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Farm to school is taking place in all 50 states, D.C. and U.S. Territories! Select a location from the list below to learn more or contact a Core Partner. 

National Farm to School Network

News

Seed Change on its way in three states

NFSN Staff Thursday, March 12, 2015


By Anupama Joshi, Executive Director

Today marks the launch of Seed Change, the National Farm to School Network’s major new initiative to change the dynamics of farm to school at the state level in support of growing healthier kids and better economic opportunities for small farmers. 

Every state has its own unique set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to improving community health, tackling childhood obesity and supporting farmers and local food systems, including funding and people power. With a $1.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, we are able to kick off Seed Change in three states that are poised for significant growth in farm to school programming. 

Seed Change by the numbers:

  • 1.8 million students in Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania engaged
  • 100 mini grants to emerging farm to school sites for local food purchasing, school garden activities, nutrition education, retrofitted kitchens, food service staff training and more 
  • Six farm to school demonstration districts and training hubs established
  • Goal of 10 percent growth in farm to school sites, student participation and number of school gardens in each state in 18 months

Leveraging the power of existing partnerships and networks in each state, Seed Change will provide the direct investment and proactive outreach needed to significantly increase the number of schools, children and farmers participating in farm to school activities and the dollars spent on locally sourced food. 

The project will be coordinated locally by NFSN partners the Kentucky State Department of Agriculture, Market Umbrella in Louisiana and The Food Trust in Pennsylvania, who will lead statewide outreach efforts, trainings and technical assistance to create a vibrant and active farm to school network in each state for long term program sustainability.

Learn more about Seed Change here, and sign up for our e-newsletter to stay updated about applying for mini-grants this spring. 

This week in farm to school: 3/9/15

NFSN Staff Monday, March 09, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants
1. First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food System Initiative Receives $2.95 Million, Three-Year Grant 
In the continuing effort to improve the health of Native American children and families and boost the economic health of Native communities, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) has awarded First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) of Longmont, Colorado, a grant of $2.95 million to extend First Nations’ work in the area of Native agriculture and food systems for three years, 2015 through 2017. Read the full press release here.

2. USDA Community Food Projects Grant Program applications due March 17
There are less than two weeks left to apply for the USDA Community Food Projects Grant Program through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Applications are due Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 5 pm EST. If you are interested in getting assistance with your application, or have questions, visit the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project website for free one-on-one technical assistance and resource

3. Voices for Healthy Kids opportunities for funding
Are you working to improve access to affordable, healthy foods for all children and families? Voices for Healthy Kids can support your work. Voices for Healthy Kids is providing funding to coalitions to advance coordinated issue advocacy campaigns focused on ending childhood obesity. Healthy food procurement is one of their priority areas. Organizations working to ensure that food and beverages sold and served on government property are healthy and meet specific nutrition guidelines may be eligible for funding. Learn more and apply for funding at www.voicesforhealthykids.org.

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, March 10, 1 p.m. EST
Making change: How you can support farm to school policy this spring
Although the Child Nutrition Act (known as CNR) isn't set to expire until September 30, the action in D.C. is happening now, and we need your help. Join us to learn how farm to school legislation is progressing as part of CNR and what you can do to help make sure farm to school gets the support it needs from Congress! We will cover actions that anyone can take to join the effort and become an effective advocate for farm to school. The 20-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Register here

2. 17th Annual National Value Added Agriculture Conference, Austin, Texas May 18-20
You are invited to attend the 17th Annual National Value Added Agriculture Conference in Austin, Texas on May 18-20, 2015, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The National Value Added Agriculture Conference is held every year in a different state in the United States to address food security, rural development, and value added agriculture. This year, the Conference focuses on working toward the future of the U.S food systems, on the goal of providing enough nutritious, sustainable, and healthy foods for the U.S consumers. More information about the conference can be found here.

3. California Farm to School Network Webinar, March 19, 12 p.m.  CDT
California Food for California Kids®: Innovations from the Cafeteria to the Community, Part 2
School foodservice directors navigate a complex web of challenges when it comes to getting food on the tray - and even more so when they try to bring in more fresh, healthy, and local foods. This two-part series highlights farm to school leaders in California who didn't get discouraged by barriers, but instead used their own creativity and innovative spirit to launch and sustain farm to school efforts in their districts. Register here

4. Life Lab School Garden Workshops, Santa Cruz, CA 
Upcoming Educator Workshops in the Life Lab Garden Classroom include:

Policy & Action
1. State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2014
The recently released State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2014 offers a comprehensive review of state-level farm to school policies, analysis of national trends, and advocacy guidance for those working to advance the farm to school movement across the country. The survey is designed to offer farm to school advocates a roadmap, allowing them to learn from the success of other states and copy their efforts. Download the full document on the National Farm to School Network's website or check out this map to see how your state compares.The survey was prepared by researchers at Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.

2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

3. Growing Food & Justice for All Initiative Strategic Plan Membership Survey
The responses to the questions in this survey will be used by the Strategic Planning Task Group to prepare the 2015-2020 Growing Food & Justice for All Initiative (GFJI) Strategic Plan. This Strategic Plan document will be presented, discussed at the GFJI Gathering to be held September 25-27 in Chicago. The GFJI Strategic Plan will articulate GFJI's highest aspirations in realizing shared vision and clearly define the actions that GFJI must make in molding its future. Find a link to the survey here

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Good Food & Justice for All Initiative Gathering 2015 Request for Proposals
The Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative is excited to announce the 2015 Gathering Request for Proposals is now available. GFJI is looking for confident and passionate facilitators to lead participatory sessions. Proposals are due March 15. Find more information and proposal details here

Farm to school in the news
Farm to school programs reach over 25.5 million students, report says
The number of farm to school programs in the U.S. increased 430 percent between 2006 and 2012, according to a report released by the National Farm to School Network. (via Agri-Pulse)

Farm-to-School programs prove successful
The overall goal of the Vernon County Farm to School program is to integrate fresh, whole foods into school lunches and classrooms in southwest Wisconsin, while teaching children the lifelong benefits of healthy eating. (via Westby Times)

State Officials Encourage Kids To Play In The Dirt
In celebration of National Nutrition Month, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is hosting kindergarten and third grade students from Roberts Elementary School. The students planted potatoes and learned about the garden. (via WFSU)

Local food movement is growing up
One change to the local food movement came through farm-to-school programs. In 2012, more than 4,300 school districts reported spending more than $385 million on local food through farm-to-school programs. In California, there are over 2,600 schools spending more than $51 million on local food. (via Merced Sun-Star




Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner: Student-raised chickens on school lunch trays

NFSN Staff Friday, March 06, 2015

By Sarah Elliott, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Wisconsin state lead for the National Farm to School Network

On January 30, students across the Holmen School District in northwestern Wisconsin had a special farm to school lunch, aptly named “Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner.”  Over the past year, students in Roger King’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) classes raised over 450 meat chickens to be served to more than 3,000 Holmen students during this special lunch. The fantastic partnership between the FFA program; the Holmen’s nutrition services director, Mike Gasper; and the Coulee Regional Farm to School Program, made this extraordinarily unique project a farm to school success!

Last month I interviewed Holmen Mike Gasper, to learn more about this project and other farm to school activities in the district.

What prompted you to undertake this chicken project?
About a year ago, 25 of our FFA students came to me to ask if we would be interested in serving chickens they raised. We said yes, and so began the adventure that culminated in our Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner event.

The school helped pay for the equipment that was needed—feeders, waterers and chicken feed, and in May, the students got their first chicks. When they reached maturity, the birds were processed at a USDA licensed facility and then picked up by our distributor partner, Reinhardt Foods, who froze the chickens and stored them until enough birds had been raised to feed the whole district. The last batch of chickens went to the processor in the beginning of November.

What were some of the lessons you learned during the course of this project?
Well, we learned a lot about raising chickens. And we worked hard to put a system in place to ensure proper protocols and insurance while transporting the chicken between locations. To accomplish this, we actually became a processing member of Fifth Season Cooperative – a multi-stakeholder organization that includes six member classes that span the entire supply chain at the local level. Producers, producer groups, processors, distributors, buyers and workers all contribute. We sold the chicken to Fifth Season, they sold it to Reinhardt and then we bought it back. Now that the system is in place, we anticipate that next year will be even less expensive.  

Was the event a success?
Most definitely! “[This is the] best school meal I’ve ever gotten!” was a comment echoing throughout the cafeterias. In addition to the chicken, we served hydroponic lettuce grown at our high school, locally-grown potatoes sourced from Fifth Season and local milk, plus a non-local fruit. The FFA students helped serve the meal, and everyone had a great time. The cafeteria atmosphere was very celebratory – I even saw some kids doing the “chicken dance!” Our staff did an outstanding job. We are definitely planning on doing it again next year—and have even been talking to the FFA about the possibility of four-legged animals!

What is the history of farm to school activities in Holmen?
We started farm to school in 2008, which was my first year with the district. We started with apples and still partner with the same orchard today. Our county program started the following year, with the introduction of a Harvest of the Month Program and cooking classes with Chef Thomas Sacksteder. This past year we also partnered with the FFA to grow three fields of sweet corn. The chickens were our first meat project, and the first time we served so many local products on one day!  

We’re with Blue: Know your food, know your source

NFSN Staff Wednesday, March 04, 2015

By Stacey Malstrom, Public Relations & Outreach Manager

We’re joining with One Percent for the Planet and some of our favorite organizations (think Chef Ann Foundation, Farm Aid, Honest Tea and more…) to talk about the importance of knowing where your food comes from as part of the Blue Needs You to Know Your Source campaign. Local food not only tastes better because it’s fresh, it also supports a strong local economy, jobs in your community and a smaller environmental footprint. 

Across the board, kids who know their food are more likely to eat their food. Who isn’t curious to taste a carrot they just pulled out of the ground or meet the farmer who grew their lunch? The more positive experiences children have with healthy foods, the more they acquire a taste for them. Farm to school activities like school gardens, taste tests, cooking classes and farm field trips are building a new generation of informed, healthy eaters. 

That’s why we’re working in D.C. to make sure more farm to school programs across the country benefit from the Child Nutrition Act, which is up for reauthorization this year. Learn more and sign our letter to Congress asking them to continue support for farm to school success with the Farm to School Act of 2015. 

Together we can build strong local food systems and empower children and families to make informed food choices.

This week in farm to school: 3/3/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 03, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants
1. Request for Proposals for Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative Grants 
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is now accepting proposals for its Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI). Through the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, First Nations plans to distribute up to eight grant awards averaging $26,000 to support projects that address food-system control, food insecurity and food deserts, with an emphasis on serving Native American children and families. Proposals are due March 25, 2015. More information can be found here

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, March 10, 1 p.m. EST
Making change: How you can support farm to school policy this spring
Although the Child Nutrition Act (known as CNR) isn't set to expire until September 30, the action in D.C. is happening now, and we need your help. Join us to learn how farm to school legislation is progressing as part of CNR and what you can do to help make sure farm to school gets the support it needs from Congress! We will cover actions that anyone can take to join the effort and become an effective advocate for farm to school. The 20-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Register here


2. 2015 Farm to Institution Summit, April 7-9, UMass Amherst
Are you working to increase the amount of local and regional food used by schools, colleges and health care facilities in the Northeast? You’re invited to the 2015 Farm to Institution Summit at UMass Amherst on April 7-9! This first- year conference will feature 50+ sessions, inspiring speakers, local tours, good food, live music, an exhibitor fair and more. Join hundreds of other farm to institution advocates for three exciting days of learning, sharing and connecting. Register by March 2nd to save $20 per day: www.farmtoinstitution.org/summit

3. 2015 USDA Farm to School Census Webinar, March 3, 1:00 pm EST
USDA Farm to School staff will host a webinar to provide an overview about the upcoming 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, including information about the Census questionnaire, survey invitation process, and timeline for data collection and analysis. This webinar is open to everyone and State agencies are especially encouraged to participate. No registration is required to attend. To join the webinar online, simply click here.

 
Policy & Action
1. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Program Director, LiveWell @ School Food Initiative
The Director of the School Food Initiative leads the coordination and implementation of LiveWell Colorado’s healthy eating and active living strategies in school districts throughout the State of Colorado. The Director works as part of a talented team at LiveWell Colorado with the opportunity to plan and execute a flagship school nutrition program that has reached to date more than 600,000 students in 98 school districts. More information can be found on the LiveWell Colorado website.

2. Summer Teacher-in-Residence, Slide Ranch
Each year, Slide Ranch selects ten emerging environmental educators to participate in the Slide Ranch Teacher-in-Residence program, a residential teaching internship. Slide Ranch’s Teacher-in-Residence program fosters and inspires environmental educators, preparing them for meaningful careers in the fields of education, sustainable agriculture, and environmental stewardship.Teachers-In-Residence lead groups and develop curriculum for school, community and family groups visiting the ranch. More information can be found on the Slide Ranch website

Farm to school in the news
Lawmakers offer new bills to expand Farm to School program
In an effort to expand production and consumption of locally-grown foods in schools, lawmakers introduced new legislation today that would enhance USDA's Farm to School program. (via Agri-Pulse)

'You give them a sense of ownership with the garden'
“When the kids know there is something on the salad bar from their garden - they are like seagulls to crackers on the beach,” said Aggi Hendrixs. Since the school started its sustainable garden, she says she sees less food being left on their plates. (via KATU)

Report: Better School Meals Good for Kids, Communities
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act aims to increase childhood nutrition by bringing more fruits and vegetables to school cafeterias. Across the nation, districts large and small, urban and rural have expanded the fresh fruit and vegetable offerings, often by teaming up with local providers thanks to incentives in the law. (via Iowa Public Radio)

Young gardeners get head start on spring
Despite the fact their school garden is covered with snow, students in Waggoner Road Middle School's Garden Club are "greening up" a classroom, starting seedlings under grow lights and preparing to plant in a hoop house. (via Reynoldsburg News)



March toward #CNR2015 begins: Farm to school bill introduced in Congress

NFSN Staff Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Over the past two years, farmers, teachers, school nutrition professionals and engaged community members have made one message loud and clear: the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is crucial to the success of farm to school across the country. 

The only problem? Demand for the grants far exceeds supply. In its first three years, the Farm to School Grant Program received more than 1,000 applications but only had enough funding to award 221 grants. In other words, just one in five projects was funded.

Today, Congress took an exciting step toward closing this gap with the introduction of the bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015. Thanks to the leadership of Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Congress will consider the Farm to School Act as part of the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which is set to expire on Sept. 30.  

The bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015 proposes an increase in annual mandatory funding for the grant program from $5 million to $15 million and full inclusion of preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers. The proposed legislation also aims to improve program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 

This grant program is an essential tool to improve the health of our children, our food system and our local economies. Today, more than 23 million students are making healthier food choices at school and at home thanks to farm to school activities like school gardens, cooking classes and incorporating local foods in school meals. 

Since its launch in 2011, the USDA Farm to School Grant Program has supported projects that benefit farmers, kids and communities nationwide:

  • In Ohio, Farmer Floyd Davis benefited when schools in his region bought more of his apples, lettuce and spinach thanks to Farm to School Grant funding. Davis has expanded his farming acreage and installed seven high tunnels for year-round produce production to serve local schools. And David isn’t alone: Farmers participating in farm to school initiatives nationwide have seen an average 5 percent increase in income.
  • Kale and collard greens are on the menu in South Carolina thanks to farm to school funding. School nutrition professionals at School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties attended a culinary training where they learned how to incorporate these vegetables into school meals so that students could enjoy a local source of dark, leafy greens.
  • In Nebraska, a state where one in three children are overweight, grant-funded school gardens and farm field trips have introduced healthy eating habits and hands-on agricultural experiences to kids in more than a dozen schools across the state. Participation in farm to school activities has been proven to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Nebraska currently spends more than $3 million of its school food budget locally.

TAKE ACTION!

  • Join us and our bipartisan champions in telling Congress: farm to school is a powerful tool for supporting our kids, our farmers and our communities! 
  • Add your organization to our growing list of supporters. 
  • Sign up for action alerts to stay up-to-date on the latest in the march toward CNR 2015, including how to support the Farm to School Act of 2015 – there will be many opportunities to get involved this spring! 
  • Learn more about the Farm to School Act of 2015

This week in farm to school: 2/23/15

NFSN Staff Monday, February 23, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants
1. USDA Announces $9 Million to Support Community Food Projects Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of $9 million in funding to assist low-income individuals and communities in developing local and independent food systems. NIFA is funding the grants through the Community Food Projects program (CFP), authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).Grants are intended to help eligible, private, nonprofit entities in need of a one-time installment of federal assistance to establish and carry out multipurpose community food projects. Projects are funded from $10,000 to $300,000 and up to 36 months. All grants require a dollar-for-dollar match in resources. More information can be found here

2. USDA Announces More Than $160 Million Available in Funding for Food and Agriculture Research, Education, and Extension
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of more than $160 million in funding for research, education, and extension projects that address key challenges affecting U.S. agriculture production. NIFA will fund the awards through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).The purpose of AFRI is to support research, education, and extension work by awarding grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture. Application deadlines vary by program area. More information can be found on the USDA website.

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, March 10, 1 p.m. EST
Making change: How you can support farm to school policy this spring
Although the Child Nutrition Act (known as CNR) isn't set to expire until September 30, the action in D.C. is happening now, and we need your help. Join us to learn how farm to school legislation is progressing as part of CNR and what you can do to help make sure farm to school gets the support it needs from Congress! We will cover actions that anyone can take to join the effort and become an effective advocate for farm to school. The 20-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Register here

2. New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, February 26, 2 p.m. EST
Evaluation for Community Food Projects Applicants 
Applying to the USDA for a Community Food Projects grant can be a challenge, but the benefits to your program and the people you serve can also be extremely valuable. New Entry and its partners are available to help you evaluate your project and provide expert advice on how to submit a high quality proposal that reflects the impactful work you do in your community. Register for this upcoming webinar, or visit the New Entry website for more information. 

3. “The ABC's of Farm Based Education," March 28-29, Fort Collins, CO
Are you a farmer or rancher looking to improve current programming or starting to explore opportunities for farm-based education? Are you a teacher looking to include more nature-based activities in the classroom? This  workshop is for you! Spend two days in activity-based learning, discussion and exploration, presented by seasoned farm-based educators from Vermont and Colorado. You’ll experience easy and fun ways to develop agricultural education programs with engaging, kid-tested, educator-approved activities from Shelburne Farms’publications Project Seasons and Cultivating Joy and Wonder. You’ll also discuss ways to engage school groups,camp participants, and farm visitors. For more information, visit this website

4. 2015 Farm to Institution Summit, April 7-9, UMass Amherst
Are you working to increase the amount of local and regional food used by schools, colleges and health care facilities in the Northeast? You’re invited to the 2015 Farm to Institution Summit at UMass Amherst on April 7-9! This first- year conference will feature 50+ sessions, inspiring speakers, local tours, good food, live music, an exhibitor fair and more. Join hundreds of other farm to institution advocates for three exciting days of learning, sharing and connecting. Register by March 2nd to save $20 per day: www.farmtoinstitution.org/summit

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Finance & Operations Director, National Farm to School Network  
The National Farm to School Network is now accepting applications for a full time finance and operations director. The position description may be found on our website or downloaded as a PDF here.  The finance and operations director will direct all organizational activities related to finance, budgeting, human resources and general operations. The finance and operations director will be part of the organizational leadership team, serving as a strategic thought partner and reporting directly to the executive director (ED).  Projected start date: April 1, 2015. Please share this listing with anyone you think is interested and qualified. The deadline to apply is February 25, 2015.

2. Solicitation Of Nominations To The Advisory Committee On Agriculture Statistics 
On September 2, 2014, the Secretary of Agriculture renewed the AdvisoryCommittee charter for a two-year term to expire on September 2, 2016. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the scope, timing, content, etc., of the periodic censuses and surveys of agriculture, other related surveys, and the types of information to obtain from respondents concerning agriculture. The Committee also prepares recommendations regarding the content of agriculture reports and presents the views and needs for data of major suppliers and users of agriculture statistics. The nomination period for interested candidates will close February 27, 2015. More information can be found here

3. Elementary Garden Educator, The Delta School 
The Delta School is a newly founded progressive prek-12 independent school in The Mississippi Delta, just 40 minutes from Memphis. The School will be opening for its first class of students in August 2015.The Garden Educator is a full-time position that offers critical support to teachers and students to ensure that a school can maximize the educational potential of the school garden. This position will work in collaboration with the staff at the Town of Wilson Garden to ensure maximum resource sharing for both organizations. Please email Jenifer Fox at jeniferfox08@gmail.com for full position descriptions.
 
4. A New Network for Women in Agriculture, USDA
On February 19, USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden launched the Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network. This newly established network will support and engage women across all areas of agriculture and encourage professional networking between people with shared backgrounds, interests, and professional goals. You are invited to help grow this network so that the USDA can continue to support all women in agriculture as they look towards the future.  A new e-mail address has been created for those looking to get involved in the Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network: agwomenlead@usda.gov.  Send in your email for more forthcoming information. 

Farm to school in the news
Farm to School efforts proving markets for farmers
Thanks to the efforts of the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Initiative and the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition, schools in northeast Iowa are embracing the farm-to-school connection. The coalition has now been working to provide local foods to school districts for six years. (via Iowa Food and Fitness)

Farm to School Bills Aim to Teach Students to Produce Own Food
In Hawaii, Senate Bill 376 would establish a Farm to School Program, which aims to educate students on how to produce food, as well as establish a network of local farmers to produce healthy public school meals. (via Honolulu Civil Beat)

Colorado may pay to get more local food in schools
A Colorado bill to spend about $5 million to put more local produce in school cafeterias passed its first test Wednesday at the Legislature.The bill sets up a grant program to make Colorado the 17th state to chip in grant money in addition to federal programs to help get more locally grown foods on cafeteria plates. (via Coloradoan)

Students grow their own hydroponic lettuce
Alachua County Public Schools (FL) are trying to move towards more local and sustainable food sources being served in their cafeteria. They are doing so by giving high school students hands on experience in a program called Farm to School Hub. (via WCJB-TV)

'Hands-in-the-Dirt' Learning
Garden-based learning in the hands of a skilled teacher adds up to a big impact on student learning. Yet truly integrated garden-based learning depends on not just a handful of teachers in some schools, but whole-school communities invested in making this a daily experience for students and easily accessible to teachers. (via Education Week)




This week in farm to school: 2/17/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants
1. "Recipes for Success" Contest, Northeast Regional Steering Committee
What’s your recipe for Farm to School success? Enter your best projects, lessons and creative ideas in the Farm to School Recipes for Success contest this February. Great prizes include $500 cash, free registration at the first Farm to Institution Summit in April and seeing your work highlighted at the conference and in a new online “cookbook” of best practices. The contest is sponsored by the Northeast Regional Steering Committee of the National Farm to School Network and is funded by a USDA Farm to School grant with support from the National Education Association. Open to all in the Northeast (New England + New York). Get contest details and enter by March 2 here.

2. Farm to Preschool Mini-Grants available in CA & NY
The Urban & Environmental Policy Institute and Capital District Child Care Council are requesting applications for innovative Farm to Preschool (F2P) projects that strengthen relationships between children and healthy, local foods in the states of California and New York. This mini–grant project is funded through the generosity of The Honest Company.  The F2P mini-grants will support new and expanding F2P projects in California and New York through funding, technical assistance, and the creation of a Learning Community—a network of ECE providers learning with and from each other.  All types of ECE settings and agencies, organizations, farmers and food producers working directly with an ECE site(s) in California or New York are invited to apply. 

3. Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmer and Ranchers Program, USDA
The USDA recently released the Request for Applications (RFA) for the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, more commonly known as the 2501 program. The USDA has announced the availability of $9.1 million grant funding for the 2501 program to provide outreach and assistant socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. This program provides grants to colleges and universities and community based organizations to provide outreach and assistance to socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers to overcome the unique challenges they face in owning and operating successful farms and ranches. Applicants have until April 13 to apply. More information can be found on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog

4. USDA Community Food Projects Grant Program Grantees and Applicant Support, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, in collaboration with its partners, offers free one-on-one technical assistance, educational resources, and professional development opportunities for current grantees and applicants to the Community Food Projects grant program of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).For more information, visit this website

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, March 10, 1 p.m. EST
Making change: How you can support farm to school policy this spring
Although the Child Nutrition Act (known as CNR) isn't set to expire until September 30, the action in D.C. is happening now, and we need your help. Join us to learn how farm to school legislation is progressing as part of CNR and what you can do to help make sure farm to school gets the support it needs from Congress! We will cover actions that anyone can take to join the effort and become an effective advocate for farm to school. The 20-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Register here

2. 2015 MAFO National Farmworkers Conference & Convention, April 26-29
MAFO, a National Partnership of Farmworker and Rural Organizations, will hold its 26th Annual National Farmworker Conference & Convention at the Hotel Albuquerque (at Old Town) in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 26-29, 2015. The conference will focus on “Building Rural Communities.” The 2015 conference will highlight best practices from across the country with challenging workshops by state and federal experts. The conference will also provide creative solutions to workforce development issues in rural communities, strengthen rural Hispanic entrepreneurship, as well as identify future trends that will impact rural communities. For more information on MAFO and the 2015 National Farmworkers Conference, visit www.mafofarmworker.com

3. National Good Food Network Webinar, February 19
A Look Back, A Path Forward - Lessons Learned from the Food Hub Vanguard: Grasshoppers Distribution
Grasshoppers Distribution LLC, an NGFN Food Hub Collaboration Study Hub, was a food hub in Louisville, Kentucky, that was established in 2006 by four Kentucky farmers seeking to connect regional products with local markets. It grew to nearly one million dollars in annual sales of local farm products, before closing its doors in December of 2013. This webinar examines the story behind the evolution of Grasshoppers and explores key challenges, best practices, lessons learned, and the organization’s lasting impact on Kentucky agriculture and the local food sector. Register here


Policy
1. Many More Low-Income Children Starting the Day with School Breakfast, Finds New Reports from the Food Research and Action Center 
School breakfast continues to make significant gains in communities across the U.S., according to two new analyses by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released on February 10, which look at school breakfast participation at the district, state, and national level. During the 2013-2014 school year, an average of 11.2 million low-income children ate a healthy morning meal each day at school, an increase of 320,000 children from the previous school year, according to FRAC’s School Breakfast Scorecard (pdf) on state trends and School Breakfast -- Making it Work in Large Districts (pdf). 

Jobs and Opportunities 
1. Finance & Operations Director, National Farm to School Network  The National Farm to School Network is now accepting applications for a full time finance and operations director. The position description may be found on our website or downloaded as a PDF here.  The finance and operations director will direct all organizational activities related to finance, budgeting, human resources and general operations. The finance and operations director will be part of the organizational leadership team, serving as a strategic thought partner and reporting directly to the executive director (ED).  Projected start date: April 1, 2015. Please share this listing with anyone you think is interested and qualified. The deadline to apply is February 25, 2015.

2. Nutrition Policy Associate, The Center for Science in the Public Interest
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) is hiring a Nutrition Policy Advocate. The Nutrition Policy Associate advocates for improved nutrition and health policy with local, state and federal policy makers and engages health professionals, academics, and concerned citizens in supporting nutrition policies. For more information, visit the CSIP website

3. Food Service Research Consultant, Farm to Institution New England
Farm to Institution New England’s Contracted Food Service Action Project is currently seeking a consultant to conduct research within two institutions in New England. The intention of the research is to understand their ability to meet their value-based (ex: local, regional, nutritious) purchasing goals as they relate to regional procurement. The individual hired for this position will conduct research at two institutions selected by the project advisory board. This research will work with the facility to analyze financial and other costs and benefits associated with a variety of services offered by a food service management company and/or group purchasing organization (GPO). More information can be found here

4. Director of Development and Community Relations, Farmer Foodshare
The Director of Development and Community Relations is the lead role for development and communications for Farmer Foodshare and reports to the Executive Director. The ideal candidate will be highly organized, detail-oriented, dynamic in approach, a critical thinker, and business driven.  If you are creative, result-oriented, self-starting, willing to learn, and able to manage an unpredictable schedule, working beyond 9-5 as needed, then this may be the job for you. This position is based in Durham NC and is full-time. For more information, visit the Farmer Foodshare website.  

5. Youth Food Justice Zine Call for Submission
You are invited to send submissions for a zine that lifts up the voices of youth food justice activists, as well as intergenerational narratives around youth power within the context of the United States. Send in your art and writings around food justice work, or submit names of amazing youth group doing work around food justice to zine@whyhunger.org. Visit the Youth Food Justice website for more information.


Farm to school in the news
Food To Schools From Farms
An interview on Alaska Public Radio Network with Deborah Kane, Director of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Farm to School Program, and Johanna Herron, Alaska Division of Agriculture’s Farm to School coordinator and NFSN’s Alaska State Lead. More than half the school districts in Alaska are participating in the Farm to School program, feeding more than a hundred thousand kids in the state. (via Alaska Public Media)

Farm-to-school programs help kids make better choices
Colorado House Bill 1088 effectively addresses childhood obesity problems and uneven economic recovery by providing grants to help farmers produce healthy, nutritious food for public school kids. Research shows that farm-to-school programs work for students. They provide kids with healthy food options and teach them about nutrition and food production. (via The Denver Post)

Making healthy choices for our school systems
Serving farm fresh food from local producers could provide the impetus for a true change in the way we feed our children in public schools. A strong relationship between local farmers and schools provides healthy and locally grown products for our kids, and ensures a healthy market for local growers. (via Richmond Times-Dispatch



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