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This week in farm to school: 4/21/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 21, 2015

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 & Events 
1. Every Kid Healthy Week, April 19-25
Join us in celebrating Every Kid Healthy™ Week from April 19-25! Launched by Action for Healthy Kids in 2013, Every Kid Healthy Week is an annual observance when schools, students, parents, and community members come together to recognize their school’s wellness achievements through fun and interactive health-promoting events. Over 1,000 schools are participating in 2015! For more information on how to get involved and additional resources to help you plan an event go to EveryKidHealthyWeek.org.
2. Webinar: USDA Food and Nutrition Service,  April 28, 12:30 p.m. EST
Bringing Summer Meals to Farmers Markets
USDA Food and Nutrition Service is hosting a webinar on April 28 from 12:30PM-1:30PM EST about bringing summer meal sites to farmers markets. Summer meal sites at farmers markets can help increase food traffic and offer farmers another way to enhance the visibility of fresh foods or donate their products. This webinar will inform farmers market managers, sponsors, and the public about how to start and maintain summer meal sites at farmers markets and will share best practices from farmers markets that currently administer the program. Register here.
3. April is National Garden Month
Secretary Vilsack has declared April 2015 as National Garden Month.  The official proclamation celebrates the great American tradition of gardening at home, at school and in the community. Whether you are in Washington and can visit the majestic 446-acre National Arboretum, or can take a quick stop in a community, home or school garden near you, celebrate that winter is behind us. It’s time to tend the garden! 

Policy & Action

1. New County and Congressional District Data on Food Insecurity

Feeding America released its annual Map the Meal Gap report with state, county, and congressional district data on overall and child food insecurity rates. The report also includes data on food cost variation by county and congressional district and the percent of food insecure populations likely eligible for federal nutrition programs. There are also several resources available online: executive summary; interactive map with printable fact sheets by state, county or congressional district; and, printable data charts with overall child food insecurity rates by county and congressional district.

2. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.

3. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015.

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Senior Associate, Development, The Food Trust
The Food Trust is a nationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. The Senior Associate for Development will have diverse nonprofit fundraising experience, including a strong track record in developing grant proposals, building corporate partnerships, managing annual giving campaigns and overseeing fundraising events. The ideal candidate will have excellent interpersonal skills, and a passion for developing and executing creative fundraising strategies. This senior staff position will report to the Development Director, and will work closely with the Development Associate, program staff, and external partners. Find the full job description and application instructions here.
2. Kid Chefs: Join the Fourth Annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge!
Calling all budding chefs! Do you like to cook and make healthy food for your friends and family? If so, you might be able to show off your skills and creativity to the First Lady of the United States and your peers from across the country. Learn more about how you can represent your state at the Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House this summer.Visit pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge to learn more about the Heathy Lunchtime Challenge and submit your recipe by April 30.
3. Farm Aid hiring Farm Advocate and Program Manager positions
Farm Aid is a national nonprofit organization working to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. They are hiring for two full-time positions in their office in Cambridge, Mass. The Farm Advocate will serve as Farm Aid’s primary direct service provider, working one-on-one with farmers across the country to address their unique resource needs through quality referrals and emotional support. The Program Manager works to strengthen family farm and rural service organizations nationally and the resources and opportunities available for family farmers through strategic management, implementation, promotion and evaluation of Farm Aid’s grant program and the Farm Aid Resource Network website. Applications are due by May 3. See links for full job details. 

Farm to school in the news

WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices Series

WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices series continues with “Social Justice for Lunch: Delta Fresh Foods Initiative at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference.” This piece explores the work of the Delta Fresh Foods Initiative (DFFI) to transform the food system in the Mississippi Delta region into one that is more equitable and just for all.
Plymouth lunches feature student-raised pork
The Plymouth School District took the concept of local food one step closer to home this school year by featuring meat in several recent school lunches from two pigs raised by students. (via Sheboygan Press)

Seeds of Change: The Value of School Gardens in Education and Community Health
Gardening at school and at home can provide young people with learning opportunities, lasting skills, and positive, memorable experiences. But perhaps most importantly, it can help foster healthy lifestyles and encourage healthy eating with more nutritious foods. (via KCET)

Youth in Jacksonville's 'food deserts' learning about nutrition, helping teach parents
This farm-to-school program is geared toward school-age students and parents who live in so-called food desert communities, with little or no access to affordable, fresh food and produce. It works to introduce them to basic elements of health and nutrition, gardening and farming, and food preparation. (via The Florida Times-Union)
 

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: 4/7/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 07, 2015

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 & Events
1. Webinar: Colorado Farm to School Task Force, Wednesdays, April 8 - May 6, 5 p.m. EST

Evaluation Made Easy: How to Evaluate your Farm to School Activities

The fourth (and last) five-week training series on the Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit from Colorado Farm to School Task Force and Spark Policy Institute starts tomorrow. The series is free and made possible by a USDA Farm to School Grant. Participation in the live webinars includes the following benefits: eligible for five contact hours of continuing education credits, participation in the F2S Evaluation Toolkit Forum for peer-to-peer learning, and up to four hours of free technical assistance to plan/implement your F2S evaluation. Register here.


2. The Chef Ann Foundation Webinar, April 14, 1 p.m. EST
Your Guide to the Lunch Box 
This webinar will feature a guided tour of the newly expanded school food resource website “The Lunch Box” and a Q&A with national school food expert Chef Beth Collins. The Lunch Box is dedicated to supporting school food service teams with technical assistants for shifting their food programs from a reliance on processed foods to developing whole food-based, scratch-cooked meals. Sign up here

Policy & Action

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.

2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015.

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Kid Chefs: Join the Fourth Annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge!
First Lady Michelle Obama is teaming up with PBS flagship station WGBH Boston, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host the fourth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge to promote cooking and healthy eating among young people across the nation. The challenge invites kids ages 8-12 to join a parent or guardian in creating an original recipe that is healthy, affordable, and delicious. One winner from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia will be selected and have the opportunity to attend a Kids’ “State Dinner” here at the White House this summer where a selection of the winning recipes will be served. Visit pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge to learn more about the Heathy Lunchtime Challenge and submit your recipe by April 30.

2. Garden Manager, Slide Ranch, Muir Beach, CA
Reporting to the Director of Operations, the Garden Manager is an integral member of the Ranch Operations Team.  Specific responsibilities include all aspects of maintaining a certified organic garden, native plant restoration, teaching and training Slide Ranch Teachers-in-Residence (TIRs), work with program staff to utilize the garden as a teaching environment for youth education, train and manage garden volunteers, and provide sufficient produce for daily program lessons as well as for resident staff consumption. This position requires living on-site in housing provided by Slide Ranch. For more information, visit the Slide Ranch website

3. Director of Development, Slide Ranch, Muir Beach, CA
Slide Ranch seeks a Director of Development who will manage all aspects of Slide’s Development Office: Annual Fund, Major Gifts, Special Events, Grants, Capital Campaign  and Communications. The Director of Development reports to and works closely with the Executive Director to create and implement development strategies and practices that will help Slide Ranch sustain and grow its operations and fulfill its mission. For more information, visit the Slide Ranch website

4. Request for Applications, Southern Regional Learning Lab Evaluator 
The Food Options for Children in the United States (FOCUS) Southern Regional Learning Lab (SRLL) engages seven school districts to leverage their combined buying power and redirect purchasing practices to access more wholesome food. The SRLL has just entered Phase One of a three-year implementation and is beginning work in two food categories: chicken and produce. FOCUS seeks an evaluation contractor (individual or team) that will work closely with program participants and staff to refine and implement an evaluation protocol designed during the SRLL Assessment Phase. The contractor will conduct evaluation activities for Implementation Phase One (April 2015 - June 2016) and ideally will continue over the duration of the project. Click here to download the SRLL Evaluation Contractor Request for Applications. Applications are due Sunday, April 19.  

5. Food Services Director, Austin Independent School District
This position is the chief administrator for supporting the facilitation and implementation of program areas within Food Services. Incumbent provides instruction and technical supervision to staff on non-routine and policy matters, especially in areas requiring oversight to ensure compliance. More information can be found on the AISD careers website

Farm to school in the news
Why 2015 is a big year for child nutrition
The new Farm to School Act and the proposed renewal of federal child nutrition programs should make this an important time for kids and healthy eating. (via Mother Nature Network)

How One Visionary Changed School Food in Detroit 
With a focus on healthier foods and local farms, National Farm to School Network Advisor Betti Wiggins has led Detroit Public School’s +55K students through a food revolution. (via Civil Eats

Helping Food Hubs Connect Local Farmers To VT Schools
A new online tool made possible with a U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School grant connects new Vermont farmers and food producers with their local communities using food hubs. (via My Champlain Valley)

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: 3/31/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants

1. Keep Spreading the Word about Community Eligibility

To provide ample time to school districts to consider implementing community eligibility, this month is a great time provide them with a variety of opportunities to learn more about the option and the success other school districts are having. Food Research and Action Center has updated some of its resources to help you spread the word to districts: FRAC’s Community Eligibility One-Pager (pdf) and Sample CEP Presentation Slides (PowerPoint file). 


2. Seeds of Change® Grant Program

To support the mission of the 1% Fund, Seeds of Change® is hosting the 4th annual Seeds of Change® Grant Program, which encourages communities nationwide to apply for funding to support community or school garden and farming programs. The application asks how the program helps build a healthier, more sustainable community and how it teaches people where their food comes from. The submission period for the grant program has been extended until April 6. A total of $200,000 in grant money is available. From April 9 through April 27, 2015, applications will be available for public voting at www.seedsofchangegrant.com.


Webinars & Events
1. Grow. Share. Prepare. Food Systems Program Training, Austin, June 8-10
Sustainable Food Center will offer its fourth annual Grow. Share. Prepare. Food Systems Program Training at its facility in Austin, Texas June 8-10, 2015. The intensive three-day workshop will be lead by SFC staff and partners and is designed for community-based organizations, local government entities, and other groups interested in sustainable and local food systems programming. A limited number of scholarships will be available, based on interest and need. Registration deadline is April 24, 2015, but early registration is strongly encouraged due to limited space.

Policy & Action

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.

2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015.

Jobs & Opportunities
1. USDA Seeks Reviewers for Grant Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service announced it is seeking reviewers to evaluate grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program. Applications are due April 27. Additional details can be found here.

2. USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for BFRDP Proposals
The USDA received a record number of BFRDP applications for 2015, and are looking for additional peer reviewers to serve on the panel this year. Panels are comprised of farmers and ranchers, practitioners, CBO/NGO representatives, academic personnel, agency staff, as well as others. To nominate yourself, send an email to bfrdp@nifa.usda.gov with “reviewer” in the subject line.  Include your contact information (organization, address, email, phone); a brief description of your areas of expertise or experience related to beginning farmers and ranchers; and whether or not you plan to be a participant on a proposal this round. Deadline for nominations is Friday, April 3, 2015. For additional information, email BFRDP National Program Leader, Jill Auburn, at jauburn@nifa.usda.gov

Farm to school in the news
Empowerment from the Earth: Reclaiming Cherokee health and heritage
Several community and youth efforts are using gardens to reconnect the Cherokee people to local food, health and a collective heritage defined by knowledge of the earth. (via Mountain Xpress)

Locally grown veggies now part of school lunches
More than 1,000 heads of locally grown lettuce now are being transported to 16 Gainesville schools each month. It's part of the Farm to School Work Hub. (via Gainesville Sun)

School garden helps emphasize healthy eating to Cannon students
Cannon Elementary school in South Carolina has received grants that will allow students to design gardens, learn how to plant and nurture foods and incorporate those foods into school lunch programs. (via GoUpstate)

Read past editions of This Week here on our blog 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: 3/24/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants
1. USDA Announces $96 Million Available to Expand Access to Healthy Food, Support Rural Economies

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of $96.8 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to support specialty crop producers, local food entrepreneurs, and farm to school efforts. The grant programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service include the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, which covers two types of grants: the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program. Also included in the announcement is the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service Farm to School Grant Program, designed to bring local foods into the school cafeteria.

With $5 million in funding available, the four different types of USDA Farm to School grants are:
  • Planning grants - to help schools get started
  • Implementation grants - to enable schools to expand existing programs
  • Support service grants - allows community partners such as nonprofit entities, Indian tribal nations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers to provide broad reaching support to schools in their efforts to bring local products into the cafeteria 
  • Training grants - to disseminate best practices and spread strategies known to succeed 
Proposals for planning, implementation, and support service grants are due by May 20, 2015. Letters of intent for training grants are due by April 30, 2015. More information about the Farm to School Grant Program, upcoming webinars relevant to applicants, and sample grant applications can be found at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school-grant-program.

2. Special Grant Call from Southern SARE Focuses on Local and Regional Food Systems
A special grant call to fund research on local and regional food systems across the Southern region is now available from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) program and the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC).The special grant, part of SSARE’s Sustainable Community Innovations Grant (SCIG) program, is open to any individuals, nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, governmental organizations and/or educational organizations located in the Southern region.

This grant is not to fund the development of individual local and regional food systems, but to fund research defining, evaluating and understanding the impacts of local and regional food systems on sustainable agriculture. Grant proposal deadline is May 4, 2015. The project is funded for one year at a maximum of $35,000. Download the Call for Proposal to follow the guidelines for writing and submitting the grant application.

Webinars & Events
1. Third Annual Native Food Sovereignty Summit, Oct. 26-29, Green Bay, Wisconsin
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin will co-host the Third Annual Food Sovereignty Summit in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Oct. 26-29, 2015, at the Radisson Green Bay Hotel and Conference Center. At the event, Native American communities come together to learn from one another to promote Native health, wellness and food sovereignty. This conference sold out well ahead of time the previous two years, so be sure to guarantee your attendance by registering now at www.firstnations.org/summit. Find more information here

Policy & Action

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.


2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

Jobs & Opportunities
1. FoodCorps Service Member Application Deadline Approaching
FoodCorps service member applications are due March 31st. Applicants are encouraged to finish their applications, and to reach out to FoodCorps with any final questions by emailing serve@foodcorps.org. Organizations can help spread the word about the deadline by tweeting, sharing on Facebook, or doing personal outreach to people you think would make great candidates.

Farm to school in the news
Farm to School’s taste-test program steers kids from french fries to kale
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Growing Minds Farm to School program offers farm fresh taste-tests at schools and helps students develop healthy eating habits. (via Mountain Xpress

Farm to School on the Rise in Arkansas
Organized farm to school activity is relatively new in Arkansas and the surrounding area. Stakeholders gathered at the Farm to School Forum in Arkansas to discuss efforts for healthier school meals and food education. (via KUAF Radio)

At Dubuque alternative school, sowing seeds of learning
By cultivating the school’s first on-site garden, the novice gardeners at an Iowa high school will learn about collaboration, problem-solving and the importance of community involvement. (via The Des Moines Register)

Read past editions of This Week here on our blog 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: 3/18/15

NFSN Staff Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants

1. FY16 USDA Farm to School Grant RFA 
USDA is currently accepting applications for the next round of USDA farm to school grants. The application deadline is May 20, 2015 for planning, implementation and support service grant applications. Training grant letters of inquiry are due April 30, 2015. For more information please see: http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school-grant-program. (There is a webinar on March 25th at 1 pm EST to learn more.)

2. Maya Wiley Fellowship Program, The Center for Social Inclusion
The Maya Wiley Fellowship program celebrates and supports grassroots leaders seeking to achieve racial equity through structurally transformative policy strategies and campaigns. The fellowship is open through a nomination process and provides a $25,000 stipend to support a leader’s existing work or create an opportunity to expand or scale up that work. Visit the Center for Social Inclusion’s website for further information. 

3. Breakfast and Every Kid Healthy Grants, Action for Healthy Kids
Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) is now accepting School Grants for Healthy Kids applications for the 2015-2016 school year. Breakfast and Every Kid Healthy Grants up to $2,500 are available. Eligible schools may apply to pilot or expand their School Breakfast Programs, pilot universal school breakfast, and/or funding physical activity and nutrition initiatives working towards healthy schools certification. To learn more, tune in for an informational webinar on March 18 (Breakfast Grants) or March 24 (Every Kid Healthy Grants). Apply by May 1, 2015 for a 2015-2016 School Grant for Healthy Kids.

4. USDA Announces Funding Available for Specialty Crop and Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Programs
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of more than $66.5 million in funding for research and extension activities to address the needs of America's specialty crop industry and solve critical organic agricultural production issues. The grants will be funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. Both programs are administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and made available through the 2014 Farm Bill. Read the full USDA press release here

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, April 14, 1 p.m. EST
Making change, part two: Q&A with the leaders behind state policy success
State-level farm to school policy work is driving a broader expansion of farm to school across the country. Thirty-nine states and D.C. now have farm to school policies on the books, and 2014 saw a 64 percent increase in successfully enacted legislation over 2013. This webinar will feature a Q&A with some of the leaders behind the most successful and comprehensive state policy campaigns. Learn what works, what doesn't and how you can make change in your state. Register here

2. The Chef Ann Foundation Webinar, April 14, 1 p.m. EST
Your Guide to the Lunch Box 
This webinar will feature a guided tour of the newly expanded school food resource website  “The Lunch Box” and a Q&A with national school food expert Chef Beth Collins. The Lunch Box is dedicated to supporting school food service teams with technical assistants for shifting their food programs from a reliance on processed foods to developing whole food based scratch cooked meals. Sign up here

3. USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach, Grant Programs Teleconferences
The Office of Advocacy and Outreach will be hosting public teleconferences on its grant programs listed below that are currently active withinwww.grants.gov. The call-in information for both sessions is (800) 369-1617 and the passcode is 5274714. 

March 18, 2015, at 2:00pm EST - Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). 

March 19, 2015, at 2:00pm EST - Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center


Policy & Actions

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 
The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire is being distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16 (this week). School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.

2. State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2014
The recently released State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2014 offers a comprehensive review of state-level farm to school policies, analysis of national trends, and advocacy guidance for those working to advance the farm to school movement across the country. The survey is designed to offer farm to school advocates a roadmap, allowing them to learn from the success of other states and copy their efforts. Download the full document on the National Farm to School Network's website or check out this map to see how your state compares. The survey was prepared by researchers at Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.

3. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

4. New School Meal Regulations Increase Fruit Consumption and Do Not Increase Total Plate Waste
new study published in Childhood Obesity confirms that students are consuming healthier food at school as a result of updated meal standards. According to research results, “Students respond positively to the news lunches. They consumed more fruit, threw away less of the entrees and vegetables, and consumed the same about of milk. Overall, the revised meal standards and policies appear to have significantly lowered plate waste in school cafeterias.” Read more here.  

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Local Food Summer Internship Opportunities, Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Illinois Stewardship Alliance is now hiring for two part-time internship positions: Local Food and Policy Outreach Intern and Local Food and Sustainable Agriculture Outreach Intern. To be considered, please email isa@ilstewards.org with a cover letter and resume no later than April 17, 2015. More information about these opportunities can be found on the Illinois Stewardship Alliance website

2. Students Wanted for 2nd Annual Native Youth in Food & Ag Summer Leadership Summit
Applications are now open for the second annual Summer Leadership Summit for Native Youth in Food & Agriculture at the University of Arkansas School of Law! The program is looking for student applications from American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth between the ages of 13 and 18 who are passionate about food and agricultural production and have the courage to lead their Tribes and communities into the future. For more information and application details, please visit The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law website. 


Farm to school in the news
Why Some Schools Serve Local Food And Others Can't (Or Won't)
An examination of real and perceived challenges of sourcing local food in school by Tracie McMillan. (via NPR)

Students enjoy local farm bounty through partnership
The Vista Unified School District is now a direct beneficiary of its prime location by partnering with Solutions Farms to provide the highest grade organic salad greens and basil to its cafeterias, as well as farm-based educational opportunities for its students. (via Seaside Courier)

Reconnecting Children with Local Food and the Land
The trend of nature-based and farm-to-school programs has been taking off. The Cornucopia Project in Peterborough is a perfect example, integrating curriculum about the natural world, and helping schools create their own gardens. (via Sentinel Source)


This week in farm to school: 3/9/15

NFSN Staff Monday, March 09, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants
1. First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food System Initiative Receives $2.95 Million, Three-Year Grant 
In the continuing effort to improve the health of Native American children and families and boost the economic health of Native communities, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) has awarded First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) of Longmont, Colorado, a grant of $2.95 million to extend First Nations’ work in the area of Native agriculture and food systems for three years, 2015 through 2017. Read the full press release here.

2. USDA Community Food Projects Grant Program applications due March 17
There are less than two weeks left to apply for the USDA Community Food Projects Grant Program through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Applications are due Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 5 pm EST. If you are interested in getting assistance with your application, or have questions, visit the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project website for free one-on-one technical assistance and resource

3. Voices for Healthy Kids opportunities for funding
Are you working to improve access to affordable, healthy foods for all children and families? Voices for Healthy Kids can support your work. Voices for Healthy Kids is providing funding to coalitions to advance coordinated issue advocacy campaigns focused on ending childhood obesity. Healthy food procurement is one of their priority areas. Organizations working to ensure that food and beverages sold and served on government property are healthy and meet specific nutrition guidelines may be eligible for funding. Learn more and apply for funding at www.voicesforhealthykids.org.

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, March 10, 1 p.m. EST
Making change: How you can support farm to school policy this spring
Although the Child Nutrition Act (known as CNR) isn't set to expire until September 30, the action in D.C. is happening now, and we need your help. Join us to learn how farm to school legislation is progressing as part of CNR and what you can do to help make sure farm to school gets the support it needs from Congress! We will cover actions that anyone can take to join the effort and become an effective advocate for farm to school. The 20-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Register here

2. 17th Annual National Value Added Agriculture Conference, Austin, Texas May 18-20
You are invited to attend the 17th Annual National Value Added Agriculture Conference in Austin, Texas on May 18-20, 2015, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. The National Value Added Agriculture Conference is held every year in a different state in the United States to address food security, rural development, and value added agriculture. This year, the Conference focuses on working toward the future of the U.S food systems, on the goal of providing enough nutritious, sustainable, and healthy foods for the U.S consumers. More information about the conference can be found here.

3. California Farm to School Network Webinar, March 19, 12 p.m.  CDT
California Food for California Kids®: Innovations from the Cafeteria to the Community, Part 2
School foodservice directors navigate a complex web of challenges when it comes to getting food on the tray - and even more so when they try to bring in more fresh, healthy, and local foods. This two-part series highlights farm to school leaders in California who didn't get discouraged by barriers, but instead used their own creativity and innovative spirit to launch and sustain farm to school efforts in their districts. Register here

4. Life Lab School Garden Workshops, Santa Cruz, CA 
Upcoming Educator Workshops in the Life Lab Garden Classroom include:

Policy & Action
1. State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2014
The recently released State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2014 offers a comprehensive review of state-level farm to school policies, analysis of national trends, and advocacy guidance for those working to advance the farm to school movement across the country. The survey is designed to offer farm to school advocates a roadmap, allowing them to learn from the success of other states and copy their efforts. Download the full document on the National Farm to School Network's website or check out this map to see how your state compares.The survey was prepared by researchers at Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.

2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

3. Growing Food & Justice for All Initiative Strategic Plan Membership Survey
The responses to the questions in this survey will be used by the Strategic Planning Task Group to prepare the 2015-2020 Growing Food & Justice for All Initiative (GFJI) Strategic Plan. This Strategic Plan document will be presented, discussed at the GFJI Gathering to be held September 25-27 in Chicago. The GFJI Strategic Plan will articulate GFJI's highest aspirations in realizing shared vision and clearly define the actions that GFJI must make in molding its future. Find a link to the survey here

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Good Food & Justice for All Initiative Gathering 2015 Request for Proposals
The Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative is excited to announce the 2015 Gathering Request for Proposals is now available. GFJI is looking for confident and passionate facilitators to lead participatory sessions. Proposals are due March 15. Find more information and proposal details here

Farm to school in the news
Farm to school programs reach over 25.5 million students, report says
The number of farm to school programs in the U.S. increased 430 percent between 2006 and 2012, according to a report released by the National Farm to School Network. (via Agri-Pulse)

Farm-to-School programs prove successful
The overall goal of the Vernon County Farm to School program is to integrate fresh, whole foods into school lunches and classrooms in southwest Wisconsin, while teaching children the lifelong benefits of healthy eating. (via Westby Times)

State Officials Encourage Kids To Play In The Dirt
In celebration of National Nutrition Month, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is hosting kindergarten and third grade students from Roberts Elementary School. The students planted potatoes and learned about the garden. (via WFSU)

Local food movement is growing up
One change to the local food movement came through farm-to-school programs. In 2012, more than 4,300 school districts reported spending more than $385 million on local food through farm-to-school programs. In California, there are over 2,600 schools spending more than $51 million on local food. (via Merced Sun-Star




This week in farm to school: 3/3/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 03, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants
1. Request for Proposals for Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative Grants 
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is now accepting proposals for its Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI). Through the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, First Nations plans to distribute up to eight grant awards averaging $26,000 to support projects that address food-system control, food insecurity and food deserts, with an emphasis on serving Native American children and families. Proposals are due March 25, 2015. More information can be found here

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, March 10, 1 p.m. EST
Making change: How you can support farm to school policy this spring
Although the Child Nutrition Act (known as CNR) isn't set to expire until September 30, the action in D.C. is happening now, and we need your help. Join us to learn how farm to school legislation is progressing as part of CNR and what you can do to help make sure farm to school gets the support it needs from Congress! We will cover actions that anyone can take to join the effort and become an effective advocate for farm to school. The 20-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Register here


2. 2015 Farm to Institution Summit, April 7-9, UMass Amherst
Are you working to increase the amount of local and regional food used by schools, colleges and health care facilities in the Northeast? You’re invited to the 2015 Farm to Institution Summit at UMass Amherst on April 7-9! This first- year conference will feature 50+ sessions, inspiring speakers, local tours, good food, live music, an exhibitor fair and more. Join hundreds of other farm to institution advocates for three exciting days of learning, sharing and connecting. Register by March 2nd to save $20 per day: www.farmtoinstitution.org/summit

3. 2015 USDA Farm to School Census Webinar, March 3, 1:00 pm EST
USDA Farm to School staff will host a webinar to provide an overview about the upcoming 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, including information about the Census questionnaire, survey invitation process, and timeline for data collection and analysis. This webinar is open to everyone and State agencies are especially encouraged to participate. No registration is required to attend. To join the webinar online, simply click here.

 
Policy & Action
1. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Program Director, LiveWell @ School Food Initiative
The Director of the School Food Initiative leads the coordination and implementation of LiveWell Colorado’s healthy eating and active living strategies in school districts throughout the State of Colorado. The Director works as part of a talented team at LiveWell Colorado with the opportunity to plan and execute a flagship school nutrition program that has reached to date more than 600,000 students in 98 school districts. More information can be found on the LiveWell Colorado website.

2. Summer Teacher-in-Residence, Slide Ranch
Each year, Slide Ranch selects ten emerging environmental educators to participate in the Slide Ranch Teacher-in-Residence program, a residential teaching internship. Slide Ranch’s Teacher-in-Residence program fosters and inspires environmental educators, preparing them for meaningful careers in the fields of education, sustainable agriculture, and environmental stewardship.Teachers-In-Residence lead groups and develop curriculum for school, community and family groups visiting the ranch. More information can be found on the Slide Ranch website

Farm to school in the news
Lawmakers offer new bills to expand Farm to School program
In an effort to expand production and consumption of locally-grown foods in schools, lawmakers introduced new legislation today that would enhance USDA's Farm to School program. (via Agri-Pulse)

'You give them a sense of ownership with the garden'
“When the kids know there is something on the salad bar from their garden - they are like seagulls to crackers on the beach,” said Aggi Hendrixs. Since the school started its sustainable garden, she says she sees less food being left on their plates. (via KATU)

Report: Better School Meals Good for Kids, Communities
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act aims to increase childhood nutrition by bringing more fruits and vegetables to school cafeterias. Across the nation, districts large and small, urban and rural have expanded the fresh fruit and vegetable offerings, often by teaming up with local providers thanks to incentives in the law. (via Iowa Public Radio)

Young gardeners get head start on spring
Despite the fact their school garden is covered with snow, students in Waggoner Road Middle School's Garden Club are "greening up" a classroom, starting seedlings under grow lights and preparing to plant in a hoop house. (via Reynoldsburg News)



This week in farm to school: 2/23/15

NFSN Staff Monday, February 23, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants
1. USDA Announces $9 Million to Support Community Food Projects Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of $9 million in funding to assist low-income individuals and communities in developing local and independent food systems. NIFA is funding the grants through the Community Food Projects program (CFP), authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).Grants are intended to help eligible, private, nonprofit entities in need of a one-time installment of federal assistance to establish and carry out multipurpose community food projects. Projects are funded from $10,000 to $300,000 and up to 36 months. All grants require a dollar-for-dollar match in resources. More information can be found here

2. USDA Announces More Than $160 Million Available in Funding for Food and Agriculture Research, Education, and Extension
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of more than $160 million in funding for research, education, and extension projects that address key challenges affecting U.S. agriculture production. NIFA will fund the awards through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).The purpose of AFRI is to support research, education, and extension work by awarding grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture. Application deadlines vary by program area. More information can be found on the USDA website.

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, March 10, 1 p.m. EST
Making change: How you can support farm to school policy this spring
Although the Child Nutrition Act (known as CNR) isn't set to expire until September 30, the action in D.C. is happening now, and we need your help. Join us to learn how farm to school legislation is progressing as part of CNR and what you can do to help make sure farm to school gets the support it needs from Congress! We will cover actions that anyone can take to join the effort and become an effective advocate for farm to school. The 20-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Register here

2. New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, February 26, 2 p.m. EST
Evaluation for Community Food Projects Applicants 
Applying to the USDA for a Community Food Projects grant can be a challenge, but the benefits to your program and the people you serve can also be extremely valuable. New Entry and its partners are available to help you evaluate your project and provide expert advice on how to submit a high quality proposal that reflects the impactful work you do in your community. Register for this upcoming webinar, or visit the New Entry website for more information. 

3. “The ABC's of Farm Based Education," March 28-29, Fort Collins, CO
Are you a farmer or rancher looking to improve current programming or starting to explore opportunities for farm-based education? Are you a teacher looking to include more nature-based activities in the classroom? This  workshop is for you! Spend two days in activity-based learning, discussion and exploration, presented by seasoned farm-based educators from Vermont and Colorado. You’ll experience easy and fun ways to develop agricultural education programs with engaging, kid-tested, educator-approved activities from Shelburne Farms’publications Project Seasons and Cultivating Joy and Wonder. You’ll also discuss ways to engage school groups,camp participants, and farm visitors. For more information, visit this website

4. 2015 Farm to Institution Summit, April 7-9, UMass Amherst
Are you working to increase the amount of local and regional food used by schools, colleges and health care facilities in the Northeast? You’re invited to the 2015 Farm to Institution Summit at UMass Amherst on April 7-9! This first- year conference will feature 50+ sessions, inspiring speakers, local tours, good food, live music, an exhibitor fair and more. Join hundreds of other farm to institution advocates for three exciting days of learning, sharing and connecting. Register by March 2nd to save $20 per day: www.farmtoinstitution.org/summit

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Finance & Operations Director, National Farm to School Network  
The National Farm to School Network is now accepting applications for a full time finance and operations director. The position description may be found on our website or downloaded as a PDF here.  The finance and operations director will direct all organizational activities related to finance, budgeting, human resources and general operations. The finance and operations director will be part of the organizational leadership team, serving as a strategic thought partner and reporting directly to the executive director (ED).  Projected start date: April 1, 2015. Please share this listing with anyone you think is interested and qualified. The deadline to apply is February 25, 2015.

2. Solicitation Of Nominations To The Advisory Committee On Agriculture Statistics 
On September 2, 2014, the Secretary of Agriculture renewed the AdvisoryCommittee charter for a two-year term to expire on September 2, 2016. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the scope, timing, content, etc., of the periodic censuses and surveys of agriculture, other related surveys, and the types of information to obtain from respondents concerning agriculture. The Committee also prepares recommendations regarding the content of agriculture reports and presents the views and needs for data of major suppliers and users of agriculture statistics. The nomination period for interested candidates will close February 27, 2015. More information can be found here

3. Elementary Garden Educator, The Delta School 
The Delta School is a newly founded progressive prek-12 independent school in The Mississippi Delta, just 40 minutes from Memphis. The School will be opening for its first class of students in August 2015.The Garden Educator is a full-time position that offers critical support to teachers and students to ensure that a school can maximize the educational potential of the school garden. This position will work in collaboration with the staff at the Town of Wilson Garden to ensure maximum resource sharing for both organizations. Please email Jenifer Fox at jeniferfox08@gmail.com for full position descriptions.
 
4. A New Network for Women in Agriculture, USDA
On February 19, USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden launched the Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network. This newly established network will support and engage women across all areas of agriculture and encourage professional networking between people with shared backgrounds, interests, and professional goals. You are invited to help grow this network so that the USDA can continue to support all women in agriculture as they look towards the future.  A new e-mail address has been created for those looking to get involved in the Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network: agwomenlead@usda.gov.  Send in your email for more forthcoming information. 

Farm to school in the news
Farm to School efforts proving markets for farmers
Thanks to the efforts of the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Initiative and the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition, schools in northeast Iowa are embracing the farm-to-school connection. The coalition has now been working to provide local foods to school districts for six years. (via Iowa Food and Fitness)

Farm to School Bills Aim to Teach Students to Produce Own Food
In Hawaii, Senate Bill 376 would establish a Farm to School Program, which aims to educate students on how to produce food, as well as establish a network of local farmers to produce healthy public school meals. (via Honolulu Civil Beat)

Colorado may pay to get more local food in schools
A Colorado bill to spend about $5 million to put more local produce in school cafeterias passed its first test Wednesday at the Legislature.The bill sets up a grant program to make Colorado the 17th state to chip in grant money in addition to federal programs to help get more locally grown foods on cafeteria plates. (via Coloradoan)

Students grow their own hydroponic lettuce
Alachua County Public Schools (FL) are trying to move towards more local and sustainable food sources being served in their cafeteria. They are doing so by giving high school students hands on experience in a program called Farm to School Hub. (via WCJB-TV)

'Hands-in-the-Dirt' Learning
Garden-based learning in the hands of a skilled teacher adds up to a big impact on student learning. Yet truly integrated garden-based learning depends on not just a handful of teachers in some schools, but whole-school communities invested in making this a daily experience for students and easily accessible to teachers. (via Education Week)