This week in farm to school: 4/21/15
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
1. Senior Associate, Development, The Food Trust
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.
Farm to school in the news
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)
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)
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.