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National Farm to School Network

News

This week in farm to school: 6/24/2015

NFSN Staff Wednesday, June 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 Seeks Applications for Loans and Grants to Create Jobs and Support Rural Economic Development
The USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants to support business expansion, create jobs and increase economic opportunities in rural communities. Funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). RMAP provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) to help microentrepreneurs – very small businesses with 10 or fewer employees – access capital to start or grow businesses. MDOs use the funds to provide training and technical assistance to small businesses or to establish revolving loan funds that provide micro-loans, typically $5,000 to $50,000, to rural microentrepreneurs. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program through 2018. For Fiscal Year 2015, more than $16 million is available in loans and grants. Details about how to apply for this are on page 35299 of the June 19 Federal Register. Application forms may be obtained from any USDA Rural Development State Office. More information can be found in this USDA press release

Webinars & Events 
1. Kansas City Schoolyard Garden Summit, July 14
Sign up today for an exclusive Kansas City Schoolyard Garden Summit event on July 14, 2015, featuring a keynote address from Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. This regional summit is intended to share best practices among schools and school districts, as well as provide provide fun, educational methods to use school gardens for healthy food options, curriculum and to involve community members. It will also give an overview of the schoolyard garden movement in Kansas City, and provide tips for starting and maintaining a school garden. The Summit will be held at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts. More information & registration details can be found here.   
2. NESAWG 2015 Conference, November 13-14, Saratoga Springs, NY
Putting MOVE in the Movement
Civil rights, labor, women’s rights—the movements that transformed our world can give us insight on ways to accelerate food systems change.  What can we learn from leaders past and present?  How can we better organize our work, our networks, our message, our media? At this year’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference (Nov 13-14), learn and strategize with hundreds of attendees—from farmers to researchers to policymakers—as we work to build a movement and realize the change we want to see. Shirley Sherrod, a longtime civil rights activist and advocate for family farms and food justice, will deliver the keynote speech, addressing the conference theme: Putting Move in the Movement. Visit the conference website for more information. 

Resources 
1. New Edible Schoolyard Training Videos
The Edible Schoolyard recently debuted a new series of professional development videos with great tips for creating effective and inspiring learning environments – indoors and out. Watch the first three videos and stay tuned for more to come this summer!

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. Procurement Specialist, Community Alliance with Family Farmers
The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advocate for California family farms and sustainable agriculture. CAFF is a farmer member organization that works statewide to increase the economic viability of California family farmers and to connect communities with their local producers. The Procurement Specialist will work on a variety of projects that provide technical assistance to farmers in selling their products to different markets, primarily institutions such as schools and hospitals. The ideal candidate will have a strong competency in sustainable procurement work, farm to institution, and regional food systems in California. This position will be located in either the Davis or Oakland office. Applications due by July 8. More information can be found on the CAFF website

Farm to school in the news
Fresh From Farms to Schools -- It Just Makes Sense
Nancy Brown - CEO, American Heart Association, recently spent a day at a Dallas school to learn more about how a USDA Farm to School Grant helped Dallas Independent School District bring locally-grown produce into cafeterias. She shares the steps the district is taking to ensure the next generation is a healthier one. (via Huffington Post)

Vermont institute helps schools grow farm-to-school programs
Presented by Vermont FEED, the Northeast Farm to School Institute will host 13 school from around the region when it kicks off on Wednesday at Shelburne Farms. The institute will focus on professional development in order to design a more integrated curriculum that includes food, farm and nutrition in all aspects of student learning. (via Washington Times)

Farm to School program gives students hands-on experience
With several classes each year for teachers, school nutrition staff members, the community and people from across the state, the Cherokee Farm to School program is a way to train gardeners who can go back to their communities and make an impact. (via Cherokee Tribune)

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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