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National Farm to School Network

News

Welcome, Jenileigh Harris!

NFSN Staff Wednesday, October 09, 2019
National Farm to School Network is pleased to share that Jenileigh Harris has joined our staff as Program Associate. Since March 2019, Jenileigh has worked with NFSN as Programs Intern. 

Jenileigh has experience in education, scientific and legal research, and food and agriculture law and policy. She is passionate about food justice, systems change work, effective policymaking and utilizing education as a tool for advocacy. Jenileigh is a graduate of Vermont Law School (VLS) where she earned her master’s degree in Food and Agriculture Law and Policy. While at VLS, she co-launched the Racial Equity Working Group to host events and facilitate conversations and events celebrating racial and cultural diversity as well as highlighting racial and social inequities in the food system. She has continued working with the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at VLS as a policy research consultant on projects such as farm to school state policy, food system resiliency, and seafood fraud. 

In her new role as Program Associate, Jenileigh will continue contributing to National Farm to School Network and the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s cooperative agreement with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems to develop farm to school trainings for agricultural producers. Jenileigh currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO and enjoys mountain biking, trail running, yoga, cooking, reading, and drinking coffee. Welcome to your new role, Jenileigh! 

Reflections from the Road: Conference on Native American Nutrition

NFSN Staff Wednesday, October 09, 2019
By Mackenize Martinez, Partnership Communications Intern

As the Intertribal Agriculture Council Partnership Communications Intern working with National Farm to School Network, I recently had the opportunity to attend and present at the Fourth Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition in Mystic Lake, Minnesota. This is the only conference series in the world devoted to the food and nutrition of Indigenous Peoples. It brings together tribal officials, researchers, practitioners, funders and others to discuss the current state of Indigenous and academic scientific knowledge about Native nutrition, dietary health, and food science, and identify new areas of work. My role in helping co-lead a break out session titled “Farm to School as a Strategy for Advancing Food Sovereignty in Native Communities” with Alena Paisano, NFSN Program Manager,  was certainly a profound learning and networking experience. 

Our session focused on the ways that farm to school can be used as a strategy to decolonize our food system and take back our food sovereignty in Native communities. A key portion of our presentation also shared about the partnership between the National Farm to School Network and the Intertribal Agriculture Council that is helping to advance this work. In addition, NFSN’s recent Seed Change in Native Communities project was also discussed and these successes - which ranged all across Indian Country - were highlighted for audiences to view. In particular, we engaged with audience members from the Mala`ai Kula: Kaua`i Farm-to-School Pilot who participated in Seed Change to support an existing three-year pilot project to create a culturally relevant farm to school program at two Kaua`i schools. On Kaua`i, where 90 percent of food is imported, Mala`ai Kula helped students build a healthier relationship with traditional food systems through school gardens and locally-grown foods in school meals. I enjoyed seeing everyone come together in this space and share their farm to school experiences and knowledge.


Culturally relevant meals served at Kaua`i schools as part of the Mala`ai Kula: Kaua`i Farm-to-School Pilot. 
As a representative on the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance, the national executive board for the Intertribal Agriculture Youth Network, I was very much able to take a first-hand look into the concept of farm to school as a strategy for advancing food sovereignty in Native communities. In order to see how this national partnership is contributing to success in Native communities, it was imperative for me to establish a personal connection and to pinpoint how my passions align in this particular space. Naturally, as I presented to the breakout session, I expressed that my personal connection with farm to school stems from involvement in Intertribal Agriculture Council youth programming. These particular programs are so vital to Native youth because of the emphasis that is placed on developing qualities of leadership, building knowledge of traditional agricultural practices, and being equipped with the skills to take initiative for change back to our communities. While I attended the gathering to help educate others on this, I unequivocally gained a better understanding of how interconnected the roles of National Farm to School Network and Intertribal Agriculture Council are in serving youth through the many forms that farm to school takes. While I have been exposed to the idea of food sovereignty for a few years now, attending this conference gave me a refreshed look into the current efforts of this movement and how essential it is that traditional foods are implemented in school systems serving Native populations. The breakout session that Alena and I led was an effective way to get that particular conversation started.

In addition to helping facilitate our farm to school presentation, I experienced this conference as a first-time attendee. I am still in awe of the energy that this diverse group of individuals carried as we sat in general sessions. Some of my favorite moments from this conference included the keynote speech from Peggy Flanagan, Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota. Hearing from one of the highest-ranking Native American women in history was certainly empowering and hopeful. Lieutenant Governor Flanagan spoke of firsthand childhood experiences that included being a recipient of commodity foods and understanding the reality that individuals in these types of nutrition assistance programs face. Knowing that Native communities have her support in moving forward in the reach for food sovereignty is certainly exciting and opens an even wider expanse of opportunities for youth in farm to school.

In addition, through the keynote presentation of Sean Sherman, founder of The Sioux Chef, I learned a lot about the dynamics of Indigenous food systems and actions being taken to revitalize traditional diets on a larger scale. Farm to school is an approach that can help make this type of food revitalization more accessible to Native children because of the direct role that it plays in a child’s wellbeing and everyday life. Schools are institutions that serve as the foundation of a child’s knowledge, and that knowledge shouldn’t stop in the classroom. It should be carried into the cafeteria, as well. Mr. Sherman’s keynote presentation reminded us that in order to take back our food systems and revitalize those traditional diets, we first need to understand them. Farm to school is a way to bridge that gap between the classroom to the cafeteria and help establish traditional knowledge of food and nutrition at earlier ages. In addition, as a tribal member not currently residing on ancestral land, I enjoyed the discussions on access to traditional foods as an urban Native.

As an intern and someone pursuing post-secondary education in the agricultural science field, this conference was a definite experience of growth in knowledge, character, and leadership. I am looking forward to using this event as a milestone to look back on as my time working between the National Farm to School Network and Intertribal Agriculture Council Partnership continues. 

4 Steps to Host a Winning Farm to School Event with Highbush Blueberries

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Guest post by the US Highbush Blueberry Council

Fresh or frozen highbush blueberries aren’t just a nutritious and delicious menu staple beloved by students – they’re also a bite-sized bit of bluetiful inspiration for your next farm to school event. Whether you’re thinking of hosting a promotion for National Farm to School Month or are looking for year-round inspiration, these little blue dynamos are a cafeteria favorite, perfect for your next nutrition event. Here are four easy steps to get you started:

1. Get Inspired
Wondering where to start when planning a farm to school event? Draw inspiration from these K-12 case studies featuring three districts that have hosted successful promotions by celebrating fresh and frozen highbush blueberries all year-round:

  • Carrollton City School District, Georgia – Hosted a “Highbush Blueberry Bonanza Week” complete with a blueberry-themed food truck, nutrition education sessions and a highbush blueberry cooking class. The results: An 11% increase in lunch participation at junior high school; and 5% average increase in breakfast participation across elementary, middle and high school.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, North Carolina – Hosted a “Highbush Blueberry Day” to bring highbush blueberry education to the classroom, followed by student taste test of a new menu item: Highbush Blueberry Breakfast Bark. The results: 85% of students voted that the recipe was “yummy!”
  • Sebree Elementary School, Kentucky – During last year’s National Farm to School Month, in partnership with NFSN and USHBC, Webster County Schools won a sweepstakes for a “Build-Your-Own Highbush Blueberry Day.” This was extended to a full week of highbush blueberry fun, including a blueberry nutrition education session, a blueberry-themed art contest and blueberry taste tests for two recipes: a Blueberry Smoothie and a Blueberry Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette. The results: a 12% increase in breakfast participation that week. 


2. Learn from Others
It comes as no surprise that pulling off successful promotions like the ones above are a lot of fun, and a lot of work. Luckily, you can hear from three rockstar school nutrition pros directly in National Farm to School Network’s latest recorded webinar: Bring Farm to School to Life with Highbush Blueberries. The expert panel shared actionable advice on bringing a farm to school promotion to life, with some tips and tricks for planning and execution to make nutrition (and blueberries!) fun for all. 

3. Download the Playbook
Now feeling ready to take on an event of your own? Download the Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook, your go-to digital resource to inspire your staff, excite your students, and celebrate with your community. The playbook is packed with menu inspiration, virtual farm tours, nutrition guides, kid-friendly activities and more – everything you need to bring highbush blueberries and nutrition to your students in a fun and engaging way. Plus, it’s free to view, download and print from home! 

4. Have Fun
Lastly, and most importantly, have FUN! These events are a fantastic way to engage with students and make them feel involved in their nutrition choices – in a way that’s approachable, memorable and interactive. Incorporate activities and games into your promotion to add an exciting element that will bring a smile to students and staff alike. These fun memories will incite future passions for healthy eating!

Don’t miss out on all the highbush blueberry fun this National Farm to School Month! With these easy steps, you’re ready to celebrate nutrition and serve up a smile with your students. For more positively bluetiful news, kid-friendly ideas and yummy menu inspiration, visit BlueberriesInSchools.com.

This Week in Farm to School: 10/8/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 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. Get Schools Cooking Grants
Deadline: October 28, 2019
A program of Chef Ann Foundation, Get Schools Cooking (previously known as the School Food Support Initiative) provides school districts with the operational foundation necessary to transition their Food & Nutrition Service Departments from a heat & serve or processed model to one that is rooted in scratch cooking using real ingredients. Through Get Schools Cooking, food service teams are guided through an intensive, three-year program. Applications for the 2019 Cohort are now open. An information webinar is scheduled for Sept. 12. Learn more here.

2. Community Innovation Grants Program
Deadline: December 1, 2019
The Community Innovation Grants Program has been designed to allow the United Fresh Start Foundation to collaborate with like-minded stakeholders to increase children’s access, selection, and consumption of fresh produce while they are outside of school. The 2020 program is focused on supporting visionary initiatives and research that not only increases children and families’ access to fresh produce, but also broadens selection and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, whether at home, on weekends, during the summer, while out to eat, or any other time outside the traditional school day. A total of $50,000 in funds through the Community Innovation GrantsProgram will be awarded this year. A minimum of five grants will be awarded, in amounts warranted by applicants. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. EQUITY National Good Food Network Webinar: Equitable Food Oriented Development
October 17 // 3 PM - 4:15 PM EST
Join leading community food system practitioners and founders of the emerging Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD) Collaborative, as they present the EFOD framework for creating community-owned models of economic and social opportunity within traditionally disenfranchised and oppressed communities. Unique in being practitioner created and defined, EFOD has developed over many years of dialogue and practice in the field of food justice work (alt: food-based community development). This webinar will provide an introduction to the EFOD framework, present recent developments including research carried out in partnership with Daisa Enterprises and a new whitepaper written by the EFOD Collaborative, and introduce the Wallace Center's EFOD Regional Food Fellows. Learn more about how you can get involved. Register here

2. GSO Network Webinar: Winter Programming for SGSO’s in Northern Climates
October 8 // 3 PM - 4 PM EST
When much of the school year takes place in freezing temperatures, how do SGSO’s keep kids engaged with garden-based learning, and what are other roles that SGSO’s can take on when the garden is dormant? Discussion topics will include ways to bring gardening inside, as well as ways to create advocacy, training, and networking opportunities. Register here.

3. NFSN WEBINAR Kids Win and Farms Win: What Do We Know About the Impacts of Farm to School
November 7 // 1 PM ET
Advocates claim that 'kids win, farmers win, and communities win' from policies, programming and initiatives that promote farm to school. However, what do we know about the extent to which this is true? Recent research funded by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides interesting insights into the kids win and farms win impacts of farm to school efforts. This webinar, featuring researchers from Colorado State University and University of Illinois, will highlight recent and ongoing research and important areas for future farm to school work. Register here

4. NFSN EVENT Scholarships Open - 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference 
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, NM, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene nearly 1,000 diverse stakeholders who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The scholarship application is open through Nov. 1. Learn more at farmtoschool.org/conference.


Research & Resources
1. Article: Farm-to-school education grants reach low-income children and encourage them to learn about fruits and vegetables
Journal of Translational Behavioral Medicine - Caroline B. Rains, Kristen C. Giombi, Anupama Joshi
For children from low-income families, school meals are a significant portion of daily caloric intake and hence an opportunity to address food insecurity. Oregon established its Farm to School Education Grant Program to increase knowledge of and preference for fruits and vegetables among children in low-income school districts. This article outlines the reach of the education grants and examines their influence on children’s food choices and behaviors related to fruits and vegetables. Read more


Job Opportunities
1. Extension Associate - Farm to School Program Assistant (Baton Rouge, LA)
The Extension Associate is responsible to the Louisiana Farm to School (LA F2S) Program Executive Director and works under the direction of the LA F2S Program Director, and alongside the Farm to School Team. The successful candidate will plan, coordinate, and evaluate school-related programs within the Louisiana Farm to School Program, including Louisiana Harvest of the Month and Seeds to Success. Learn more and apply here


National Farm to School Month Highlights
October is National Farm to School Month!
Schools, ECE sites, farms and communities across the country are celebrating the connections between students and local food this month. See highlights of how states are celebrating below. National Farm to School Network has free resources, a calendar of events, planning materials and activity ideas for ways you can get involved in October. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to find more and join us!

Guam's Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has proclaimed October National Farm to School Month. During a signing ceremony, the department of education announced it is partnering with the economic development authority and local farmers to bring more local produce into school cafeterias. 

Idaho kicked off Idaho Farm to School Month with First Lady Teresa Little and state agriculture officials visiting the Notus School cafeteria Oct. 2. 

New Jersey celebrated its 9th Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week Sept. 23-27, which included presenting Philip’s Academy Charter School in Newark with the “Best in New Jersey Farm to School Award” and recognizing Cecil Creek Farm in Gloucester County as the winning farm for the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Farmer Recognition Award

New Mexico schools celebrated New Mexico Grown Week, Sept. 30 - Oct. 4. Farmington schools served up potatoes grown on the Navajo Nation, while schools in Taos ground blue corn into atole. Kids in Santa Fe Public Schools ate sunflower shoots and those in Albuquerque schools carved watermelons.

Virginia Farm to School Week is Oct. 7-11 and includes the annual "Crunch Heard 'Round the Commonwealth" on Oct. 9. Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam joined students at Matthew Whaley Elementary School on Monday for an early celebration of the event. 

Washington schools celebrated Taste Washington Day on Oct. 2. Governor Jay Inslee officially proclaimed Oct. 2 as Taste Washington Day - read the proclamation here

Wisconsin's Sugar Creek Elementary School welcomed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week to celebrate National Farm to School Month. 


Farm to School in the News
Tennessee county 'farm to school' initiative aims to bring local food to cafeterias
For nearly 70 years, students at Dresden High School in Tennessee have worked on the farm at the school. It’s the only one like it in the state. Now, the school district is looking for ways to incorporate farming into more facets of the curriculum and get more people involved. It's part of Weakley County Schools' new "Farm to School" initiative. (WPSD

School gardens open doors to learning, and fun, at nine Louisiana schools
For students at nine Lafayette schools, playing in the dirt isn’t only allowed, it’s encouraged as students plan, grow and harvest their own produce. Around 80 students, teachers and gardening enthusiasts gathered recently at Charles Burke Elementary, excited to learn about healthy living and successful plant cultivation as part of the LSU AgCenter’s school gardening program. (The Advocate)

Local beef nourishes Washington students and future farmers
As an aspiring farmer, Avery is already finding success in partnership with the high school, Lopez Locavores, and the Lopez Community Land Trust. And he’s not alone. He and Josh Kramer, another student, have met the criteria to sell USDA-approved beef from their cows to be used in their school’s cafeteria. Avery says he’s excited, “to share quality, grass-fed beef with the school.” (Islands Weekly)

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.

31 Day, 31 Ways To Celebrate Farm to School

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 01, 2019

By Anna Mullen, Communications Manager

The very best month of the farm to school-year is finally here! Let us be the first to wish you a very happy National Farm to School Month

National Farm to School Network advocated for the creation of National Farm to School Month by Congress in 2010 (House Resolution 1655) and since then, the yearly October festivities have brought together thousands of students, teachers, parents, farmers, food advocates, school lunch professionals, and community members from a wide range of sectors to raise awareness of the important role of farm to school in improving child nutrition, supporting local economies, and building vibrant communities. This National Farm to School Month, join the celebration of food education, school gardens, and lunch trays filled with healthy, local ingredients. 

With 31 days to celebrate, here are 31 ways to dig in

1. Become a member of the National Farm to School Network – it’s free! 
2. Explore our free resources for planning and promoting farm to school this month. 
3. See what celebrations are happening in your community and join in the fun.  
4. Sign up your organization to be a National Farm to School Month Outreach Partner
5. Donate to support the National Farm to School Network and help us bring farm to school to communities across the country every month. 
6. Share how your celebrating by using the hashtags #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool on social media. 
7. Follow the National Farm to School Network on social media - we're at @FarmtoSchool
8. Stay up to date on all things farm to school and farm to ECE by signing up for our e-newsletter
9. Learn about the benefits of farm to school
10. Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 and the Kids Eat Local Act to continue growing farm to school efforts through federal policy. 
11. Find out if your state has a farm to school / farm to ECE network. If yes, connect with them!
12. Eat in the cafeteria with students. 
13. Conduct a taste test of a new food. 
14. Visit a farm, orchard or pumpkin patch. 
15. Invite a farmer to visit your classroom. 
16. Take students on a tour of their school kitchen. 
17. Turn your thumbs green – whether in a raised bed, community garden plot, hydroponic garden or other plant growing space. 
18. Ask students and families to share their family food traditions and favorite recipes to create a class cookbook. 
19. Read a book together about food, farming or cooking. 
20. Visit a farmers market and say “Thank You!” to the growers who've produced your food.
21. Cook and enjoy a family meal together, incorporating local foods. 
22. Use arts and crafts such as coloring, painting, cutting and pasting or other creative projects to reinforce excitement for fruits and vegetables. 
23. Get moving with physical activity games. Try a relay race to collect fruits and vegetables and sort them by plant family or by color. 
24. Consider new recipes that are culturally appropriate and relevant to your community. 
25. Be brave a try a new food.
26. Celebrate school nutrition professionals by telling them "Thank You!" every day.
27. Take time to be mindful - a garden is a great place to do this. Use all five of your senses to enjoy the natural world around you. 
28. Organize a site visit for your policymakers to see farm to school in action. 
29. Make a bulletin board celebrating farmers and local food. 
30. Volunteer to serve on a school garden committee, district wellness committee, or another group that champions farm to school. 
31. Find even MORE ways to celebrate in our National Farm to School Month Celebration Toolkit

Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you taking small actions every day to grow healthier kids, support local agriculture and cultivate vibrant communities. These next 31 days are the perfect time to celebrate how far we've come, and dig in to keep growing the movement!
 
Special thanks to our 2019 National Farm to School Month Sponsors and Supporters, including CoBank and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, and our Outreach Partner organizations that are helping us spread the word about farm to school throughout October. And, thanks to you for being a farm to school champion in your community.
 
Happy National Farm to School Month!

This Week in Farm to School: 10/1/19

NFSN Staff Monday, September 30, 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. Get Schools Cooking Grants
Deadline: October 28, 2019
A program of Chef Ann Foundation, Get Schools Cooking (previously known as the School Food Support Initiative) provides school districts with the operational foundation necessary to transition their Food & Nutrition Service Departments from a heat & serve or processed model to one that is rooted in scratch cooking using real ingredients. Through Get Schools Cooking, food service teams are guided through an intensive, three-year program. Applications for the 2019 Cohort are now open. An information webinar is scheduled for Sept. 12. Learn more here.

Webinars
1. NFSN WEBINAR Bring Farm to School to Life with Highbush Blueberries
October 3 // 1 PM ET
October is National Farm to School Month, the perfect time to host a farm to school event to celebrate healthy, local food in the cafeteria, classroom and beyond! Resources like the Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook can be a great tool for helping schools of any size find small and big ways to get kids excited about where their food comes from. On this webinar, three schools will share how they’ve used the Farm to School Playbook to put together successful nutrition celebrations with blueberries. Nutrition Consultant Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, will lead a panel discussion with three rockstar school nutrition professionals, who will share easy and practical inspiration for schools looking to kickstart their farm to school programs, tips for a successful promotion and increases in school breakfast/lunch participation, and inspiration for events your students will love. This webinar is hosted by the National Farm to School Network and sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Kids Win and Farms Win: What Do We Know About the Impacts of Farm to School
November 7 // 1 PM ET
Advocates claim that 'kids win, farmers win, and communities win' from policies, programming and initiatives that promote farm to school. However, what do we know about the extent to which this is true? Recent research funded by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides interesting insights into the kids win and farms win impacts of farm to school efforts. This webinar, featuring researchers from Colorado State University and University of Illinois, will highlight recent and ongoing research and important areas for future farm to school work. Register here


Events & Networking Opportunities
1. October is National Farm to School Month!
National Farm to School month is here! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials and activity ideas for ways you can get involved in October. Check out the National Farm to School Month Events Calendar to see how your state is celebrating! Share your Farm to School Month highlights on social media with #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to find more and join us in celebrating!

2. NFSN EVENT 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference - RFP Closing Soon & Scholarships Now Open
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, NM, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene nearly 1,000 diverse stakeholders who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Do you have expertise to share? The workshop and poster Request for Proposals is open through Oct. 4. The scholarship application is open through Nov. 1. Learn more at farmtoschool.org/conference.

3. Local Foods Procurement Training
October 3, 2019 // Hinckley, ME
Join USDA Team Lead and Procurement Specialist Martine Cherry and Abbie Nelson, Farm to School Program Director from VT Food Education Every Day (VT FEED) and NOFA-VT for a fun, interactive afternoon of digging into local food procurement rules and guidelines so that you can get the local foods you want! Held at Kennebec Valley Community College, Alfond Campus in Hinckley, ME, this free 3-hour training, sponsored by the Maine Farm to School Network and supported by a USDA Farm to School Training Grant, will explore topics like micro purchasing, informal bid process, Buy American provision, purchasing thresholds, values-based buying, and the importance of relationship building with food producers. Needs based, first come first served scholarships are available to support attendance costs. Contact Renee Page at r.page@hccame.org if you are interested in attendance cost assistance.

4. 9th Annual Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners (BUGS) National Conference
October 25-27, 2019 // New York, NY
Homecoming: Remembering and Reclaiming our Futures through Soil and Soul is the theme of this year’s conference. Through engaging and participatory workshops, panel discussions and social events, attendees will explore the roots of Black Agriculture and its connections and influence on today’s movements for Black food sovereignty, urban agriculture, food systems, reclaiming Black cultural foodways and rebuilding thriving Black communities. The conference will also provide hands-on, skill-building workshops on sustainable agriculture education including soil health, hydroponics, hoop tunnels and other related topics. Learn more here.


Job Opportunities
1. Senior National Advisor for Food Systems (Washington Metropolitan Area)
The Senior National Advisor for Food Systems (Sr. Advisor) leads Healthier Generation’s (HG) cross-sector strategy to support communities and companies to ensure healthy food access for children and families. S/he works with colleagues and partners to develop, expand, improve and implement systemic and community-based approaches across settings that ensure all children, particularly those facing hunger and food insecurity, have the opportunity to eat healthfully every day. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Pennsylvania girl scouts transform middle school 'jungle' to garden
It took a team effort to turn Boyce Middle School’s courtyard, which the principal described as a “jungle,” into a garden complete with raised beds for vegetables and fruits, flowers and butterfly bushes. The transformation occurred over the summer, thanks to the efforts of four girls from Girl Scout Troop 53680, school nurse Holly Fisher, and student and parent volunteers. (Post-Gazette)

Tennessee elementary school celebrates opening of learning garden
“Because our school is more of an urban school, many of our students don’t have the opportunity to garden and be outdoors in a beautiful space like this and so it’s so important that we provide that for them here,” Cross said. “To see the excitement and wonder on their faces as they were cutting those leaves and discovering that there’s red leaf lettuce as well as green leaf lettuce and those kinds of things I mean, again, it’s just a wonderful learning opportunity.” (WATE)

Georgia schools install hydroponic gardens for students to grow produce indoors
Many Bibb County Schools have agriculture programs that use outdoor gardens, but at SOAR Academy, there isn't really enough space for one, so school leaders decided to install the district's first hydroponic gardens for students to farm inside. (WMAZ)


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: 9/24/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 24, 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. K4C Microgrant Program
Deadline: October 1, 2019
The K4C Microgrant Program is the bridge between ideas and action. By providing microgrants in varying amounts up to $1,000, K4C helps young citizen leaders execute and magnify their initiatives to help repair our world. Students 18 years of age and under may apply for funds to complete service projects in their communities throughout the United States. Whether you plan to turn a vacant lot into a community garden, rebuild a school playground or help senior citizens ready their homes for the winter, K4C wants to hear what project you’re passionate about. Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis. Learn more here


Webinars
1. Webinar: SGSO Volunteer Management and Community Support
September 26 //  3 PM EST
School gardens are ideal places to involve the community and school gardens also require significant maintenance so they’re the perfect place to bring people together. Join this webinar to learn about ways to get people out and excited, ideas for managing large volunteer groups, how to engage consistent volunteers, and help keep your garden looking good. This webinar is a part of the School Garden Support Organization (SGSO) Network. Register here

2. NFSN WEBINAR Bring Farm to School to Life with Highbush Blueberries
October 3 // 1 PM ET
October is National Farm to School Month, the perfect time to host a farm to school event to celebrate healthy, local food in the cafeteria, classroom and beyond! Resources like the Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook can be a great tool for helping schools of any size find small and big ways to get kids excited about where their food comes from. On this webinar, three schools will share how they’ve used the Farm to School Playbook to put together successful nutrition celebrations with blueberries. Nutrition Consultant Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, will lead a panel discussion with three rockstar school nutrition professionals, who will share easy and practical inspiration for schools looking to kickstart their farm to school programs, tips for a successful promotion and increases in school breakfast/lunch participation, and inspiration for events your students will love. This webinar is hosted by the National Farm to School Network and sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Register here


Events & Networking Opportunities
1. NFSN EVENT Call for Proposals: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Deadline: October 4, 2019
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, NM, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene nearly 1,000 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Do you have expertise to share? Conference organizers are seeking workshop and poster proposals from individuals and organizations working to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, advance equity and increase opportunities for farmers and food producers. The Request for Proposals (RFP) is open now through Oct. 4, 2019. Learn more at farmtoschool.org/conference.

2. NFSN CELEBRATION It's almost time for National Farm to School Month!
October 2019
National Farm to School month is right around the corner! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials, activity ideas and a national calendar of events with ways you can get involved in October. Check out the complete Farm to School Month Celebration Toolkit and download resources at farmtoschool.org/month. Does your organization want to be part of this year's National Farm to School Month campaign? Sign up to be a Farm to School Month Outreach Partner at farmtoschool.org/monthpartner

3. Local Foods Procurement Training
October 3, 2019 // Hinckley, ME
Join USDA Team Lead and Procurement Specialist Martine Cherry and Abbie Nelson, Farm to School Program Director from VT Food Education Every Day (VT FEED) and NOFA-VT for a fun, interactive afternoon of digging into local food procurement rules and guidelines so that you can get the local foods you want! Held at Kennebec Valley Community College, Alfond Campus in Hinckley, ME, this free 3-hour training, sponsored by the Maine Farm to School Network and supported by a USDA Farm to School Training Grant, will explore topics like micro purchasing, informal bid process, Buy American provision, purchasing thresholds, values-based buying, and the importance of relationship building with food producers. Needs based, first come first served scholarships are available to support attendance costs. Contact Renee Page at r.page@hccame.org if you are interested in attendance cost assistance.

4. Maine Farm to School Conference - Innovations in Farm to School
October 4, 2019 // Hinckley, ME
Join farm to school practitioners, advocates, and stakeholders for a day of learning, networking, best practice sharing, and great local food! Hear how keynote speaker Bertrand Weber weaved farm to school strategies into all aspects of Minneapolis Public Schools. Learn about classroom and cafeteria strategies to advance farm to school. Review the agenda, learn more, and register here.

5. Request for Proposals: Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Annual Conference
Deadline: October 4, 2019
This conference will imagine and plan for how nutrition education, rooted in food, can move us to a new food future. SNEB invites proposals related to the 'What Food Future?' theme including: concurrent sessions, general sessions, pre- and post-conference workshops or tours, and non-CEU activity sessions (yoga, Zumba, meditation, etc.). Learn more here

6. Registration Open: Community Food Systems Conference
December 9-11, 2019 // Savannah, GA
The conference will draw over 500 participants from various fields including food justice and advocacy, local and regional food policy, nutrition and healthy food access, sustainable agriculture, racial and social justice, and community food projects. Attendees will come from all over the US to discuss food security, social justice, and sustainable agriculture. Register here


Resources & Research
1. Research: Farm to School Activities and Student Outcomes: A Systematic Review
Authors: Melissa Pflugh Prescott, Rebecca Cleary, Alessandro Bonanno, Marco Costanigro, Becca B R Jablonski, Abigail B Long
The primary objective of this systematic literature review is to summarize and evaluate studies on student outcomes associated with farm to school-related activities up to 1 September, 2017. Results from farm to school-related activity studies consistently show positive impacts on food and nutrition-related knowledge; most studies also suggest a positive relation between farm to school-related activities and healthy food selection during school meals, nutrition self-efficacy, and willingness to try fruits and vegetables. Read more here

2. EQUITY Advancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Policy and Law Research: 2019 Call for Proposals for Early Career Investigators
Deadline: October 2, 2019
Policies for Action (P4A), a signature research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is issuing a special call for proposals (CFP) to advance health equity by actively seeking new and diverse perspectives from the policy research field. This opportunity is designed to support researchers from multiple disciplines to better understand and find solutions that will promote health equity and foster action on policies and laws that ensure all people in America can attain and preserve good health and well-being. This opportunity will support early career researchers from underrepresented and historically disadvantaged backgrounds. P4A will provide support and training for up to six investigators. Learn more here

3. EQUITY Recording: Food Sovereignty and the Role of Extension - Partnerships that Work
This webinar provides an introduction to food sovereignty, looking at how and why this principle is used in different First Nations communities. Following this introduction, two partners describe how they have worked together on food sovereignty projects. They describe how the partnership developed and key elements of a partnership that promotes food sovereignty. Watch the recording here


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to School Program Director (Richmond, VT)
The Farm to School Program Director is responsible for all Farm to School work at NOFA-VT. Overall responsibilities include strategic development and implementation with Shelburne Farms staff for VT FEED and to scale up farm to school programming statewide with a focus on the farmers and school nutrition directors and staff who are, or want to be, involved in local food purchasing for schools. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Georgia school districts recognized for farm to school work at 2019 Golden Radish Awards
Elbert County School District received the Outstanding School District Award and Platinum Level recognition at the 2019 Golden Radish Awards. The Outstanding School District Award is given annually to school districts exhibiting exceptional excellence in Farm to School. (Georgia Organics)

Michigan FFA students make salsa from school garden
An FFA and food science class in Michigan has been growing tomatoes and selling them to a local restaurant. They're also turning some of their tomato crop into fresh salsa. (WZZM)

Iowa schools add local foods to lunch menu
Vinton- Shellsburg Community School District in Benton County, Iowa is working to add more locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as locally raised meat, to its school menu. “We have a lot of interest, and we are looking for farmers who are able to provide us with X amount of apples or X amount of tomatoes at a specific time." (Kenosha News)

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: 9/17/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 17, 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. Teaching Gardens Network Grant Program
Deadline: October 11, 2019 // 5 PM EST
The American Heart Association Teaching Gardens Network Grant program is now open and accepting applications to support school gardens for the 2019-2020 school year. The American Heart Association is seeking schools and educational facilities that are working to connect children to the garden, supporting health, nutrition, and environmental stewardship. Grants will be awarded with the value of $2500 to support new or established school garden programs. Learn more here.

2. NFSN Roundup of Fall Funding Opportunities
Looking for funding options to help kickoff or expand your farm to school efforts this new school year? National Farm to School Network has compiled a list of currently available grant and funding opportunities that schools, ECE sites and nonprofits may be eligible to receive. Explore the full list here


Webinars
1. Webinar: SGSO Volunteer Management and Community Support 
September 26 //  3 PM EST
School gardens are ideal places to involve the community and school gardens also require significant maintenance so they’re the perfect place to bring people together. Join this webinar to learn about ways to get people out and excited, ideas for managing large volunteer groups, how to engage consistent volunteers, and help keep your garden looking good. This webinar is a part of the School Garden Support Organization (SGSO) Network. Register here

2. Webinar: Exploring Soils in the Garden
September 26 // 4:30 PM ET
Soils are alive with a variety of organisms that recycle nutrients, water, and gases. In this webinar presented by Veronica Justen, professor at UW-River Falls, learn about STEM lessons that we can harvest from the soil and demonstrate activities that allow students to explore the power of soils and the world beneath our feet. This webinar is hosted by the Wisconsin School Garden Network. Register here

3. EQUITY Webinar: Advancing a System of Prevention for Health and Racial Equity
October 2 // 2 PM ET
This web forum is designed to encourage health practitioners and partners to work together to produce systems that redefine health, safety, and equity. Prevention Institute will share its System of Prevention framework, which explains how systems shape health and equity. The event will also feature leaders of HIP-Cuyahoga, a county-wide health improvement partnership of over one hundred agencies, community groups and organizations that are taking a systems approach to advancing health equity and racial justice. This webinar is hosted by the Public Health Institute. Register here

4. NFSN WEBINAR Bring Farm to School to Life with Highbush Blueberries
October 3 // 1 PM ET
October is National Farm to School Month, the perfect time to host a farm to school event to celebrate healthy, local food in the cafeteria, classroom and beyond! Resources like the Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook can be a great tool for helping schools of any size find small and big ways to get kids excited about where their food comes from. On this webinar, three schools will share how they’ve used the Farm to School Playbook to put together successful nutrition celebrations with blueberries. Nutrition Consultant Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, will lead a panel discussion with three rockstar school nutrition professionals, who will share easy and practical inspiration for schools looking to kickstart their farm to school programs, tips for a successful promotion and increases in school breakfast/lunch participation, and inspiration for events your students will love. This webinar is hosted by the National Farm to School Network and sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Register here


Events & Networking Opportunities
1. NFSN EVENT Call for Proposals: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Deadline: October 4, 2019
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, NM, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene nearly 1,000 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Do you have expertise to share? Conference organizers are seeking workshop and poster proposals from individuals and organizations working to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, advance equity and increase opportunities for farmers and food producers. The Request for Proposals (RFP) is open now through Oct. 4, 2019. Learn more at farmtoschool.org/conference.

2. NFSN CELEBRATION It's almost time for National Farm to School Month!
October 2019
National Farm to School month is right around the corner! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials, activity ideas and a national calendar of events with ways you can get involved in October. Check out the complete Farm to School Month Celebration Toolkit and download resources at farmtoschool.org/month. Does your organization want to be part of this year's National Farm to School Month campaign? Sign up to be a Farm to School Month Outreach Partner at farmtoschool.org/monthpartner

3. NESAWG's 26th Annual It Takes a Region Conference Registration Now Open
November 7-9, 2019 // Jersey City, NJ
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual It Takes a Region Conference brings together farm and food practitioners across the 12-state Northeast region to learn, debate, collaborate, and innovate ideas and solutions to critical food systems issues. Hundreds of practitioners convene not only for workshops, plenaries and networking, but to roll up their sleeves and do the real work needed to create a just and fair regional food system in several work group sessions. Register here

4. 2019 Farm-Based Education Conference
November 8 -13, 2019 // Greater Baltimore Area, Maryland
The Farm-Based Education Network's 7th Conference is just around the corner, and thrilled to call Baltimore its host city! With field trips to farm and garden projects in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and in towns throughout Maryland, followed by workshops at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD, the conference promises to offer four days of rich learning, relationship building, growth, and inspiration for all. Through the generous support of many partners and sponsors, conference registration and lodging will be available at low costs. Learn more here.


Resources & Research 
1. Farm to ECE Resource - Making Your Own Local Baby Food
Community GroundWorks in Madison, Wisconsin has created a new Farm to ECE resource. Making Your Own Local Baby Food is a guide for early care and education sites on how to make your own local baby food from fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables. 


Policy News
1. NFSN Opposes SNAP Categorical Eligibility Rule Change
As Child Nutrition Reauthorization activity roils on, remember that the federal government is multitasking and we should be too. If you’re looking for other ways to advocate consider this: the United States Department of Agriculture has proposed a change in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also formerly known as “food stamps”). This rule would amend the categorical eligibility provision that allows families whose income would typically be too high to receive SNAP benefits to qualify based on their participation in other federal benefits programs. Supporters of the rule change call this a 'loophole' that takes resources from needy families. At the National Farm to School Network, we view the rule change as ultimately harmful to families in need of these benefits. The rule change would take vital food assistance away from nearly 3 million people. Given that many children’s free and reduced priced meal eligibility is tied to their SNAP eligibility, this also puts children at risk of losing access to school meals. NFSN strongly opposes the rule change because Farm to School can’t happen when families can’t eat. How can you help? Submit a comment opposing the rule before the September 23rd deadline. The Food Research and Action Center has great resources on how to prepare and submit comments that you can access here. Have questions? Connect with Chloe Marshall, NFSN Policy Specialist, at chloe@farmtoschool.org


Farm to School in the News
What have the last 10 Years of school food policy taught us?
From school lunch shaming to universal free meals, four experts discuss the changes the past decade has brought to the nation’s school lunch program and how to make healthy, nutritious food accessible to all. (Civil Eats)

Massachusetts school receives grant for farm to school program
Hoosac Valley High School is the recipient of a grant that will allow it to convert its abandoned tennis courts into a school garden and outdoor classroom. "I have worked in other programs before where we have built gardens and it has made such a huge difference in making a connection between students and food and also academic behavior for the positive." (iBerkshires)

Wisconsin ag students harvest their own lunch
While trudging through the mud, about a dozen FFA students picked sweet corn at Hammer-Kavazanjian Farms near Beaver Dam Tuesday morning. The bed of Ag Instructor Jonathon Ganske’s pickup truck almost overflowed as the students headed back to Beaver Dam High School. Ganske said his agriscience students prepared more than 600 cobs of corn which will be cooked by the school’s food service and made available Wednesday in the high school and middle school cafeterias. (Daily Citizen)

Read past editions of This Week for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country.

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