Five Mini-Grants Awarded in Native Communities
The National Farm to School Network’s new Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School project is taking off this month with the selection of five Native schools as mini-grantees. From planting native orchards to serving traditional foods in school meals, the schools will be expanding farm to school activities and leveraging community support to build food security and food sovereignty. Here’s a preview of the projects they’ll be working on:
Hardin School District 17H&1 – Crow Reservation: Crow Nation (Montana)
Partner with local entities and individuals to empower students in learning about traditional foods, preparation, storage and ceremony. Create a native orchard, featuring a variety of native berries, including buffalo berries, june berries and chokecherries.
Hydaburg City School – Hydaburg, Prince of Wales Island: Haida Nation (Alaska)
Connect students with locally grown and traditional foods (such as rutabagas, parsnips and the Haida potato) by expanding the existing school garden to include a greenhouse. In May, students will celebrate Haida Day by giving Elders a tour of the new greenhouse and learning about the village’s old garden site.
Indian Township School – Indian Township Reservation: Passamaquoddy Tribe (Maine)
Engage students in traditional growing practices by reviving an existing greenhouse and school garden. Students will catch fish to be used as garden fertilizer, and will learn planting techniques like the Three Sisters. Food grown in the garden will supplement the school lunch program, summer food service and elderly food site.
Mala`ai Kula: Kaua`i Farm-to-School Pilot – Kaua`i Island: Native Hawaiians (Hawaii)
Support an existing three-year pilot project to create a culturally relevant farm to school program at two Kaua`i schools. On Kaua`i, where 90 percent of food is imported, Mala`ai Kula is helping students build a healthier relationship with traditional food systems through school gardens and locally-grown foods in school meals.
Warm Springs K8 Academy – Warm Springs Reservation: Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Oregon)
Help students make connections about where food comes from and how it relates to their cultural heritage by planting a school garden and promoting a healthy snacks program. The garden will also be used for science and nutrition education.
Stay tuned to hear more from these schools in the coming months. We'll be sharing their stories and successes in our e-newsletter, social media and here on our blog!
Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School is made possible with generous support from the Aetna Foundation, a national foundation based in Hartford, Conn. that supports projects to promote wellness, health and access to high-quality health care for everyone.
Celebrating 10 Years and 200 Partners
As the National Farm to School Network celebrates our 10-year anniversary, we embark on an exciting new chapter of our work to strengthen and expand the farm to school and early care and education (ECE) movement. It is with great excitement that we announce the selection of nearly 200 partner organizations across all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and, for the first time, U.S. Territories, to serve as our 2017-2019 Core Partners and Supporting Partners.
Representing non-profits, state agencies, school districts, farms and universities, these partner organizations will work in collaboration with NFSN to advance the farm to school and ECE movement at the local, state and national levels. Serving as the primary contact for farm to school and ECE in their state, D.C. or Territory, Core Partners will take the lead on building capacity and support for farm to school and ECE, and serve as liaisons for information, resources, needs and opportunities with NFSN. Each Core Partner is supported in these activities by up to four Supporting Partner organizations. Together, NFSN’s Core and Supporting Partner organizations are recognized leaders in farm to school and ECE, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with them for the next phase of farm to school and ECE growth and evolution.
You can connect with your state, D.C. or Territory Core and Supporting Partners here: farmtoschool.org/ournetwork
The selection of Core and Supporting Partners comes at an important juncture in NFSN’s work. The first decade of our efforts focused on developing a strong network of partnerships across sectors, building awareness and increasing activities at the state and regional levels through training, capacity building and policy advocacy. This approach resulted in unprecedented growth for the farm to school movement, with farm to school activities now reaching more than 42,000 schools across the nation. Since 2011, we’ve prioritized ECE settings as touch points for expanding our network and activities. Our 2015 Survey of Early Care and Education Providers indicates farm to ECE activity in 850 sites covering 48 states and Washington, D.C.
While this growth is impressive, we recognize that there remain significant hurdles to expanding access to farm to school and ECE so that it is a norm in all K-12 schools and ECE settings, and its benefits are available to all children and all communities. In the next phase of our work, advancing farm to school and ECE in areas of high-need – including locations with high poverty and obesity rates, high free and reduced price meal eligibility, lack of policy support, weak or nonexistent state networks, and minimal funds to support farm to school and ECE efforts – will be a priority.
As our name implies, the National Farm to School Network is truly a network – a connected and collaborative group of passionate people working to make healthy kids, thriving farms and vibrant communities a reality in all places across our country. Our network is made up of Core and Supporting Partners, national staff, an Advisory Board and you - our 15,000 members. (Not a member? Sign up here!) We believe that robust movement building is possible only when we work collaboratively across all sectors and locations. So dig in! Meet your Core and Supporting Partners, learn what’s happening in your community and get involved. Get started by visiting our network map and selecting your location. With your engagement, the National Farm to School Network is Growing Stronger Together!