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National Farm to School Network

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This Week in Farm to School: 9/17/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 17, 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. 

Grants & Funding
1. Teaching Gardens Network Grant Program
Deadline: October 11, 2019 // 5 PM EST
The American Heart Association Teaching Gardens Network Grant program is now open and accepting applications to support school gardens for the 2019-2020 school year. The American Heart Association is seeking schools and educational facilities that are working to connect children to the garden, supporting health, nutrition, and environmental stewardship. Grants will be awarded with the value of $2500 to support new or established school garden programs. Learn more here.

2. NFSN Roundup of Fall Funding Opportunities
Looking for funding options to help kickoff or expand your farm to school efforts this new school year? National Farm to School Network has compiled a list of currently available grant and funding opportunities that schools, ECE sites and nonprofits may be eligible to receive. Explore the full list here


Webinars
1. Webinar: SGSO Volunteer Management and Community Support 
September 26 //  3 PM EST
School gardens are ideal places to involve the community and school gardens also require significant maintenance so they’re the perfect place to bring people together. Join this webinar to learn about ways to get people out and excited, ideas for managing large volunteer groups, how to engage consistent volunteers, and help keep your garden looking good. This webinar is a part of the School Garden Support Organization (SGSO) Network. Register here

2. Webinar: Exploring Soils in the Garden
September 26 // 4:30 PM ET
Soils are alive with a variety of organisms that recycle nutrients, water, and gases. In this webinar presented by Veronica Justen, professor at UW-River Falls, learn about STEM lessons that we can harvest from the soil and demonstrate activities that allow students to explore the power of soils and the world beneath our feet. This webinar is hosted by the Wisconsin School Garden Network. Register here

3. EQUITY Webinar: Advancing a System of Prevention for Health and Racial Equity
October 2 // 2 PM ET
This web forum is designed to encourage health practitioners and partners to work together to produce systems that redefine health, safety, and equity. Prevention Institute will share its System of Prevention framework, which explains how systems shape health and equity. The event will also feature leaders of HIP-Cuyahoga, a county-wide health improvement partnership of over one hundred agencies, community groups and organizations that are taking a systems approach to advancing health equity and racial justice. This webinar is hosted by the Public Health Institute. Register here

4. NFSN WEBINAR Bring Farm to School to Life with Highbush Blueberries
October 3 // 1 PM ET
October is National Farm to School Month, the perfect time to host a farm to school event to celebrate healthy, local food in the cafeteria, classroom and beyond! Resources like the Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook can be a great tool for helping schools of any size find small and big ways to get kids excited about where their food comes from. On this webinar, three schools will share how they’ve used the Farm to School Playbook to put together successful nutrition celebrations with blueberries. Nutrition Consultant Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, will lead a panel discussion with three rockstar school nutrition professionals, who will share easy and practical inspiration for schools looking to kickstart their farm to school programs, tips for a successful promotion and increases in school breakfast/lunch participation, and inspiration for events your students will love. This webinar is hosted by the National Farm to School Network and sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Register here


Events & Networking Opportunities
1. NFSN EVENT Call for Proposals: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Deadline: October 4, 2019
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, NM, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene nearly 1,000 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Do you have expertise to share? Conference organizers are seeking workshop and poster proposals from individuals and organizations working to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, advance equity and increase opportunities for farmers and food producers. The Request for Proposals (RFP) is open now through Oct. 4, 2019. Learn more at farmtoschool.org/conference.

2. NFSN CELEBRATION It's almost time for National Farm to School Month!
October 2019
National Farm to School month is right around the corner! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials, activity ideas and a national calendar of events with ways you can get involved in October. Check out the complete Farm to School Month Celebration Toolkit and download resources at farmtoschool.org/month. Does your organization want to be part of this year's National Farm to School Month campaign? Sign up to be a Farm to School Month Outreach Partner at farmtoschool.org/monthpartner

3. NESAWG's 26th Annual It Takes a Region Conference Registration Now Open
November 7-9, 2019 // Jersey City, NJ
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual It Takes a Region Conference brings together farm and food practitioners across the 12-state Northeast region to learn, debate, collaborate, and innovate ideas and solutions to critical food systems issues. Hundreds of practitioners convene not only for workshops, plenaries and networking, but to roll up their sleeves and do the real work needed to create a just and fair regional food system in several work group sessions. Register here

4. 2019 Farm-Based Education Conference
November 8 -13, 2019 // Greater Baltimore Area, Maryland
The Farm-Based Education Network's 7th Conference is just around the corner, and thrilled to call Baltimore its host city! With field trips to farm and garden projects in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and in towns throughout Maryland, followed by workshops at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD, the conference promises to offer four days of rich learning, relationship building, growth, and inspiration for all. Through the generous support of many partners and sponsors, conference registration and lodging will be available at low costs. Learn more here.


Resources & Research 
1. Farm to ECE Resource - Making Your Own Local Baby Food
Community GroundWorks in Madison, Wisconsin has created a new Farm to ECE resource. Making Your Own Local Baby Food is a guide for early care and education sites on how to make your own local baby food from fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables. 


Policy News
1. NFSN Opposes SNAP Categorical Eligibility Rule Change
As Child Nutrition Reauthorization activity roils on, remember that the federal government is multitasking and we should be too. If you’re looking for other ways to advocate consider this: the United States Department of Agriculture has proposed a change in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also formerly known as “food stamps”). This rule would amend the categorical eligibility provision that allows families whose income would typically be too high to receive SNAP benefits to qualify based on their participation in other federal benefits programs. Supporters of the rule change call this a 'loophole' that takes resources from needy families. At the National Farm to School Network, we view the rule change as ultimately harmful to families in need of these benefits. The rule change would take vital food assistance away from nearly 3 million people. Given that many children’s free and reduced priced meal eligibility is tied to their SNAP eligibility, this also puts children at risk of losing access to school meals. NFSN strongly opposes the rule change because Farm to School can’t happen when families can’t eat. How can you help? Submit a comment opposing the rule before the September 23rd deadline. The Food Research and Action Center has great resources on how to prepare and submit comments that you can access here. Have questions? Connect with Chloe Marshall, NFSN Policy Specialist, at chloe@farmtoschool.org


Farm to School in the News
What have the last 10 Years of school food policy taught us?
From school lunch shaming to universal free meals, four experts discuss the changes the past decade has brought to the nation’s school lunch program and how to make healthy, nutritious food accessible to all. (Civil Eats)

Massachusetts school receives grant for farm to school program
Hoosac Valley High School is the recipient of a grant that will allow it to convert its abandoned tennis courts into a school garden and outdoor classroom. "I have worked in other programs before where we have built gardens and it has made such a huge difference in making a connection between students and food and also academic behavior for the positive." (iBerkshires)

Wisconsin ag students harvest their own lunch
While trudging through the mud, about a dozen FFA students picked sweet corn at Hammer-Kavazanjian Farms near Beaver Dam Tuesday morning. The bed of Ag Instructor Jonathon Ganske’s pickup truck almost overflowed as the students headed back to Beaver Dam High School. Ganske said his agriscience students prepared more than 600 cobs of corn which will be cooked by the school’s food service and made available Wednesday in the high school and middle school cafeterias. (Daily Citizen)

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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