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National Farm to School Network

News

This Week in Farm to School: 6/25/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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. 

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: Farm to Early Care and Education State Strategic Planning 
Thursday, July 11 // 1-2 PM ET
Developing a farm to early care and education (ECE) state strategic plan can facilitate the coordinated growth, expansion, and institutionalization of farm to ECE across the state. Aligning the plan with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Spectrum of Opportunities for State-Level Obesity Prevention Efforts Targeting the Early Care and Education Setting further supports comprehensive integration of farm to ECE into existing ECE systems and structures, which can increase reach and support long-term successes. In this webinar presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll learn about the Spectrum of Opportunities from Nora Geary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and hear from Erin Croom of Georgia Organics and Caliste Chong of Alabama Smart Start about the development, implementation, and impacts of state farm to ECE strategic plans in their states. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics in Farm to School: State Local Purchasing Incentive Bills 
Thursday, August 1 // 1-2 PM ET
Providing an increased meal reimbursement to schools and early care and education sites purchasing and serving local foods not only increases the amount of fresh, local foods in meal program, but can provide increased revenue streams for local producers. Many states are exploring or pursuing local food incentive bills and a few states have passed and implemented successful legislation, providing important models for future legislation. In this webinar, presented by the National Farm to School Network, we’ll hear from key stakeholders about the passage and enactment of the MI Ten Cents a Meal Program and the New Mexico Grown Local Produce Grant. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

3. EQUITY Webinar: Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics
Tuesday, July 16 // 3-4 PM ET
The Racial Equity in Food Systems Working Group (REFS) is a national workgroup coordinated by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. The webinar will provide an introduction to the newly published guide, Measuring Racial Equity in the Food System: Established and Suggested Metrics, including examples of metrics in four different themes and ways the guide can be used. Following this introduction, two food system leaders will share how they are using data and metrics to drive system change. There will be time in the webinar for questions, comments, and suggestions for related resources. Register here

4. Webinar: Maryland Farm to School - Economic Feasibility Study
Friday, June 28 // 9-12 PM ET
The Maryland Department of Agriculture will host a webinar on June 28 from 9 a.m. to noon to present the Maryland Farm to School economic feasibility study. The webinar will focus on best practices for launching and successfully leveraging a purchasing cooperative for Farm-to-School program purchases. To register for the webinar, please email your full name, title, affiliation, email address and phone number to BEACON@salisbury.edu.

5. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 20-24, 2020 // Albuquerque, New Mexico
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Are you passionate about supporting local agriculture and fostering a culture of food literacy in your community? This event is for you. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Resources & Research
1. Call for Resources: Farm to School/ECE Procurement and Child Nutrition Program Resources  
National Farm to School Network is in the process of aggregating farm to school/farm to early care and education procurement resources and training resources providing information about USDA Child Nutrition Programs for an upcoming project. We are especially interested in content targeted at farmers and producers. Please send any and all relevant resources (name of resource and link) to Jenileigh Harris, NFSN Program Intern, at programs@farmtoschool.org

2. Online Training: Straw Bale Gardening in Child Nutrition Programs
Straw Bale Gardening in Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) course is a new online training added to the California Department of Education CNP Course Catalog. This online training is 37 minutes long and reviews the benefits of a straw bale garden in comparison to traditional gardening techniques. It will walk you step by step through the process of conditioning a straw bale so that it’s ready for planting. It also covers the supplies needed and costs to create a straw bale garden, lessons learned from a first time straw bale gardener, and numerous photographs to inspire you. Learn more here


Policy News
1. NFSN RESOURCE State Farm to School Policy Handbook: 2002-2018
National Farm to School Network and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School are pleased to announce the release of the State Farm to School Policy Handbook: 2002-2018. The Handbook summarizes and analyzes every proposed farm to school bill and resolution introduced between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2018, from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. It enables readers to search bills by both jurisdiction and topic, and includes analysis of trends, case studies, advocacy resources and more. Explore the State Farm to School Policy Handbook here.

2. Pennsylvania House passes legislation supporting PA Farm to School Grant Program
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a package of legislation to provide continued support for and investments in the state’s agricultural industry. In this package of legislation, House Bill 1514 was approved authorizing the creation of PA Farm to School Grant Program to improve childhood nutrition while increasing agriculture education for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students. Learn more here

3. Massachusetts Report & Case Studies: Public Investment in Farm to School - Lessons from State Policies
Massachusetts Farm to School has released two new resources: “Public Investment in Farm to School: Lessons from State Policies” and a complementary set of case studies titled “The Benefits of Farm to School: Economic, Health, and Educational Impacts in Three Massachusetts Districts.” The report summarizes research conducted by MFTS in 2018 on state level policies designed to incentivize farm to school activity. The report was intended to provide an objective survey on state laws and regulations in order to prepare Massachusetts stakeholders for developing a state-level advocacy campaign. The case studies highlight three school districts – Chicopee, Somerville, and Webster – with very different but successful farm to school programs and demonstrate the impact small investments can have on catalyzing new farm to school activity. Learn more here

4. New Michigan 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms Resources
Several new resources are available about Michigan's 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms program, including: a new info-graphic one-pager that puts in graphic form some of the headings and bullets of this legislative report; a new one-pager on 10 Cents agriculture impacts; and, a blog post on where 10 Cents is at in the legislative process. Learn more at tencentsmichigan.org


Farm to School in the News
Montana FFA Takes Learning to a New Level
A new FFA program is making headlines by launching a student-run farm and meat processing lab, providing its students with a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity to truly experience the entire livestock production cycle. “On our farm, once an animal is ready for slaughter, we send them off and that is the end of the learning for our kids,” Andres says. “But by building this state-inspected meat processing plant, we can now complete the entire food cycle right here on our school farm.” (Drovers)

New York Students Get Crash Course in Farming
New York Agricultural Commissioner Richard Ball invited New York City students to his upstate farm to grow squash, to give them a glimpse of how food makes the journey from seed to harvest and beyond. Seneca County CCE educators have embarked on a similar project with all four county school districts thanks to a Farm to School grant. Called Seed to Harvest, students across the county have been planting butternut squash seeds to grow over the summer. In the fall the items will be harvested and hopefully served in school cafeterias. (Finger Lakes Times)

Illinois School Ag Program Expands to Feature Barn and Sensory Garden
Students and teachers worked in the garden plots alongside the school, while others admired the new barn and paddock behind the school, where small farm animals will be housed both for the 4H program and for the Ag Academy. The sensory garden, for example, is designed specifically for the students who can't see, or hear, or have some disability, with different textures and smells and sights and sounds so that all of those students can enjoy it. (Herald & Review)

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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