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National Farm to School Network

News

2018 Fall Funding Round Up

NFSN Staff Wednesday, October 03, 2018

National Farm to School Month is a time to try new things and take action to grow your farm to school activities. One great way to try something new in your program is to apply for funding to help support or grow your efforts. If you’re new to farm to school, check out our getting started resources: 

Ready to kickoff or expand your farm to school efforts? Here are several fall funding opportunities to explore:

USDA FY 2019 Farm to School Grant RFA
The FY 2019 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open to applicants. Due to additional funding made available to the Farm to School Grant Program through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems seeks to award approximately $7.5M in FY 2019 funding. Applications are due December 4, 2018. Learn more and apply here.

The National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring it reaches the communities that need this funding most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance to potential applicants in the areas of: planning and preparing the application; customized support for Native communities; evaluation; and, focus on early care and education / pre-K. For more information about National Farm to School Network consultation services - including specific consultation offerings, pricing, and a form to express interest - click here

Nature Conservancy School Gardens
The Nature Conservancy is awarding grants to support projects that implement green infrastructure to address local environmental challenges. These include access to healthy food, air quality, heat island effect, climate change, and storm water collection. Young people will work as social innovators to help their communities through project design and implementation. A $2,000 grant will be awarded to up to 50 schools. Applications are due October 5. Learn more here.

National Education Association Grants
Student Achievement Grants, offered by the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation, are for projects that help students learn how to think critically and solve problems in order to improve student learning. Learning & Leadership Grants, offered by the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation, are for professional development opportunities for individuals or groups. Grants are available to current members of the National Education Association who are educators in public schools or public institutions of higher education. Preference is given to proposals that incorporate STEM and/or global learning into projects, which can include farm to school activities. Two levels of funding are available: $2,000 and $5,000. The next deadline for applications is October 15. 

Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program
The Whole Kids Foundation, in partnership with FoodCorps, is now accepting applications for its School Garden Grant Program, an annual grantmaking program that supports school garden projects designed to help students learn about topics such as nutrition and health, sustainability and conservation, food systems, and community awareness. These grants will be in the amount of $2,000 for year-long projects. The applications are due October 15. Learn more here.

Seeds for Education Grant Program
Teachers and students across the US are expanding learning opportunities by enhancing their schoolyards with butterfly gardens, nature trails, prairies, woodland wildflower preserves, and similar projects. These projects enrich the learning environment and provide aesthetic and environmental benefits. Wild Ones offers assistance for all aspects of such projects. Cash grants under $500 are available for plants and seeds, and in-kind donations from Nursery Partners can help stretch these dollars. Applications are due October 15. Learn more here.

Whole Kids Foundation - Bee Grant Program
The Bee Grant program allows for a K-12 school or non-profit organization to receive support for an educational bee hive. Four grant options are available, and all include remote consultation and assistance with Beekeeper partnership from The Bee Cause Project. Applications are doc October 31. Learn more here

Annie’s Grant for Edible School Gardens
Want a school garden? Annie’s believes that showing future generations how sustainable food is grown changes their lives. Connecting kids to gardens helps them to start thinking more holistically about their food, their communities, and the planet. Applications are due November 1. Learn more and apply here.

Safer® Brand School Garden Grant 
Safer® Brand is starting an annual school garden grant to help kids build healthy habits through gardening, bring classmates closer together and unite everyone in a common goal of better health. The $500 grant will be awarded to a school in the United States to start a school garden in 2018. Applications for this grant are due December 1. Learn more here.

2019 Youth Garden Grant
Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States or US Territories planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. The selection of winners is based on demonstrated program impact and sustainability. The top 5 programs will be awarded grant packages worth $2,100. Grant packages worth $500 will be awarded to 20 additional programs. Applications are due December 17. Learn more here

Find more ideas for supporting your farm to school activities in our Funding Farm to School factsheet. Stay tuned to our This Week blogs, posted every Tuesday, for more farm to school funding, resources and engagement opportunities.

This Week in Farm to School: 10/2/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 02, 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. Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) Fund-a-Farmer Grant
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is accepting applications for three types of grants for livestock and poultry farmers who wish to attain humane certification, build capacity, or improve pasture for their animals. Funding is available for projects that improve farm animal welfare, such as building mobile housing, constructing fences, laying water lines on pasture, and much more. Family farmers located in the continental U.S. with at least one year of experience may be eligible. Learn more and apply here. Applications are due by November 28, 2018.

2. Nature Conservancy School Gardens
The Nature Conservancy is awarding grants to support projects that implement green infrastructure to address local environmental challenges. These include access to healthy food, air quality, heat island effect, climate change, and storm water collection. Young people will work as social innovators to help their communities through project design and implementation. A $2,000 grant will be awarded to up to 50 schools. Applications are due Oct. 5. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Results from the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey
October 11, 2-3pm  ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, launched for the 2018 National Survey of Early Care and Education Providers in the spring of 2018. Over 2,000 ECE providers from across the country responded and shared information about current farm to ECE initiatives, motivations for participation, challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE, and more. Join the National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to hear about the survey finding and learn how you can use the results to promote farm to ECE in your state and community. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. South Dakota Local Foods Conference
November 1-3 // Brookings, SD
Regular conference sessions will take place at the Swiftel Center and will cover a wide variety of topics including local food policy, mentoring the transition of a farm business, food sovereignty, rainwater harvesting for greenhouses, growing mushrooms and microgreens, the significance of fruits and vegetables to human health, Honey Lodge honey and youth advocacy, goat production, agritourism, and more. Register here.

3. Illinois Farm Bureau’s Local & Regional Food Conference
November 5-7 // Bloomington, IL
Live local and support your local food system. Are you a local farmer, processor, distributor, or retailer? Do you own a small business? Give back to your community while bringing fresh food and local businesses together. Know your impact and what buying and selling local can bring your local economy. Learn more here.


Research & Resources
1. Scaling Up Healthy, Climate-Friendly School Food
A new report from Friends of the Earth spotlights a growing movement of pioneering school districts using their massive purchasing power to provide plant-forward, climate-friendly food that is healthier for students and the planter. The report includes four detailed case studies, including Novato Unified School District, led by NFSN Board Chair Miguel Villarreal. Read the full report here.

2. No Kid Hungry Innovation Survey Opportunity
We know you’re doing creative work when it comes to feeding kids. We want to hear all about it. No Kid Hungry is developing a report on innovation and they want to hear from you. We have come a long way, but there is more work to do and innovative ideas are critical. If you or someone you know has applied a unique approach to ensuring that all kids get the food they need, please tell us more by taking this survey. Respondents will be featured in a report on the state of innovation and have the chance to receive an innovation accelerator award to support their work. The survey closes on November 30. Take the survey here.
3. Seeking examples - Local (School District and City) Policies for Farm to School
NFSN is developing a new resource about how local policies (eg, school district wellness policies, city procurement policies) can support and foster farm to school activities. Do you have any examples of where this has already happened? If so, please contact policyfellow@farmtoschool.org.
Job Opportunities
1. Community Programs Coordinator - AmeriCorps VISTA (MOAB, UT)
Under the direction of the Executive Director, the Community Programs Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA member will work directly with YGP’s many community-based programs and events. We are looking for an individual who is flexible, collaborative, able to work independently, exhibits strong leadership, and is enthusiastic about YGP’s mission of cultivating healthy children, families, and community through the process of connecting people with food from seed to table. Learn more and apply here. Application is due October 15.

2. Maine Harvest of the Month Program Coordinator
The Maine Department of Education’s Child Nutrition Team manages several federal programs to improve the nutrition environment and reduce hunger for pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students including Farm to School initiatives. Harvest of the Month is a program that promotes the use of seasonal, local foods in school menus by highlighting a different product each month. The Harvest of the Month Coordinator will develop and oversee the Maine Harvest of the Month Project and will actively recruit schools to participate. The position will develop marketing materials for school nutrition programs and conduct trainings and technical assistance to schools to ensure they have the tools for success. For interest and more information please contact Stephanie Stambach at stephanie.stambach@maine.gov.


Farm to School in the News
Anupama Joshi brings people together through local food, importance of community agriculture
When reflecting on her career, National Farm to School Network Executive Director and Co-Founder Anupama Joshi attributes her work to good food and community. Food and community “have been so influential in how I approach my interactions with people both in my friendships and my professional life,” she says. “Bringing people together and community. There’s a pattern.” (WRAL)

Mississippi farm to school week celebrates connecting local produce with cafeterias
Across Mississippi, kids grow up around farms without experiencing the practice of planting, nurturing, harvesting and eating fresh vegetables. Some do not have access to fresh produce at home. To introduce students to healthy habits and boost the agricultural economy, the Mississippi Farm to School Network connects farmers to school cafeterias. Statewide, Farm to School week celebrates local farmers by eating their Mississippi-grown foods. (Daily Journal)

Junior Master Gardener Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! Program takes shape in Texas schools
Houston Independent School District elementary students are learning how to plant, tend and harvest nutritious vegetables thanks to the Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! program offered by the Texas A&M AgriLIfe Extension Service Junior Master Gardener Program that integrates gardening, nutrition, and physical activity to bolster long-term student health (AgriLife Today)

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 Days to Celebrate Farm to School

NFSN Staff Monday, October 01, 2018

October is a time of year when farms and gardens are overflowing with delicious harvests of every size, shape, color, and flavor – and a time when we come together with schools, farms, and communities from throughout the country to celebrate National Farm to School Month! The 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. Anyone can get involved!

As National Farm to School Month has grown throughout the years, states have expanded their celebrations. Some states, such as New Jersey and Virginia, host their own statewide Farm to School Week to focus on the exciting farm to school efforts happening throughout their states. Others, such as Iowa, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, choose a specific day to raise awareness and highlight local food in their states with a “Local Food Day”. A number of states promote statewide apple crunches, including the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin), Montana, North Carolina, and Alabama. From garden harvests to locally sourced lunches, states throughout the country have seized the opportunity to celebrate their local bounty and encourage those throughout their state to get involved wherever they are, all while educating their communities about the origins of their food. 
 
No matter where you live, everyone can join in the National Farm to School Month celebration! Here are a few ways to get involved this month: 
 
  • Take the Pledge: Sign our Take Action Pledge and commit to taking action to advance farm to school in your community this October.
  • Explore resources: Download our new Farm to School Month Celebration Toolkit and check out other free resources for planning and promoting celebrations in your community, including customizable posters and bookmarks, stickers, activity suggestions and communications tools. 
  • See what’s happening: Explore our national calendar of Farm to School Month events to see what celebrations are happening in your community.
  • Donate to support our work: Invest in the future of farm to school. Donate to the National Farm to School Network and help us bring farm to school to communities across the country every month! Take one small step and make a charitable donation today. 
  • Share the celebration: We want to know how you’re celebrating! Share your Farm to School stories on social media with #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool.
  • Wear your support: Check out our Farm to School Month store for t-shirts, stickers, buttons, and more to wear your Farm to School love all month long! 
  • Stay up to date: Make sure you’re signed up for our e-newsletter. We’ll be sending a few emails this month with more action ideas and ways to celebrate. Sign up here
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 2018 National Farm to School Month Sponsors and Supporters - including CoBank, Newman's Own Foundation, U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Captain Planet Foundation, Organic Valley, Farm Credit, FarmLogix, and High Mowing Organic Seeds - as well as the Featured Partner and 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!

NFSN Leadership Announcement

NFSN Staff Wednesday, September 26, 2018

By Anupama Joshi, NFSN Co-Founder and Executive Director  

After 11 fulfilling years with the National Farm to School Network (NFSN), I will be transitioning out of my role in December 2018 to take on an exciting new challenge. I am grateful for the trust and encouragement that NFSN’s Partners, members and supporters have provided for establishing and leading this phenomenal network that has shaped the farm to school movement for more than a decade, and will undoubtedly continue to be a strong force in advocating for healthy children, farmers and communities. 

Reflecting on my farm to school journey, which began in 2002, I could not have hoped for anything more rewarding than the people and partnerships that I have experienced through NFSN. I am honored to have played a small part in the larger impact we have made in the lives of children, farmers, and communities across the country.

At NFSN, I leave behind a legacy of incredibly strong partnerships that have framed farm to school as an unprecedented national success story in the good food movement - impacting 24 million children in more than 42,000 K-12 and early care and education settings, and moving $800 million in local products to fuel local economies. The commitment, innovation and vision of countless farm to school advocates and stakeholders have been critical in this success. Together, we successfully advocated for the recognition and institutionalization of farm to school at USDA through the first ever federal farm to school grant program in 2010, and development of the Farm to School Census; and for policies in more than 46 states that are paving the way forward. NFSN’s core values of collaboration, transparency and partnership have kept farm to school Growing Stronger Together!  

A Transition Committee has been convened by the NFSN Advisory Board to ensure a smooth transition in the coming months. Additional information about next steps will be shared with NFSN members in our monthly e-newsletter, as details become available. 

A heartfelt thank you for being a part of my NFSN journey. 

With gratitude,
Anupama

This Week in Farm to School: 9/25/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 25, 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. 2019 Youth Garden Grant
Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States or US Territories planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. The selection of winners is based on demonstrated program impact and sustainability. The top 5 programs will be awarded grant packages worth $2,100. Grant packages worth $500 will be awarded to 20 additional programs. Applications are due Dec. 17. Learn more and apply here.

2. Annie’s Grant for Edible School Gardens
Want a school garden? Annie’s believes that showing future generations how sustainable food is grown changes their lives. Connecting kids to gardens helps them to start thinking more holistically about their food, their communities, and the planet. Applications are due Nov. 1, 2018. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Results from the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey
October 11, 2-3pm  ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, launched for the 2018 National Survey of Early Care and Education Providers in the spring of 2018. Over 2,000 ECE providers from across the country responded and shared information about current farm to ECE initiatives, motivations for participation, challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE, and more. Join the National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to hear about the survey finding and learn how you can use the results to promote farm to ECE in your state and community. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. It's almost time for National Farm to School Month!
October 2018
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 our *new* 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. Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference
October 19-21 // Durham, NC
Registration is now open for the 2018 Black Farmer & Urban Gardeners (BUGS) National Conference. The conference is presented by Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. Learn more and register here.

4. 2020 National Good Food Network Conference - Local Host Organization Request for Proposals
The Wallace Center would like to partner with a place-based host organization to support and guide the planning of the 2020 National Good Food Network Conference. The NGFN Conference is the leading national conference for the food hubs, food and farm businesses, value chain coordinators, financers, and community leaders working to build sustainable regional food systems across the United States. The role of the local host is to serve as the primary link between the host community and the NGFN Conference Planning Team (staff and contracted conference coordinators) to highlight the local food systems work and stakeholders in your region. Proposals are due Monday October 22. Read the full RFP here.


Policy Update
1. Tell Congress: We need a Farm Bill Extension!
It looks very unlikely that either a farm bill or an extension will pass before September 30, the day the 2014 farm bill expires. However, it’s important that we call Congress to tell them to prioritize an extension to fund vital farm bill programs, including: Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Program; Outreach for Socially Disadvantaged & Veteran Producer; Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP); and, Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP).  Call Congress today! Here is a link to find your representative or Senator’s phone numbers. Now is the time to let them know that we need an extension to fund programs that support our work and communities!


Research & Resources
1. Seeking Examples: Affordable Care Act Community Benefit Dollars for Farm to School
NFSN is developing a new resource about how ACA Community Benefit dollars can fund farm to school activities. This is a largely untapped potential funding source for farm to school! Do you have any examples of where this has already happened? If so, please contact policyfellow@farmtoschool.org.

2. EQUITY Racial Equity Framework, The Food Trust
As a part of its statewide Farm to ECE work, The Food Trust’s Ready Set Grow team has developed an equity framework to evaluate planning, decision-making and resource allocation through a racial equity lens. The team is working collaboratively to advance racial equity in outcomes through transformative change. Together, we can promote racial healing, advance equity and co-create a future where all children can thrive. Explore the Equity Framework here.


Job Opportunities
1. Strategic Planning Consultant, National Farm to School Network (Remote)
National Farm to School Network seeks a skilled and experienced professional to facilitate a strategic planning process for the organization that will set the direction of NFSN beyond 2020. The process aims to review gains made during the 2017-2019 phase, retool strategies as needed, create space for innovation to meet the emerging needs of the movement, and plan for organizational stability and sustainability. Read the full Request for Proposals here. Proposals are due no later than Oct. 1, 2018. 

2. Executive Director, The Food Project (Boston, MA)
The Food Project is seeking a new Executive Director to lead the organization into its next, exciting phase. Must be a dynamic, inspirational, collaborative leader with strong experience working across difference. Successful applicants will have a solid understanding of organizational finance, a deep commitment to youth leadership development, proven success in fundraising, and a passion for driving meaningful food system change. Learn more and apply here

3. Student Engagement Coordinator, SFUSD’s Future Dining Experience (San Fransisco, CA)
SFUSD’s Future Dining Experience is hiring a Student Engagement Coordinator to lead and grow the departments School Food Advisory (SFA) program. This is a youth-led group that collaborates with SFUSD’s Student Nutrition Services to elevate the student voice and engage students in reimagining the school dining experience, utilizing the design thinking process. Learn more and apply here


Farm to School in the News
South Dakota campus garden supports school meals
Students at Chadron Intermediate School in South Dakota are beginning to harvest fruits, vegetables and herbs that they began to grow from seeds during the past school year. The harvest from the on-campus garden is being used in the school's meal program. (Rapid City Journal)

Montana ranchers want to see local beef in school lunch program
Four Choteau women are asking community members to work with them to provide locally-grown beef for the Choteau Public Schools hot lunch program. Ranchers Cathy Campbell, Carli Neal and Misti Redland and former rancher Darlene Yeager are working to bring a locally-grown beef program to Choteau Public Schools, patterning this venture after a similar program being used in Winnett Public Schools and other public schools. (Choteau Acantha)

New York dietician brings health and fitness education to preschool children
Registered dietitian Bonnie Schultz uses the "Eat Well, Play Hard" nutrition program to teach young children at child care centers about health and fitness. Schultz's program included bringing in pepper and tomato plants and showing children how to plant them in a raised garden in their play area. (Press-Republican)


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.

Savor Fall Flavors with a Taste Test

NFSN Staff Thursday, September 20, 2018


By Elizabeth Esparza, Communications Intern

The fall season is coming up quickly, and with it, our farms and gardens will soon be overflowing with autumnal bounty. Taste tests can be a great way to introduce students to seasonal flavors and encourage them to continue trying new foods. Research shows that children need to try new foods multiple times to know if they like them, and taste tests can be an accessible way to introduce or reintroduce foods to students who might be reluctant to eat a full serving of something new. We all have our tried and true favorites for taste tests, but once in a while, it can be fun to mix in something out of the ordinary or highlight those seasonal items that we don’t always get to work in. Read on for seven fall-inspired taste test suggestions to think about for the upcoming season.


Low Prep: 

Crabapples: Apples are amongst the most common fruits served at lunch, so why not try their tiny, incredibly tart cousin? Crabapples are generally smaller than 2 inches in diameter, making them a fun and easy size to serve whole or to chop into just a few slices. Have students compare the flavor, size, and shape to the apples they’re used to.
Persimmons: Persimmons are always a sweet treat to try in the fall, and they can be simply sliced and served for a taste test. Fuyu persimmons are probably the better choice for a tasting, as they can be served while still slightly firm. Hachiya persimmons need to get very ripe and soft before you can enjoy their sweetness raw.
Rainbow Carrots: Same great taste, new and exciting colors! Purple, yellow, white - take your pick. Rainbow carrots can be a fun way to highlight a food that many students see all year. See if students can taste a difference between their familiar orange carrots and the rainbow carrots.
Radishes: Radishes can be another familiar vegetable for students, but try tasting different varieties, such as watermelon or daikon radishes. Include the radish greens for a taste test bonus!


Higher Prep: Time in the kitchen is a precious resource, but a little extra can go a long way toward helping get students excited about new foods they might not have tried before. Here are a few suggestions that take a little bit longer to prepare. These foods are also great for a classroom lesson or afterschool program when students can help prepare them! 

Butternut squash: These delicious orange wonders can be time-consuming to dig into if you’re getting them whole and roasting them, but the sweet nutty taste can be such an interesting new flavor for students to sink their teeth into.
Pomegranates: These messy fruits and their tiny arils may not be ideal to chop up for lunchtime service from a time perspective, but if they can be worked in somewhere, you’re in for a treat. Not much compares to fresh pomegranate seeds in the fall! 
Rutabagas: Rutabagas may need to be peeled or given a good scrub before you can dig into them, but once you do, they’re a great addition to any fall day. They can be eaten raw, but roasting brings out their richest flavor. For a twist, try slicing the rutabagas thinly and bake them for a fun take on a baked chip! 


New to taste tests? Here are some resources to help you get started:

This Week in Farm to School: 9/18/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 18, 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. Local Foods, Local Places Technical Assistance to Create Healthy, Economically Vibrant Communities
Federal agency partners invite communities to apply for technical assistance to help revitalize their economy, improve health, and protect the environment. Local Foods, Local Places helps communities revitalize neighborhoods through development of local food systems. Eligible applicants include local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit institutions and organizations proposing to work in a neighborhood, town, or city of any size anywhere in the United States. Deadline to apply is October 22. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR State Farm to School Month Proclamations
September 20, 2-3pm ET
In addition to the federal Congressional resolution NFSN championed in 2010 to establish October as National Farm to School Month, many states have passed resolutions declaring a Farm to School Week or Month. Similar language can usually be used in your state legislature or for a proclamation by your governor. Join us to learn from NFSN Core and Supporting Partners how they: 1) advocated and obtained these proclamations, 2) used these farm to school weeks/months to celebrate farm to school, and 3) used these celebrations as a springboard for more farm to school policies. Guest speakers will include NFSN Arkansas Core Partner, Emily English, of Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, and NFSN Hawaii Core Partner, Natalie McKinney, of Kokua Hawaii Foundation. This webinar will be recorded and available for future viewing. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Results from the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey
October 11, 2-3pm  ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, launched for the 2018 National Survey of Early Care and Education Providers in the spring of 2018. Over 2,000 ECE providers from across the country responded and shared information about current farm to ECE initiatives, motivations for participation, challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE, and more. Join the National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to hear about the survey finding and learn how you can use the results to promote farm to ECE in your state and community. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

3. Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG)’s 25th Annual It Takes a Region Conference
October 24 // Philadelphia, PA
Come be part of the 500+ person community of food systems leaders, practitioners, and advocates working to change the food system. NESAWG’s gathering is an opportunity for building skills, analysis, and networks that move our work out of silos and inboxes and into living connection and tangible food systems change. Learn more and register here.


Research & Resources
1. National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey Results
The National Farm to School Network, in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, launched the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey in the spring of 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey in the spring of 2018. We heard from 2,030 respondents serving 255,257 children in 46 states about current farm to ECE initiatives, including motivations for participation and challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE practices, and barriers and needs for support for getting started with farm to ECE. Read more here.

2. Start Planning for National Farm to School Month
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. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to start planning.

3. The Promise, Expectation, and Remaining Questions About Local Food 
This series from Choices Magazine includes four peer-reviewed articles on a variety of topics involving local food, including a local food system glossary, the economic benefits of local food, and local food policy. Read more here.

4. New Study: The economic impact of healthier school lunches 
Access to healthy food has been shown to reduce obesity and other serious diseases. For many children, food sold and served at school – through breakfast and lunch programs, as well as vended snacks and bottled drinks – is a substantial part of their diet. This report uses findings from academic research to illustrate the potential impact of providing healthier school lunches to US students. The report from the Campaign to End Obesity finds that serving healthier meals via school lunch programs could improve health outcomes, lead to improved academic performance, and increase economic opportunity for children in the United States. Read more here.

5. USDA Data on Prices of Fruits and Vegetables
Getting pushback on incorporating local produce into farm to school programs? Take a look at recent pricing information from USDA that can help show how there is variability in pricing. If one local product costs too much, it does not mean all local products will be too expensive. Read more here.

6. 2018 American's Healthiest Schools
A record 461 schools, from 26 states and the District of Columbia, have been recognized as “America’s Healthiest Schools” by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. America’s Healthiest Schools earned the distinction by successfully meeting a rigorous set of criteria for serving healthier meals and snacks, getting students moving more, offering high-quality health and physical education, and empowering school leaders to be healthy role models. The schools, 81 percent of which serve high-need populations, also receive Healthier Generation’s National Healthy Schools Award at the Bronze, Silver or Gold level, based on the standards they achieve. Learn more here


Policy News
1. Sept 28 Deadline - Let USDA know about the Value of SAE Funds for Farm to School
USDA is currently seeking comments about use of State Administrative Expense (SAE) funds, with a 9/28/18 comment deadline. SAE funds have increasingly become a way to fuel and institutionalize farm to school activity at the state level. Has your state benefitted from using SAE funds for farm to school? If so, let USDA know about this, and encourage them to keep up this approach. Questions? Contact Helen Dombalis, NFSN Senior Director of Programs and Policy, at helen@farmtoschool.org 

2. Tell Congress: We need a #FarmBillNow!
National Young Farmers Coalition is asking supporting of our nation's young farmers to call on Congress to pass a farm bill before the September 30th deadline. Many of the programs young farmers rely on do not have permanent baseline funding and will be eliminated if a new farm bill is not passed. Beginning farmer training programs, outreach to socially disadvantaged farmers, local food programs, and organic cost-share are just a few of the programs at risk. Learn more and take action here


Job Opportunities
1. Strategic Planning Consultant, National Farm to School Network (Remote)
National Farm to School Network seeks a skilled and experienced professional to facilitate a strategic planning process for the organization that will set the direction of NFSN beyond 2020. The process aims to review gains made during the 2017-2019 phase, retool strategies as needed, create space for innovation to meet the emerging needs of the movement, and plan for organizational stability and sustainability. Read the full Request for Proposals here. Proposals are due no later than Oct. 1, 2018.

2. Food and Garden Youth Educator AmeriCorps, Solid Ground (Seattle, WA)
Community Food Education at Solid Ground supports the health and wellness of communities experiencing poverty and oppressions. We provide hands-on educational opportunities for youth and adults alike, around growing, buying, cooking, and eating nutritious foods. Solid Ground’s antiracism lens frames how we approach this service. Our team of AmeriCorps educators lead classes, workshops, and events, to empower communities to navigate their food environments. Learn more and apply here.

3. Senior Government Relations Manager, Trust for America's Health (Washington, DC)
Trust for America’s Health is looking for a Senior Government Relations Manager. The Senior Government Relations Manager will be responsible for developing and managing the legislative and regulatory strategy on a range of priority issues focused on chronic disease prevention, including obesity and nutrition, physical activity, environmental health, healthcare financing (including Medicare and Medicaid), and federal appropriations that impact public health and prevention. Learn more and apply here

4. Federal Policy Associate & Federal Policy Deputy Director, Council for a Strong America (Washington, DC)
Council for a Strong America is looking for a Federal Policy Associate and a Federal Policy Deputy Director. Council for a Strong America is a national, bipartisan nonprofit that unites five membership organizations that include Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, ReadyNation, Shepherding the Next Generation, and Champions for America’s Future. Its members - law enforcement, military, business, faith, and sports leaders - promote evidence-based policies and programs that strengthen our country by enabling kids to be healthy, well-educated and prepared for productive lives. 


Farm to School in the News
New Mexico farm to school program keeps kids healthy
The New Mexico Public Education Department recently announced that it is investing in a statewide initiative to promote farm to school produce for meals in local schools. In New Mexico, the state is partnering with local farmers to bring fresh local produce to school lunch. (KSFR)

Ohio farm delivers fresh produce to local schools
A partnership between Badger Schools and Red Basket Farm in Kinsman are changing the perception of school lunch in their area. For years, Red Basket Farm has been on a mission to get fresh, local produce to as many people as possible. At first, they were selling to restaurants, but for the last several years they have added schools to the list of customers, including Badger right next door. (WFMJ)

California teens learn life lessons in the garden
After learning about the importance of character and values like integrity, patience and forgiveness, a group of teenagers headed to the back of The Storybook Garden to work on their latest project. Judy Wait, one of the founding members and board president of The Storybook Garden, runs the Green Teens program and said she puts an emphasis on the teens learning more than just how to plant plants. (The Sentinel)

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.

Results of the National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Farm to ECE Supports Healthy Futures for All Children 



By Lacy Stephens, Program Manager

The Results Are In

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (MSU CRFS), launched the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey in the spring of 2018. Early care and education (ECE) providers across the country were surveyed to learn about current farm to ECE initiatives, including motivations for participation and challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE practices. The survey also gathered information from sites not yet participating in farm to ECE to better understand barriers and needs for support. 

We heard from 2,030 respondents serving 255,257 children in 46 states. Of responding providers, 49% are already participating in farm to ECE and another 30% plan to start in the future. Farm to ECE participating providers see a wide range of farm to ECE benefits including increasing access to higher-quality foods, engaging parents and families, offering meaningful experiential learning, and at the same time, improving children’s health. Providers are not the only ones excited about farm to ECE. When asked about feedback that they receive about farm to ECE, 82% of respondents report positive or very positive feedback from children, 73% from parents, and 62% from staff. The benefits of and enthusiasm for farm to ECE are reaching diverse ECE settings and children of diverse racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. 


Despite potential barriers to farm to ECE, providers are successfully integrating all three core elements, including using local foods in meals and snacks (69%), gardening (75%), and educating children about where food comes from and how it grows (76%). Respondents are making great use of gardens, from taste testing (62%) and classroom lessons (61%) to producing food for program meals (38%). Local food use will likely continue to grow in ECE settings. Of all respondents (even those not participating in farm to ECE), 54% anticipate increasing their local purchases in the coming years, increasing markets for local farmers and further bolstering local food systems and economies.

Share the Results & Learn More
To lift up and celebrate these results and build awareness of farm to ECE, NFSN and MSU CRFS have developed an infographic and fact sheet that partners and supporters can use to start the conversation in their networks. These resources highlight the reach and scope of farm to ECE and the many reasons ECE providers choose to implement farm to ECE initiatives.  

To accompany these exciting new resources, NFSN and MSU CRFS also created this sharing toolkit to make it easy to share the survey results and the benefits of farm to ECE. In this toolkit, you’ll find suggested social media posts and graphics along with sample text for newsletters and blogs.  

NFSN and MSU CRFS will continue to offer ways to learn about and further explore this data. Join us for our upcoming October Trending Topics Webinar: Results of the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey on Oct. 11 (register here). Also, look for the release of our full report and state level data from the survey in late fall. Learn more about NFSN’s farm to ECE work, find partners in your state, and learn how to get involved with farm to ECE at farmtoschool.org/earlychildhood. Visit foodsystems.msu.edu to find resources and research on regional food systems from Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.
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