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October is Farm to School Month, an annual 31-day campaign to recognize, appreciate and celebrate the connections happening across the country between kids, families and their community food systems. National Farm to School Month was designated by Congress in 2010, making this year’s campaign the 10th anniversary of National Farm to School Month celebrations. However, this October looked very different than the previous nine years.
It Takes a Community to Feed a Community, and that’s been especially true this year. As our schools and early care and education sites, communities and food system continue to be impacted by the pandemic, we are approaching our 2020 campaign as an opportunity to honor all those who contribute to feeding our kids and communities – from farmers, harvesters and food hub distributors, to school nutrition professionals, educators, garden coordinators, bus drivers and more. This year, it’s been made very clear that the workers who keep our kids fed—many of whom are Black, Latino, Indigenous and other people of color—are often unseen, underpaid and undervalued for the contributions they make in our communities. Yet they’ve always been essential, and we know farm to school wouldn’t exist without them.
That’s why for 2020, we focused our National Farm to School Month campaign on expressing appreciation and amplifying underrepresented voices in order to shift power to these essential workers and create a more just food system. Check out some highlights:
Meet Our Community Food Champion: We asked people to nominate their community members - farmers, cafeteria workers, teachers, gardeners, bus drivers, volunteers, advocates, and others - who are feeding children and families, supporting local food systems, and going above and beyond in 2020? We selected 30 as our 2020 Community Food Champions! Meet the Champions here.
Watch a Recording of Our Virtual Movement Meeting: On Oct. 14, we hosted a virtual Movement Meeting, featuring Karen Washington, with deep conversation and action-oriented reflection on racial justice in the farm to school movement and wider food system. Watch a recording here.
Take Action for Change: Throughout October, we shared ideas, opportunities and resources for engaging in advocacy to amplify underrepresented voices and shift power to create a more just food system. One upcoming way you can take action for change: VOTE on Nov. 3!
For National Farm to School Month 2020, we wanted to recognize the invaluable contributions community members across the nation make towards supporting and feeding children and families in our communities. These community members go by many names – farmer, cafeteria worker, neighbor, teacher, gardener, volunteer, and more – but they’ve all risen to the call for collaboration, partnership and creativity to feed our nation's kids and support equity and access in the food system.
We called on people like you to nominate your Community Food Champions for recognition and a $500 honorarium from the National Farm to School Network as a small token of appreciation. We received hundreds of nominations from across the country, representing nearly every role in the school food and farm to school ecosystem. We're thrilled to introduce you to 30 of them as our 2020 Community Food Champions! We introduced them in two round:
Rooted in the vision of a just food system, National Farm to School Network believes racial justice is integral to achieving food justice. That means recognizing the disproportionate impacts both racism and the COVID-19 pandemic have had on those most impacted by systemic inequities - many of whom are the people who keep our communities fed. With this understanding, the selection of our 2020 Community Food Champion nominations intended to honor: Those who aren't often recognized for the work they do every day, as well as African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics and Latinos, and Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Movement Meeting 2020
October 14, 1-3pm ET (Virtual)
How can we shift power in our communities to create a more just food system? What community capital and resources can help us create systemic change in the ways we grow, prepare and eat food?
National Farm to School Network hosted a virtual Movement Meeting on Wednesday, Oct.14, featuring Karen Washington, food justice activist, with deep conversation and action-oriented reflection on racial justice in the farm to school movement and wider food system. Learn more about the Movement Meeting and watch a recording here.
Special thanks to CoBank, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, National Farmers Union and PNM Resources for sponsoring this Movement Meeting!
Farm to School Month Resources
Everyone can celebrate National Farm to School Month! The National Farm to School Network has developed resources and activities to promote Farm to School Month in schools, early care and education settings, communities and media outlets.
Throughout October, we share stories and information on our blog about how farm to school is empowering children and their families to make informed food choices and contributing to vibrant communities. Our resource database is home to even more information and includes searchable tags for Farm to School Month as well as topics like farm to early care and education, school gardens and procurement.
Here are a few key resources to help you celebrate:
Farm to School Month is celebrated in communities across the country! Explore the calendar below to learn what's happening in your community. Check back soon - additional events will be added through October. Don't see anything for your state? Click here to connect with your Core Partner to learn about opportunities in your area to get involved.
2020 National Farm to School Month Sponsors
The Carton 2 Garden Contest encourages students to repurpose milk and juice cartons into a garden project. There are 15 prizes awarded, up to $5,000. Learn more at the Carton2Garden.com.
Let's keep farm to school growing!
The National Farm to School Network is strengthening farm to school across the county.
Help us ensure kids have access to healthy, local foods every month!