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News

Growing the “Farm” in “Farm to School”

NFSN Staff Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Farm to school is as much about the farm as it is the school. Farmers and producers are the movers and shakers that make local foods served in schools and early care and education settings possible. From the cafeteria to the classroom, their products are used to educate students about where food comes from and generate excitement for trying new, healthy foods. And farm to school is just as much a win for farmers, too!

However, farmers are often underrepresented in the farm to school movement. That’s why the National Farm to School Network is committed to providing learning opportunities, sharing innovative resources, and propelling new ideas to support farmers and producers in the farm to school movement. 

For example, we focused our 2017 Innovation Awards, with funding support from Farm Credit, on celebrating beginning farmers (in their first 10 years of farming) and farmer veterans for their exemplary efforts in selling local produce to schools and engaging kids in learning where their food comes from. Our two awardees – John Turner of Wild Roots Farm Vermont and Dylan Strike of Strike Farms in Montana - shared their stories with us on our blog, in webinars and social media takeovers, helping inspire more farmers and schools to take the first steps in getting involved. The awards also supported their ongoing engagement in farm to school activities in their own communities. Dylan used the Innovation Award to host fall farm field trips free of charge to Bozeman, MT-area schools and continued to strengthen relationships with several schools that purchase his produce for school meals and Montana Harvest of the Month activities. Jon Turner expanded his educational outreach and engaged in new projects to support food systems learning opportunities for the K-12 community in Addison County, VT. He specifically focused on establishing a compost system with Bristol Elementary School and Mt. Abe High School, which included mentoring students to lead the composting project and working with a local illustrator to develop a comic series about composting to educate and engage more students in local food systems activities. 

Dylan Strike and students at Strike Farms. 

Jon and Dylan are just two examples among many of farmers who’ve found success with farm to school. Here’s a snapshot of some of the other stories that farmers have shared with us:  

Clearview Farm - Massachusetts
Rick Melone, owner of Clearview Farm, explains that business relationships with schools have provided his farm a valuable and necessary market. “I’m too small to work with huge markets like Whole Foods and other grocery store whole-salers," he says. "But I can bring a truck load of apples in (to schools) and they will use them that day.” It's schools that have become one of his most reliable and valuable customers.

Fisheads Aquaponics - Georgia
One of Fisheads Aquaponic’s first regular customers was Burke County Public Schools, located just 17 miles from the aquaponics operation. Burke County Schools has a standing order for Fisheads lettuce, and the positive relationship helped Fisheads expanded to selling to several other school districts, as well. In order to keep up with demand for their produce, Fisheads is doubling their production with the addition of a second greenhouse and hiring more staff. 

Moon on the Meadow Farm - Kansas
Jill Elmers says that her business relationship with schools has given her farm, Moon on the Meadow, a consistently reliable market. “The core items that they (schools) buy, they know how much they need every week, and so those sales are consistent.” 

In 2018, we’re excited to continue connecting with farmers and producers and sharing more resources and opportunities for farmers and schools to dig in to new partnership opportunities. Here are several upcoming webinar opportunities to hear more stories of success and learn about resources for jumpstarting farm to school partnerships: 

Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities
February 28 // 5pm ET
Hosted by USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, this webinar for farmers and food producers that will cover different ways to incorporate farm to school into your business plan, how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation, and funding opportunities. Register here
 
Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School
March 1 // 2pm ET
Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this webinar will explore how farmers and producers can garner economic and social benefits through farm to school, and will feature several guest speakers who wills hare innovative yet practical approaches for engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities. Register here

The Business of Farm to School
March 15 // 5pm ET
Hosted by USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, this webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities - hint, it’s not just school lunch! Register here
 
If you’re ready to take your farm to school partnerships to the next level, we hope you’ll join us in Cincinnati this April for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference! With 36 skill-building workshops, inspiring keynote addresses, short courses, field trips, poster presentations and lots of networking opportunities, this one-of-a-kind gathering will help you bring real food solutions home to your community. Learn more and register here

In the meantime, check out more great stories about the farmers who make farm to school happen on our blog, explore resources for getting started in our free Resource Library, or find local farm to school networking event taking place in your state in our national events calendar

This Week in Farm to School: 2/20/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 20, 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. Slow Food's Plant a Seed Campaign
Slow Food is excited to launch their Plant a Seed campaign for Spring 2018. This year, they are focusing on the Three Sisters — bean, corn and squash. They are able to offer free kits to the first 300 schools in need. Use promo code plantschoolfree if you would like a kit but cannot afford to pay. Once those run out, or if you have the budget to pay, you can use plantschoolhalf for a 50% discount. If you're not using this for a school garden, they ask that you pay full price. Order your school garden kit here


Webinars

1. State Of The Farm Bill: A Conversation With U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Staff
February 22 // 2pm ET
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future is delighted to welcome U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forest Committee staff for a discussion about the state of the farm bill. Learn about the process for reauthorization, where things stand now, and what is to come for the farm bill. Hear about different bills being proposed to protect, reform, and add to the bill. Engage in a discussion with these insiders on the Hill about the state of SNAP, funding for local food programs, urban agriculture, and local food and healthy food access programs in the farm bill. Submit your questions for the presenters when you register or bring them with you to the conversation. Register here

2. Webinar: Farm to Institution New England (FINE) Metrics
February 27 // 11-12pm ET 
The New Hampshire Food Alliance is excited to share their newly created webinar series highlighting the importance of food systems work going on across New Hampshire, and in many cases the information presented proves valuable throughout the Northeastern region. The next webinar will feature work by Farm to Institution New England, and their research on the impact of the farm-to-institution sector, including barriers and recommendations about local food procurement and policy. Register here

3. Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities
February 28 // 5pm ET
USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition invite you to attend “Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities.” This webinar will cover what USDA means by “farm to school”, the different ways to incorporate farm to school programs into your business plan, and how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation.  Funding, including grant opportunities, will be covered. Register here.

4. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School

March 1 // 2pm ET
One of the primary objectives of farm to school is to strengthening the connection that communities have with local food producers. Farmers and producers can also garner economic and social benefit through these strengthened relationships. Join this webinar to hear from farm to school practitioners and farmers about innovative yet practical approaches to engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities and learn how this engagement contributes to kids, communities, and farmers winning through farm to school. Register here.  

5. The Business of Farm to School
March 15 // 5pm ET
This webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities- hint- it’s not just school lunch! This webinar is coordinated by USDA Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and is geared towards farmers and producers selling to schools as a new market. Register here


Events
1. Registration Open for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. School Nutrition Association’s Spring Industry Boot Camp
May 9-10 // National Harbor, MD
Are you an industry representative new to the multi-billion-dollar school nutrition market, or a seasoned veteran that wants to brush up on the intricacies of this complex segment? Designed specifically for industry partners, SNA's Spring Industry Boot Camp is a dynamic educational seminar that provides a thorough overview of today's school nutrition environment, including new information on procurement ethics, a tour of a local cafeteria and a two-hour panel discussion with major city school nutrition directors. Reserve your spot here

3. National Children & Youth Garden Symposium 2018
July 11-14 // Ithaca, NY
National Children & Youth Garden Symposium is excited to be back to Ithaca, New York this year. Join this gathering to network with like-minded teachers, garden designers, community leaders, program coordinators, and others involved with connecting kids to the natural world. Registration opens in April. Learn more here


Job Opportunities
1. Program and Production Coordinator, Montezuma School to Farm Project 
The Montezuma School to Farm Project (MSTFP) seeks a Program and Production Coordinator. MSTFP's mission is to unite local agricultural heritage with its growing future by engaging students at the crossroads of sustainable agriculture, resource conservation, health and economics through educational experiences in outdoor garden classes, on field trips and summer farm camps. Apply here by February 26 at 5pm MT. 

2. Chef Educator & Kitchen Manager, Greensboro Children’s Museum
Greensboro Children’s Museum seeks to hire a full-time, Edible Schoolyard Chef Educator & Kitchen Manager. This position is responsible for leading and coordinating all aspects of the cooking school at The Edible Schoolyard at GCM. Learn more here

3. RFS Programs Outreach Coordinator, Catholic Charities New Hampshire 
The NH Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities NH, seeks a Recipe For Success (RFS) Program Outreach Coordinator. The RFS Program Coordinator position is responsible for coordination support of USDA Summer Food Service Sponsorship and Cooking Maters. Learn more here

4. Assistant Director of Education, Wright-Locke Farm Conservancy
Wright-Locke Farm Conservancy is hiring an Assistant Education Director to help develop, manage, and facilitate outdoor youth programs for its 2018 program season. The Assistant Education Director is a full-time position held March-October 2018. Learn more here

5. Farm Educator, Calypso Farm & Ecology Center

Calypso Farm & Ecology Center in Fairbanks, Alaska is seeking a full-time Farm Educator for April 3-September 29. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Nutrition and school gardens off to great start in Louisiana 
Students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade at Bains Lower Elementary School have been gardening and learning about nutrition this year during their Play 30 physical activity time. (The Advocate)

Illinois students learn to cook healthy foods

Convinced she didn't like red bell pepper, the fourth-grader tried it on a slice of homemade pizza – and found out it tasted good. "Also I never thought I liked pepperoni," Brooklyn said. "Now I like it." Trying new foods, and learning how to cook healthy foods, is a goal of the after-school cooking class at St. Peter School that complements efforts to offer healthier foods in the school cafeteria. (Herald-Whig)

Indiana serves up first batch of school-raised beef to students

Cheeseburgers and beef tacos were on the menu this week at Maconaquah Middle School. But these weren’t just any cheeseburgers and tacos. They were made from a cow raised by students right outside the cafeteria doors. (Kokomo Tribune)

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.

National Education Association Selected As 2018 NFSN National Partner of the Year

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 20, 2018
As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors, 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 National Education Association (NEA) as our 2018 National Partner of the Year. NEA is the nation's largest professional employee organization, committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA’s 3 million members – from every state and more than 14,000 communities – work at every level of education, from pre-school to university graduate programs. Furthermore, NEA’s membership represents 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. ESP can be tremendous advocates and resources for helping connect students, parents and community allies with farm to school activities, though are often underrepresented in the farm to school movement. 
Through this year-long partnership with NEA, we look forward to making stronger connections with educators and ESP across the country, while additionally providing resources and tools for our members to build meaningful partnership with educators and ESP in their communities to strengthen local farm to school efforts. NEA and NFSN have a successful history of collaboration, including efforts around policy advocacy, storytelling on our blog, and celebrating events like National Farm to School Month and National Teacher Day. We look forward to deepening our partnership and furthering these efforts in 2018 to better educate and engage our membership in each other’s work. 
Stay tuned for opportunities to learn more about NEA and dig into this partnership with us throughout 2018!

This Week in Farm to School 2/13/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 13, 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. Frontera Farmer Foundation 2018 Grant 
The Frontera Farmer Foundation is committed to promoting small, sustainable Midwestern farms serving the Chicago area by providing them with capital development grants. These grants are for capital improvements of up to $12,000. Who Should Apply: small and mid-size farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin that sell their food products to customers in the Chicago area at farmers markets and otherwise. Deadline to apply is March 11, 2018. Learn more and apply here.

2. Get Out and Grow School Garden Grant & Sweepstakes

The Get Out and Grow School Garden Sweepstakes is open to School Administrators and Foodservice Directors of K-12 schools. Schools can win up to $15,000 cash towards a school garden and a visit from a Team USA Athlete. Who Should Apply: State accredited K-12 school located in the 50 United States and D.C. Deadline is March 11, 2018. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars
1. NFSN WEBINAR Advancing Equity Through Farm to School
February 13 // 3-4pm ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) recognizes racial and social equity as a central tenet of farm to school and has just released an organizational equity statement to publicly convey NFSN's commitment to advancing equity through farm to school and to share our equity journey. Join NFSN partners and staff on February 13 at 3pm ET to review the organization's equity statement and to hear from farm to school practitioners about their successes and challenges with advancing equity through farm to school. Register here

2. Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities

February 28 // 5pm ET
USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition invite you to attend “Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities.” This webinar will cover what USDA means by “farm to school”, the different ways to incorporate farm to school programs into your business plan, and how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation.  Funding, including grant opportunities, will be covered. Register here.

3. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School

March 1 // 2pm ET
One of the primary objectives of farm to school is to strengthening the connection that communities have with local food producers. Farmers and producers can also garner economic and social benefit through these strengthened relationships. Join this webinar to hear from farm to school practitioners and farmers about innovative yet practical approaches to engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities and learn how this engagement contributes to kids, communities, and farmers winning through farm to school. Register here.  

4. The Business of Farm to School

March 15 // 5pm ET
This webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities- hint- it’s not just school lunch! This webinar is coordinated by USDA Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and is geared towards farmers and producers selling to schools as a new market. Register here


Events
1. Registration Open for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. Save the Date and Call for Proposals: Iowa Farm to School Conference 2018

June 28-29 // Ankeny, Iowa
The Iowa Farm to School Coalition is pleased to invite individuals and groups to submit presentation proposals for the 2018 Iowa Farm to School Conference. The goal of the conference is to support and inspire those interested in or already implementing farm to school and farm to early care and education all around the state by covering a variety of topics. Please take this opportunity to share your expertise and creative ideas to help grow the farm to school movement in Iowa. Submission deadline is March 31st. Read more and see the proposal template here. Please submit your proposal via this Google Form: https://goo.gl/forms/jEXJQUD6LdFwjfoC3.


Research & Resources 
1. To Root Gardens in Schools, Create Curricular Connections
A recent study in the journal Health Behavior and Policy Review, by Dr. Katherine Gardner Burt and Tisch Food Center team members, concludes that supporting teachers to connect gardens with core academic subjects is critical to help school gardens grow deep roots in schools. Read more here

2. New Study: Making Nutrition Education Work in Schools

Findings from Dr. Kathleen Porter and Tisch Food Center team members give insight into the why-to and how-to of successfully adopting and sustaining nutrition education programs. To make it work, it is important to: 
  • Build motivation for nutrition education, for instance by emphasizing timely, tangible results, and framing it as fitting into a whole child approach to education 
  • Choose the right nutrition education program(s) based on a school’s needs and culture, involving a range of decision makers in the process 
  • Expand the school’s capacity for nutrition education, by identifying champions, creating routines and processes, and coordinating with existing school wellness efforts 
  • Sustain nutrition education by engaging a wide range of school community members and weaving nutrition education throughout the school’s curriculum. Read more here
3. Food Systems Leadership Network -  Community Food Systems Mentorship Program
The Wallace Center at Winrock International’s new Food Systems Leadership Network initiative includes a Community Food Systems Mentorship Program. This program seeks to provide emerging leaders with the opportunity to closely engage with more seasoned leaders as thought partners and coaches. The goal of this program is to create a space for experienced leaders to lend an ear to emerging leaders, and share their wisdom, knowledge, and expertise from years of practice in the good food movement. This Program will be offered twice annually, and will include 8 hours of one on one mentorship over a 3 month period for each mentee. The Spring application closes Feb. 15. Learn more here.  

Job Opportunities
1. Wisconsin Farm to School/Institution Director, The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is hiring a full time Wisconsin Farm to School/Institution Director. This position has a statewide responsibility to stimulate the State’s economy by increasing the market share of Wisconsin food and agricultural products, and to foster new investment in agriculture and agricultural infrastructure in Wisconsin. The deadline to apply is Feb. 25. Learn more here.

2. Network Manager, Chicago Food Policy Action Council

Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) seeks a Network Manager. The CFPAC Network Manager will support CFPAC’s priorities by working in coordination with CFPAC Board and staff members, organizations, vendors, suppliers, processors and producers as well as staff at City of Chicago Departments and Agencies, and national partners. Learn more here.

3. Communications Director, Practical Farmers of Iowa

Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking a communications director to be based with the organization in Ames, IA. This is a new position, added to bring Practical Farmers’ communications to a higher capacity as the organization grows. Learn more here

4. Multiple Positions, Pie Ranch
Pie Ranch cultivates a healthy and just food system from seed to table through food education, farmer training, and regional partnerships. They are seeking to hire a Director of Finance and Administration, Chef Educator, and Programs and Events Manager

5. FoodCorps Service Members
FoodCorps service member applications are open for the 2018-2019 school year. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2018 at 6pm PST. Learn more here.  


Farm to School in the News
Oneida Nation harvests fish and produce from self-sustaining greenhouse
Oneida Nation High School students have partnered with Oneida veterans and community members to build an aquaponics operation that’s expected to grow 500 pounds of fish and hundreds of heads of lettuce for school meals every year. The program got off the ground in 2016 thanks to a Farm to School grant from the USDA. (FOX 11)
 
Community partnerships build school gardens in North Carolina
School gardens in Cabarrus County will soon be overflowing with delicious and nutritious vegetables and herbs thanks to community collaboration between Cabarrus Health Alliance, the Dole Food Company, Earth Fare, and the NC State Plants for Human Health Institute. (Independent Tribune

Elementary school program puts Missouri students in the kitchen
Most students at school cafeterias are usually not on the same side of the counter as cooks, but that's different after school at Callaway Hills Elementary School — because the students are the cooks. "I think it's pretty good because I can cook for my family and grandparents," North Elementary School fourth-grader Gavin Wilson said. (News Tribune)

New York, High school agriculture class working to build community garden
Before the end of 2018, there may be a community garden at the Fenner Fields complex on Fenner Street — a garden offering fruits and vegetables and maybe even a fiber crop from alpacas. The garden is a project created by students in the Cazenovia High School Agriculture Program, one they not only created but are funding through grants. (Eagle News Online)

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: 2/06/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 06, 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

1. Edible Inquiries: Food Policy Research Connections Webinar
February 12 // 2:30pm ET
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Food Policy Networks project is pleased to announce a new interactive webinar series, “Edible Inquiries: Food Policy Research Connections.” Join us for the inaugural webinar in which will feature four researchers who have recently published articles about evaluating the internal organization and community impacts of food policy groups. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Advancing Equity Through Farm to School
February 13 // 3-4pm ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) recognizes racial and social equity as a central tenet of farm to school and has just released an organizational equity statement to publicly convey NFSN's commitment to advancing equity through farm to school and to share our equity journey. Join NFSN partners and staff on February 13 at 3pm ET to review the organization's equity statement and to hear from farm to school practitioners about their successes and challenges with advancing equity through farm to school. Register here

3. Beef to School Webinar
February 13 // 4:00pm EST
Join USDA's Office of Community Food Systems, Montana Beef to School Project, Montana State University, and school food service directors to learn about successful strategies for serving local beef in schools. The webinar will explore the Montana Beef to School Project’s findings and resources - including two new beef to school solicitation templates designed to help school districts purchase local beef! Participants will also hear from two school food service directors who will share their strategies and lessons learned for purchasing and serving local beef in schools. Register here


Events

1. Registration Open for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Scholarship applications to cover the cost of registration fees and/or selected short courses continue to be accepted until Feb. 12 at 8pm ET. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. National CACFP Week is March 11-17 
CACFP Week (March 11-17, 2018) is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of how the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) works to combat hunger. The event is sponsored by the National CACFP Sponsors Association.

3. 2018 Michigan Good Food Summit - Save the Date!
October 22 // East Lansing, MI 
This October, the Michigan Good Food Summit will amplify under-represented voices across the food system as it continues advancing the Good Food Charter’s vision of equity, sustainability and a thriving economy for all of Michigan and its people. Whether you’re a food consumer, grower or buyer; line cook, server or chef; advocate, educator or policymaker – join the gathering in East Lansing to connect with others advancing good food and equity in Michigan! Learn more here.


Take Action
1. Food Policy Networks council directory update
The Food Policy Networks team is conducting a 2018 update of the food policy council directory and wants to know what your food policy council has been up to.  If you are listed as the main contact for an FPC or similar group in the United States or Canada, you should have received an email last week requesting that you fill out this year’s survey by February 16. If you represent a council that IS NOT CURRENTLY IN the directory or did not receive the email, please go here.  

2. The Better Selves Fellowship
Knoll Farm is hosting a fellowship for individuals working in the fields of social justice, human well being and conservation who can benefit from time to pursue a specific project, question or need. You have the goal; they provide you with inspiring accommodations, work space, healthy food and a supportive community environment to pursue your goal. This self-guided Fellowship is awarded to 40 people who can attend their choice of two summer sessions. Learn more here


Resources 
1. New Study Suggests America’s Nutritional Divide Goes Deeper Than Food Access
“A new study by economists at New York University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago adds more evidence to the argument that food deserts alone are not to blame for the eating habits of people in low-income neighborhoods. The biggest difference in what we eat comes not from where we live per se, but from deeper, more fundamental differences in income and, especially, in education and nutritional knowledge, which shape our eating habits and in turn impact our health.” Read more here.

2. Land Justice - The Biggest Thing We Forget When Talking About Food Justice
“The food justice movement is one of the most promising political developments of the last generation. It has broadened and deepened environmentalism by knitting together concerns about economic inequality, labor rights, environmental health, and sustainable agriculture. But what often goes unmentioned in our discussions of food justice is that it all begins with land—who owns it, how they own it, and how it gets passed down from one generation to the next. This is something Savi Horne never forgets: Food justice requires land justice.” Read more here


Job Opportunities
1. Director of Programs, Georgia Organics
Working under the supervision of the Executive Director, the full-time Director of Programs will have strategic and operational responsibility for key program areas and serve on the senior management team. Learn more here.

2. Environment Program Officer, Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is seeking an individual to join the Washington, D.C., office as a program officer for the Mississippi River team.The foundation supports scaling up implementation of key agricultural practices through federal and state policy, as well as supply chain initiatives. Learn more here

3. Mid-Atlantic Outreach Coordinator, The Common Marker
The Common Market Mid-Atlantic seeks a Customer Outreach Coordinator (Philadelphia based). The Common Market’s mission is to strengthen regional farms while making the local bounty accessible to communities and the schools, universities, hospitals, restaurants, and retailers that serve them. Learn more here

4. Michigan Good Food Outreach Specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and MSU Product Center
The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) in partnership with the MSU Product Center is seeking an Academic Specialist to support outreach and business assistance efforts that will allow Michigan food production, processing and distribution businesses to build capacity and increase healthy food access in low-income urban and rural communities. Visit http://careers.msu.edu/ and look for job posting #485535 under faculty/academic staff to learn more. 

5. Director of Child Nutrition Programs, Oregon Department of Education
The Oregon Department of Education is recruiting for a permanent, full-time Director of Child Nutrition Programs. This position is located in Salem, Oregon, and is in Management Service. Learn more here

6. Executive Director, School Garden Project of Lane County
School Garden Project of Lance County seeks an energetic, creative, and inspired person to join their team as Executive Director. Apply by Feb. 23. Learn more here.  


Farm to School in the News
New Mexico bills propose produce in school meals
New Mexico’s House and Senate have introduced bills making an appropriation to provide New Mexico-grown fresh fruits and fresh vegetables for school meals. (SchoolNutrition.org)

Indiana farm able to grow during winter months
For Woodbury and his family, being able to grow produce year-round is an important part of their vision for the farm. Nature’s Gift Organics has focused its business on local consumers. Nature’s Gift has started partnering with Johnson County schools as well, ensuring that students have fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria. This farm to school program is part of a larger movement looking more closely at where the food we eat comes from. (Daily Journal)

Rhode Island elementary school to create garden
The students at Narragansett Elementary School are set to discover a world of growing and planting with the rollout of a school garden in the spring. As part of the University of Rhode Island’s Cooperative Extension School Garden Initiative (SGI), a plan which seeks to set up gardens in voluntary schools to expose students to the benefits of such spaces, the new project will serve as a platform for hands-on, STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) learning and align itself with curriculum requirements. (Narragansett Times)

School Food Focus and FoodCorps to merge

FoodCorps has announced it will bring the work of School Food Focus into its existing operations connecting kids to healthy food in schools. This move boosts FoodCorps’ ability to support schools across the country in procuring more local, nutritious foods for their cafeterias, providing kids with access to healthier school meals.. (FoodCorps)


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.

Announcing Keynote Speakers for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

NFSN Staff Thursday, February 01, 2018
As the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference approaches, we are excited to share more details about the conference program. 36 conference workshops in 12 tracks will cover a wide range of farm to cafeteria content – from Youth Leadership and Engagement to Equity and Justice in Farm to Cafeteria, and Local and Sustainable Procurement to School Gardens and On-site Farms.  You can check out the full conference agenda and workshop descriptions here. In addition to workshops, we’re also offering 8 short course and 11 field trips to explore the farm to cafeteria landscape across the Ohio Valley region.  And there’s more!

We are thrilled to announce our conference keynote speakers. Rodney K. Taylor is the Director of Food and Nutrition Services for the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCSP), in Va. FCPS is the 10th largest district in the U.S. with 188,000 students, in 194 schools, providing 149,000 meals per day. Prior to his employment with FCPS, Rodney was the Director of Nutrition Services, for the Riverside Unified School District, in Riverside, California.  

A noted pioneer and expert in farm to school salad bars, he is particularly known for establishing the “Farmers’ Market Salad Bar” program in 1997, while working as Director of Food and Nutrition Services in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, in Santa Monica, Calif. Rodney is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the California Endowment’s “Health Heroes” Award and the Loma Linda University Award for “The Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles---For Outstanding Commitment to the Public’s Health.” 
Haile Thomas is 17 years old, an international speaker, health activist, the youngest Certified Integrative Health Coach in the United States, and the founder/CEO of the nonprofit HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth). Haile founded HAPPY when she was 12 years old to address the need for free/affordable plant-based nutrition and culinary education in under served/at-risk communities, as well as in schools and through annual summer camps.

Haile has personally engaged over 15,000 kids and thousands of adults around the world since beginning her activism in 2010. She was inspired to pursue this passion after her family successfully reversed her father’s type-2 diabetes without the use of medication, only healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and upon learning that kids were also increasingly being diagnosed with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. All of Haile’s programs, projects, and initiatives, are geared towards engaging, educating, motivating and empowering young people to make healthy lifestyle choices to live their best life. Haile and her work have been featured on the Today Show, Food Network, CNN, Dr.Oz, Teen Vogue, Fortune, O Magazine, and Experience Life Magazine to name a few.

To highlight a local perspective of farm to cafeteria, we are honored to share that Dr. Roger Rennekamp, Associate Dean and Director of Ohio State University Extension, will be our Welcome Speaker. Dr. Rennekamp will share how the OSU Extension system and Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation discovery theme, also known as InFACT, align with principles of the Farm to School movement. He will also give examples of how the university—an institution with 17,000 students on its meal plan—is getting closer to reaching its goal of serving 40 percent local or sustainably grown foods by 2025.

Read more about our keynote speakers here

Early bird registration is open now through March 9th, and we are accepted conference scholarship applications until February 12th at 8pm EST. For more information on registration and scholarships, please visit our conference website. We look forward to hosting you and your farm to cafeteria team in Ohio! 

This Week in Farm to School: 1/30/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 30, 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. Get Schools Cooking
Chef Ann Foundation has opened applications for Get Schools Cooking, a comprehensive three-year program that includes on-site assessment, strategic planning, and continued technical support for school districts transitioning to scratch-cooked operations. Learn more and apply today.

2. Center for Disease Control Grant
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the availability of fiscal year 2018 funds to implement initiatives to improve student health and academic achievement through nutrition, physical activity, and the management of chronic conditions in schools. This grant is available to state education agencies (SEAs). Deadline: March 5, 2018. Learn more here


Webinars
1. Selecting, Installing, and Managing School Garden Bed Systems
January 30 // 4-5 PM ET
The National School Garden Network is presenting this webinar focused on choosing the best garden bed system for your school garden program. When you are working with multiple school garden sites, the number of variables to consider increases and using standardized bed systems with all of your schools can provide both benefits and challenges. In this webinar, we will hear from SGSOs who have developed  standard garden bed packages and find out what has worked for them and how they source their materials. Register here

2. Anybody can be an advocate: Measuring your council's readiness to work on policy
January 31 // 1:30 - 2:45 pm EST
The Food Policy Networks project is offering a webinar on the Get it Toolgether: Assessing Your Food Council's Ability to Do Policy Work toolkit. Adapted from the Alliance for Justice’s Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT), the toolkit is designed to help food policy councils (or similar coalitions of diverse stakeholders) assess their capacity to do policy work. It provides them with appropriate resources to increase their knowledge of the policy process and improve their advocacy skills. Join us for a conversation with the toolkit developers to learn about how the toolkit can be used to advance your council’s policy efforts. Register here.

3. Empowered Eaters: A Road Map for Stronger Nutrition Education Policies

January 31 // 3-4 PM ET
The Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior is presenting this webinar. With such a pressing need today for great nutrition education, alongside accessible and affordable healthy food, how are federal, state, and local governments responding? To answer this, the Tisch Food Center just launched a series of “Empowered Eaters” reports. This webinar details the landscape of public policy and investment in nutrition education, using New York as a case study. The reports provide a road map to strengthen the complex public systems that currently support nutrition education. SNEB Members attend webinars free as a benefit of membership. Non-member cost is $25. Register here

4. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Farm to School and Food Waste 

February 1 // 2-3 PM ET
Farm to school initiatives across the country are changing the way students and community members view and consume fresh, local foods and interact with their local food community. In many places, that change includes reducing food waste. From food banks to composting to sharing tables, join the National Farm to School Network's February Trending topics webinar to learn about best practices, initiatives, and resources to reduce food waste through farm to school. Register here

5. NFSN WEBINAR Advancing Equity Through Farm to School
February 13 // 3-4pm ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) recognizes racial and social equity as a central tenet of farm to school and has just released an organizational equity statement to publicly convey NFSN's commitment to advancing equity through farm to school and to share our equity journey. Join NFSN partners and staff on February 13 at 3pm ET to review the organization's equity statement and to hear from farm to school practitioners about their successes and challenges with advancing equity through farm to school. Register here

6. Beef to School Webinar
February 13 // 4:00pm EST
Join USDA's Office of Community Food Systems, Montana Beef to School Project, Montana State University, and school food service directors to learn about successful strategies for serving local beef in schools. The webinar will explore the Montana Beef to School Project’s findings and resources - including two new beef to school solicitation templates designed to help school districts purchase local beef! Participants will also hear from two school food service directors who will share their strategies and lessons learned for purchasing and serving local beef in schools. Register here


Events
1. Registration Open for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Scholarship applications to cover the cost of registration fees and/or selected short courses continue to be accepted until Feb. 12 at 8pm ET. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. 41st Annual National Food Policy Conference 
March 28-29 // Washington, DC
Coordinated by the Consumer Federation of America, the National Food Policy Conference is a unique collaboration among consumer advocates, the food industry and government, and a key national gathering for anyone interested in agriculture, food and nutrition policy. Learn more here.

3. 2018-19 Northeast Farm to School Institute 
June 26-28, 2018 // Shelburne, VT
The Northeast Farm to School Institute is a unique year-long professional learning opportunity for twelve school teams from New England and New York. Whether you're a long-time Farm to School advocate or looking to begin integrating food, farm, and nutrition programs into your school community, you're invited to form a team and apply. Learn more and apply


Resources
1. Equity in Farm to School
As a network of farm to school stakeholders and partners in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and U.S. Territories, the National Farm to School Network has the unique opportunity to work alongside communities to address inequities in the food system. We also hold significant collective potential to advance racial and social equity as a central tenet to organizational programming, partnerships and policies, which enables the accomplishment of our vision and strengthening of the farm to school movement. We invite you to learn about our commitment and join us in making farm to school a reality for every community across our country. 

2. FNS Releases First Mobile App with Food Buying Guide

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has announced its first ever mobile application, putting critical information at the fingertips of food service professionals and making it easier for them to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals through FNS’s child nutrition programs. “The Food Buying Guide" Mobile App mobile app is available to the public and can be an immediate resource to over 280,000 program operators responsible for USDA’s National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program as well as the countless food industry representatives working with these programs. 

3. Happy Multicultural Children's Book Day!

January 27 was Multicultural Children's Book Day. To celebration, the Food Trust's Ready Set Grow program shared this outstanding multicultural collection of farm to ECE books. A great collection for reading any time of year!


Policy News

1. House Forms Bipartisan Nutrition Group 
The Food is Medicine Working Group was formally launched in the House of Representatives last week, and is focused on emphasizing the link between nutrition programs and health outcomes. The group is part of the House Hunger Caucus and is led by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.).

2. Update on H.R. 3738, “The Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act” 
H.R. 3738, or “The Healthy Breakfast Help Kids Learn Act of 2017,” was introduced on September 12, 2017 and now has 31 legislators signed on as cosponsors of the bill. 


Farm to School in the News

Massachusetts schools encourage healthy eating
District Wellness Director Ryan Sherman said the McGovern School - which serves the town’s preschool through first-grade students - will have a new garden this year. In addition to tying in to the school’s science curriculum, the plan for the garden is to encourage students and teachers to eat more fresh produce, he said. “If students are involved in the production of healthy foods, they’re more likely to try them,” he said, noting the importance of establishing healthy habits at an early age. (Milford Daily News)

Oregon students going ‘green’

The grossest job is probably, “digging through the compost and peeling the stickers off banana skins,” said student Jayden Dewitt.“’Tis not for the fainthearted,” chimed in classmate Quinn Kelley. Eighteen middle school students in teacher Garron Lamoreau’s leadership class are working to achieve “zero waste” lunches and other environmental goals at Butte Creek to make it the only certified Oregon Green School in the Silver Falls School District. (Statesman Journal)

Arizona school harvests and sells crop of winter veggies
“We teach the business end of agriculture and agribusiness as well as the things the students need to know to grow a garden,” said CGMS teacher Michael Cruz. (PinalCenteral)

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.

Prioritizing Racial and Social Equity: Our Journey

NFSN Staff Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Advancing racial and social equity is a key priority for the National Farm to School Network, articulated in our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan and Theory of Change. Since 2014, we have taken several steps to prioritize equity in our programming, internal operations and organizational structure, and have elevated it as a strategic priority in 2017, to guide all our activities. Our overarching goals with advancing equity are to: 

  • Frame and promote racial and social equity as a central tenet of farm to school
  • Offer training opportunities for NFSN Core and Supporting Partners, Advisors and staff on advancing racial and social equity in our work 
  • Articulate clear organizational goals and outcomes for advancing racial and social equity and track progress towards these
  • Elevate diverse leaders as NFSN Core and Supporting Partners, Advisors and staff; engage more and diverse constituencies and communities in the farm to school movement
  • Explore and leverage opportunities for policy advocacy, programming and partnerships around a diverse set of barriers to participation in farm to school including but not limited to race, age, gender, socio-economic status and disability
  • Leverage NFSN’s information channels and resource creation to promote equitable access to farm to school (e.g., blogs, webinars, translation of materials, photographs used)
Concerted efforts to focus our programming on diverse stakeholders have facilitated a deeper understanding of the need to centralize racial and social equity in farm to school efforts. Our journey has been led internally with staff volunteering to guide conversations and incorporating aspects into programmatic activities. More recently, the staff Leadership Team has transitioned to review the goals in our strategic plan and articulate specific activities to benchmark progress. 

  • Since 2014, we have convened two cohorts of leaders from Native communities, providing training and networking opportunities, facilitated conversations with USDA for easing barriers to incorporating traditional foods in school meal and child nutrition programs and included support for farm to school in Native communities in our federal policy asks. 
  • Our Equity in Farm to Early Care and Education Subgroup is exploring the complexities of equity in early care and elevating examples of farm to school from diverse communities of color.
  • Our biennial National Farm to Cafeteria Conference has provided a space to discuss racial and social equity with stakeholders across the movement. Recent conferences included dedicated skill building sessions on dismantling racism and featured speakers to elevate equity as a central priority for farm to cafeteria efforts. 
  • Focusing internally, NFSN staff participated in the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge hosted by Food Solutions New England in 2016 and 2017, and engage in ongoing discussions and learning on this topic. 
  • We are striving to make our staff and Advisory Board more diverse and representative of our network and the farm to school movement. 
  • In early 2017, we made a strategic shift in our structure to focus resources and efforts at the state level and expand support to the U.S. Territories, now partnering with more than 200 diverse organizations, state agencies and universities as Core and Supporting Partners
  • At the first meeting of these partners in May 2017, we discussed racial equity within farm to school to ground ourselves in a common understanding. Participants engaged with our own personal experiences, biases and understandings – it resonated with some, it raised questions for others – and we recognized that this was only the beginning of a long path of discovery, reflection and action. 
As we implement our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan, our strategies, services, and communications will start reflecting changes to accomplish the goals outlined above. We invited you to join us in this work of prioritizing racial and social equity in the farm to school movement. We will continue to share the process of our journey in this work here on our blog and in our monthly newsletters. We’d also like to hear from you: share with us your stories of challenges and successes in making farm to school more equitable by sending us a note here

Learn more about our commitment to advancing racial and social equity in farm to school, as well as find resources to support your efforts, here
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