March 15, 2019 to participate at greenapple.org.


Research & Resources
1. Evaluating the Economic Impacts of Farm-to-school Procurement, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
One of the purported benefits of farm-to-school procurement is that it strengthens the local econ­omy by providing expanded market access for local farms and ranches. Despite the claims of positive economic impact, there is limited research to sup­port this. This paper presents a framework for evaluating the economic impacts of farm-to-school programs, adapting the USDA’s “Local Food Economics Toolkit” for this specific context. Read more here.

2. Commit to Healthy Workplaces this New Year with the Healthy Meeting Pledge
Studies show a strong relationship between the physical and social environments of the workplace and the health behaviors of employees. The Healthy Meeting Toolkit, developed by members of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA), includes guidance on key components of a healthy meeting and resources to help make hosting healthy meetings easier. Take the Healthy Meeting Pledge here.


Job Opportunities
1. Programs Coordinator: Farm to Early Childcare Education Specialist, Mississippi Farm to School Network (Jackson, MS)
The Mississippi Farm to School Network seeks a motivated programs coordinator to help increase its offerings to early childcare programs in Mississippi. The ideal candidate will understand the importance and value of local food and have demonstrated work experience in the world of early childcare. Learn more here

2. FoodCorps Service Member, FoodCorps (Nationwide)
FoodCorps believes that every child - no matter their race, place, or class - has a right to healthy food at school. Applications are now open for the next class of leaders - people who want to serve up change in your community. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Positions are open in 17 states and the D.C. Metro Area. Learn more here.

3. Community Food Systems Mentorship Program, Wallace Center
Applications for the Spring 2019 round of the Community Food Systems Mentorship Program are now open through January 15. Nine mentors with a wide range of expertise and experience will work with food systems leaders over the course of four months to support their continued growth and development as a leader. Applications close January 15, and the mentorship will occur from February 15 – June 15, 2019. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Virginia high school outdoor classroom helps students learn life lessons
The Outdoor Educational Center in Roanoke is a hands-on learning environment where students learn all about agri-science -- from growing a garden to re-potting plants, even feeding chickens and collecting eggs everyday. (ABC 33/40)

South Dakota district locally sources beef for school lunches
The Wall School District in South Dakota is piloting a new school lunch program that sources cafeteria beef from local ranchers. The pilot began this month and lasts until May, but if successful, it will be used again in the coming year, and Superintendent Dan Baldwin hopes it expands to other districts across the state. (KOTA TV

Farm Show experience is a take-home lesson for Pennsylvania students
Education is part of what the Pennsylvania Farm Show is all about, and students can still think about agriculture long after the show is over. That's because of the Pennsylvania Farm to School Network. It teaches kids that their food doesn't just come from grocery stores; there's an entire industry behind it and an important industry at that. (ABC 27)

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: 1/8/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 08, 2019
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding
1. Aim High Grants: Supporting Out-of-School Time Programs Serving Middle School Youth 
Due: January 25
On behalf of the New York Life Foundation, the Afterschool Alliance invites out-of-school time programs to apply for a new competitive grant opportunity to support and bolster the ability of afterschool and summer learning programs help their middle school students make a successful transition from 8th to 9th grade. A total of 26 grant awards will be made nationwide. Grant funds may be used for technical assistance, capacity building, enhancing direct service activities, and/or program expansion. Learn more and apply here


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics: Youth Voice and Engagement in Farm to School
Thursday, January 10 // 1-2pm ET
Engaging youth voice and leadership in farm to school initiatives is essential to advancing the movement and growing the next generation of food systems leaders. Join the National Farm to School Network and Shelburne Farms to celebrate youth engagement in farm to school projects and curriculum. Hear from educators and students from urban, suburban, and rural communities as they share how they are innovatively promoting healthier and more just food systems in their schools and communities through farm to school. Register here

2. Community Food Systems Conference 2019
December 9-11, 2019 // Savannah, GA
Hosted by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Georgia Farmers Market Association, the 2019 Community Food Systems Conference will address common underlying themes between food security, social justice and sustainable agriculture including obstacles in urban and rural environments and fostering community empowerment to create and sustain resilient local food systems. Learn more here.


Resources & Research
1. New JAFSCD Paper: Evaluating the Economic Impacts of Farm-to-School Procurement 
The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development has recently published "Evaluating the Economic Impacts of Farm-to-school Procurement." This paper presents a framework for evaluating the economic impacts of farm-to-school programs, adapting the USDA’s “Local Food Economics Toolkit” for this specific context. The approach combines primary and secondary data to customize an input-output model, reflecting the complex supply chains that link producers and schools. Additionally, to illustrate the approach, the paper summarizes the findings from two case studies of local food procurement by schools between 2016 and 2017. The paper is co-authored by Lacy Stephens, NFSN Program Manager. Read more here


Job Opportunities
1. Executive Director, Common Ground (New Haven, CT)
Common Ground High School, Urban Farm & Environmental Education Center is looking for its next Executive Director. The ED reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission, strategic priorities, and financial objectives. The ED of Common Ground directly supervises 6 Program Directors as well as the Site Manager. Learn more here.

2. Food Justice Education Coordinator, Common Ground (New Haven, CT)
The Food Justice Education Coordinator plays an important role in supporting educational projects involving the farm, requiring strong skills in leading groups of youth and adults in food justice, cooking and farm based activities. The Food Justice Education Coordinator works closely with Farm, High School and Environmental Education Center Staff to plan and execute educational programs. Learn more here.

3. 2019 Appalachian Food Justice Fellowship Program
The Appalachian Food Justice Institute (AFJI) aims to support youth leaders in Central Appalachia (West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Western Virginia, Western North Carolina) in their learning, experimentation, and action within local and regional food systems change. The AFJI Fellowship program will support 10 students from across Appalachia to learn, experiment, and act to confront injustices within their regional food systems. The Fellowship award will cover all costs associated with attending the 10-day Appalachian Food Justice Institute, as well as a $500 stipend. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Local tuna arrives at Oregon school cafeteria, along with the fishermen
Local, sustainably caught tuna was served up in the Driftwood School cafeteria in Port Orford on Thursday, Dec. 13, and the students were treated not only to tuna, but to stories from two local fishermen, who caught the fish, shared about their occupation and what it is like to be out in the ocean. (Bandon Western World)

Pennsylvania schools adds local foods to cafeteria menu through farm-to-table program
Through the district’s participation in a farm-to-table program, new for the 2018-19 school year, students are receiving regionally sourced food in the cafeteria that meets or exceeds school nutrition standards and educational activities in the classroom that emphasize nutrition and local agriculture. (Herald-Standard)

Maryland district seeks local farms for school lunch initiative
Frederick County Public Schools, in cooperation with two local food advocacy organizations, has spent the past year exploring the feasibility of adding more locally and Maryland-grown fruits and vegetables to school lunches. (The Frederick News 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.

Jump with Jill Puts a Rock-and-Roll Twist on Nutrition Education

NFSN Staff Thursday, December 27, 2018


By Anna Defendiefer, Communications Intern

One of the most exciting parts of farm to school is that it looks different in every community. There are countless ways to get kids excited and help them feel knowledgeable about healthy eating and their local food systems. Here’s one creative example: Jump with Jill, a rock-and-roll nutrition show that travels across the country to show students that healthy eating is something to celebrate. I recently had the opportunity to interview the founder of Jump with Jill, Jill Jayne, who spoke with me about her beginnings in nutrition, what she’s learned through her experiences, and what she hopes her show brings to students.

Writing and performing dozens of songs about healthy foods is certainly an uncommon specialty, and I was curious as to how Jill got her inspiration. Growing up, Jill was an ambitious student, performing in her school’s musicals and running for the cross country team, while also achieving valedictorian status. After graduating, these interests merged and led Jill to pursue a nutritional sciences and theater at Penn State University. Her self-proclaimed “big break” came in 2003, when she dressed up as a cow in a video segment about nutrition. Fully embracing the silliness of the segment, Jayne realized she could use her physical humor to work with nutrition in a different way than most dieticians. She realized she had a voice that spoke to kids, and she could make a real difference in nutrition education.

It was in 2006 when the first seeds for Jump with Jill were planted. As part of her master’s thesis, Jill performed a free nutrition and rock and roll street show in New York’s Central Park. Shortly after, Jill signed a record deal and released her debut Jump with Jill album, followed by her first national tour performing for youth across the country. With silly lyrics like “when your craving is cruising for a healthy dose of got your back with that off the hook flavor” from her song “Sweet Beat,” her mix of nutrition education with humor and entertainment was a hit with students.

Until 2011, Jill and her brother performed in every single Jump with Jill show - about 300 a year. When Jill received a call from the city of Philadelphia requesting 150 shows for their students in the coming school year, she knew that she had to make changes to her business structure, quickly shifting her role from performer to businesswoman. Hiring her first Jill “doppelgangers,” she switched from a brother-sister startup to a real company. Now managing a staff of multiple “Jills” and DJ’s, she “took a step back from performing to make the mission possible.”  



Notably, Jill only hires certified teachers as performers in her show. That’s because her ultimate goal is to teach - in an unconventional way - that healthy foods can be exciting and interesting. According to Jill, students only “need ten doses of something to impact behavior.” This philosophy led Jill to create a toolkit containing lesson plans and activities that teachers can easily implement in the classroom after kids have taken part in the performance.

“Every message place counts,” Jill says. “Use watermelons in a math problem instead of pizza slices. Serve apples and cheese as a snack. Make healthy habits entertaining. Kids are learning by what they’re seeing, not what you’re telling them.” She emphasizes that teachers don’t have to make up these lessons if they’re not confident in their ability to teach about nutrition - Jill has already crafted them. The resources she provides to teachers have a 100% utilization rate after the show.

Admiring the dedication and creativity of Jill and her staff to teaching students about such a critical topic, I asked if she has one main idea she wants to convey through her performances. With no hesitation, she said that “you only get one body - one body for your entire life! You are responsible for making healthy choices for your body. You own it.”

Jill and her team have now conveyed that message over 3,000 times, and that number will only continue to grow.

Our Year of Partnership: NFSN and NEA

NFSN Staff Thursday, December 20, 2018

In 2018, National Farm to School Network selected the National Education Association (NEA) as our 2018 National Partner of the Year. As articulated in our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan, this annual designated partnership with a national organization aims to facilitate expanded engagement in farm to school and increase knowledge of farm to school in diverse sectors. NEA, which is committed to advancing the cause of public education and is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, made an exciting fit for NFSN in our efforts to become more connected to key stakeholders in the education sector. 

NEA’s three million members – from every state and more than 14,000 communities – work at every level of education, from preschool to university graduate programs. Included in NEA’s membership are nearly 500,000 Education Support Professionals (ESP) – school support staff who work to meet the needs of the whole student. Working as food service staff, custodians, secretaries, classroom paraeducators, bus drivers, and in many other jobs, these essential educators (who make up nearly one-third of the education workforce) help ensure that children are safe, healthy, well-nourished and well-educated. 

As Tim Barchak, NEA ESP-Quality Senior Policy Analyst, explained on our recent co-hosted webinar, farm to school can benefit educators, ESP and students. With 18 percent of children under age 18 (more than 13 million) living in food-insecure households and nearly 30 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program, farm to school helps ensure school meals are healthy and nutritious, setting up students for success in the classroom and beyond. But to do this, school food systems and food service members must have the right tools and skills to incorporate more fresh, local food into school meal menus. Building up a skilled school nutrition workforce and thinking more holistically about a 21st century school food system can equate to healthier school meals and more strongly invested employees. Providing trainings not only on knife and scratch cooking-skills, but also on bullying prevention, conflict de-escalation, student mentoring and cultural sensitivity give food service members the opportunity to be more fully involved and valued in the life of a school community. It’s a win for school nutrition staff and the students they serve. 

Over this past year, NFSN and NEA have worked together to widely share this vision and other opportunities that farm to school provides to educators and ESP. To spread the word, we co-hosted a webinar on Farm to School and 21st Century Food System Programs, participated in each other’s celebrations - like National Farm to School Month, American Education Week and National Education Support Professional Day - and regularly shared and cross-promoted resources, events and engagement opportunities with each other’s memberships. We presented at each other’s conferences, including at NFSN’s Annual Meeting and NEA’s ESP Conference, and participated in a school garden site visit in Massachusetts. Internally, our staff connected to discuss collaboration on policy initiatives and social justice advocacy. 

Furthermore, our national partnership has spurred new connections for our state-level partners. In Vermont, the Vermont Farm to School Network and Vermont NEA have partnered to advance their mutual interest in advocating for fresh and locally sourced food in K-12 schools. Realizing that school boards, school administrators and other decision makers may not know as much about school food programs, they've teamed up to create an informational toolkit and campaign to promote the new resource to Vermont schools. On the other side of the country, NEA New Mexico and Farm to Table New Mexico have connected to help a school district maintain a self-operated food system that prioritizes fresh, local food for students. Their partnership has continued as they together explore other food policy opportunities in New Mexico. 

This year of partnership has laid the groundwork for exciting ongoing collaboration between NFSN and NEA. To kick off 2019, NFSN is honored to receive a $2,500 donation from NEA to continue growing farm to school and serving as a resource for NEA’s affiliates. In this next year, we also plan to continue cross-promoting resources and learning opportunities that can support each other’s members, and will explore more ways to offer collaborative trainings on farm to school topics like procurement. We’ll continue to keep our members updated on opportunities to get involved, so make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter

As we close out 2018, we extend a hearty thank you to NEA for a valuable year of collaborating, thought-partnering and visioning together. Partnership like this one are what keep the farm to school movement growing strong, and we look forward to keeping the momentum going for years to come!  

You Make Farm to School Happen

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The final weeks of 2018 are upon us, and at the National Farm to School Network, we are reflecting on an extraordinary year for farm to school. For that, we have you – our members, donors, partners and friends – to thank. Together, we’re keeping the farm to school movement growing strong! 

Here are several highlights of our 2018 success that you helped make possible: 

National Advocacy: Worked with bipartisan champions in Congress to secure an additional $5 million in discretionary funding for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program as part of the 2018 appropriations bill. This win has made more funding available for the FY 2019 USDA Farm to School Grants

National Early Care and Education Data: Launched the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, which heard from 2,030 respondents serving 255,257 children in 45 states and Washington, D.C. This survey has provided the only national-level data of current farm to ECE participation and trends.

Commitment to Racial & Social Equity: Furthered our commitment to advancing racial and social equity in the farm to school movement by creating new resources – like the Programs and Policy Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool – and prioritizing equity topics and learning opportunities into programmatic content like webinars, blogs and the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference.

National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Brought together 930 stakeholders from across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada for three days of learning, networking and movement building. The program included 36 workshops, inspiring plenary addresses, a poster session, eight short courses, 11 field trips and countless networking opportunities.

New Resources: Expanded our resource library with new resources for helping farm to school efforts grow in all communities, including two new signature resources – State Farm to School Networks Toolkit and State Farm to School Positions Guide – and new non-English and bilingual farm to school resources

Your donations have made this work possible, and they’re crucial to helping us do more in the new year. 
After all, farm to school doesn’t happen on its own – it takes people like you championing the movement. We need your help to continue this important work. Make your end of year, tax-deductible donation today to keep this movement growing.

Your generosity is what makes our work possible - we couldn’t do it without you! Thank you for being part of the National Farm to School Network and contributing to vibrant communities, healthy kids, farms and families!

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