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Farm to school is taking place in all 50 states, D.C. and U.S. Territories! Select a location from the list below to learn more or contact a Core Partner. 

National Farm to School Network

News

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)



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