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National Farm to School Network

News

This week in farm to school: 5/26/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 26, 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. Grow your farm to school program with a Seed Change mini grant! (KY, LA, PA ONLY)
The National Farm to School Network is now accepting applications from eligible schools or school districts in Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania for $5,000 mini grants to help jump start new farm to school activities or ramp up existing programs. Grants can be used for local food for tastings, new processing equipment, hosting events, building school gardens and more. All non-profit schools and school districts in Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania are eligible to apply. Deadline for applications is Monday, June 15 at midnight ET. For more information and to apply now visit: www.farmtoschool.org/seedchange
2. USDA to Give Priority Funding for Regional Economic Development Projects
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA's plan to implement a Farm Bill provision that will have a major policy impact on the way the Department helps rural communities plan and finance regional economic development strategies. The new Regional Development Priority (RDP) policy will make it easier for rural communities to access resources to invest in long-term community development efforts by giving priority to applications for Rural Development programs that include regional partnerships and strategies. Under the RDP, communities with multi-jurisdictional economic development plans will be able to request funding priority when they apply for loans and grants in four key USDA programs. More information can be found in the full USDA press release, here

Research & Resources
1. The Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics Releases 'Cooperatives in Your Community' Teaching Modules
The Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics is pleased to release "Cooperatives in Your Community", a set of teaching modules for high school students about the economics of cooperatives. The teaching modules cover two themes in cooperatives education-consumer cooperatives and agricultural cooperatives. Both teaching modules are designed to take no more than 180 minutes of class time. Each can be adapted according to the use and needs of the instructor. The teaching modules are hosted on the Council for Economic Education's EconEdLink website. 
2. Submit your school obesity prevention programs to School Health Hub
Organizations with school obesity prevention programs are asked to map their location and promote themselves as a resource to schools on the newly launched School Health Hub. School Health Hub collects data on the many effective programs and resources available to fight childhood obesity in our nation’s K-12 schools. School administrators, policymakers, funders, educators and parents can access the interactive map to identify evidence-based programs in their communities, complete with contact information. Just as importantly, the map also serves to identify gaps in resources — helping to match funders and program providers with communities in need. There's no cost to participate - the goal is to get programs on the map so we all know where we are and to then promote the Hub to schools so they can take better advantage of these programs. Click here for more information. 

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
3. Community Eligibility Provision Action: Reach out to key districts
By now, most states have published a list of schools that qualify to adopt community eligibility for the 2015-2016 school year. You can find your state's list by clicking on the link in CBPP's map. Here are some additional steps you can take to make sure districts with high-poverty schools are considering community eligibility:
  • Start the conversation by sending a letter to eligible districts in your state. This template (MS Word document) is a great place to start and we can help you tailor it.
  • Broaden your reach by asking your Member of Congress to send letters to superintendents (MS Word document) in your state.
  • Make the case for community eligibility by utilizing the resources in FRAC's implementation guide (pdf). Check out the modelpresentation (Powerpoint file), brief (pdf), and sample blog posts for inspiration.
Also, don't forget to register for FRAC's upcoming Community Eligibility Webinars with USDA: Successful Implementation Strategies, Jun 10, 2015, 1pm EST.

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Nutrition Research Coordinator, Boston Children’s Hospital 
The Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital is conducting a major clinical trial to investigate how diet composition affects metabolism and risk for obesity-related disease.The Center seeks a Nutrition Research Coordinator to provide advanced dietary and operations support for this controlled feeding study. The Nutrition Research Coordinator will support study participants, aiming to maximize participant engagement (one-on-one counseling, group presentations, telephone check-ins) and also support daily operations of the dietary intervention. More information & application instructions can be found here
2. Farm Fresh Specialist and Event Specialist, TX Dept of Agriculture
Farm Fresh Specialist: Plan, develop, implement and coordinate the Farm Fresh Initiative and related functions of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Food and Nutrition (F&N) Division. Farm Fresh includes Farm to School, Farm to Childcare and Farm to Summer Site activities. Provide highly complex consultative services and technical assistance to agency staff, producers, governmental agencies, community organizations and the general public. 

Event Specialist: Coordinate special events for the Food and Nutrition Division (F&N) of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). Responsible for contributing to the promotion of F&N programs through its public events and activities. 
3. Call For Papers: Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
Call for Papers on Labor in the Food System
From migrant laborers and apprentices in our fields, to cutters in meatpacking plants and line workers in restaurants and food service, the world's food system is balanced on the backs of an often exploited group of people. The food system may be the largest employer in the world, but there is a dearth of research on the subject of labor in the food system. Click here (then scroll down) for details. Submission deadline: Sept. 22, 2015, with papers to be published in the winter 2015–16 issue or spring 2016.
 
Call for Commentaries on Race and Ethnicity in Food Systems
Despite the best intentions of many, the food movement manifests levels of whiteness and privilege that tend to exclude significant parts of society, and thus does not address the needs of the excluded. JAFSCD invites commentaries (preferably 1,500–2,000 words) from activists, scholars, and other food systems development professional and practitioners on issues and strategies related to race and ethnicity in food systems. Click here for details. Submission deadline: June 15, 2015, for publication in the summer 2015 issue.

Farm to school in the news
Northwest Side students dig into dirt to fight obesity
Oriole Park Elementary School in Chicago is fighting child obesity by having its students plant a garden at the school. (via Chicago Tribune)
Teaching Kids How to Grow Their Own Food — With Fish
Since September students in Pennsylvania have been harvesting vegetables from their aquaponics system, which has provided a yearlong biology curriculum incorporating STEM education, as well as lessons in horticulture, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and more. (via State College.com)

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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