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National Farmers Union is Celebrating National Farm to School Month

NFSN Staff Monday, October 28, 2019
Guest blog by the National Farmers Union - Aaron Shier, NFU Government Relations Representative and Josie Krogh, NFU Intern


John Peterson, Owner and General Manager of Ferndale Market, raises pastured turkeys in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Ferndale turkey is featured on school food menus throughout Minnesota.

This blog is cross-posted on the National Farmers Union website - read it here.

October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate connections happening all over the country between schools, food, and local farmers, ranchers, and fishers!

Over the past decade, the farm to school movement has boomed across the United States, reaching millions of students in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories. Farm to school – which includes kids eating, growing, and learning about local foods in schools – is an important tool in the fight against childhood obesity and food insecurity. In addition to improving student health, farm to school presents an important financial opportunity for farmers by connecting them to a profitable institutional market. According to the USDA Farm to School Census, schools reported spending $789 million on food from local farmers, ranchers, fishers and food processors during the 2013-14 school year. 

Many National Farmers Union members are involved in farm to school efforts. And National Farm to School Month seemed like the perfect time to highlight some of their great work. 

Minnesota Farmers Union member John Peterson is a third-generation turkey farmer who has been selling his free-range, antibiotic-free turkey to local school districts for over a decade. Their family farm Ferndale Market started off selling turkey to a few school districts that were able to handle and cook raw turkey, but when Minneapolis Public Schools decided to bring locally produced foods into all their cafeterias, the school district became a major buyer of Ferndale turkey.

Peterson said there has been a lot to learn about what products schools are able to work with. “Some districts handle raw protein, but certainly not all. Many schools don’t have traditional cooking facilities. So working with processors has been crucial.” Most of what Ferndale Market sells to schools are value-added, ready to cook products like turkey hotdogs and fully-cooked burgers.

Working with Minneapolis Public Schools has benefited their business by allowing them to utilize all parts of the turkey and by stabilizing demand. “The world of turkey suffers from a seasonality problem, especially because of Thanksgiving through retail outlets,” said John. “So, farm to school programs provide good year-round stability for us by helping smooth out demand.” 

Aside from being good for business, Peterson said he takes pride in knowing they’re providing clean, healthy products to nourish students in their community. Ferndale often does events at schools where their turkey is served, which helps students get a better understanding of where and how their food is raised. “It’s common sense on so many levels,” he said. “It’s one of those things where everyone involved benefits. Farmers, students, the local economy. A win-win-win.


Anthony Wagner (far right) pictured during a farm to school group tour on his farm and orchard in Corrales, New Mexico.

Another farm to school success story can be found in New Mexico, where dedicated farmers such as Danny Farrar of Rancho La Jolla Farm and Orchard and Anthony Wagner of Wagner Farms (who are also Farmers Union members), have been major champions of farm to school efforts in the state. Danny and Anthony, in addition to growing fruits and vegetables for schools, have participated in legislative hearings, advocated for a statewide farm to school program, and have provided numerous farm tour opportunities for school food service directors.

Danny and Anthony are also board members of the organization Farm to Table in New Mexico, a Core Partner of the National Farm to School Network (NFSN). Farm to Table has focused on farm to school issues for more than twenty years and in partnership with Farmers Union and other national, regional, and local organizations, has been pivotal in advancing policy and capacity building around farm to school. For example, Farm to Table and its partners helped pave the way for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant program. And subsequently, in part thanks to USDA grants and the leadership of the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council, they were able to establish a state farm to school program as well.

Pam Roy is the Executive Director and Co-founder of Farm to Table and the Government Relations Director in New Mexico for Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (which covers the states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming). Pam explained that “Farm to Table and its partners recently helped establish the New Mexico Farm to School Program in the Public Education Department and secured permanent funding of $510,000 per year for the program.” This program helps schools purchase New Mexico-grown produce. “We are so glad to report that the program helped generate more than $879,000 in locally grown fruit and vegetable purchases by New Mexico Public Schools during the 2017-18 school year, not including grant funding,” said Pam.

Farm to school enriches the connections communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing education and food purchasing practices at schools. By encouraging school districts to purchase food from within their local community, farm to school increases farmer incomes and strengthens rural economies.

Bridging The Farm To School Gap

NFSN Staff Friday, October 25, 2019


Guest blog by Farm Credit 

This blog is cross-posted from Farm Credit's blog. Read the original post here. National Farm to School Network thanks Farm Credit for being a supporter of our work.

Many of today’s young people are more accustomed to playing on iPads than playing in parks. The first step in educating such a generation about agriculture may be by simply getting them outside. The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) strives to close the gap between youth and the food that they eat through outdoor garden education, classroom learning focused on food and farming and local food procurement in school cafeterias. 

In the School
Sam Ullery, school garden specialist for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) in Washington, D.C., visits schools across the nation’s capital that are interested in teaching their students about the farm to school mission. 

Sam recently visited Maurey Elementary where he taught a group of kindergarteners about how to use their senses to observe the natural world. Students collected objects that were shiny and dull, round and flat, scratchy and smooth. They then shared what they found with their peers, discussing what senses they used to categorize their newfound treasures. While this activity didn’t focus directly on food production or the agriculture industry, it got students thinking about the earth in a new, hands-on way. 

“Farm to school is very theoretical to those who aren't familiar with it. However, if a teacher came into a classroom and said, ‘we're taking the kids to do a lesson outside on this beautiful day,’ that's farm to school too,’” he said. 

Changing Mindsets
Sam makes sure to teach lessons from NFSN’s public curriculum database when he visits D.C.’s schools. He hopes to demonstrate how easy it is to engage students in learning farm to school concepts and encourage teachers to utilize the vast array of NFSN’s online, public resources to do just that.

“The biggest challenge is getting teachers to be comfortable teaching beyond their comfort zone by taking kids outside of the classroom. It’s been a fun challenge to do that, to change the mindset of teachers and administrators,” he said. 

Not something extra 
Often, Sam accomplishes this is by showing teachers how the farm to school curriculum is designed to connect to teachers’ existing learning goals for their students. “We’re showing how the garden isn't something extra, but it's something that can support what students are learning in the classroom,” he said.  For example, Sam’s kindergarteners practiced exploration skills useful for future science experiments and they learned new descriptive words important for the language arts. 

NFSN and Farm Credit are united in our missions to support farmers and rural communities. This means ensuring that future generations of Americans feel connected to the food they eat and understand it is produced. Farm Credit is proud to support NSFN during National Farm to School Month and every month as they educate young people about food and nutrition in the garden, the cafeteria and the classroom.

This Week in Farm to School: 10/22/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding
1. USDA 2020 Farm to School Grant RFA Now Open
Deadline: December 13, 2019
The 2020 USDA Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. With additional funding made available through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $10 million in FY 2020 funding. Grants ranging in size from $20,000 to $100,000 will be available to schools, nonprofits, State and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to plan and implement farm to school activities. Applications are due Dec. 13, 2019. Learn more and apply here

National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring this funding reaches the communities that need it most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance during the application process (thought partnership, preparing the grant application, evaluation) and during grant implementation (needs assessment, evaluation, action plan, virtual coaching). Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. EQUITY Webinar: Uprooting Racism in the Food System: Seeding Sovereignty for Black and Brown Farmers
October 23 // 3:30 PM ET
This webinar, “Uprooting Racism in the Food System: Seeding Sovereignty for Black and Brown Farmers,” seeks to expand perspectives and provide information on institutional and grassroots approaches to engaging socially disadvantaged groups in farming and food systems. This webinar is part of the NAFSN Good Food Talk webinar series, hosted by North American Food Systems Network. Learn more here

2. Webinar: Strategies to Help Implement a Successful Farm to School Program
October 31 // 3 PM ET
More than two-thirds of school districts that engaged in Farm to School activities reported positive impacts, including increased support from parents and community members. Schools also reported that Farm to School helped lower school meal program costs. This webinar (hosted by the Institute of Child Nutrition) explores strategies and best practices on how to implement a local Farm to School program. It will highlight success stories from individuals on ways to start and sustain a lasting Farm to School program in your community. A continuing education certificate will be available after completion of the webinar. Register here

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

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

5. 2020 Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Conference
February 12-13, 2020 // Silverton, OR
The Oregon Farm to School & School Garden Conference will be held February 12-13, 2020 at The Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. This will be a two day event with workshops, speakers, resources and networking opportunities. Wednesday, February 12 will be focused on farm and garden based education. Thursday, February 13 will be focused on incorporating local food into school meals. Conference organizers are now accepting proposals for workshops. Proposals are due Nov. 1. Learn more here.


Research & Resources
1. EQUITY Articles: Indigenous Food Sovereignty in North America
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
JAFSCD has two new "Voices from the Grassroots" articles on the topic of Indigenous Food Sovereignty in North America. In Reviving and Reclaiming Our Native Food System: Leadership Experiences of a Research Project's Community Advisory Board, members of a community advisory board on the Wind River Reservation reflect on their struggle to serve a strong role in reclaiming sovereignty over the community's traditional foods and local food system. In Northwest Tribal Food Sovereignty Coalition: An Intertribal Collaboration, the Northwest Tribal Food Sovereignty Coalition shares how it's building a strong network of tribal nations, tribal organizations, and allied partners to work effectively toward true tribal food sovereignty. Read more here

2. Call for Submission: 2020 Harkin on Wellness Report
Deadline: Nov. 1
The goal of the Harkin Institute is to facilitate collaborative, high-quality, nonpartisan, multi-disciplinary public policy research and analysis in the area of wellness and nutrition. As part of this goal, the Institute is in the process of creating its annual Harkin on Wellness Report that highlights various wellness and nutrition initiatives and programs throughout the country. Programs and organizations are encouraged to submit their work focused on promoting better health through food and nutrition, improving sustainable agriculture practices, increasing economic vitality, creating health equity, and/or supporting sustainable development. Applications will be selected through a competitive internal and external review process. All designees will be invited to attend and present at the Harkin On Wellness Symposium in Spring 2020. The Harkin Institute will cover travel costs to Des Moines, IA and give each designee at $500 honorarium and plaque recognizing your organization. Learn more here


Policy Opportunities
1. USDA Reopens Public Comment Period for Categorical Eligibility in SNAP
In recent months, the United States Department of Agriculture has proposed a change in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also formerly known as “food stamps”). This rule would amend the categorical eligibility provision that allow families whose income would typically be too high to receive SNAP benefits to qualify based on their participation in other federal benefits programs. For example, a family that qualifies for TANF would automatically qualify for SNAP (if the state chooses to use categorical eligibility). Supporters of the rule change call this a “loophole” that takes resources from needy families. National Farm to School Network views the rule change as ultimately harmful to families in need of these benefits. The rule change would take vital food assistance away from nearly 3 million people. Given that many children’s free and reduced-priced meal eligibility is tied to their SNAP eligibility, this also puts children at risk of losing access to school meals. USDA recently released a report showing that nearly 1 million children could lose access to school meals as a result of this rule change. NFSN strongly opposes the rule change because farm to school can’t happen when families can’t eat.

How you can advocate: USDA has reopened the comment period to allow people to utilize this new data to make a decision. Submit a comment opposing the rule before the new deadline of November 1. The Food Research and Action Center has great resources on how to prepare and submit comments that you can access here


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

Alabama Crunch Day is Oct. 24.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared October Arkansas Farm to School Month on Oct. 15.
California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross visited Julien Elementary School, Turlock High School, the Child Nutrition Education Center and the Turlock Unified School District’s farm as part of Farm to School Month.
Louisiana is celebrating Farm to School Month with a Great Louisiana Satsuma Peel.
The Mountain Plains Crunch Off (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) is Oct. 24.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed October as Farm to School Month. The North Carolina Crunch is Oct. 23.
South Carolina is celebrating "Make Your Place SC Grown" week, Oct. 21-25.
Tennessee Crunch Day is Oct. 23.
Canada celebrates National Farm to School Month in October, too! Read more on the National Farm to School Network's blog

Send your Farm to School Month highlights to anna@farmtoschool.org to be included in our next edition of This Week in Farm to School!


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 Without Borders: Canada’s Farm to School Story

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Guest blog by Farm to Cafeteria Canada

The Canadian Context 
Founded in 2011, Farm to Cafeteria Canada (F2CC) is a pan-Canadian organization that was formed to work with partners across Canada to educate, build capacity, strengthen partnerships, and influence policy to bring local, healthy, and sustainable foods into all public institutions.

Across Canada we’re seeing and celebrating so much exciting activity to bring the local harvest into school classrooms and cafeterias. Just like in the US, farm to school in Canada is about closing the distance between field and fork and cultivating a generation of healthy eaters and critical thinkers who understand and value food and its role in personal, cultural, and planetary health. 

Some communities use the term Local Food to School (LF2S), where “local food” can include seafood, game and other “wild” foods, that connect schools with fishers, elders and other knowledge keepers who can harvest and prepare these foods safely and in a culturally meaningful manner. Check out this short video to see LF2S in action in a remote Indigenous community. 



Inspired by the US National Farm to School Network, the Canadian farm to school network championed by F2CC is over 5,000 members/followers strong, with representatives from nearly every province and territory. To date, 1,219 schools and campuses have shared their farm to school activity with F2CC so that it can be tracked on the Canadian Farm to School Map. Institutes report they are providing 864,579 students (about 10% of the national youth population, ages 5-24) with an opportunity to experience growing, harvesting, preparing and eating healthy local foods at school. We know there is much more grassroots activity happening and expect this number to grow as more become aware of the map. We’re also learning from the US and hoping to get farm to school questions embedded into our agricultural census. 

Farm to school has drawn the eye and support of the Canadian government. Since 2016, the federal government has partnered with F2CC, investing nearly $2 million in a pan-Canadian farm to school initiative - F2S: Canada Digs In! (F2SDCI). Federal funding has been matched by multiple partners, including Whole Kids Foundation. Thus far F2SCDI has enabled the development of pilot programs in nearly 100 schools, affording more than 35,000 students to experience farm to school. (Read / watch some of their stories here.) This project is significant in that it represents the largest ever federal investment in school food to date, and for the first time ever it has allowed us to evaluate the impacts of farm to school in Canada!


We’re working to paint a new chapter! 
As an interesting bit of context about Canada - many schools - especially at the elementary and middle school level - do not have cafeterias, and often lack cooking facilities of any sort. Instead, farm to school program are creative and unique to each and every school, often championed by dedicated teachers, school administrators and parent/community volunteers. Our work at F2CC is building on the amazing efforts of schools and communities at the grassroots level by evaluating and supporting schools to implement best practices in farm to school.

To do this, F2CC has been developing a Canadian farm to school framework and articulating the farm to school approach, within which there are multiple models

F2CC is not alone in our quest to paint a strong future for school food in Canada. There are many provincial and national groups with brush in hand. The Coalition for Healthy School Food representing more than 80 organizations, is advocating for a federal investment in a national school food program that would eventually ensure that all students have access to a healthy meal or snack at school every day. Many farm to school champions are at that table influencing the development of a set of strong principles that align with those underpinning the farm to school approach (including the need for such a program to be universal, community-driven, and include conflict of interest standards). In addition to ensuring that students can access a meal so that they are ready to learn at school, farm to school champions seek a program that closes the distance between students, their food, and their land while supporting the sustainability of regional food systems.  

Our vision? Every child has an opportunity to experience the joy of farm to school! The momentum is building!


Resources of Interest
Farm to Cafeteria Canada has developed a number of resources that may be of interest.


Farm to School Month!
And how are we celebrating Farm to School Month? Our theme in Canada this year is Healthy People Healthy Planet. To help our schools celebrate we’ve launched a Zero Food Waste Challenge. Visit our Farm to School Month website to check it out! 


Top photo: A student at Kinkora Regional High School, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Photo Credit: Amanda Kingman

Farm to School Advocates kick off Farm to School Month in DC

NFSN Staff Friday, October 18, 2019

This blog was written by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and can be read in-full on their website here

In September, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) brought three farm to school advocates to Capitol Hill to share the amazing farm to school work they’ve been doing with lawmakers in Congress. Much of the work that these advocates have been engaged in to source more local, healthy food into schools across Arkansas and Kansas is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program.

During their visit to the nation’s capital, Allyson Mrachek and Maegan Brown from Arkansas, and Rachael McGinnis Millsap from Kansas visited eight congressional offices across their home states and had the opportunity to share both the successes they’ve seen, as well as the ongoing challenges, within their own communities. A central goal of their visit was telling decision makers in Congress why healthy food, family farm, and anti-hunger advocates want the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) to include the Farm to School Act of 2019.

The Farm to School Act of 2019, for which NFSN and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) have aggressively advocated, would provide an additional $10 million in annual funding for the Farm to School Grant program. The bill would also make policy changes that would improve access to the program for Native American communities, and prioritize projects that engage beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers. 

Read Allyson, Maegan and Rachael’s farm to school stories and learn about impacts of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog.  

Continue Reading

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.

Gro More Good Launches Hydroponic Garden Project in 15 Schools

NFSN Staff Thursday, October 17, 2019

Students at Kimball Elementary School in Washington, D.C. assemble their new hydroponic growing system.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, Hawthorne Gardening Company and National Farm to School Network Launch New Hydroponic School Garden Project
15 schools in California, New York City, and Washington, D.C. to participate in STEM curriculum-aligned hydroponic gardening 

Because every student deserves the opportunity to experience the wonder of hands-on STEM education and hydroponic gardening, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, Hawthorne Gardening Company and National Farm to School Network launched a new pilot project to integrate indoor growing systems into underserved schools across the country. The project aims to spark a passion for gardening and increase hands-on science experiences for students who otherwise might not have had the opportunity.

The pilot project will expand STEM gardening opportunities at 15 schools in California, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Each school will receive hydroponic growing systems from Hawthorne Gardening Company, one-on-one support and technical assistance from garden experts, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. To help failure-proof the project and make it easier for teachers to incorporate into the classroom, ScottsMiracle-Gro, Hawthorne and National Farm to School Network developed a one-of-its-kind hydroponic curriculum aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. The hydroponic systems and curriculum will be implemented in schools during the 2019-2020 school year. 

“Every school should have the opportunity to experience the benefits of hydroponic gardening,” said Chris Hagedorn, senior vice president and general manager of Hawthorne Gardening Company. “Hydroponics enables students to have hands-on learning opportunities within arms’ reach inside of their classroom. We want more students to have access to this incredible and fascinating way to grow.”

“Hydroponic gardens offer an exciting and innovative way for more schools to make gardening opportunities available to their students. Hydroponics allow students to grow fresh produce year-round, can be set up directly in the classroom, and can be made accessible to students of all abilities,” said Lacy Stephens, Program Manager with the National Farm to School Network. “We’re excited to see these growing systems and the accompanying curriculum in action this school year, and we look forward to sharing out the schools’ successes and impacts for the wider farm to school community to learn from.” 

The schools participating in the pilot project include:  

  • Sunrise Middle School, San Jose, CA
  • San Pedro Elementary School, San Rafael, CA
  • Ewing Elementary School, Fresno, CA
  • Lu Sutton Elementary School, Novato, CA
  • Hamilton K-8 School, Novato, CA
  • J.O. Wilson Elementary School, Washington DC 
  • Kimball Elementary School, Washington DC 
  • Tubman Elementary School, Washington DC 
  • Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, Washington DC 
  • Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy Public Charter School, Washington DC 
  • P.S. 134 George F. Bristow, Bronx, NY
  • P.S. 214 The Lorraine Hansberry Academy, Bronx, NY
  • Urban Scholars Community School, Bronx, NY
  • P.S. 55 Benjamin Franklin, Bronx, NY
  • P.S. 32 The Belmont School, Bronx, NY

This pilot project is part of ScottsMiracle-Gro’s larger Gro More Good initiative, which aims to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens and greenspaces to 10 million children over the next five years. As part of Gro More Good, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation is partnering with leading not-for-profit organizations, such as National Farm to School Network, to help overcome some of the pressing challenges facing today’s youth––including childhood obesity, poor nutrition and nature deficit––by improving children’s access to fresh food and increasing their time spent connected to nature. 

For more information on the Gro More Good initiative, visit www.GroMoreGood.org

This Week in Farm to School: 10/15/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding
1. National Head Start Association Garden Grants
Deadline: October 18, 2019
The National Head Start Association and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation have launched a new multi-year Garden Grants initiative, which seeks to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to more Head Start children and families, increasing healthy food access and fostering a lifelong love of gardening. Grant recipients will receive $5,000, plus a garden kit, to create or expand a garden in their community. Schools, community action programs, non-profits, hospitals, community centers and inter-generational groups that hosts Head Start programs are eligible to apply. Learn more here.


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

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

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


Research & Resources
1. Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE)
is now included in the SNAP-Ed Toolkit! Learn more about farm to ECE  as a research-tested policy, systems and environmental change intervention strategy in the updated SNAP-Ed Toolkit intervention listing: Farm to Early Care and Education (National).

2. School Leaders Campaign Toolkit
Nourished andReady to Learn! The farm to school connection is part of Vermont Farm to School Network's new campaign targeting school leaders to support and invest in farm to school and school nutrition. This resource discusses how to engage superintendents, curriculum coordinators, school boards, principals and business managers to build awareness and support for farm to school and school nutrition programs. Learn more here

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


Job Opportunities
1. Program Coordinator - Growing Minds Farm to School Program (Asheville, NC)
ASAP is hiring a Growing Minds Program Coordinator position. Program Coordinator will assist in the development and implementation of Growing Minds programming, with a particular emphasis on farm to preschool and work with Dietetic Interns. This is a full-time, salaried position and requires experience in early childhood education. Learn more here


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

Mississippi celebrated its Farm to School Week Oct. 7-11 with the Farm to School Challenge. Schools got the opportunity to be competitive in areas of garden, procurement, or supreme (a combination of garden and procurement) activities. 

Michigan schools, early childhood programs, and other organizations joined forces with the Great Lakes region for one great crunch to celebrate the local apple harvest throughout the area.

Iowa residents unified the state around the success of it's farms, children, and schools through the National Farm to School Month Celebration of Iowa Local Food Day.

Kansas families got to experience Family Literacy Night On the Farm, an interactive event aimed to educate participants on dairy production, farm safety, and beyond. 


Farm to School in the News
Trout-farming, bee-keeping students in South Carolina earn first ‘Green Ribbon’
There are honeybees in the library, trout in the classrooms and vegetables in the yard at Dutch Fork Elementary. The school’s focus on environment, sustainable practices and conservation education recently earned it the first Green Ribbon in South Carolina. (The State)

Winter wheat grows with a strong STEM at Virginia school
With Lower School STEM teacher Robin Peacemaker putting her agronomy degree to work on the project, Loudoun Country Day School’s garden lab won’t be going dormant this winter. Peacemaker took over coordination of the garden this year and now has teamed up with Virginia Tech to help her students conduct some new experiments to determine the best winter grains to be grown in Loudoun’s climate. (Loudoun Now)

Maine students celebrate Harvest Day with their garden food
Students at Edna Drinkwater Elementary School painted gourds and participated in other seasonal events during their annual fall Harvest Day Oct. 3. It is a way for the school to celebrate its agricultural roots while incorporating the major school subjects into fun activities. (Village Soup)


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.

Honoring America’s Farmers

NFSN Staff Friday, October 11, 2019


The blog is sponsored by CoBank, who shares the National Farm to School Network's mission of growing farm to school to support farmers and vibrant rural communities. We thank CoBank for being a sponsor of our 2019 National Farm to School Month Celebrations.

Guest blog by CoBank

In recognition of National Farmer’s Day, CoBank honors America’s farmers and ranchers who toil each day to produce the food, fuel and fiber on which we all rely. Through our funding relationship with 21 local and regional Farm Credit associations, we support 70,000 producers with the essential financing they need, and also provide direct financing to thousands of farmer-owned cooperatives and agribusinesses.

CoBank appreciates the dedication, expertise and hard work it takes to raise crops and tend livestock. Only 2 million farmers and ranchers produce all of America’s food – that’s less than 1.5% of our population responsible for feeding 3.9 billion people, plus others around the world.  From nuts and produce, to grains and meats, to dairy, eggs and wine, U.S. production is a cornucopia of safe, affordable food, as well as cotton, timber and biofuels – and nearly 96 percent of the farms producing this plethora of agricultural products are family owned, often passed down through generations. 

The production these farmers achieve using both modern and traditional techniques and equipment forms a significant portion of the nation’s economy: in 2017, America’s farms contributed $132.8 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product; including related industries that rely on our farms’ output, agriculture, food and related industries contributed $1.053 trillion, or 5.4 percent, to our GDP.  

That value stems directly from the hard work of our farmers, who are up before dawn and working long past dusk, seven days a week. On this National Farmer’s Day, and every day, CoBank thanks American agricultural producers for their dedication to their mission to feed, clothe and fuel our population, as we continue to deliver on our mission to support agriculture and rural communities with the essential financing they need to thrive.

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