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National Farm to School Network


This Week in Farm to School: 8/4/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 04, 2020
SIGN UP: National Farm to School Network has weekly e-newsletter to share a roundup of COVID-19 related resources and information with farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders - similar to what is shared weekly in these This Week in Farm to School blog posts. Sign up here to have this information delivered in your inbox weekly.

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. 

Grants & Funding
1. USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Request for Proposals: Research on Agriculture and Local Food Activity in the Appalachian Region. 
Deadline: August 19
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) invites proposals from qualified researchers and consultants to examine agriculture and local food activity in the Appalachian Region (Region) using both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The main purposes of the research are to (1) provide a comprehensive quantitative overview of agricultural and local food activity throughout the Region, including changes over recent years, (2) identify best practices and promising models from across Appalachia, as well as elsewhere in the country, that support the development of local food systems and help farms increase revenues, and (3) identify emerging opportunities in agriculture ,including types of crops and products as well as strategic and technological innovations. The selected contractor will work closely with ARC to shape this effort over the course of a twelve-month period beginning October 1, 2020 and concluding September 30, 2021. Proposals will be evaluated on contractors’ qualifications, expertise, track record, work samples, and cost-effectiveness. Learn more and apply.

2. COVID-19 Northeast BIPOC Farmer Relief Fund 
Deadline: August 20
Are you a BIPOC farmer or fisherperson that has been impacted by COVID-19? The Northeast BIPOC Farmer Relief Fund is now accepting applications from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color) producers with priority for those who use sustainable, regenerative or environmentally sound practices and who contribute to their community in some way. Funded by Farm Aid, this fund will provide $500 relief payments for up to 200 applicants. Learn more and apply.

3. USDA RFA: Innovating Formal and Non-Formal Educational Experiences in Food and Agricultural Sciences During the Time of Social Distancing
Deadline: August 20 
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Education and Workforce Development RFA now includes a new program area priority to address the need to develop and deploy rapid, reliable, and readily-adoptable strategies in workforce preparation through formal K-14 education, as well as in youth development through non-formal education to cultivate interest and competencies in STEM and agriculture during this challenging time. This program area accepts new applications only. Learn more and apply. Interested applicants are invited to register for an informational webinar on July 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time.

4. USDA's Office of Partnership and Public Engagement RFA: Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
 Deadline to apply: August 26
Via section 2501 funding, these grants support community-based and non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities to conduct programming to assist producers. The deadline to apply is August 26th (please note, the announcement in the Federal Register incorrectly states the deadline as September 11!) OPPE will host a call for potential applicants on July 28, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EST (Telephone Number: (877) 692-8955, Passcode: 6433267). No registration needed. Learn more and apply.

5. Cigna Foundation's Healthier Kids For Our Future Grant Program
Deadline: September 30 
Cigna Foundation is looking to partner with school systems and surrounding communities — including clinicians, local and national nonprofits — to supplement existing mental health programming and help close gaps both within and outside the school environment to address loneliness, anxiety, depression, and suicide prevention. To that end, it will fund programs that foster collaboration between various stakeholders, including school administrators and teachers, clinicians, and local and national nonprofits. The grants are up to $65,000 grants per year for two years. Learn more and apply.

6. USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational and Applied Science Program RFA
Deadlines: Vary based on program, view RFA for details
The AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program supports grants in six AFRI priority areas to advance knowledge in both fundamental and applied sciences important to agriculture. The six priority areas are: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health; Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities. Research-only, extension-only, and integrated research, education and/or extension projects are solicited in this Request for Applications (RFA). See Foundational and Applied Science RFA for specific details.

Webinars & Events
1. National Farmers Market Week
August 2-8
National Farmers Market Week (NFMW) is an annual celebration that highlights the important role farmers markets play in the nation’s food system. This year, amidst a global pandemic and nationwide unrest, it is more important than ever for markets to do their part in bringing people together safely. Learn more and participate.

2. PSU Summer Series: How to Use AMS Market News Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Information in School Meal Programs
August 4 // 2pm CT
At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:
1. Identify information in AMS Market News reports to aid in school nutrition procurement decisions, including Buy American;
2. Use AMS Market News to determine the market value of produce and factors that impact cost; and
3. Use AMS Market News to check for seasonal availability and associated costs.
Register here.

3. Webinar: Walk-through of New CEP Grouping Tool, Meals Count
August 5 // 2pm ET 
Strategic grouping can maximize federal reimbursement for districts operating the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). But with so many potential combinations, it can be difficult to know which grouping scenario is the best. Meals Count can help! Meals Count is a free interactive, customizable tool to help districts optimize their CEP groupings, maximize school meal funding, and fight childhood hunger. Join this webinar with No Kid Hungry to learn how to use Meals Count and maximize the benefits of CEP in your district.

4. Facebook Virtual Field Day
August 6 // 12:15pm-12:45pm CT
Have you ever been curious about designing a local ingredient-based meal kit?
Hear what North Iowa Fresh has learned with support from a USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Farmer/Rancher grant, while piloting some kits this season. Join on Facebook here.

5. EQUITY Webinar: From 21 to 365: The FSNE 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge - Where are we now and how are we moving from here?
August 6 // 1pm ET
Food Solutions New England (FSNE) invited those of you who took part in the FSNE 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge to join us for a participatory** online session to revisit our shared learnings from the Challenge, consider them in light of what has been happening in the weeks since, and hear from one another in small groups about how we are applying our knowledge and commitments to take action now and in the year ahead. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Please come prepared to listen, learn, be inspired and to share your thoughts if you are moved to do so.

6. Prescott College's Food Systems Friday Webinar Series
Aug 7 // 12pm PT
Join Dr. Robin Currey, Director of the MS in Sustainable Food Systems program at Prescott College, as the "Food Systems Fridays" series moderator for Episode 13 of Food Systems Friday: Re-indigenizing Food. Learn more, register, and view past webinars here. 

7. Change For Good Town Hall
August 13 // 12pm CT
The crises facing our nation have revealed how much children and families depend on schools for more than just a quality education. Schools serve as essential community anchors that provide daily meals, outdoor space and critical mental and physical health services. With so much at stake in the upcoming election and the coming school year, Healthy Schools Campaign is hosting a virtual town hall to hear from national and local leaders, education and health experts, and you. A networking session will follow the virtual event at 1PM CST. Register here.

8. Webinar: Delivering More Than Food: Understanding and Operationalizing Racial Equity in Food Hubs
August 24 // 2:30pm ET
The webinar, sponsored by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems in association with the Racial Equity in the Food Systems Workgroup, will share results from a qualitative study led by a diverse group of food system practitioners as to how U.S. based food hubs understand and operationalize engagement in racial equity work. You will hear examples of how food hubs operationalize equity within their business, and with their partners, and with the community they serve.  Authors and food hub leader discussants will also offer perspectives on the deeper questions that must be addressed to meaningfully support equity across the food system. Register here.

9. NFSN National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Cancelled 
With the utmost concern for the health and wellbeing of our attendees and the Albuquerque community, National Farm to School Network and the 10th National Farm to Cafeteria planning committee have made the difficult decision to cancel the 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, originally scheduled for April 2020 and then rescheduled for April 2021. Gathering in person with amazing farm to cafeteria leaders and practitioners from across the country is a highlight of our work, yet protecting the health and safety of everyone in attendance, as well as the community we are traveling to, is our highest priority. More information and details can be found here. 

Research & Resources
1. NFSN COVID-19 National Farm to School Network  (NFSN) COVID Support Survey
More than 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, NFSN remains committed to supporting you, the farm to school & ECE community, through this crisis. As a new school year approaches, we're pausing to ask - what kinds of support can National Farm to School Network provide to help you do your work in the coming months? Please take our short, 8 question survey to share your feedback!

2. COVID-19 NFSN National Farm to School Network - 2020 Back to School: Farm to School/ECE and COVID-19 Resource List
National Farm to School Network is compiling back-to-school resources that will be relevant to farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. See the resource list. Have resources to suggest? Please email us at

3. COVID-19 The Longest Summer: Childhood Hunger in the Wake of the Coronavirus
No Kid Hungry has released a new research-driven report, The Longest Summer: Childhood Hunger in the Wake of the Coronavirus. Through two national surveys and a series of video diaries capturing the stories of families from across the country, The Longest Summer Report provides new insight into COVID-19’s impact on children and families. Learn more here. 

4. Study: Association of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act With Dietary Quality Among Children in the US National School Lunch Program
The investigators of this study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), concluded that Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was linked to improved dietary quality for lunch for children who were part of National School Lunch Program. Unfortunately, as the study notes, the act has been watered down over the years. It now allows less whole grains, more flavored milk, and more sodium. Additionally, the US Department of Agriculture is currently considering changing the policy to allow participating schools to serve fewer servings of vegetables. Read more and access the full report.

5. COVID-19 Brief: Child Care and Feeding Young Children during the Pandemic: Exploring the Role of the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program
Many young children depend on the food they receive in child care settings, and specifically food funded by the Child and Adult Food Nutrition Program (CACFP), to meet their daily nutritional needs. Yet many children lost access to these meals when the COVID-19 pandemic caused many child care programs to at least temporarily close. Now, months into the pandemic, a quick scan of existing data and interviews with experts reveals how the CACFP system and policy needs to shift to support young children and the people that care for them. Read more.

6. Earth to Tables Legacies Project
Since 2015, the Earth to Tables Legacies project has brought together a small group of food activists across big differences for an exchange around food justice and food sovereignty. You're invited to explore the new, ever-evolving website that introduces the 17 collaborators (Storytellers), the framing ideas of dynamic tensions and the collaborative methodology (Setting the Table) and 10 videos and 11 photo essays (Conversations) which are the heart of the exchange. Earth to Tables has filmed their conversations and food initiatives, culminating in a multimedia educational package that includes facilitator’s guides, further resources and commentaries by activists and academics. Learn more.

7. No Kid Hungry Back to School Resources
These resources are designed to help schools and child nutrition program operators navigate the unprecedented challenges of School Year 2020-2021 and ensure that children continue to receive the nutrition they need. No Kid Hungry will continue adding new resources and updating this page. View the repository here.

8. A Guide to Transformative Land Strategies: Lessons From the Field
This report, published by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), synthesizes the practices and strategies of transformative community land organizations under three primary themes: participatory comprehensive planning, partnerships across grassroots and mainstream organizations, and community and cooperative financing.  These findings are relevant for activists, practitioners, planners, policymakers, and educators - and the many working between these roles - who are invested in the transformative potential of the Community Land Trusts and other community land ownership models. Read the full report.

Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. National Farm to School Network's federal policy platform calls on Congress to strengthen its support for school meal and child nutrition programs, farmers and those who feed us, Native communities, essential workers, children and families, and others who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. Please add your voice by endorsing our federal COVID-19 policy platform, and help us advocate for key food systems priorities on Capitol Hill. Sign on here.

2. COVID-19 NFSN Action Alert: Senate Must Do More For Kids, Farmers & Schools
Last week, Senate leadership released their latest set of COVID-19 relief bills, a $1 trillion bundle of legislation covering business aid, money for schools and agricultural aid funding. While National Farm to School Network is glad that Senators have recognized that our schools and farmers are in urgent need of critical funding support, this proposed legislation from the Senate falls far short of targeting the actual needs of our kids, farmers, educators and school nutrition professionals. Congress should be taking bolder action to respond to this emergency, support those most impacted and help advance us towards a more equitable future for all. Read more on our blog, and take 5 minutes to call your senators using our easy call script

3. COVID-19 "Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act" Introduced
House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott has introduced legislation to make all students eligible for free school meals during the 2020-2021 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act would allow all children to access breakfast, lunch, and afterschool snack programs either in school or through “grab and go” and delivery options. National Farm to School Network has endorsed this bill. Read more here. 

4. Small Farm to Schools Act Introduced in House
Last week, Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) introduced the Small Farm to School Act, bipartisan legislation that would create an eight state pilot program where local public schools would be reimbursed at a higher rate for sourcing school lunches from small farmers under the National School Lunch Program. Read more here. 

Job Opportunities
1. Director of Operations, The Food Conservancy (Springdale, Arkansas)
The Food Conservancy is a start-up Local Food aggregation and distribution warehouse that seeks to develop an innovative and replicable regenerative food system in Northwest Arkansas. The Director of Operations is responsible for overseeing all functions related to the Food Conservancy’s food hub operation including overseeing product procurement, warehouse operations (stocking, inventory, order fulfillment, quality control), and delivery to customers. Learn more and apply.

In The News
Op-Ed: Opening Iowa to a Just Food System
In a time when racial prejudice and widespread social inequities are finally being acknowledged as unacceptable, I want to draw attention to a kind of systemic injustice we have gotten used to in Iowa. I call it food system brutality. (The Storm Lake Times)

What It Really Means When We Talk About 'Food Justice'
There’s a big difference between charity or philanthropy and real justice that comes from eliminating the barriers to create an equitable future. The energy is different, the aim is different and the actions are different. It’s important for white folks to learn how to pour their resources into people that are already doing that work, as opposed to trying to come into it and taking over. When you give your money over to someone else, you are saying, “I trust you to solve this issue.” (Huffington Post)

What Foodservice Needs Now: Innovation in Produce Processing and Packaging
“Students and school nutrition leaders alike want more options than just baby carrots and sliced apples,” says Dayle Hayes, founder of School Meals That Rock and a Produce for Better Health Foundation Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador in Action. “There is a big opportunity for the produce industry to introduce kids to a greater variety of fruits and vegetables if products can be packaged and ready for distribution to students with no labor needed for prep.” (Produce Business)

Should the Dietary Guidelines Help Fight Systemic Racism?
The new guidelines, published every five years, don’t reflect the nation’s growing diversity, or the particular health and dietary risks that communities of color face. (Civil Eats)

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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