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.
1. USDA Grants for Food Safety Training, Outreach and Technical Assistance
The USDA has announced the availability of $4.7 million in grants for food safety education, training, and technical assistance projects that address the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers, food hubs, farmers' markets, and others. The grants, offered through the Food Safety Outreach Program and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), are designed to help these stakeholders comply with new food safety guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Learn more here.
Webinars & Events
1. Register today! National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
June 2-4, 2016 // Madison, Wisconsin
Don’t miss the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it a crucial leadership development opportunity to advance community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Event organizers expect more than 1,500 attendees, and the last event sold out before the registration deadline, so don’t wait. Registration closes May 16. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.
2. Webinars: USDA Traditional Foods in Native Communities Webinar Series
This spring, USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems is hosting a four-part webinar series focused on integrating farm to school strategies in native communities. Each webinar will feature a guest speaker who will share tips, stories and best practices for keeping local food traditions alive in child nutrition programs that serve tribal populations. The second webinar is coming up: Incorporating Traditional Foods in Child Nutrition Program Menus on April 20, at 3pm EDT. Learn more and register here.
3. Webinar: Food Systems Change through Procurement Policy
Wednesday, April 27th, 2:00-3:30 pm ET
Join FoodPolicyNetworks.org and Chesapeake Foodshed Network for an overview of the Center for a Livable Future’s recent report, Instituting Change, which examines the benefits and barriers to increased institutional procurement of regionally and sustainably produced food. Hear findings from a recent analysis of the economic potential for regional food procurement among institutions in the Chesapeake region. Finally, learn about the Center for Good Food Purchasing and implementation of the Center’s Good Food Purchasing Policy in Chicago and the Twin Cities. Register here.
4. Webinar: How to Evaluate Economic Benefits of Local Food Systems
Thursday, April 28, 3pm ET
Local and regional food systems are helping revitalize rural and urban communities across the country. The authors of a new USDA guide to evaluate the economic impacts of investing in farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), food hubs, and other local food systems will discuss the toolkit during a free webinar. The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices, developed by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in cooperation with Colorado State University (CSU), uses real-world projects, experiences, and applied research to help community leaders, planners, economic development specialists, public agencies, and private businesses or foundations evaluate the economic benefits of local and regional food systems. Register here.
5. Webinar: How to Successfully Implement Salad Bars in Your School Cafeteria
Thursday, April 28, 3pm ET
School salad bars are one of the easiest ways to meet the fruit and vegetable standards for school lunch, increase participation in the lunch program, reduce plate waste and increase student’s fruit and vegetable consumption. The Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative has donated salad bars to more than 4,500 schools nationwide and has resources to help schools successfully implement salad bars. Hear from school food service directors about their experience with salad bars and how you can apply for salad bars from LMSB2S. Register here.
1. Survey Results: Farm to School in Early Care and Education Builds Healthy Kids with Bright Futures
In 2015, the National Farm to School Network surveyed early care and education providers across the country. Nearly 1,500 providers serving 183,369 young children in 49 states and Washington, D.C., responded and shared fascinating insight into the important work that they are doing to connect young children to healthy, local foods and food related educational opportunities. The results show that farm to school in early care and education is on the rise across the country. 54% of respondents are already doing farm to school activities and another 28% plan to start in the near future. A new infographic and factsheet are available with more survey results. To see the results and learn how the National Farm to School Network is working to expand farm to school in early care and education, visit farmtoschool.org/earlychildhood.
2. New Community Action Model
Active Living By Design developed its initial Community Action Model and “5P” strategies (Preparation, Promotion, Programs, Policy and Physical Projects) as an evidence-informed framework for increasing active living and healthy eating in communities through comprehensive and integrated strategies. This new model highlights the importance of a community’s context, defines six essential practices that undergird success and focuses the action approach from the original 5Ps to our new 3P approach (Partner, Prepare and Progress). It also presents some expected impacts. This updated model can be useful to community coalitions and local leaders seeking a collaborative approach to creating healthier places and to funders seeking a tested approach for local investments. Learn more here.
3. ChopChop: The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families
The award-winning ChopChop Magazine is an engaging tool for teaching kids about food and where it comes from, cooking, nutrition and health. Inspire and teach kids to cook real food through delicious, kid-tested recipes, fun food facts and puzzles, gardening activities and games to keep kids moving. Teachers use ChopChop as part of wellness and nutrition education programs throughout the country. Available in English and Spanish and endorsed by the Academy of Pediatrics, ChopChop is a quarterly magazine and does not contain any advertising. You can purchase a 1-year subscription (4 issues) for just $14.95. Teachers can purchase a special classroom package of 30 copies for $40 (shipping and handling included). Each teacher package includes curriculum which includes classroom activities, printables and math lessons in math, science, ELA and social studies. Download a free sample of ChopChop curriculum here. ChopChop can also be purchased in large quantities of boxes of 50 copies for $65/box (includes shipping). For more information on custom programs and pricing, please contact Evilee Ebb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jobs & Opportunities
1. Farm to Early Education Program Specialist, Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children
The Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children seeks a Farm to Early Education Program Specialist to implement its Farm to Early Education program and develop a statewide Farm to Early Education Coalition. Learn more and apply here.
2. Nutritionist, Food and Nutrition Service
Food and Nutrition Service seeks a Nutritionist in its Child Nutrition Program. This position will including work on Team Nutrition materials to support the CACFP. Application closes April 25, 2016. Learn more here.
Farm to school in the news
Teams compete for top prize in first Farm to School cook off
School cooks in Maine recently faced off in a farm to school cook off. The teams followed their own recipes and used locally sourced ingredients to create both breakfast and lunch meals. Two more competitions like this are lined up over the next month. All of the recipes will be collected and put into a cookbook for Maine schools. (via WCSH6)
Eating local: Farm to School creates student learning from gardens to cafeterias
Nutrition education is homegrown in the Ferguson-Florissant School District (Mo.), where Kelly Bristow leads farm to school programming that gives children of all ages an appreciation of food and nutrition – from farm to plate. (via The St.Louis American)
Revamped School Garden Grows Veggies, Interest in Many Subjects
A school in New Jersey has discovered that student and faculty energy plus community-minded businesses and strong vision can be transformed into an outdoor classroom for teaching students about living off the land in a healthy manner. (via Cape May County Herald)