1. Smart from the Start Award
Smart from the Start is seeking early childhood education or Head Start centers which offer a Pre-K program to apply for a $20,000 cash grant. The Smart from the Start Awards are designed to encourage preschool teachers to create practical, long-term improvements in nutrition and physical activity in their classroom. Ten second prize $2,500 cash grants will also be awarded. Deadline is Thursday, March 3rd, 2016. Learn more here.
2. Plate of the Union, Campus Challenge
Plate of the Union, a collaborative effort to raise the voice of the millions of Americans who care about food and farm issues in the 2016 presidential election cycle, is excited to announce the launch of its Campus Challenge. The Campus Challenge is an opportunity for young people to leverage their enormous political power. Through this challenge, Plate of the Union is seeking university student groups who care about food and electoral politics to develop and execute organizing plans that drive engagement in the 2016 election cycle. How will you influence your peers, the media, and candidates to talk about food? Groups can win up to $5000 to execute their plans. Learn more here.
Webinars & Events
1. Scholarship Deadline Feb. 29 for National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
The National Farm to School Network is now accepting applications for scholarships to the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event 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. To ensure the conference reflects the full diversity of the movement, scholarships are prioritized for farmers, farmer support organizations, youth (through age 22), persons of color, food service professionals, farm to college/hospital practitioners, and early care and education providers. Don’t delay! Scholarship application are due Feb. 29 at 5pm ET. Learn more and submit your application at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.
2. 2016 Food Tank Summit
April 20-21 // Washington, DC
Food Tank, in partnership with American University, is excited to announce the 2nd Annual Washington, D.C. Food Tank Summit. This two-day event will feature more than 70 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students will come together for panels on topics including; nourishing the planet, improving nutrient density, the future of organic, investing in the food movement, legislating change in the food system, and more. Learn more and register here.
3. North Dakota Farm to School Conference
May 10-11 // North Dakota
You’re invited to attend the first North Dakota Farm to School and Farm to Preschool conference, coming this May. Put Our State on Your Plate: ND Farm to School Conference invites school staff, childcare staff and farmers/producers who would like to learn more about serving local foods in North Dakota schools and childcare centers to join. Conferences will be held in Fargo (May 10) and Mandan (May 11). Learn more and register here.
4. 2016 Annual National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference
June 20-24 // Litchfield Park, Arizona
You’re invited to join the 2016 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference: Agriculture Blooming in the Desert. Learn more about the agenda, presenters, registration and more on the conference website.
5. Webinar: Support Your School Garden with Chipotle
Monday, Feb. 29, 5pm EST
Do you want to raise money for your school garden through a 50% restaurant fundraiser? How about free burritos to feed volunteers at a garden workday? Or are you looking for ways to thank teachers and supporters? Gift cards are great! And educational materials like Grow Kits are perfect to teach kids about starting seeds. Come hear about the Chipotle Resources for School Gardens available to any school through Slow Food USA's partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill. Learn more here.
6. Webinar: USDA Planning for Farm to School Success, Food Safety
Wednesday, March 3, 2pm EST
How can we ensure the safety of farm fresh food? We’ll share local food safety best practices, including identifying safety measures for school gardens and school salad bars. Joining us is Londa Nwadike, PhD, who serves as Extension Food Safety Specialist for both Kansas State University and the University of Missouri. She works with small-scale produce farmers, farmers market vendors, as well as schools and consumers on food safety-related issues. Register here.
7. Webinar: How to Build a Hydroponic System for Your Lunch Program
Wednesday, March 9, 3-4pm EST
Want to green up your school lunch program? Tune in for Fresh From The School: How To Build a Hydroponic System for Your Lunch Program webinar to learn how you can get lettuce into your lunchroom that is as local as from across the hall. Hosted by seventh-grade students from Palouse Prairie Charter School (Moscow, Idaho), this webinar will teach participants how to build a hydroponic system as affordably as possible and incorporate the produce grown by students into your school’s lunches. Register here.
Research & Resources
1. New Institutional Procurement Guide
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has released a new report, Instituting Change: An Overview of Institutional Food Procurement and Recommendations for Improvement. This report reviews the literature and key information resources regarding institutional food service procurement systems, presents the potential benefits of a largescale shift among institutional procurement policies, discusses some of the existing barriers to the adoption of policies that favor regionally and/or sustainably produced food, and provides recommendations and tools for influencing institutional food procurement practices. This report is intended to serve as a resource for those seeking a better understanding of institutional food service procurement policies and provide a rationale for working toward reform. Learn more here.
Farm to school in the news
Brooklyn students grow produce inside classroom
Students in Brooklyn, N.Y. are harvesting cucumbers at a local farm, and they didn’t even have to leave their school building to get there. This winter crop was grown in the warmth of a classroom equipped with hydroponic systems the 6th, 7th and 8th graders built themselves. (via PIX 11)
Students take hand in school lunch
Students at Clearview Elementary School in Minnesota have been given the chance to explore roles in the lunchroom by learning how to prepare school meals. Almost two dozen students have signed up to participate. (via St. Cloud Times)
Nebraska schools serves locally raised meat
Students at Banner County in Nebraska will be seeing more pork and beef in their lunches. A $2,000 grant was recently provided by Farm Credit Services of America which allows Banner County Schools to process three cattle and two hogs. (via Scottsbluff Star Herald)