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National Farm to School Network

News

This Week in Farm to School: 3/20/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding

1. 2018 Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Nutrition Education Grant RFA
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has announced that the Request for Applications (RFA) for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Nutrition Education (FDPNE) grant has now been posted to Grants.gov. The FDPNE grant funds projects that provide nutrition information and services to Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) participants, helping the organizations that serve this population find new ways to aid their constituents. Indian Tribal Organizations and State agencies that are current FDPIR allowance holders (have a direct agreement with FNS to administer FDPIR) are eligible to apply. You can read about projects funded last year here

2. Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom Grants
The Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom grant is available to high-need schools and districts in Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah to cover the upfront costs often associated with the startup and implementation of breakfast in the classroom and “grab n’ go” programs, such as purchasing equipment, outreach efforts to parents, program promotion, and other related expenses. Learn more here

3. National Education Association Grants

Student Achievement Grants, offered by the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation, are for projects that help students learn how to think critically and solve problems in order to improve student learning. Learning & Leadership Grants, offered by the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation, are for professional development opportunities for individuals or groups. Grants are available to current members of the National Education Association who are educators in public schools or public institutions of higher education. Preference is given to proposals that incorporate STEM and/or global learning into projects, which can include farm to school activities. Two levels of funding are available: $2,000 and $5,000. The next deadline for applications is June 1. 

4. Aetna 2018 Cultivating Healthy Communities Grant Program
Aetna Foundation is inviting projects that address issues in the following domains to apply for the 2018 Cultivating Healthy Communities Grant: Built Environment, Community Safety, Environmental Exposures, Healthy Behaviors, and Social/Economic Factors. These grants are expected to award up to $2 million to organizations in the contiguous United States through this program. This will be a highly competitive funding opportunity with a two-stage application process. All Stage 1 applications must be received by April 18, 2018 at 3PM ET. We will not accept any late or incomplete applications. You must submit a Stage 1 application in order to be considered for Stage 2. Learn more here


Webinars

1. Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) Applicant Webinars
March 27 & 28 // 2pm ET 
On March 7, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the availability of $27 million in grants to strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers and businesses through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. Read updated information about these grants and register for upcoming webinars to learn more about them. AMS will host two webinars to help farmers, producer groups and other potential applicants to understand the program requirements. The Grants.gov webinar on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at 2 p.m. (ET), will cover how to register in Dun & Bradstreet, track a submitted application, find funding opportunities and apply for those opportunities. The FMLFPP webinar on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, at 2 p.m. (ET), will provide an overview of the program objectives, eligibility and basic information about the application process.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Family Engagement Through Farm to Early Care and Education

April 5 // 2pm ET
Parent and family engagement in the early years of life is vital to healthy development and healthy relationships. Farm to early care and education (ECE) offers a unique opportunity to engage families in activities in the ECE setting while offering nutrition, culinary and gardening education that can impact food practices and health behaviors in the home. Join the National Farm to School Network,  the Farm to Family Project, and Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness to hear about innovative programs that are leveraging farm to ECE as a key to family engagement and, in doing so, increasing healthy food access, healthy behaviors, and healthy relationships for children, families and communities. Register here.


Events
1. 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Register today!
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Registration for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is open until April 9th. Explore the conference website to learn more here. The Conference program offers 36-skill building workshops, educational short courses, experiential field trips, inspiring keynote addresses and more! Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. 2018 Annual National SNA Conference
Registration is now open for the School Nutrition Event of the Year - #ANC18 - July 9-12 in Las Vegas. Preparations are in full swing for SNA's 72nd Annual National Conference, a premier learning and networking event for School Nutrition Professionals. SNA staff and volunteers are busy making sure every detail is ready to welcome you to the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas this summer. Learn more and register here


Take Action
1. There’s Still Time to Respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) needs a Census of Agriculture response from ALL the nation’s producers. In order to get an accurate representation of American agriculture – of all farmers and ranchers across the country – NASS will continue to accept completed census questionnaires through spring. NASS is committed to giving producers every opportunity to be represented in these widely-used data. Federal law mandates that everyone who received the 2017 Census of Agriculture questionnaire complete it and return it even if not currently farming. NASS will follow-up via mailings, phone calls, and farm visits with producers who have not yet responded. To avoid these additional contacts, farmers and ranchers are encouraged to complete their census either online at www.agcounts.usda.gov or by mail as soon as possible. For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov. For questions about or assistance filling out the census, producers can call toll-free (888) 424-7828.

2. Participate in Slow Food's Plant a Seed Campaign 
Slow Food is excited to launch their Plant a Seed campaign for Spring 2018. This year, they are focusing on the Three Sisters — bean, corn and squash — with varieties on the Ark of Taste. They are able to offer free kits to the first 300 schools in need. Use promo code plantschoolfree if you would like a kit but cannot afford to pay. Once those run out, or if you have the budget to pay, you can use plantschoolhalf for a 50% discount. If you're not using this for a school garden, Slow Food requests that you pay full price. Order your kit here


Job Opportunities
1.School Garden Specialist, Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools is seeking a school garden specialist to l support district-wide initiatives to increase the number of edible school gardens operating in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), provide ongoing training to schools on garden programming, and oversee educational opportunities through the CPS Farm to School program. Learn more here

2. Grants Specialist, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets seeks a Grants Specialist to assist the Grants and Contracts Team and program managers across the Agricultural Development Division. Learn more here

3. State Director of School Nutrition, Tennessee Department of Education
The TN DOE seeks to hire a State Director of School Nutrition to ensure USDA programs are delivered efficiently, effectively and with integrity and a focus on customer service. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Northern Mariana Islands’ school garden teaches not just farming
“We see that many our students’ minds come alive in the garden in a way they don’t in the classroom. The environment itself is transforming. There’s something about being outside in a natural setting that seems to stimulate the senses,” Atalig added. (Saipan Tribune)

In West Virginia, Sunshine Farm teaches many lessons at Crellin Elementary

“We incorporate reading and writing and use ‘I wonder’ questions that students have about the animals and plants as research projects,” McCauley said. “Using these authentic ‘wonders’ make the projects meaningful to students.”(Garrett County Republican)

In Whitefish Township, Michigan students use old food, recycled supplies to grow veggies for lunch
“It’s better hands-on because you’ll learn how to do it. When you’re working with other people in a class it teaches you how to work as a group together. Also teaches you how to produce food and enough, because some of the seeds don’t always give you something, so you have to learn how to adapt to that,” Student Emma Nelson, said. (8&10 News)

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

This Week in Farm to School: 3/13/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding

1. USDA NIFA Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program
This grant is focused on improving formal, postsecondary-level agricultural sciences education - USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is seeking applications for this grant. Eligible applicants include "... public or private nonprofit colleges and universities offering a professional degree in at least one discipline of FANH sciences, land-grant colleges and universities, and colleges and universities having significant minority enrollments and a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food and agricultural sciences ..." Learn more here and read the request for applications here

2. USDA Announces Support Available for Specialty Crops, the Local Food Sector, and Agricultural Marketing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced nearly $89 million in available funding to support specialty crop growers, strengthen local and regional food systems, and explore new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. USDA helps fund projects that bolster rural economies across the country. Learn more here

3. 2018 United Fresh Start Foundation Community Grants Program

The program supports organizations that provide children with access to fresh fruit and vegetables after school, on weekends, and during summer, extending the impact of our Foundation beyond the school day. We are offering Community Grants of up to $2,500 to eligible non-profit organizations. Applications must be submitted through the online portal. You can learn more about the grant and access the online portal here. Applications are due by Friday, March 30, 2018.


Webinars & Events
1. CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursday
March 15 // 2pm for English version and 3pm for Spanish version EST
Presented as part of USDA Team Nutrition’s FREE monthly CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays webinar series, this webinar will focus on the option to serve meat and meat alternates in place of grains at breakfast in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Preschool meal patterns. For more information, including recordings of past webinars and registration for future webinars, visit the CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays webpage.

2. The Business of Farm to School

March 15 // 5pm ET
This webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities- hint- it’s not just school lunch! This webinar is coordinated by USDA Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and is geared towards farmers and producers selling to schools as a new market. Register here

3. USDA Summer Meals Webinar Series
Summer meals are critical to the health and well-being of our children. Register for these 2018 Summer Meals Webinars to learn more about this important program:
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 1:00 pm EST - Tribal and Rural Summer Meals
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 1:00 pm EST - What Cities Can Teach Us About Summer Meals
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 @ 1:00 pm EST - Boosting Your Budget – Summer Meals Financial Planning
Tuesday, June 14, 2018 @ 1:00 pm EST- Middle of Summer Strategies 

4. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Family Engagement Through Farm to Early Care and Education
April 5 // 2pm ET
Parent and family engagement in the early years of life is vital to healthy development and healthy relationships. Farm to early care and education (ECE) offers a unique opportunity to engage families in activities in the ECE setting while offering nutrition, culinary and gardening education that can impact food practices and health behaviors in the home. Join the National Farm to School Network,  the Farm to Family Project, and Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness to hear about innovative programs that are leveraging farm to ECE as a key to family engagement and, in doing so, increasing healthy food access, healthy behaviors, and healthy relationships for children, families and communities. Register here.

5. 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Early Bird Deadline March 9

April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Last chance to save on Early Bird registration for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Save when you register before the Early Bird deadline on March 9 at 11:59pm ET. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org


Take Action
1. 2018 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
Join Food Solutions New England (FSNE)  April 2-22nd for the 2018 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. This resource is built on the understanding that we cannot talk about and work for sustainability, food security, and economic prosperity in our food system without facing the realities of discrimination and social inequity in our food system and beyond. 

2. Celebrate School Lunch Hero Day 
School Lunch Hero Day, May 4, is only two short months away! Have you started planning your celebration? This event is the perfect opportunity to showcase the many ways that school nutrition professionals, at every level, make a difference in the lives of their student customers. For ideas and resources, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/SLHD.


Resources & Research
1. Farm to school resources now available in Spanish
Three key National Farm to School Network fact sheets are now available in Spanish and ready for download in our online resources library: 
Los Beneficios De De La Finca A La Escuela (Benefits of Farm to School) 
Comenzar Con De La Finca A La Escuela (Getting Started with Farm to School)
Comenzar Y Mantener Un Huerto Escolar (Starting a School Garden) 
These are in addition to an existing Spanish version of our "Getting Started with Farm to Preschool" (Introducción A De La Granja Al Pre-Escolar) fact sheet. They're also exciting additions to the Non-English Resource section of our library.

2. Contribute to Farm to School Research for a Thesis Project
Students from Blekinge Institute of Technology, studying a Master in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability, are currently working on the thesis project "Opportunities and Barriers of the Farm to School Concept in the Swedish School Lunch System". They are researching about how to improve food education in schools through a program that involves school gardens, classroom education and collaboration with local farmers, both for farm visits and procurement for school lunches. They are looking for 3 US farmers and 3 US teachers willing to take part in the 20-30 min interviews via Skype to share their opinion about the Farm to School Program. If you agree to speak to these students or if you would like to contribute to their research by any other means, please e-mail iuliiasolodovnik@gmail.com.


Job Opportunities
1.Southern CA Nutrition Policy Advocate, California Food Policy Advocates
California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) is now accepting applications for a Southern CA Nutrition Policy Advocate position. Learn more and apply here

2. Garden Coordinator, CitySprouts
CitySprouts is seeking a full-time, year round Garden Coordinator to join their Boston-area staff. Learn more and apply here

3. Executive Director, Wholesome Wave
Wholesome Wave Georgia is seeking an Executive Director to lead the nonprofit organization in its mission to increase accessibility and affordability of fresh, healthy, locally grown food for all Georgians. Learn more and apply here.

4. Field Education Manager, Duke Campus Farm
The Duke Campus Farm is seeking a field education manager: a good land steward with solid growing experience who can be the backbone of their one-acre production operation and who is passionate about educating and empowering college students to make change in the food system. Learn more and apply here.

5. FoodCorps Service Members
FoodCorps service member applications are open for the 2018-2019 school year. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2018 at 6pm PST. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
In Louisiana, Gardens Grow a ‘Culture of Health'
The garden at Lessie Moore Elementary School recently yielded a supply of collard greens. At the invitation of P.E. teacher and garden sponsor Christy Parker, the Good Food Project came to the school to host a cooking demonstration. (The Town Talk)

New Hampshire Students Growing in More Ways Than One

By building gardening, food planning and food preparation into the curriculum, LEAF is ensuring those kids get a nutritious meal at school, while also setting them up to be healthier, more capable individuals in the long run. (Sentinel Source)

Arkansas’ Carolyn Lewis Elementary Greets Guests

Arkansas farmers, educators, school nutrition staff, parents, distributors and value-chain coordinators attended the day to learn more about how Farm to School works, how to work with students during hands-on learning, serve the local food in the school cafeteria and how to sell their products to the schools. (thecabin.net)

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.

Experience Farm to Cafeteria in Action

NFSN Staff Thursday, March 08, 2018

Field trips aren’t just for kid – they’re for learners of all ages! For the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, we’re excited to offer a selection of 11 fields trips across the greater Ohio Valley region for local food advocates to experience farm to cafeteria in action. From food hubs and dairy farms, to healthy hospital cafeterias and college campus farmers, there’s something for every interest and level of expertise. Here’s a snapshot of some of the options: 

Interested in farm to college? Experience how colleges in Ohio are making sustainable choices on campus and engaging students in local food systems. The first stop is Wilmington College, where you’ll tour learning labs, greenhouses and a 260-acre crop and animal production farm, as well as hear how students are engaging in rural life issues and training to become the next generation of agricultural leaders. Next, visit the Antioch College Farm, where students and faculty explore environmental conservation and food sustainability. The Farm includes a two-acre growing area with a 600-square foot hoop house, pasture for animal grazing, two acres of food forest, and a composting site. Staffed primarily by Antioch students, the Farm produces 28% of the food served on campus. This “farm to college” field trip will offer new insights into how colleges are empowering students to be food movement leaders and changing local food system.

Perhaps your goal is to reduce food waste in your community through food recover. Deepen your understanding of food waste’s connection to food insecurity through our field trip to La Soupe. To bridge the gap between food waste and hunger, La Soupe rescues otherwise discarded produce to create delicious and nutritious meals for customers, non-profits and food-insecure families in Hamilton County. Each week, La Soupe rescues up to 5,000 pounds of perishables and feeds nearly 2,000 servings via 47 partner agencies - which include schools, community groups, pantries and more. On this field trip, explore the La Soupe kitchen, hear lessons learned about cultivating community partnership, and gain insight into how La Soupe has organized and mobilized a network of dedicated volunteers. Attendees will enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by Executive Director and Founder Suzy DeYoung and the La Soupe team.

Curious about alternative school garden models?
Sitting atop the fourth floor of a century old building, the Rothenberg Rooftop School Garden is home to raised beds, potted plants and a vast array of fruit and vegetable plants that are tended to and harvested by nearly 450 preschool and elementary students. It’s a unique model that serves both students and community by encouraging engagement with the natural environment and promoting issues of nutrition, healthy eating and sustainability. See some sights of Cincinnati along your 30-minute walk from the Duke Energy Center, then dig in with students during a garden lesson and take a first-hand look at how the garden program enriches and supports teachers and students with their learning.

Learn more about each of the 11 field trip opportunities on our conference website. All field trip options are offered as a part of our Full Registration Pass (Education plus Intensive). Additionally, all 11 field trip options can be selected a la carte. Save on all tickets option when you register before the Early Bird deadline on March 9. Learn more and register today at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org 

This Week in Farm to School: 3/06/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 06, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Webinars

1. New Entry's National Ag Apprenticeship Learning Network 
March 6 // 1 PM ET
Register to join New Entry’s National Ag Apprenticeship Learning Network for Network Resources and Approaches, an online event which will launch the Ag Apprenticeship Toolkit and offer a briefing on the power of networks by Andrew Crosson of Rural Support Partners. This event will include a tour of the Ag Apprenticeship Toolkit, the capstone resource from Year 1 of the National Ag Apprenticeship Learning Network, and will detail how participation in networks can strengthen local, regional and national food systems work. Register here

2. The Business of Farm to School
March 15 // 5pm ET
This webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities- hint- it’s not just school lunch! This webinar is coordinated by USDA Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and is geared towards farmers and producers selling to schools as a new market. Register here

3. Trending Topics Webinar: Family Engagement Through Farm to Early Care and Education
April 5 // 2pm ET
Parent and family engagement in the early years of life is vital to healthy development and healthy relationships. Farm to early care and education (ECE) offers a unique opportunity to engage families in activities in the ECE setting while offering nutrition, culinary and gardening education that can impact food practices and health behaviors in the home. Join the National Farm to School Network,  the Farm to Family Project, and Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness to hear about innovative programs that are leveraging farm to ECE as a key to family engagement and, in doing so, increasing healthy food access, healthy behaviors, and healthy relationships for children, families and communities. Register here.


Events

1. 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Early Bird Deadline March 9
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Last chance to save on Early Bird registration for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Save when you register before the Early Bird deadline on March 9 at 11:59pm ET. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. Edible Schoolyard 2018 Summer Academy - Applications Open

June 24- 28 // Berkeley, CA
This foundational training program from Edible Schoolyard is designed to strengthen your program and build your leadership in the field. All Academy participants spend one day each on school gardens, cooking with kids, and organizational development – learning about curriculum development and integration, inclusive classrooms, best practices for hands-on learning and student buy-in, and organizational culture. Learn more here. Application Dealine: March 18. 

3. Slow Food Nations
July 13-15 // Denver, CO
Slow Food invites you to join the Slow Food Nations’ festival of flavor, culture and exploration! From the Taste Marketplace and outdoor street cafe, to workshops and family fun, Slow Food is taking over downtown Denver. Kick it off with an opening party featuring the best of Colorado, and connect with farmers and artisans, chefs and food lovers. Free and open to the public with select ticketed events. Learn more here


Take Action
1. Request for Public Comment from USDA and HHS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have announced a new step in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) development process. For the first time, the departments will seek public comments on the proposed priority topics and supporting scientific questions that will guide the development of the upcoming 2020-2025 edition of the DGA. The public may submit comments through the Federal Register; the comment period will be open from Feb. 28, 2018 to March 30, 2018. The topics, supporting scientific questions, and link to submit public comments will be available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

2. School Garden Survey
Calling all school gardeners and school garden coordinators! The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy Program cultivates research about connections between a just, sustainable food system and healthy eating. Help them continue to deepen their understanding of school gardens by completing this survey. Each school that completes the survey will have the chance to win a $100 VISA gift card.

3. Crop Farmers Survey

Cornell University needs crop farmers’ input on a short survey about soil, crop, and pest management practices. Help reduce burdensome regulations and improve incentive programs by taking this survey. Participants will be eligible to win $500. 


Resources & Research

1. Native Communities are Fighting for a More Inclusive Farm Bill
Farm policy has long ignored tribal governments and communities. A coalition of tribes aims to change that. Although agriculture continues to play a big role in Native life today, the Quapaw’s ability to feed themselves is nearly unique. While the overwhelming majority of farm operators in the U.S. are white, among farmers of color an estimated 30 percent are Native American or Alaska Native, and together they generate $3.3 billion in sales each year. But Native producers have little access to critically important resources such as credit, insurance, or loan programs, and that fact limits their ability to be fully autonomous. Hoping to ensure that the voices of the nation’s original caretakers are heard, Native American groups have come together to advocate for more inclusion, greater funding, and extensive revisions in the upcoming farm bill. Read more here

2. New Study: Students Need Help Navigating Food Environments
A new study in the Journal of School Health, by Dr. Marissa Burgermaster and the Tisch Food Center team, provides further evidence that nutrition education needs to happen hand-in-hand with efforts to improve the food environments students encounter on a daily basis. Read more here


Job Opportunities

1. Garden Educator, CommunityGrows
CommunityGrows in San Fransisco, CA is recruiting for a part-time Garden Educator with the potential to move to full-time with benefits after June 30. Learn more here

2. Farm Manager, City Green

City Green, a 501c(3) urban farming and gardening organization based in Clifton, NJ, is seeking to hire a full-time Farm Manager. Learn more here

3. Garden Manager, Edible Schoolyard NYC
Edible Schoolyard NYC seeks to hire a full-time, year-round Garden Manager. Learn more here

4. Sustainability Coordinator, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The UMass Amherst Permaculture Initiative seeks a skilled individual who embodies holistic sustainability and shows a demonstrated commitment to social justice to fill the Sustainability Coordinator of Campus Gardens position. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News

From seed to stomach: Washington farm team helps sprout integrated garden program
Mimi Cord enjoys everything about being on the South Whidbey Elementary School’s sixth grade farm team. Cord’s farm team is part of a new integrated program for grades 3-8, led by South Whidbey School Farms. Each grade takes part in either planting, farming or cooking the food. (South Whindeby Record)

Tennessee Educator works to transform students’ nutrition
“My goal is to empower the kids and show them that they can cook at home,” Stanton told The Daily Herald. “I try to build that confidence and empower them.” (Colombia Daily Herald)

Missouri school cooking club gets taste of community's support
Elementary school students worked elbow-to-elbow with each other Wednesday night while preparing meals. Then, the 15 fourth- and fifth-graders stood shoulder-to-shoulder, serving dinner to more than 100 people at Callaway Hills Elementary School. The event was the culmination of six weeks of lessons the students had taken as members of the school's cooking club. It was also a fundraiser to help the school's cooking and gardening clubs continue to operate into the future. (News Tribune)

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 Farm to Cafeteria Through Scholarships

NFSN Staff Monday, March 05, 2018

The National Farm to School Network staff and partners are busing planning for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference and we hope you’ve marked your calendars and registered to attend!

As part of our commitment to equity, we’re always thinking about ways to make our movement more accessible and ensuring that it reflects the full diversity of communities across the country. For the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference and the farm to cafeteria movement, we’re committed to increasing access, especially for many “on-the-ground” stakeholders who lack the financial resources to participate in a national conference. 

In order to grow the farm to cafeteria movement and increase access to the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, we’re excited to announce that we’ve secured over 166 free registrations (and counting)! These scholarships will benefit a wide array of individuals as part of the National Farm to School Network focus on increasing attendance from:

  • Farmers and producers
  • Food service professionals
  • Educators
  • Native communities
  • Youth
  • People of color
  • ECE sites, higher education institutions, hospitals, and prisons
  • All regions of the country 

Thank You! 

Scholarship awards were made possible by the generous support of our scholarship funders. Thank you all for your support to expand access to the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference!

W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Whole Kids Foundation
CoBank (scholarships for farmers and producers)
Farm Aid (scholarships for farmers and producers)
Farm Credit (scholarships for farmers and producers)
Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (scholarships for Michigan residents)
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (scholarships for North Carolina residents)
Aetna Foundation (scholarships for attendees from Native communities)

To learn more about all of the generous supporters making the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, please visit our Sponsors and Supporters page

It's not only about race, but it's always about race

NFSN Staff Wednesday, February 28, 2018
By Molly Schintler, Communications Intern

Every month, National Farm to School Network staff gather to engaging in ongoing learning and discussion about racial and social equity in farm to school. This month, we started our conversation with each staff member sharing a story, thought, or resource relating to Black History – a timely discussion, as February is Black History Month. One staff member shared a few words that had stuck with them, offered by a NFSN Core Partner: “It’s not only about race; but, it’s always about race.” Hearing these words struck me, too. I would encourage you to re-read the quote a few times, sit for a moment, and think about this short, simple statement. These words resonated with me because they encompass how I approach my work with NFSN.  Farm to school is not only about race; but it’s always about race. 
The National Farm to School Network is committed to racial and social equity as a central tenant of farm to school. Why? Because troubling racial and ethnic disparities exist in our food system:
  • Black and Latino youths having substantially higher rates of childhood obesity as compared to their White peers.
  • Native Americans are twice as likely as White people to lack access to safe, healthy foods, ultimately leading to higher obesity and diabetes rates.
  • Many food system workers take home poverty-level wages, with women, Blacks and Latinos most likely to earn the lowest.
  • With regards to land ownership, Latinos make up 3.2 percent of today’s farm owners, American Indians or Alaska natives 1.8 percent, Black or African people 1.6 percent, and Asians constitute less that 1 percent.
We believe that farm to school programs rooted in equity can, quite literally, grow and cultivate a more fair and just food system for all Americans, Native Americans, and citizens of the U.S. Territories. 

Black history - and more specifically, black history in the US food system - is important to understand because our food system was built inequitably.  This is to say that the social and racial injustices of our current food systems exist by design. (Learn more by watching Ricardo Salvador’s keynote address at the 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference here.) The racial disparities that permeate the food system are not happenstance, but rather a result of our nation’s history of exploiting people of color, particularly Native Americans and African Americans. As much as farm to school is about cute, toothless kids pulling fresh carrots from a school garden and farmers supplying local foods for school lunch, it is also about the real, true history of food in this country. This real, true history includes stolen land and slavery and Jim Crow, which, naturally, gives one less of a warm and fuzzy feeling when compared to the cute kids with carrots in a school garden.  

And that brings me back to “It’s not only about race; but, it’s always about race.” For me, this is an important reminder that our work in growing healthy kids and supporting local agriculture through farm to school activities isn’t only about addressing racial inequities. But, race must always be part of the conversation because racial inequities are a reality of the food system that we work within. Farm to school is not only about race, but it’s always about race. 

As long as I show up and hold space for a comprehensive farm to school discussion, then there will be space for it to be about cute kids, local carrots, and race. If you are wondering how you can show up for racial justice in the US food system or better integrate racial equity into farm to school, there are some great resources available that I invite you to explore:   
  • Read over the National Farm to School Network’s commitment to racial and social equity in farm to school here
  • Register to attend the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference this April 25-27 in Cincinnati, OH.  The conference program features a number of workshops focused on equity and justice in farm to cafeteria, as well as a “Re-Framing Food: Food Systems work through a Racial Equity Lens” short course. Learn more and register here
  • Check out the multicultural and non-English resources available in our Resource Library
  • Watch our recent “Advancing Equity Through Farm to School” webinar here
As our staff continues to learn about and deepen out understanding of inequity in our food system, we’ve collected a robust list of resources and readings that we’ve found helpful to deepening our understanding of this important work. You can explore our list of suggestion (and send us your recommendations!), here. As you begin to delve into learning more about racial and social justice in food systems, it’s important to remember that no single training or article holds all of the answers. Similarly, we often remind ourselves that learning about equity in the food system is a journey, not a destination. Understanding how culture and history have influenced food takes time and dedication. For me, Black History Month reminds me to reflect on the ways that I show up for racial and food justice while challenging myself to learn more.  But there isn’t anything inherently special about February for taking time to reflect, learn, and challenge each other and ourselves.  Indeed, every month is a great time to commit to making racial equity a priority in our work. 

This Week in Farm to School: 2/27/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

National Farm to School Network News

1. NFSN Names 2018 National Partner of the Year: National Education Association
As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors, networking and partnership building are at the core of the National Farm to School Network’s efforts. To support this work, we’re expanding engagement in farm to school through the annual designation of a “National Partner of the Year.” In 2018, we are excited to announce the National Education Association (NEA) as NFSN’s National Partner of the Year. Through intentional programmatic collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to better connect NFSN and NEA members towards fostering a nation of healthy, well-nourished kids engaged in our food system. Learn more here.

2. Farm to School Act Update
Introduced last fall, the Farm to School Act of 2017 is gaining momentum. While the marker bill has yet to be attached to a legislative vehicle (a bill that will pass), there are 13 House members and 12 Senators signed on as co-sponsors. Please reach out to your Representatives and Senators to ensure they know you want them to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation. Please also thank the current cosponsors! Moreover, lend your support by adding your name to our citizen and organizational sign-on letters. Your voice is crucial for helping us continue to advocate for this important legislation. With questions or for support in contacting your representatives, contact Policy Director Maximilian Merrill at maximilian@farmtoschool.org.

3. NFSN submits comments on USDA's Requests for Information: Food Crediting in Child Nutrition Programs

The purpose of this Request for Information was to help FNS gather feedback from a wide variety of stakeholders on how FNS' crediting system can best address today's evolving food and nutrition environment, as well as to offer first-rate customer service to those operating and benefitting from the Child Nutrition Programs. National Farm to School Network stressed that it hopes, "FNS will begin to shift away from including manufactured and processed food items in the crediting system, with an aim to provide nutritious and naturally nutrient-dense foods from local farms."


Grants & Funding 
1. Request for Applications: Agriculture in the Classroom Program 
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture in the Classroom Program (AITC) serves nearly 5 million students and 60,000 teachers annually through workshops, conferences, field trips, farm tours, and other educational activities. Programs emphasized by the NIFA AITC office include: Agriculture and Science literacy; Agricultural careers; Nutrition; and, Pre-service and professional develop opportunities for teachers. Applications may be submitted by State agricultural experiment stations, State cooperative extension services, all colleges and universities, other research or educational institutions or organizations, Federal and private agencies and organization and individuals. View the Request for Applications here. Applications are due Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

2. Action for Healthy Kids Grants

Action for Healthy Kids is now accepting applications for school grants for the 2018-2019 school year. Schools may apply for School Breakfast grants to pilot or expand their school breakfast programs or Game On grants to fund physical activity and nutrition initiatives. Parents and parent groups can apply for Parents for Healthy Kids grants to bring health programs to their children’s schools through parent engagement. Visit ActionforHealthyKids.org/Grants for more information. The application deadline is April 6. 

3. Wallace Center Mini-Grants and Scholarships

The Food Systems Leadership Network, an initiative of the Wallace Center at Winrock International, is currently accepting application for Organizational Capacity Building Mini-Grants (up to $1,000 per organization) and Professional Development Scholarships (up to $500 per individual). The deadline to apply is Thursday, March 1. Learn more here


Webinars

1. Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities
February 28 // 5pm ET
USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition invite you to attend “Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities.” This webinar will cover what USDA means by “farm to school”, the different ways to incorporate farm to school programs into your business plan, and how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation.  Funding, including grant opportunities, will be covered. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School

March 1 // 2pm ET
One of the primary objectives of farm to school is to strengthen the connection that communities have with local food producers. Farmers and producers can also garner economic and social benefit through these strengthened relationships. Join this webinar to hear from farm to school practitioners and farmers about innovative yet practical approaches to engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities and learn how this engagement contributes to kids, communities, and farmers winning through farm to school. Register here.  

3. The Business of Farm to School
March 15 // 5pm ET
This webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities- hint- it’s not just school lunch! This webinar is coordinated by USDA Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and is geared towards farmers and producers selling to schools as a new market. Register here

4. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Family Engagement Through Farm to Early Care and Education

April 5 // 2pm ET
Parent and family engagement in the early years of life is vital to healthy development and healthy relationships. Farm to early care and education (ECE) offers a unique opportunity to engage families in activities in the ECE setting while offering nutrition, culinary and gardening education that can impact food practices and health behaviors in the home. Join the National Farm to School Network,  the Farm to Family Project, and Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness to hear about innovative programs that are leveraging farm to ECE as a key to family engagement and, in doing so, increasing healthy food access, healthy behaviors, and healthy relationships for children, families and communities. Register here.

5. Food Systems Leadership Network: Non-Profit Boot Camp eLearning Series
Ongoing
The Food Systems Leadership Network, an initiative of the Wallce Center, is offering a free Non-Profit Boot Camp eLearning Series focused on strengthening the fundamentals of food-focused, non-profit, community based organizations: strategy, fundraising, HR, and finances. Each three-week course consists of three, 30-minute webinars immediately followed by a group office hours session on Zoom. Course participants are then eligible for free one-on-one coaching and consulting from the trainer. Course 1: Demystifying Strategic Planning continues this Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 3pm EST for its third and final lesson. Click here to register for the webinar. By joining the Food Systems Leadership Network site you can access the recordings of sessions 1 and 2, and course-related resources. The second course in Non-Profit Boot Camp series, Course 2: Fundraising Fundamentals with Diana Abellera and Aimee Retzler, will start Wednesday, March 7 at 3pm EST with “Thinking Through Your Development Plan.” Click here to register for all three sessions of Fundraising Fundamentals.


Take Action
1. 2019 USDA Farm to School Census
The time is finally here to prepare for the next USDA Farm to School Census! The Census will be distributed in the winter of 2019, but school districts and partners should begin tracking activities that are happening right now. Need help tracking local food purchases and farm to school activities?  Check out these evaluation resources and connect with your USDA Regional Farm to School Lead. A copy of the Census questionnaire will be made available to the public as soon as it is finalized.


Events

1. Early Bird Deadline Approaching for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. 6th Annual Every Kid Healthy Week
April 23-27, 2018
Every Kid Healthy is not just a sentiment; it’s an annual week-long recognition of wellness achievements in school communities across the country, launched by our partners at Action for Healthy Kids in 2013. Join us in celebrating the sixth annual Every Kid Healthy™ Week from April 23–27 by helping schools host fun and interactive health-promoting events. For more information on how to get involved and additional resources to help you plan an event, go to EveryKidHealthyWeek.org. #EveryKidHealthy

3. Resignation Open for 41st Annual National Food Policy Conference
Coordinated by the Consumer Federation of America, the National Food Policy Conference is a unique collaboration among consumer advocates, the food industry and government, and a key national gathering for anyone interested in agriculture, food and nutrition policy. View an updated agenda with confirmed speakers and register here.


Job Opportunities

1. Education and Training Specialist, Institute for Child Nutrition (ICN)
The University of Mississippi's Institute of Child Nutrition is seeking to hire a full-time Education and Training Specialist. Learn more and apply here.

2. Farm to School Educator, Corvallis Environmental Center
The Farm to School Educator will work as an integral part of the Corvallis Environmental Center team, and will be responsible for daily implementation of the Corvallis Farm to School program educational activities. Learn more here

3. Paid Internships, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is seeking a Grassroots Intern and a Policy Intern to join their team this spring and summer. Both internships are paid, full-time, and located at NSAC’s office in Washington, DC. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News

Farmers growing stronger on St. Croix, Virgin Islands
With the help of staff, former students who came to the island to help and other volunteers, the Farm to School program is being resurrected. Last week, Bibb lettuce was sent to the St. Croix schools and 90 cases were shipped to St. Thomas. (St. Thomas Source

Jack Johnson drops by for school lunch in Hawai'i
Mililani High School hosted musicians Jack Johnson, Paula Fuga and Kawika Kahiapo for lunch last week as it continued to develop its from-scratch lunch menu utilizing locally produced food as part of the state’s ‘Aina Pono Farm to School Program. (Star Advertiser)

California students are learning the farm-to-table chain behind their meal

“What we’re trying to do is give them an experience of the awareness, the sustainability, the business, the pleasure, the value of food and all these different aspects,” said Glory Johnson, one of the board members managing the program. “The value of what we’re teaching them will be a healthier way of eating and appreciating the food we have.” (Orange Country Register)

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 the “Farm” in “Farm to School”

NFSN Staff Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Farm to school is as much about the farm as it is the school. Farmers and producers are the movers and shakers that make local foods served in schools and early care and education settings possible. From the cafeteria to the classroom, their products are used to educate students about where food comes from and generate excitement for trying new, healthy foods. And farm to school is just as much a win for farmers, too!

However, farmers are often underrepresented in the farm to school movement. That’s why the National Farm to School Network is committed to providing learning opportunities, sharing innovative resources, and propelling new ideas to support farmers and producers in the farm to school movement. 

For example, we focused our 2017 Innovation Awards, with funding support from Farm Credit, on celebrating beginning farmers (in their first 10 years of farming) and farmer veterans for their exemplary efforts in selling local produce to schools and engaging kids in learning where their food comes from. Our two awardees – John Turner of Wild Roots Farm Vermont and Dylan Strike of Strike Farms in Montana - shared their stories with us on our blog, in webinars and social media takeovers, helping inspire more farmers and schools to take the first steps in getting involved. The awards also supported their ongoing engagement in farm to school activities in their own communities. Dylan used the Innovation Award to host fall farm field trips free of charge to Bozeman, MT-area schools and continued to strengthen relationships with several schools that purchase his produce for school meals and Montana Harvest of the Month activities. Jon Turner expanded his educational outreach and engaged in new projects to support food systems learning opportunities for the K-12 community in Addison County, VT. He specifically focused on establishing a compost system with Bristol Elementary School and Mt. Abe High School, which included mentoring students to lead the composting project and working with a local illustrator to develop a comic series about composting to educate and engage more students in local food systems activities. 

Dylan Strike and students at Strike Farms. 

Jon and Dylan are just two examples among many of farmers who’ve found success with farm to school. Here’s a snapshot of some of the other stories that farmers have shared with us:  

Clearview Farm - Massachusetts
Rick Melone, owner of Clearview Farm, explains that business relationships with schools have provided his farm a valuable and necessary market. “I’m too small to work with huge markets like Whole Foods and other grocery store whole-salers," he says. "But I can bring a truck load of apples in (to schools) and they will use them that day.” It's schools that have become one of his most reliable and valuable customers.

Fisheads Aquaponics - Georgia
One of Fisheads Aquaponic’s first regular customers was Burke County Public Schools, located just 17 miles from the aquaponics operation. Burke County Schools has a standing order for Fisheads lettuce, and the positive relationship helped Fisheads expanded to selling to several other school districts, as well. In order to keep up with demand for their produce, Fisheads is doubling their production with the addition of a second greenhouse and hiring more staff. 

Moon on the Meadow Farm - Kansas
Jill Elmers says that her business relationship with schools has given her farm, Moon on the Meadow, a consistently reliable market. “The core items that they (schools) buy, they know how much they need every week, and so those sales are consistent.” 

In 2018, we’re excited to continue connecting with farmers and producers and sharing more resources and opportunities for farmers and schools to dig in to new partnership opportunities. Here are several upcoming webinar opportunities to hear more stories of success and learn about resources for jumpstarting farm to school partnerships: 

Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities
February 28 // 5pm ET
Hosted by USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, this webinar for farmers and food producers that will cover different ways to incorporate farm to school into your business plan, how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation, and funding opportunities. Register here
 
Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School
March 1 // 2pm ET
Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this webinar will explore how farmers and producers can garner economic and social benefits through farm to school, and will feature several guest speakers who wills hare innovative yet practical approaches for engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities. Register here

The Business of Farm to School
March 15 // 5pm ET
Hosted by USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, this webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities - hint, it’s not just school lunch! Register here
 
If you’re ready to take your farm to school partnerships to the next level, we hope you’ll join us in Cincinnati this April for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference! With 36 skill-building workshops, inspiring keynote addresses, short courses, field trips, poster presentations and lots of networking opportunities, this one-of-a-kind gathering will help you bring real food solutions home to your community. Learn more and register here

In the meantime, check out more great stories about the farmers who make farm to school happen on our blog, explore resources for getting started in our free Resource Library, or find local farm to school networking event taking place in your state in our national events calendar
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