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National Farm to School Network

News

This Week in Farm to School: 10/24/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 24, 2017
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. 

Grants & Funding

1. USDA FY 2018 Farm to School Grant RFA 
The USDA FY 2018 Farm to School Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. Applications are due Dec. 8, 2017. Learn more here

2. Support available for USDA Farm to School Grant Applicants
The National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring it reaches the communities that need this funding most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance to potential applicants in the areas of: planning and preparing the application; customized support for Native communities; evaluation; and, focus on early care and education / pre-K. The deadline to express interest in receiving assistance from the National Farm to School Network on a consultation basis is November 8, 2017. Learn more here

3. KidsGardening 2018 Youth Garden Grants
The 2018 Youth Garden Grant is an award designed to support school and youth educational garden projects that enhance the quality of life for students and their communities. Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. Applications are due December 8, 2017. Learn more and apply

4. Whole Kids Foundation's School Garden Grant
Created in partnership with FoodCorps, the Garden Grant program provides a $2,000 monetary grant to support a new or existing edible garden at either a K-12 school, 501(c)(3) Non-profit working in partnership with a K-12 school, or 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The application period is open September 1, 2017 through October 31, 2017. Learn more here


Events & Webinars
1. October is National Farm to School Month!
National Farm to School month is here! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials, activity ideas and a new calendar of events for ways you can get involved in October. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to get involved. 

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Harvest of the Month 
Thursday, November 2 // 2-3pm ET
States across the country are developing Harvest of the Month programs including curriculum and resources to make it easier for schools, teachers, students and families to join in on farm to school fun. Though different from state to state, Harvest of the Month programs generally highlight a new seasonal product each month with activities, recipes, growing tips and many more resources designed to engage stakeholders and celebrate seasonal, local food. Join us for the National Farm to School Network’s November Trending Topics Webinar where we will hear from four different states about their Harvest of the Month journey. Learn about successful initiatives, best practices, and resources for developing or implementing Harvest of the Month in your school or even across your state. Register here.

3. 2017 Ohio Food Policy Summit
November 6 //  The Ohio State University 
The Ohio Food Policy Summit is an annual event geared toward collaboration and conversation. Any stakeholder involved in food system work in our state is encouraged to attend. Whether you are a member of your local Food Policy Council, involved in a farmers' market or farm-to-school food hub program, or a concerned consumer, this gathering is meant for you. Learn more and register here

4. Community Food Systems Conference
December 5-7 // Boston, Mass. 
Register today for the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project's 2017 Community Food Systems Conference, December 5-7 in Boston, MA! This conference will address common underlying themes between food security, social justice and sustainable agriculture including obstacles in urban and rural environments and fostering community empowerment to create and sustain resilient local food systems. Learn more and register here


Action Items
1. Call for Workshop & Poster Proposals - 9th Farm to Cafeteria Conference
The 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Cincinnati, OH, April 25-27,2017! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene more than 1,000 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Conference organizers are seeking workshop and poster proposals from individuals and organizations working to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, advance equity and increase opportunities for farmers. Learn more information about proposal submissions here. Proposals are due no later than 8pm ET on Nov. 14, 2017.

2. National Farm to School Month's Take Action Pledge
Celebrate National Farm to School Month by adding your name to the National Farm to School Network's Take Action Pledge! Sign the pledge and you’ll be entered to win our Farm to School Month sweepstakes! Ten winners will receive a prize package that includes: assets from the Captain Planet Foundation Project Learning Garden™ program, a Stand2Learn student standing desk, and a collection of seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds. No action is too small – take the pledge now

3. 2018 Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes: Call for Nominations

Your help is needed in identifying the 2018 School Nutrition Heroes! Do you know an SNA member who goes above and beyond his/her/their responsibilities to make a difference in the community? We need you to tell us about this extraordinary person. The Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes will be held for the 5th year on Monday, March 5, 2018 during SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC). We are looking for the five special SNA members who will be recognized at the Celebration. Nominate your School Nutrition Hero today.


Resources & Research
1. New Farm to School Recipes from the Chef Ann Foundation
Chef Ann Foundation has added 50 new, farm to school recipes and 6 one-week menu cycles to its wide range of tools and resources, including some of the first recipes and menu cycles that count towards the USDA meal patterns for Pre-K that went into effect this fall. The recipes can be scaled for any number of servings, and include the full cost analysis for a school or district’s size in addition to the cost per serving - making it easier to plan budgets while incorporating new recipes. Learn more here

2. Process evaluation of a farm-to-preschool program in New York City
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene piloted a farm-to-preschool program for low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-eligible children and their families at 9 childcare centers in New York City. The program made local produce available for purchase at the preschools, offered nutrition education to parents and childcare center staff, and offered children’s gardening activities in participating classrooms. Process evaluation strategies included tracking produce sales, redemption of produce coupons provided with nutrition education, and nutrition education workshop attendance, as well as cross-sectional surveys with parents and staff, childcare center directors, nutrition educators, and childcare center teachers. This article describes the program model, shares process evaluation data, and summarizes lessons learned from this program.

3. Michigan State University's 2017 Sustainable Food Systems Progress Report
The University of Michigan is in a unique position as a non-land-grant, tier-1 research institution with a strong and growing foundation in transdisciplinary sustainable food systems work. This report highlights the impacts from the collaboration of several different campus partners including: Research and Teaching (UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative), Student Leadership (UM Sustainable Food Program), UM Campus Farm, and Dining and Operations. Read more


Job Opportunities
1. Marketing Specialist, FARMroots
FARMroots (the NYC Greenmarket’s technical assistance program)  is seeking to hire a Marketing Specialist. This position requires a nuanced understanding of agricultural marketing in the Northeast, including supply chains for various farm types and emerging marketing channels. Learn more and apply

2. Regional and Sustainable Food Systems Manager, Boston College Dining
Boston College seeks to fill the position of Regional and Sustainable Food Systems Manager. The position supports the implementation of Dining Services’ “Regional and Sustainable Roadmap and Action Plan”. Will research, consult, and assist procurement strategy for regional and sustainable sourcing with the Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services and BC Dining Services Management Team. Learn more and apply

3. Real Food Challenge hiring for multiple positions
Real Food Challenge is seeking to hire a Northeast Regional Coordinator as well as a Digital Strategy and Northeast Coordinator. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until November 20. Positions are based out of Boston, MA, though it may be possible to work remotely with occasional in-person meetings in the Boston area. 

4. FoodCorps hiring for multiple positions

FoodCorps is a fast-growing national nonprofit that provides a scalable response to the epidemics of childhood obesity and food insecurity, while training a new generation of leaders in the fields of food, health, education and sustainability. Read more about FoodCorps' job openings


Farm to School in the News
Students produce what is believed to be biggest sweet potato grown in South Carolina

School nurse Carolyn Hendrix said this is the first year Carlisle-Foster’s Grove Elementary had a school garden, created by a student club called the Green Team. Their goals did not include setting a state record, she said, but that is apparently the case with their sweet potato. It weighs 12 pounds, 45 ounces, which she likens to a “heavy baby.” (Charlotte Observer)

Locally sourced fruits, vegetables produce big results for Ohio district
Since becoming a Farm to School district, the amount of fresh produce being eaten has greatly increased, Nieset said. “We have also had many positive comments from parents who call and say things like ‘My child now says broccoli is their favorite vegetable,’ or, ‘I cannot believe my child is eating cherry tomatoes or cucumbers, when we were at the grocery they requested we buy them for at home.’” (Sandusky Register)

Olive Branch "Garden Party" in Mississippi

"My third-graders grow corn and peas and okra," said Willis. "We were hoping to expand our garden so the kids could expand the crops. We want to have enough where a class can grow an entire meal. One child talked about his grandmother who cooked food. We want that community involvement with kids and how they cook at home." (Desoto Times)

Hawaii asks, "Can school gardens get kids to eat their vegetables?" 
“When you grow your own carrot, you eat it top to bottom,” said Natalie McKinney, the executive director of Kokua Hawaii. “We want the kids to be contributors to a healthy food system, to be able to want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.” (Civil Beat)

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.


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