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. Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools
The Chef Ann Foundation has $250,000 available to support school lunchroom learning programs. Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools is a grant program designed to help increase kids’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables and create experiential nutrition education when and where students make their food choices: in the cafeteria. The $2,500 one-year grants support food costs to incorporate school-wide fruit and vegetable tastings into the school's nutrition program. Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is eligible to apply. Grants will be determined on an ongoing basis depending on available funding; there is no application deadline. Learn more here. An information webinar about applying for the grants will be offered on Wednesday, April 27 from 4-5pm ET. Register 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. Early bird registration is open now, including pre-conference short courses and field trips. 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. Webinar: School Food FOCUS
The Raw Deal: Strategies for Handling Fresh Poultry
April 13, 1-2 pm EST
Interested in procuring fresh poultry for your PK-12 school district but not quite sure how to get started? Don't be held back from integrating fresh poultry into your menus. Learn how to create a culture of food safety and hear directly from the experts as they share tips and resources for success. School Food FOCUS is a national collaborative that leverages the knowledge and procurement power of large school districts to make school meals nationwide more healthful, regionally sourced, and sustainably produced. Register here.
3. 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.
4. Call for Breakout Proposals: Southern Obesity Summit
November 13-15 // Houston, Texas
The Southern Obesity Summit (SOS) is the largest regional obesity prevention event in the United States, drawing hundreds of participants from 16 Southern States consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Together, these states join forces to fight obesity. Share your insights and expertise with your peers at this event. Breakout proposals will be accepted through May 13. Learn more here.
5. School Garden Teacher Training, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center
OAEC’s School Garden Teacher Training supports your school in creating and sustaining garden-based ecological literacy programs and helps you build a strong cohort of colleagues. Our residential training is for individuals or teams of teachers, garden educators, administrators and core parent volunteers. Two trainings will be held: June 20-24, 2016 and July 11-15, 2016. Learn more here.
Research & Resources
1. New eBook: Teaching in Nature's Classroom: Core Principles of Garden-Based Education
In this publication, veteran farm and garden educator Nathan Larson shares a philosophy of teaching in the garden through fifteen guiding principles and engaging stories from the field. The book features vivid paintings by mural artist Becky Redelings, an inspiring foreword by Whitney Cohen of Life Lab, and connections to the research literature provided by Alex Wells and Dr. Sam Dennis of the Environmental Design Lab at UW-Madison. Thanks to generous public health funding, free ebook editions are currently available. Visit the Wisconsin School Garden Network at www.wischoolgardens.org to learn more about this publication and other free school garden resources.
Jobs & Opportunities
1. Farm to School Manager, Colonial School District
Colonial School District in New Castle, Delaware seeks a Farm to School Manager in its Nutrition Services department. This position is responsible, but not limited to, connecting & managing agricultural education programs to our Penn Farm initiative, managing and operating farm duties, organizing logistics and planning for CSA, farm to table, and school garden programs, support in grant writing, maintaining budgets, data collection of harvest records, plant yields and promoting healthy food programs into schools. Application closes April 14. Learn more and apply here.
2. Vote: USDA Farm to School “One in a Melon” Awards
Know a school district in your state with a great farm to school program? Nominate them for a USDA Farm to School Award! USDA is currently running a friendly contest to designate a “One in a Melon” award winner in every state. Voting takes place via the USDA Farm to School Census website. The contest runs through April 15th. Find your school district here and vote today!
Farm to school in the news
Fulton, Mo. schools ahead of curve on food
Lawmakers in Missouri are considering legislation that would require school districts to source 10% of their food locally by December 2019. School nutrition professionals in one district describe steps they took to join the national farm to school trend. (via Fulton Sun)
Students stock schools with produce
This farm to school program has students getting their hands dirty while feeding lunchrooms with hundreds of pounds of fresh produce from the Hub at the Horizon Center in Gainesville, Fla. (via WCJB-TV)
Farm To School - Great Food Local
Strawberry farmers, representative from the Arkansas Children’s Hospital and USDA, county extension personnel and other stakeholders recently gathered to promote and brainstorm ideas to grow farm to school programs in their state. (via Newport Independent)