Prioritizing Racial and Social Equity: Our Journey
- Frame and promote racial and social equity as a central tenet of farm to school
- Offer training opportunities for NFSN Core and Supporting Partners, Advisors and staff on advancing racial and social equity in our work
- Articulate clear organizational goals and outcomes for advancing racial and social equity and track progress towards these
- Elevate diverse leaders as NFSN Core and Supporting Partners, Advisors and staff; engage more and diverse constituencies and communities in the farm to school movement
- Explore and leverage opportunities for policy advocacy, programming and partnerships around a diverse set of barriers to participation in farm to school including but not limited to race, age, gender, socio-economic status and disability
- Leverage NFSN’s information channels and resource creation to promote equitable access to farm to school (e.g., blogs, webinars, translation of materials, photographs used)
- Since 2014, we have convened two cohorts of leaders from Native communities, providing training and networking opportunities, facilitated conversations with USDA for easing barriers to incorporating traditional foods in school meal and child nutrition programs and included support for farm to school in Native communities in our federal policy asks.
- Our Equity in Farm to Early Care and Education Subgroup is exploring the complexities of equity in early care and elevating examples of farm to school from diverse communities of color.
- Our biennial National Farm to Cafeteria Conference has provided a space to discuss racial and social equity with stakeholders across the movement. Recent conferences included dedicated skill building sessions on dismantling racism and featured speakers to elevate equity as a central priority for farm to cafeteria efforts.
- Focusing internally, NFSN staff participated in the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge hosted by Food Solutions New England in 2016 and 2017, and engage in ongoing discussions and learning on this topic.
- We are striving to make our staff and Advisory Board more diverse and representative of our network and the farm to school movement.
- In early 2017, we made a strategic shift in our structure to focus resources and efforts at the state level and expand support to the U.S. Territories, now partnering with more than 200 diverse organizations, state agencies and universities as Core and Supporting Partners.
- At the first meeting of these partners in May 2017, we discussed racial equity within farm to school to ground ourselves in a common understanding. Participants engaged with our own personal experiences, biases and understandings – it resonated with some, it raised questions for others – and we recognized that this was only the beginning of a long path of discovery, reflection and action.
Learn more about our commitment to advancing racial and social equity in farm to school, as well as find resources to support your efforts, here.