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National Farm to School Network

News

Meet Our Interns!

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 23, 2019
National Farm to School Network is excited to be working with three interns on our team this summer! These interns have come to work  with us through the support of several different partner organizations, and over the coming months, they’ll be making contributions to strengthen our work on statewide policy tracking, various projects related to equity and food systems, and increasing communications, especially in tribal communities. Meet our interns below, and please join us in welcoming Jacquelyn, Jenileigh and Mackenize!

Jacquelyn Sullivan - Zero Hunger Intern, Congressional Hunger Center
Jacquelyn is a current student at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC studying Political Science and Community Studies. At Guilford, Jacquelyn serves as Coordinator for the Church Under the Bridge initiative, leading food recovery efforts and community building on her campus and in the Greensboro region at large. In addition, she aids in the management of Mobile Oasis, a mobile farmers market bringing local produce to neighboring food deserts. She has a passion for politics and leads her local chapter of Democracy Matters, a group focused on getting money out of politics and anti-voter suppression. Additionally, she spent a semester abroad in Chile, Nepal, and Jordan conducting interpretive research on food security. Working with NFSN's Policy Team, Jacquelyn is updating NFSN's state policy tracker so that we have a better understanding of  how states are growing farm to school through legislation, and how NFSN can support these efforts. She is also creating a calendar of state legislative sessions to help NFNS prepare future policy advocacy actions and forming a rubric for evaluating equity-advancing opportunities in our policy work. Jacquelyn currently resides in Winston-Salem, NC where she enjoys going to concerts, thrift shopping, and spending time with her friends.

Jenileigh Harris - 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 recent 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 highlighting racial and cultural diversity as well as the racial and social inequities present within the food system. At NFSN, Jenileigh has been assisting the Programs team on various projects by providing logistical support for NFSN’s Annual Meeting, supporting farm to school grant program evaluations, writing content for NFSN’s farm to early care and education procurement blog series, and developing a comprehensive farm to school producer resource database. Jenileigh currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO and enjoys mountain biking, yoga, cooking, reading, and drinking coffee.


Mackenize Martinez - Partnership Communications Intern, Intertribal Agriculture Council
Mackenize Martinez is a native of Zwolle, LA. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Sciences with a concentration in Animal Science from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. At McNeese State University, Mackenize has had much departmental involvement, including competing as a member of the collegiate livestock judging team, volunteering with the non-profit organization Ducks Unlimited, and serving as a biological volunteer for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Alongside school activities, Mackenize spends much of her time traveling and working with youth programming in Native American communities. Mackenize serves as the Communications Intern for National Farm to School Network through the Intertribal Agriculture Council (NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year), where she engages with stakeholders from around the country with various public relations projects relating to farm to school practices. Mackenize also enjoys working as a Research Assistant for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas and serves as the Western Region Representative for the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance (NYFSA) Board. After graduation, she plans to continue her post-secondary education in the agricultural science field and work with livestock producers in Native American communities to help improve local food systems. 

This Week in Farm to School: 7/23/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 23, 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. 

National Farm to School Network News
1. Meet Our National Farm to School Network Interns!
National Farm to School Network is excited to be working with three interns to support our policy, programs and communications work this summer. On our blog, meet Jacquelyn Sullivan (Zero Hunger Intern, Congressional Hunger Center), Jenileigh Harris, and Mackenize Martinez (Partnership Communications Intern, Intertribal Agriculture Council). Read more here.

2. National Farm to School Network Receives Donation from National Co+op Grocers To Launch Equity Learning Lab
National Co+op Grocers (NCG) and partners within the natural/organic foods industry have made a generous contribution to the National Farm to School Network to fund a new equity learning lab, aimed at advancing equity within the farm to school movement. NCG led the fundraising effort as part of its annual grocery and wellness conference and tradeshow, Co+nvergence, held on June 26 in St. Paul, Minn. Read more here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: State Local Purchasing Incentive Bills 
Thursday, August 1 // 1-2 PM ET
Providing an increased meal reimbursement to schools and early care and education sites purchasing and serving local foods not only increases the amount of fresh, local foods in meal program, but can provide increased revenue streams for local producers. Many states are exploring or pursuing local food incentive bills and a few states have passed and implemented successful legislation, providing important models for future legislation. In this webinar, presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll hear from key stakeholders about the passage and enactment of the MI Ten Cents a Meal Program and the New Mexico Grown Local Produce Grant. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute
January 19-24, 2020 // Santa Cruz, CA
Join 20 other School Garden Support Organization teams from across the nation to strengthen your organization’s goal of enhancing professional development and ongoing support for school garden programs in your region. Apply here by August 2, 2019. 

3. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 20-24, 2020 // Albuquerque, NM
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Do you have expertise to share? We’ll be seeking proposals for conference content (workshops, posters, etc.) from stakeholders interested in sharing their models and strategies for making farm to cafeteria initiatives a reality in their communities. The Request for Proposals will open in August. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Resources & Research
1. EQUITY Webinar Recording: Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics
This webinar recording provides an introduction to the newly published guide, Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics, including examples of metrics in four different themes and ways the guide can be used. Two food system leaders also share how they are using data and metrics to drive system change. This webinar was sponsored by the national Racial Equity in the Food System workgroup committee and the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Watch the recording here.

2. Webinar Recording: Kick off the Summer with Farm to Head Start and Early Care and Education!
Farm to early care and education (ECE) includes the use of local foods in meals and snacks, gardening opportunities, and food, nutrition, and agriculture learning activities to promote health and wellness and enhance the quality of ECE settings. How can a Farm to Head Start/ECE help your program serve fresh, local food? Learn how it works through presentations from national experts and Head Start program examples. This webinar was sponsored by USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Head Start, and National Farm to School Network. Watch the recording here


Policy News
1. TAKE ACTION for Farm to School in the next CNR 
National Farm to School Network is taking steps now to ensure that the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) strengthens farm to school opportunities across the country! Farm to school activities – including procurement of local food for school meals, school gardens, and food and agriculture education – have been proven to help students build healthy eating habits and support family farmers by expanding market opportunities. You can help! Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 (S. 2026, H.R. 3562) and Kids Eat Local Act (S.1817, H.R. 3220) to encourage members of Congress to provide the federal dollars needed by community-grown initiatives. Have another five minutes? Make a quick call to your members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor these bills! Learn more about farm to school opportunities in the next CNR here

2. USDA Announces 2019 Farm to School Grant Awards
National Farm to School Network congratulations the record-breaking 126 awardees of the 2019 USDA Farm to School Grants, announced last week. This included 19 NFSN Core and Supporting Partner Organizations and the National Farm to School Network! Read more about the 2019 awards - and the importance of Congress continuing to support this highly impactful program - on our blog


Job Opportunities
1. Program Analyst, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (Alexandria, VA)
This position is located in Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). FNS serves as the Nation's first line of defense against hunger. Through the agency's nutrition assistance programs, FNS provides children and needy families' access to food and a more healthful lifestyle. FNCS Headquarters Offices provide the policies and regulatory support regarding the nutrition assistance program administrated through Congressional action. Learn more and apply here

2. Junior Associate, Public Health, Bloomberg Philanthropies (New York, NY)
Bloomberg Philanthropies seeks a Junior Associate to support the Program Manager for the Obesity Prevention program. H/she will provide program management support, high level administrative support, research and analysis. Strong written and oral communications, attention to detail, flexibility/availability and project management skills are a must. Learn more and apply here


Farm to School in the News
Locally-raised bison meat to be introduced into Oklahoma lunch program
The Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami Public Schools will develop a partnership to facilitate planning the introduction and regular consumption of locally raised bison meat into the student lunch program. (The Miami News - Record)

Minnesota kids enjoy locally grown food
Last week was Farm to Summer Week in Minnesota, and children throughout the state ate locally grown foods to celebrate. The USDA's Summer Food Service Program offers free meals to children under 18 while school is out. Those meals are important. "When school's not in session, a lot of kids are at risk of going hungry. So what we're trying to do is take advantage of the summer growing season here in Minnesota by incorporating items grown by local farmers in those summer food service meals." (Public News Service)

Maine students learning how to farm and grow crops
"This program is actually very important to this community. Because there are a lot of people out there who can't get good food. A lot of people are suffering from food inequality. What we're trying to do is basically we're trying to get more food out there for people who truly need it," said Randi Bolen, an incoming Junior. (WABI

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.

USDA Announces 2019 Farm to School Grant Recipients

NFSN Staff Monday, July 22, 2019

Congratulations to the newest USDA Farm to School Grant Program recipients! USDA announced last week that a record-breaking 126 projects in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have been awarded farm to school grants to explore, expand or scale up their farm to school activities. The 2019 awards total $9 million, and will impact 3.2 million students in 5,400 schools. 

Eighteen National Farm to School Network Core and Supporting Partner organizations were selected for 2019 grants, including: 

Alabama - Feeding the Gulf Coast
California - Center for Ecoliteracy
Colorado - Livewell Colorado
Illinois - Seven Generations Ahead
Iowa - Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children
Kansas - KC Healthy Kids
Maine - Healthy Communities of the Capital Area
Minnesota - Minnesota Department of Education; Reviewing the Countryside
Montana - Montana Office of Public Instruction
Nebraska - Center Rural Affairs
Nevada - Urban Roots Garden Classrooms 
Ohio - Cuyahoga County District Board of Health
Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Department of Education
Rhode Island - Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Vermont - Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets
Virginia - Fairfax County Public Schools
Wisconsin - WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection 

National Farm to School Network is also excited to be the recipient of a grant, which will allow us to offer 10 unique experiential learning opportunities in conjunction with our 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020. Save the date! We hope you'll join us and take advantage of this unique opportunity to see innovative farm to school efforts in action and network with farm to school stakeholders from across the country! 

This year’s grants are recording breaking - both in total number of projects supported and total amount of funding awarded - thanks to increased discretionary funding from Congress through appropriations bills for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. But, this increased funding is temporary. Annual mandatory funding for the program is only $5 million. The extra boost of appropriations funds allowed USDA to awards 52 more grants this year than the previous highest year of 2016, when 74 were awarded. It’s important that we continue to advocate for a permanent increase in funding for this highly valuable program so more communities can access these important resources, grow new programs, and experience the benefits of farm to school. 

That's why the National Farm to School Network and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition are working with a bipartisan and bicameral group of Congressional champions to strengthen this important grant program and support other farm to school priorities with the Farm to School Act of 2019. The bill, sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), David Perdue (R-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), will expand funding for and programmatic scope of the highly successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program, including: 

  • Increasing annual funding to $15 million and increasing the grant award maximum to $250,000,
  • Advancing equity by prioritizing grants that engage diverse farmers and serve high-need schools, 
  • Fully including early care and education sites, summer food service sites & after school programs, and 
  • Increasing access among tribal schools to traditional foods, especially from tribal producers. 

Your voice is crucial in this advocacy work! Take 2 minutes to add your name to our petition and/or our organizational sign-on letter in support of the Farm toSchool Act. Have an extra five minutes? Make an even greater impact by calling your members of Congress and asking them to co-sponsor this bill. Find step-by-step instructions and a call script for calling your members of Congress here.   

The USDA Farm to School Grant Program is an essential tool to improve the health of our children, our food system and our local economies. Join us in calling on Congress to continue and expand its support for this highly impactful program! 


National Farm to School Network and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition are partnering to advance farm to school priorities in the next Child Nutrition Reauthorization, with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms.

This Week in Farm to School: 7/16/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 16, 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. 

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: State Local Purchasing Incentive Bills 
Thursday, August 1 // 1-2 PM ET
Providing an increased meal reimbursement to schools and early care and education sites purchasing and serving local foods not only increases the amount of fresh, local foods in meal program, but can provide increased revenue streams for local producers. Many states are exploring or pursuing local food incentive bills and a few states have passed and implemented successful legislation, providing important models for future legislation. In this webinar, presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll hear from key stakeholders about the passage and enactment of the MI Ten Cents a Meal Program and the New Mexico Grown Local Produce Grant. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. Call for Proposals: 2020 Green Schools Conference and Expo
March 2-4, 2019 // Portland, Oregon
The 2020 Green Schools Conference & Expo is coming to Portland! Mark your calendars for March 2-4. What’s more, you have the chance right now to be part of the conference program. Session proposals are being accepted until July 22nd that focus on what it means to be a green school: efforts to reduce environmental impact, improve health and wellness, increase sustainability literacy, and address whole-school sustainability. This year, bonus points will be given to sessions that address the conference’s four priority topics for 2020: student leadership, career & technical education, climate change education, and equity and inclusion. Read more information and submit your session here.

3. First Nations Food Sovereignty Summit
September 23-26, 2019 // Green Bay, Wisconsin
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin (Oneida) again are co-hosting the national Food Sovereignty Summit. It will be held September 23-26, 2019, at the Radisson Hotel in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The conference workshops are divided into three tracks: Sustaining Food Systems, Strengthening Tribal Sovereignty, and Caring for Our Lands. Full information and a registration link can be found here.

4. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 20-24, 2020 // Albuquerque, New Mexico
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Do you have expertise to share? We’ll be seeking proposals for conference content (workshops, posters, etc.) from stakeholders interested in sharing their models and strategies for making farm to cafeteria initiatives a reality in their communities. The Request for Proposals will open in August. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Resources & Research
1. Call for Resources: Farm to School/ECE Procurement and Child Nutrition Program Resources  
In partnership with National Center for Appropriate Technology, National Farm to School Network was recently awarded a cooperative agreement with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) to develop a Farm to School Producer Training Program. Our first step is aggregating farm to school/ECE training resources that have content focused on USDA Child Nutrition Programs and local procurement. We are especially interested in content targeted at farmers and producers. Please send any and all relevant resources (name of resource and link) to Jenileigh Harris, NFSN Program Intern, at programs@farmtoschool.org.

2. EQUITY Article: It’s Great That We Talk About ‘Food Deserts’ — But It Might Be Time To Stop
The common belief is that providing low-income neighborhoods with supermarkets will solve food deserts, but studies show this can have little effect. What actually causes food inequality goes beyond location, and extends to bigger structural inequalities around income, education, nutritional knowledge and, importantly, race. Read more here

3. NFSN RESOURCE Farm to ECE Procurement Blog Series 
Early care and education (ECE) sites are leading the way with innovative approaches to connect children and their families to local food and local food producers. National Farm to School Network's Farm to ECE Procurement Blog Series highlights successes and key learnings from farm to ECE programs and partners across the country. Explore the blog series here.


Policy News
1. Take Action for Farm to School in the next CNR
National Farm to School Network is taking steps now to ensure that the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) strengthens farm to school opportunities across the country! Farm to school activities – including procurement of local food for school meals, school gardens, and food and agriculture education – have been proven to help students build healthy eating habits and support family farmers by expanding market opportunities. You can help! Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 (S. 2026, H.R. 3562) and Kids Eat Local Act (S.1817, H.R. 3230) to encourage members of Congress to provide the federal dollars needed by community-grown initiatives. Have another five minutes? Make a quick call to your members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor these bills! Learn more about farm to school opportunities in the next CNR here


Farm to School in the News
Florida farm to school 'revolutionary"
Twenty-nine school gardens, a new 5-acre farm and relationships with local farmers bring fresh produce to Sarasota students. “We have great relationships with their local farmers and they love working with us and providing for the children. It’s really fulfilling for them to know that their products are going right into the schools,” said Carrie McDonald, Sarasota’s farm to school coordinator. (Herald-Tribune)

Georgia elementary school to pilot new agriculture curriculum 
Musical rain catchers, hydroponic vegetable rigs and sensory gardens are among projects planned for new agriculture classes offered at a Bibb County elementary school this fall. Heard Elementary is among 20 elementary schools statewide chosen to pilot a new agriculture curriculum. Carol Dunn, the school’s new agriculture teacher, said she wants her students to understand where their food comes from. (The Telegraph)

In a New York City garden, students grow their community roots and critical consciousness
Iris, a high school student in New York City, took a course aimed at preparing public school students for college. As part of the course, she visited the Park Slope Food Co-op, among the oldest member-owned businesses in the United States. Members work monthly shifts in return for access to affordable, ethically sourced food and goods. Students enrolled in the course—called Community Roots—investigated the larger social, political and historical issues of food and place while gardening and learning about food-related activities. (Science X Daily)

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.

Growing Healthy Eaters in Georgia

NFSN Staff Thursday, July 11, 2019
This post is part of our Farm to ECE Procurement Blog Series, which is devoted to the many ways that early care and education sites connect children and their families to local food and local food producers. Read previous posts in this series here. Have a farm to ECE procurement story to share? Contact Lacy Stephens at lacy@farmtoschool.org.


Children enjoying a radish taste test at Tee Tee’s Daycare in Valdosta, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Kim Jackson, owner of Tee Tee’s Daycare .

Guest Blog By Gina Cook, Quality Care for Children

Beans, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes are just a sampling of the many fruits and vegetables that grow in Georgia. Because Georgia’s climate allows tremendous opportunities for farmers, just about any crop can be grown successfully somewhere within the state.

However, many children grow up in Georgia not knowing where their food comes from and how it is grown. Many childcare providers may have limited access to fresh, healthy, locally grown foods and serve only canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.  

In 2017, the formation of the Georgia Farm to ECE Learning Collaborative was made possible by a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Eighteen early care providers across the state were selected to receive mini grants, resources, materials, training, and professional development opportunities to incorporate farm to ECE activities, including gardening, local procurement, and nutrition education. Here are some of the take-aways and lessons learned from the Learning Collaborative's activities. 

Overcoming Barriers to Eating Local Foods
Limited Access to Local Foods
One would think since farming is the foundation of the state’s economic well-being, there would be more locally grown produce in the stores. However, this was not always the case and providers needed support to find out where to purchase local foods. The Georgia Grown website has been helpful in identifying what is in season and finding farms and locations to purchase local foods. 

Time
Local farm stands are usually only open certain hours during the day or on the weekends. Family childcare providers cannot get away during the day since they are usually the only ones caring for the children and weekends are filled with family commitments. So running to the grocery store, which stays open late, may be the only option. Some providers have been able to find local products at the grocery stores they frequent and others have focused their attention on the foods they can grow in the garden and serve on-site as first steps for serving local foods.

Cost
The childcare providers were concerned that children would waste the food, especially if it was more expensive to purchase. Offering exposures to new foods through taste tests and gardening increase children’s acceptance of new foods and can help decrease food waste. A few of the sites have been creative in their purchasing practices to help address costs. One site was able to purchase marked-down produce by developing a relationship with a local farmer. 

Preparation
Many of the providers have commented on the time involved in the preparation of fresh, local foods.  They must spend more time washing, cutting, and cooking. It was much easier for them to open up a can or put frozen vegetables in the microwave. Several of the sites have struggled with knowing what foods to purchase, especially when it comes to picky eaters, and how to prepare. Choosing foods that are easy to prepare and broadly appealing to little ones, like cherry tomatoes, snap-peas, and strawberries, can be one initial way to overcome this challenge.  Spoilage has been a main concern since fresh food tends to go bad much quicker.  However, one provider has purchased a food storage vacuum system that allows her to freeze what she grows or purchases.  

Local Food Successes 
Gardening
All of the providers in the Learning Collaborative have planted a garden with a variety of vegetables.  Some are able serve these at meals and snacks and invite families to come and experience first-hand the garden.  Parents have shared that their children’s excitement and pride in their gardens is contagious.  Not only are the children more likely to try fruits and vegetables if they participate in the growing process, but the parents are too!  One parent remarked, “I am learning to eat red pepper because my son is eating it at school.”  

Family Engagement
The participants of the Learning Collaborative agree that behaviors around food are difficult to change.  Some of the providers have commented that getting their families to try new foods has come with some resistance.  To address this issue, providers welcome parents to cook and participate in a taste test with the children. Providers also offer dishes with familiar flavor profiles that go well will family staples like beans and rice eaten by Hispanic families served by the childcare site.  Some of the gardens produce an abundance of vegetables and the sites have given some to the families in their care along with a simple recipe to make at home. 

Despite the challenges, all of the providers agree that the successes outweigh the barriers. Children are enjoying gardening and eating what they grow.  They try more foods and actually like them! They can even tell you how seeds grow!  This enthusiasm has spread to the families at the sites and now families are becoming more aware of what they are serving at home.  One provider tells the story of the little girl who ASKS for salad now!  

You can hear more about local procurement in family child care in Georgia from Gina and family child care owner, Maria Claudia Ortega, in this NFSN webinar, Farm to Early Care and Education in Family Child Care.  

Bottom photo: Families love working in the garden together! Photo courtesy of Maria Claudia Ortega, owner of My Little Geniuses in Marietta, GA

This Week in Farm to School: 7/9/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 09, 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. 

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: Farm to Early Care and Education State Strategic Planning 
Thursday, July 11 // 1-2 PM ET
Developing a farm to early care and education (ECE) state strategic plan can facilitate the coordinated growth, expansion, and institutionalization of farm to ECE across the state. Aligning the plan with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Spectrum of Opportunities for State-Level Obesity Prevention Efforts Targeting the Early Care and Education Setting further supports comprehensive integration of farm to ECE into existing ECE systems and structures, which can increase reach and support long-term successes. In this webinar presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll learn about the Spectrum of Opportunities from Nora Geary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and hear from Erin Croom of Georgia Organics and Caliste Chong of Alabama Smart Start about the development, implementation, and impacts of state farm to ECE strategic plans in their states. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: State Local Purchasing Incentive Bills 
Thursday, August 1 // 1-2 PM ET
Providing an increased meal reimbursement to schools and early care and education sites purchasing and serving local foods not only increases the amount of fresh, local foods in meal program, but can provide increased revenue streams for local producers. Many states are exploring or pursuing local food incentive bills and a few states have passed and implemented successful legislation, providing important models for future legislation. In this webinar, presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll hear from key stakeholders about the passage and enactment of the MI Ten Cents a Meal Program and the New Mexico Grown Local Produce Grant. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

3. School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute
January 19-24, 2020 // Santa Cruz, CA
Join 20 other School Garden Support Organization teams from across the nation to strengthen your organization’s goal of enhancing professional development and ongoing support for school garden programs in your region. Apply here by August 2, 2019. 

4. North Carolina Farm to School Summit
September 20, 2019 // Raleigh, NC
The Farm to School Coalition of NC brings together a dedicated group of farm to school stakeholders that collaborate to expand and strengthen farm to school initiatives across the state. This event serves as an opportunity to strengthen the network of practitioners committed to any and all components of farm to school—from local food purchasing to experiential learning about agriculture, gardening, food, cooking, nutrition and health. Pre-Conference trainings and workshops will take place on September 19, 2019. Learn more here.

5. Food Sovereignty Summit
September 23-26, 2019 // Green Bay, WI
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin (Oneida) are co-hosting the national Food Sovereignty Summit, September 23-26, 2019, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Food Sovereignty Summit began in 2013. It is the undisputed national forum for sharing and collaboration to build healthy food systems within Native American communities. Hundreds of attendees come from tribal communities all over that are actively involved in food sovereignty work, including caring for our land, sustaining food systems, and strengthening tribal sovereignty and partnerships between Native nations. Learn more and register here

6. Farms, Food & Health Conference
September 26-29, 2019 // Traverse City, MI
Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities is proud to partner with Munson Healthcare, Great Lakes Culinary Institute of Northwestern Michigan College, and Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District to present the first joint Farms, Food & Health Conference. This event will highlight innovative initiatives, engage a large, diverse audience and provide much-needed technical skill-building for healthcare providers and educators. Early bird registration is now open. Learn more and register here


Resources & Research 
1. Call for Resources: Farm to School/ECE Procurement and Child Nutrition Program Resources  
In partnership with National Center for Appropriate Technology, National Farm to School Network was recently awarded a cooperative agreement with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) to develop a Farm to School Producer Training Program. Our first step is aggregating farm to school/ECE training resources that have content focused on USDA Child Nutrition Programs and local procurement. We are especially interested in content targeted at farmers and producers. Please send any and all relevant resources (name of resource and link) to Jenileigh Harris, NFSN Program Intern, at programs@farmtoschool.org.

2. EQUITY Article: How USDA distorted data to conceal decades of discrimination against black farmers
A New Food Economy investigation found that as recently as 2016, USDA promoted misleading data to depict a fictional renaissance in black farming. That narrative falsely inflated the department's record on civil rights, and ultimately cost black farmers land, money and agency. National Farm to School Network staff have been reading this well-research, long-form article and encourage others to do so to learn about recent, systemic discrimination that directly intersects with farm to school efforts. Read the article here


Policy News
1. Oregon Lawmakers Expand Farm to School Program
Oregon's Farm to School Program is poised to expand after state lawmakers approved a bill tripling the program’s budget. House Bill 2579, which passed both the House and Senate unanimously, will expand funding for the program to nearly $15 million and now include federally funded early childcare and summer food service centers, such as Head Start. Most of the money, $11 million, will go toward grants for schools to purchase Oregon-grown food. Some $2.5 million is set aside for farm and garden-based education grants. $500,000 has been allocated to the Oregon Department of Agriculture to help farmers and ranchers with farm to school market access. The rest of the money is for program evaluation, technical assistance and administrative costs. Congratulations, Oregon! Read more here

2. NFSN RESOURCE State Farm to School Policy Handbook: 2002-2018
National Farm to School Network and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School are pleased to share their new State Farm to School Policy Handbook: 2002-2018. The Handbook summarizes and analyzes every proposed farm to school bill and resolution introduced between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2018, from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. It enables readers to search bills by both jurisdiction and topic, and includes analysis of trends, case studies, advocacy resources and more. Explore the State Farm to School Policy Handbook here.


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to School Program Coordinator, Arkansas Agriculture Department (Little Rock, AR) 
The Farm to School and Early Childhood Program Coordinator is responsible for developing and coordinating the statewide farm to school program and for providing technical expertise and assistance to local school food authorities, local farmers, and other institutions and farm to school stakeholders. Application closes July 12. Learn more and apply here

2. Program Leader, Health and Nutrition, University of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN) 
This Program Leader position leads the Health and Nutrition program area in the Extension Center for Family Development. The Program Leader provides leadership for a dynamic team of master’s level Extension Educators located across the state who conduct innovative work through informal education, using both direct education and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) methodology. PSE efforts include working in partnership with neighborhoods, school districts, food pantries and municipalities. Over half of the families that we serve are new immigrants, culturally diverse, economically diverse, and/or underserved audiences. Learn more and apply here

3. FoodCorps Service Member, Various Locations
FoodCorps is currently accepting service member applications for the following states: Connecticut, Iowa, DC Metro, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Learn more and apply here

4. Executive Director, Gallatin Valley Farm to School (Montana) 
Gallatin Valley Farm to School is hiring an Executive Director. The Executive Director is a professional position that is accountable to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the management and oversight of all aspects of GVF2S programs and business operations. The Executive Director leads innovation and strategic growth toward accomplishing the mission of the organization, and acts to create the long-term success of GVF2S. Learn more and apply here


Farm to School in the News
Alabama students get delivery of fresh corn
The smell of sweet corn filled the lunchroom at Carbon Hill Elementary/Jr. High School Tuesday, and students had the opportunity to meet the farmer who grew it. Deemed "Sweet Corn Day," around 60 students in the school's summer program were served corn from McKenzie Farm & Forest. (Daily Mountain Eagle)

How hydroponic school gardens in New York can cultivate food justice, year-round
After a full day of school a few weeks ago, 12-year-old Rose Quigley donned gloves and quickly picked bunches of fresh lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, mint and oregano. But she didn't have to leave her school in Brooklyn, N.Y., or even go outdoors to do it. The vegetables never stop coming because the crops are grown hydroponically. The students provide weekly produce for their cafeteria's salad bar and other dishes. (NPR)

"Farm to summer" program teaches Idaho students about agriculture
An Idaho school district is partnering with the state's Department of Agriculture for its "farm-to-summer" program, in which students learn more about the fruits and vegetables produced in the state while getting a free lunch. The program serves about 1,700 lunches a day. (KMVT

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: 7/2/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 02, 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. 

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: Farm to Early Care and Education State Strategic Planning 
Thursday, July 11 // 1-2 PM ET
Developing a farm to early care and education (ECE) state strategic plan can facilitate the coordinated growth, expansion, and institutionalization of farm to ECE across the state. Aligning the plan with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Spectrum of Opportunities for State-Level Obesity Prevention Efforts Targeting the Early Care and Education Setting further supports comprehensive integration of farm to ECE into existing ECE systems and structures, which can increase reach and support long-term successes. In this webinar presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll learn about the Spectrum of Opportunities from Nora Geary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and hear from Erin Croom of Georgia Organics and Caliste Chong of Alabama Smart Start about the development, implementation, and impacts of state farm to ECE strategic plans in their states. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: State Local Purchasing Incentive Bills 
Thursday, August 1 // 1-2 PM ET
Providing an increased meal reimbursement to schools and early care and education sites purchasing and serving local foods not only increases the amount of fresh, local foods in meal program, but can provide increased revenue streams for local producers. Many states are exploring or pursuing local food incentive bills and a few states have passed and implemented successful legislation, providing important models for future legislation. In this webinar, presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll hear from key stakeholders about the passage and enactment of the MI Ten Cents a Meal Program and the New Mexico Grown Local Produce Grant. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

3. EQUITY Webinar: Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics
Tuesday, July 16 // 3-4 PM ET
The Racial Equity in Food Systems Working Group (REFS) is a national workgroup coordinated by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. The webinar will provide an introduction to the newly published guide, Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics, including examples of metrics in four different themes and ways the guide can be used. Following this introduction, two food system leaders will share how they are using data and metrics to drive system change. There will be time in the webinar for questions, comments, and suggestions for related resources. Register here

4. Webinar: Keeping up with Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act
Tuesday, July 9 //  3-4 PM EDT
Join the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Food Policy Networks project for a panel discussion with policy experts (including Chloe Marshall, NFSN Policy Specialist) on the process for reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. This important act legislates school meal and child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and was last reauthorized in 2010 in the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act. Learn about the process for reauthorization, what is to come in the next few months, and how food policy councils can engage in the reauthorization process. Register here

5. Louisiana Farm to School Conference
October 22-23, 2019  // Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Louisiana Farm to School Program will host the annual Louisiana Farm to School Conference on October 23, 2019 at the Pennington Biomedical Conference Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During their time in the Bayou State, stakeholders will attend a special "Meet the Buyer, Greet the Grower" event to kick off the conference and explore networking opportunities between farmers and school nutrition staff. Some of the hot topics for this event will include school gardening challenges, barriers of farm to school, and sourcing local foods in school. Save the date and make a trip to attend! Learn more here

6. 2019 Maine Farm to School Conference
October 4, 2019  // Hinckley/Clinton, Maine
With the 2019 conference theme of "Innovations in Farm to School", stakeholders from across the state of Maine and beyond will convene for a full day of learning, best practice sharing, and networking. This event will be hosted at the Kennebec Valley Community College's Alfond Campus from 8:30 AM - 5 PM. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. Call for Resources: Farm to School/ECE Procurement and Child Nutrition Program Resources  
In partnership with National Centers for Appropriate Technology, National Farm to School Network was recently awarded a cooperative agreement with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) to develop a Farm to School Producer Training Program. Our first step is aggregating farm to school/ECE training resources that have content focused on USDA Child Nutrition Programs and local procurement. We are especially interested in content targeted at farmers and producers. Please send any and all relevant resources (name of resource and link) to Jenileigh Harris, NFSN Program Intern, at programs@farmtoschool.org.

2. EQUITY Boston Brings Sustainability, Equity to Its Food Purchasing
In March, the Boston City Council unanimously passed a good food purchasing program (GFPP) ordinance. Serving 11.1 million meals annually with an $18 million food budget, Boston Public Schools (BPS) is the city’s biggest food purchaser, and the GFPP will lead to big changes in BPS’s school lunch menus. What stands out about Boston’s policy is that it not only requires the city to procure sustainably grown food, consider animal welfare and the local economy, but also to focus on racial equity in the food chain during the purchasing process. "This policy is so transformative because it impacts all of those concerns at every step—serving nutritious food that’s been grown sustainably and harvested by workers who are treated with dignity as much as possible.” Read more on Civil Eats


Policy News
1. Farm to School Act of 2019 Introduced in Congress
The Farm to School Act of 2019 has been introduced in Congress with bipartisan support by legislative champions Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), David Perdue (R-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-OH ) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). The Farm to School Act of 2019 builds on the success of the farm to school movement by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also: increase the maximum grant award to $250,000; prioritize grant proposals that engage beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and serve high-need schools; fully include early care and education sites, summer food service sites and afterschool programs; and, increase access among Native and tribal schools to traditional foods, especially from tribal producers. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2019 by signing a letter of support on behalf of your organization. Individuals can sign up here to receive campaign updates and alerts for important action opportunities. Join us in making sure Congress knows that farm to school is a powerful tool for supporting our kids, our farmers and our communities! To learn more, download this fact sheet and visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2019


Job Opportunities
1. Executive Director, Gallatin Valley Farm to School (Montana) 
Gallatin Valley Farm to School is hiring an Executive Director. The Executive Director is a professional position that is accountable to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the management and oversight of all aspects of GVF2S programs and business operations. The Executive Director leads innovation and strategic growth toward accomplishing the mission of the organization, and acts to create the long-term success of GVF2S. Learn more here

2. Garden Coordinator, Green Plate Special (Washington)
Green Plate Special (GPS) is hiring a Garden Coordinator. GPS is a rapidly growing organization that offers seed-to-table programs serving youth ages 9-14. This is an excellent opportunity for a strong organic gardener/farmer with experience working with youth in an educational setting. This position is geared for someone who is committed to inspiring young people to experience food in new ways and interested in joining a small team with big ambitions. Learn more here

3. Resident District Manager, Sodexo Schools (Massachusetts)
Sodexo Schools is seeking a Resident District Manager to oversee food operation for the Springfield Public Schools District, serving over 60 schools. The successful candidate will have strong leadership and client relations skills and possess the ability to balance multiple priorities simultaneously. Springfield Public Schools District recently completed a new commissary with the stated intention of processing and serving local food - this a great opportunity to grow new farm to school efforts. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Maoloha on the move in Hawaii
The first time Malama Kauai fired up their new kitchen trailer was in November, on the grounds of Kawaikini Public Charter School. Since then, the school’s second-grade class named has named the trailer “Maoloha,” after the large-meshed nets used at Hawaiian makahiki ceremonies. It represents the trailer’s purpose in feeding the community. (The Garden Island)

How a garden is helping Illinois students learn English
When it comes to mastering a new language, it's often best to learn by doing. That's the real reason English Language Learners teacher Melissa Eaton planted a garden at Cowlishaw Elementary School in Naperville. (Daily Herald)

Building a garden to offer Pennsylvania students healthy eating options
A group of students and volunteers got together in Schuylkill County to put the finishing touches on a huge garden. It's designed to offer students healthier eating options, but it will also benefit the public. "I think it's terrific. It is very important that we teach our children about being able to grow plants and learning to plant and be self-sufficient and harvest what we grow," said Mary Anne Woodward, North Schuylkill School Board. (WNEP ABC)

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.

Farm to School Act of 2019 Introduced in Congress

NFSN Staff Thursday, June 27, 2019

Farm to school activities have been proven to help students build healthy eating habits and support family farmers by expanding market opportunities. Today, a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders demonstrated their support for growing farm to school programming across the country by introducing the Farm to School Act of 2019 (H.R. 3562, S. 2026). The bill, sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), David Perdue (R-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), will expand funding for and programmatic scope of the highly successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program. 

The USDA Farm to School Grant Program provides funds on a competitive basis to schools, farmers, nonprofits, and local, state and tribal government entities to help schools procure local foods – including fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, dairy and other products – for school meals and to support farm to school activities like farm field trips, hands-on science classes and new food taste tests. Since making its first awards in 2013, the program has received more than 1,900 applications requesting over $141 million in support. With only $5 million in mandatory funding available annually, the Farm to School Grant Program has been forced to turn away roughly 80 percent of qualified applications. The Farm to School Act of 2019 would allow more impactful projects to be realized by:
  • Increasing annual funding to $15 million and increasing the grant award maximum to $250,000.
  • Advancing equity by prioritizing grants that engage diverse farmers and serve high-need schools. 
  • Fully including early care and education sites, summer food service sites & after school programs. 
  • Increasing access among tribal schools to traditional foods, especially from tribal producers. 
Read our full press release here.
Learn more about the Farm to School Act of 2019 here

Organizations that have endorsed the Farm to School Act of 2019 include the National Farm to School Network, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Heart Association, FoodCorps, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Education Association, National Farmers Union and Union of Concerned Scientists, among others.

The USDA Farm to School Grant program was originally funded as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 - the last Child Nutrition Act reauthorization (CNR) to pass. This was a major victory for the farm to school movement, as it was the first time federal legislation specifically mandated funding and support for farm to school efforts. Since the creation of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, we’ve seen high interest in participating from communities across the country, and have heard many stories of how the program has helped launch new farm to school activities. We’ve also heard your feedback on how the program can be improved and expanded to continue supporting equitable and sustainable farm to school efforts. Earlier this year, we hosted a CNR Listening Session Series to capture your thoughts on policy issues like this in order to directly inform our CNR priorities. The specific policy changes proposed in the Farm to School Act of 2019 are the results of your shared feedback. 

The Farm to School Act of 2019 and the Kids Eat Local Act (also recently introduced) are two important bills that can strengthen farm to school in the next CNR. Federal policy like CNR is so important because it helps ensure that farm to school efforts aren’t a fad, but a long-term, viable strategy for ensuring the health of our nation’s kids, farms and communities. But federal policymaking can be slow moving. You may recognize that this is not the first time congressional champions have introduced a Farm to School Act - it was also introduced in 2015 and 2017. While there’s no guarantee that CNR and these bills will pass in this Congress, it’s imperative that we’re prepared to advocate for the priorities that are important to the farm to school movement. 

We need your help. Policy advocacy takes all of us, and your voice is critical in this process. Here’s what you can do today to help.  

Organizations: If you represent a school, nonprofit organization, business or advocacy group interested in supporting farm to school in the next CNR, please add your organization’s name to our organizational sign-on letter to Congress, expressing your support for the Farm to School Act of 2019 and the Kids Eat Local Act. Sign-on here

Individuals: Are you a parent, teacher, farmer, concerned eater? Sign-up to stay up-to-date on important individual action opportunities coming this summer. Add your name to our list and will let you know how you can support these important federal policy opportunities. Sign-up here

Learn more and stay engaged: Education and engagement are two of the most important factors in making our collective advocacy efforts effective. Help prepare for our big CNR advocacy push coming this summer:
Work for a government agency or university and cannot lobby? You can still make a difference! While you can’t make specific policy asks, you can (and should!) share general information about farm to school in your state and how the USDA Farm to School Grant Program has been successful. Sharing information is not lobbying - it’s education, which all of us can do! Any of the educational engagement opportunities above are a great way to be involved in CNR. 

Have questions about CNR or want to learn more about how you can be a farm to school policy advocate? Contact Chloe Marshall, Policy Specialist, at chloe@farmtoschool.org.

National Farm to School Network and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition are partnering to advance farm to school priorities in the next Child Nutrition Reauthorization, with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms.

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