Search our Resource Database

Use the quick guide to search through our resource database. You can search by topic, setting, or keywords in order to find exactly what you are looking for. Choose a filtering mechanism above to get started.

View all resources

Use the Keyword search to filter through: descriptive keywords, title, or organization.

pick a date

pick a date

Connect with your state

Farm to school is taking place in all 50 states, D.C. and U.S. Territories! Select a location from the list below to learn more or contact a Core Partner. 

National Farm to School Network

News

NFSN Statement on Newest USDA Proposed Changes to School Nutrition Standards

NFSN Staff Thursday, January 23, 2020

On Jan. 17, USDA announced new proposed rules to further modify nutrition standards established by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. These proposals—which follow other highly contested changes that have rolled back nutrition standards— would loosen restrictions for school meal requirements that could result in less fruit available at breakfast, reduce vegetables at lunch, and make it even more difficult for students to make healthy choices in the cafeteria.

National Farm to School Network advocates that any proposed changes be informed by both the needs of children and the capacity and expertise of the staff feeding our children. Program flexibility and efficiency that does not sacrifice quality and nutrition should be the primary goal of any proposed rules. Ultimately, these programs exist to serve our children and to support their wellbeing. Many of the 20 million children receiving free and reduced-price meals rely on school meals for the majority of their daily calories and nutrition, and for some children, these are the only meals they eat. These children are the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of malnutrition, so the nutritional quality of these meals is of utmost importance in ensuring a lifetime of health and wellbeing.

For these reasons, the National Farm to School Network firmly opposes any of USDA’s proposed changes that would reduce the nutritional quality of school meals. USDA’s own School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study found that the stronger standards are having positive impacts, and numerous studies have shown that they’re working to get students eating more fruits and vegetables, maintaining NSLP participation, and not increasing plate waste.

We recognize that the nutrition standard changes from 2010 can be challenging to implement because children need time to adjust to new and unfamiliar foods and child nutrition staff need time, training, and support to adapt to new guidelines. Farm to school practices are a solution to many of the challenges that schools are facing as they continue to transition. Farm to school activities like taste tests, school gardens, farm visits and cooking demonstrations are part of the equation that’s helping students get excited about trying and liking these new, healthier foods. As our kids continue to grow accustomed to the healthier nutrition standards and our country remains plagued by childhood obesity, it’s a disservice to them and their future to turn back on nutritional quality.

USDA’s new proposals were entered in the Federal Register on Jan. 23, and will be open for public comment for 60 days. In the coming days, we will share additional information and materials about how you can join us in submitting comments on these proposed changes. Contact Chloe Marshall, NFSN Policy Specialist, at chloe@farmtoschool.org with questions.

This Week in Farm to School: 1/21/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 21, 2020
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 EVENT 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 21-23 // Albuquerque, NM
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is just four months away, and now is the time to start planning! With 40 skill-building workshops, 10 experiential field trips, inspiring keynote addresses, valuable networking time, and a showcase of New Mexico’s vibrant local food culture, this biennial event hosted by the National Farm to School Network is an unparalleled opportunity to learn and network with food systems leaders from across the country. Early Bird registration opens the last week of January. Save $50 on regular registration pricing and secure a seat on your first-choice field trip! Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more. 

2. Webinar: Classroom Management in the Garden
January 28, 3pm ET
Employing solid classroom management techniques is a key factor for educational success. In this webinar, hosted by the School Garden Support Organization (SGSO) Network, explore classroom management strategies specifically in the garden setting and the importance they play in creating a successful and sustainable school garden program. Topics covered will include how to create consistent routines, organize equipment, involve volunteers, utilize garden stations, and more. Register here

3. EQUITY National Day of Racial Healing 
January 21, 2020 
Launched in 2017, the National Day of Racial Healing (Jan. 21) is a call to action for racial healing for all people. It originated as part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s national Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts. On this day, individuals, organizations and communities across the U.S. come together to explore their common humanity and build the relationships necessary to create a more just and equitable world. Racism affects all of us, regardless of our backgrounds or circumstances. We all live in a world born from historic injustices that have led to broken systems and division, where we don’t know one another and our shared history. These significant challenges will not be solved by one individual or group. To ensure our communities are free of systemic injustice, we must come together to heal, exploring and unraveling the deeply held racial biases of the past. Visit www.dayofracialhealing.org to learn more. 


Resources & Research 
1. EQUITY Article: Reaching American Indian and Rural Kindergarteners with Nutrition Info
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
Young children living on American Indian reservations, and children living in rural areas adjacent to them, often have limited access to nutritious fruits and vegetables, as well as to nutrition education. Professor Staci Emm and colleagues at University of Nevada, Reno Extension have been conducting the Veggies for Kids Program to address the issue and published a JAFSCD paper on the program and its results. Read more here.


Policy News
1. USDA Moves to Relax School Nutrition Standards
The Trump administration has proposed changes relaxing nutrition standards under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, permitting schools to reduce fruit servings in breakfasts, offer burgers and pizzas as a la carte food items and provide potatoes as a daily vegetable. The proposals will be entered in the Federal Register on Jan. 23, and will be open for public comment for 60 days. National Farm to School Network opposes these proposed changes, and continues to advocate for stronger nutrition standards that have been shown by USDA’s own findings to have positive impacts. In the coming days, we will share additional information and materials about how others can join us in submitting comments opposing these proposed changes. Contact Chloe Marshall, NFSN Policy Specialist, at chloe@farmtoschool.org with questions.

2. California Gov. Newsom Proposes $70+ million for Healthy School Meals in 2020-21 Budget 
Students across California may soon be able to enjoy more fresh, nutritious food in school meals, thanks to a new budget proposal introduced today by Governor Gavin Newsom in his 2020-21 preliminary budget. This budget proposal, if signed into law, would provide at least $70 million in funding—a 40 percent increase—to strengthen food service programs’ efforts to improve the quality of school meals. This will support efforts to purchase and serve more freshly prepared, locally grown food, and fuel farm to school and sustainability initiatives. Read more from the Center for Ecoliteracy here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. FoodCorps Service Member Application Now Open
Applications are now open for the next class of FoodCorps AmeriCorps service members. Service members connect kids to healthy food in school, from the classroom to the garden to the cafeteria. Applicants are encouraged to apply early; applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the deadline of March 13. Learn more here.

2. Americrops VISTA, Food System Expansion in Wyoming (Laramie, WY)
This VISTA position supports the Wyoming Food Coalition as they develop an action plan to advance priorities for production, policy, marketing, food access, and education. The position is housed on the University of Wyoming campus with UW Extension. Duties include facilitating the efforts of coalition leadership as well as engagement with producers, retailers, educators, health and nutrition experts and consumers across Wyoming. Learn more here.  


Farm to School in the News
Nevada school builds garden in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Ries Elementary might soon look a little greener after some help from the nonprofit Green Our Planet (NFSN NV Supporting Partner). Together, students, staff and community volunteers built a garden at the school today in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (KLAS)

Farm-to-table teaches Ohio kids to eat local, taste new foods
Each month, a different item of freshly grown produce is picked right from a local farm and brought straight to Ohio schools. Sometimes the program makes students want to take the foods from their trays to their plates at home. Even french-fry loving Paige said she often asks for more. “I tell them that I like the food at school and I want to try it at home,” said Paige. (WLWT)

North Dakota school hosts Farm to School Day
On Friday, Jefferson Elementary promoted farmers and North Dakota agriculture education. In addition to learning from local farmers, students enjoyed a feast of locally cultivated beef for pot roast and gravy, mashed potatoes grown from the Red River Valley, local vegetables, and a homemade oatmeal cookie made with locally-grown oats. (The Dickinson Press

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.

Centering Our Work in Equity: 2020 Plans & Opportunities

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Artwork by Bonnie Acker
In 2007, the National Farm to School Network was founded with core values of local and just food and a vision of equality in the food system. But it was not until more recent years that we’ve come to recognize that the fullest expression of our vision is ultimately equity and justice. Many of the systems and sectors within which farm to school exists—including the food system, education system, economic system, and other public institutions and structures—are deeply racialized and have in the past and continue in the present to exclude, disadvantage, and cause harm to Black, Indigenous, Latino, immigrant and other people of color in our communities. Systems like these that are failing anyone are failing all of us, and we can not engage in farm to school effectively without changing them.

As we begin this new decade, we’re reflecting on National Farm to School Network’s journey to centering our work in equity and focusing our intentions towards justice. Learn about our efforts in 2019 to further our commitment to equity, and see what we’re planning for in 2020 below.


By Helen Dombalis, NFSN Executive Director

As I shared at the end of 2019, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) aims to center our work in equity and doing so requires persistence and patience. It also requires planning while knowing that this work is not linear, and partnerships while knowing that privilege impacts opportunity to engage. In the spirit of planning and partnerships, I am excited to share what we’re planning for in 2020 to continue NFSN’s equity journey and to invite you to join us in these efforts. This year, we’ll be: 

Updating our mission and vision statements to better reflect that we center our work in equity, and that justice is our end goal. 

Updating our equity commitment statement to better explain the history and intentional racism behind the cited statistics and our role in this work. 

Updating our core values to better highlight the myriad values embedded in farm to school, and then we’ll be pushing ourselves and our partners to strive for farm to school that supports not only local but also just food systems. 

Embedding programmatic equity content throughout our 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference program, from workshops and posters to keynotes and field trips. We’re also providing scholarships to make this important gathering more accessible to persons who have been impacted by racial and social inequities in the food system. (Be sure to save the dates: April 21-23, 2020 in Albuquerque, NM!)

Using our Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool to increase our capacity to identify inequities embedded within farm to school programming and policy advocacy initiatives, and to support decision making processes which maximize opportunities for advancing equity.

Starting all meetings with our community agreements.

Meeting monthly as staff and weekly as staff teams to discuss progress along our equity journey, and all staff are embedding equity goals into our job plans.

Allocating professional development funds to equity trainings for all new staff hires.

Participating in the 21-day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge starting on March 30. 

Hiring an equity consultant to facilitate some of the above activities and to offer us new, more impactful ways of thinking about our equity work.

Conducting biannual organizational equity assessments (and we may develop our own tool to do so), and we’ll be developing a dashboard to track progress on concrete goals. 

Seeking and engaging in celebrations and events like the National Day of Racial Healing, Black History Month, and Native American Heritage Month to share stories, listen, learn, and connect with other people, organizations and movements.

Using our financial resources to deepen farm to school engagement and impact in four high-opportunity locations via our network of partners, and to provide 20 travel stipends to ensure equitable access for participation in our Annual Farm to School Leaders Meeting.

Hosting the first NFSN Equity Learning Lab cohort.

And, we’re exploring more opportunities - like forming an NFSN Staff Equity Team, participating in equity trainings specific to our positions, developing a leadership plan for staff of color, and holding a staff training on how to talk about the equity imperative and what happens if it isn’t achieved. Centering our work in equity means being open to learning, creating and reflecting as we go. 

This is an extensive list for one year, but as I said in my last blog about our equity journey, this is work that must be done. Too many inequities in our food system and society persist. What from the list above inspires you? Have you reviewed your mission and vision statements lately with an equity lens? Have you tried out our equity tool? Have you even started conversations about equity in your communities? We want to hear from you!

If you are not already a member, please join us (it’s free) to stay up-to-date in 2020 for more regular news about our equity journey. And, if you’re inspired by reading this, we always welcome donations to support our continued equity journey. Happy New Year, and here’s to a bright and bold 2020 together! 

This Week in Farm to School: 1/14/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 14, 2020
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. 


National Farm to School Network News
1. NFSN Welcomes New Advisory Board Members
At the start of 2020, National Farm to School Network is excited to welcome eight new members to our Advisory Board:
  • Anneliese Tanner, Austin Independent School District, Executive Director of Food Services and Warehouse Operations
  • Bertrand Weber, Minneapolis Public Schools, Director, Culinary and Wellness Services
  • Catherine Compitello, The Beacon Fund, Director of Nutrition and Activity
  • Jamese Kwele, Ecotrust, Director of Food Equity
  • Janie Hipp, Native American Agriculture Fund, CEO/President
  • Silvia Abel-Caines, Organic Valley, Staff Ruminant Nutritionist
  • Sommer Sibilly Brown, Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition, Founder and Executive Director
  • Wande Okunoren-Meadows, Little Ones Learning Center, Executive Director
We also extend thanks and gratitude to Miguel Villarreal, Dan Carmody, Johanna Herron, and Rodney Taylor who have completed their terms on the Advisory Board. On our blog, Helen Dombalis, NFSN Executive Director, shares Advisory Board thank yous, farewells, welcomes, and plans for 2020. Read more here


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN EVENT 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 21-23 // Albuquerque, NM
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is just four months away, and now is the time to start planning! With 40 skill-building workshops, 10 experiential field trips, inspiring keynote addresses, valuable networking time, and a showcase of New Mexico’s vibrant local food culture, this biennial event hosted by the National Farm to School Network is an unparalleled opportunity to learn and network with food systems leaders from across the country. Early Bird registration opens in January. Save $50 on regular registration pricing and secure a seat on your first-choice field trip! Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more. 

2. Webinar: Planning Ahead for Farm Camps For Kids
January 14, 12pm ET
Thinking about offering camps on your farm this summer? It feels like forever until those long, warm days return, but now is the time to start preparing. Samantha Gasson of Bull City Farm in NC and Ana Skemp of Deep Roots Community Farm in WI will share the challenges, rewards, and lessons lessons they have experienced from their years running successful on-farm camps for children. They will also discuss considerations for the registration process, pricing, advertising and promotion, camp administration and programming, and liability. This webinar is hosted by the Food Animal Concerns Trust. Register here

3. Webinar: Classroom Management in the Garden
January 28, 3pm ET
Employing solid classroom management techniques is a key factor for educational success. In this webinar, hosted by the School Garden Support Organization (SGSO) Network, explore classroom management strategies specifically in the garden setting and the importance they play in creating a successful and sustainable school garden program. Topics covered will include how to create consistent routines, organize equipment, involve volunteers, utilize garden stations, and more. Register here

4. Mississippi Farm to Cafeteria Conference - Registration Open
February 11 // Jackson, MS
The annual Mississippi Farm to Cafeteria Conference brings farm to school practitioners and future practitioners together from across the state and region to share, learn, and help grow the farm to school movement. Food service directors, farmers, school administration, teachers, students and community advocates are encouraged to attend. Registration is now open. Learn more here


Resources & Research
1. EQUITY Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative: Beliefs, Values and Principles
Mississippi Farm to School Network partnered and collaborated with the Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative at NCAT and the Mississippi Food Policy Council to craft a three page summary of their Beliefs, Values, and Principles to Transform Mississippi Food Systems. These will be used as a guide for making decisions about partnership, project and funding opportunities. Read more here

2. EQUITY Call for Nominations: Black Women in Food
March is Women's History Month and each year, Dine Diaspora honors 31 dynamic black women in the food and beverage industry. To curate this list of amazing black women from around the world, they need your help. Nominations categories include game changers, innovators, trailblazers, creatives and amplifiers. Nomination deadline: February 7. Learn more here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. FoodCorps Service Member Application Now Open
Applications are now open for the next class of FoodCorps AmeriCorps service members. Service members connect kids to healthy food in school, from the classroom to the garden to the cafeteria. Applicants are encouraged to apply early; applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the deadline of March 13. Learn more here

2. Program Fellow, National Farm to School Network (Remote)
National Farm to School Network is seeking a Program Fellow to support multiple aspects of NFSN’s programmatic initiatives aimed at advancing and institutionalizing farm to school, with a focus on farm to early care and education (ECE) settings. The fellow will gain experience in resource creation, project evaluation, virtual networking and facilitation, and partner capacity building. This is a 10 hour per week, twelve-month, temporary position with a projected start date of February 10, 2020. Application review will begin January 15. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
‘You’re chefs! This is a kitchen!’ 
It’s also a school cafeteriaIsaiah Ruffin, the first executive chef in Alexandria City Public Schools history, is moving school meals from frozen to scratch cooking, procuring more ingredients from local farms, diversifying the menu and reducing kitchen waste. (Washington Post)

Florida Dept. of Ag visits schools to encourage healthy eating
The Florida Department of Agriculture is teaching students about nutrition and buying fresh produce locally. “All of them so far have tried something they’ve never tried before. Even just seeing them trying stuff is amazing, but also teaching them about the number of farms we have in Florida. Also teaching them that we are an agricultural state, they really don’t know that. So it’s amazing to be able to teach them that and to see their eyes go ‘wow that’s awesome!’” (WMBB

New greenhouse will provide Nevada students with weekly salads
Mountain View Montessori's new hydroponic greenhouse will supply students with homegrown salad lunches once per week. The Salad Bar Program is completely run by 7th and 8th grade students. Each week they'll harvest, clean, and distribute lettuce to classrooms. (KTVN)

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.

Thank Yous, Farewells, Welcomes, and Plans: NFSN Advisory Board Update

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Artwork by Bonnie Acker
By Helen Dombalis, NFSN Executive Director

In addition to an incredible group of Partners and Staff, National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is fortunate to have a Board of Directors housed at Tides Center (our fiscal sponsor) and an NFSN Advisory Board of smart and passionate advocates for the work we do. As we ring in a New Year, I extend my sincere thanks and say farewell to outgoing board members and am excited welcome in the new cohort.

First, a huge amount of gratitude goes out to the entire 2019 board. This past year was significant  for NFSN, including our executive transition and strategic planning for 2020-2025 (more on that to come). Thank you to:

  • Betsy Rosenbluth, Vermont FEED
  • Brandon Seng, Michigan Farm to Freezer
  • Caree Jackson Cotwright, University of Georgia - College of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Dan Carmody, Eastern Market
  • Erin Croom, Small Bites Adventure Club
  • Haile Johnston, The Common Market
  • Johanna Herron, Alaska Division of Agriculture
  • Laura Edwards-Orr, sustainable regional food systems advocate
  • Miguel Villarreal, Sam Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Rodney Taylor, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Simone Washington, Lawyers for Children
  • Vanessa Herald, University of Wisconsin - Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
In particular, I am honored to have started my tenure as Executive Director alongside Miguel as 2019 board chair. He is a tireless champion for nutritious, local, and just food in schools, and he inspires me every time we connect. Miguel, thank you for your six years of service to NFSN and for a lifetime of dedication to our mission. 

Along with Miguel, we say farewell to Dan, Johanna, and Rodney. Dan’s leadership in board governance and the executive transition, Johanna’s longtime farm to school experience and passion as an NFSN Partner, and Rodney’s day-to-day work as a farm to school practitioner have been meaningful beyond measure.


Miguel with NFSN staff at the 2019 NFSN Annual Meeting. 
As we say these thank yous and farewells, we are also excited to announce the addition of eight new board members in 2020:
  • Anneliese Tanner, Austin Independent School District, Executive Director of Food Services and Warehouse Operations
  • Bertrand Weber, Minneapolis Public Schools, Director, Culinary and Wellness Services
  • Catherine Compitello, The Beacon Fund, Director of Nutrition and Activity
  • Jamese Kwele, Ecotrust, Director of Food Equity
  • Janie Hipp, Native American Agriculture Fund, CEO/President
  • Silvia Abel-Caines, Organic Valley, Staff Ruminant Nutritionist
  • Sommer Sibilly Brown, Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition, Founder and Executive Director
  • Wande Okunoren-Meadows, Little Ones Learning Center, Executive Director

We are also thankful to those stepping into leadership positions on the board this year:

  • Haile Johnston, Chair
  • Laura Edwards-Orr, Vice Chair
  • Simone Washington, Governance Committee Chair
  • Erin Croom, Programs and Policy Committee Chair
  • Betsy Rosenbluth, Strategic Plan Implementation Committee Chair (new board committee in 2020)

Finally, as a sneak peek into the work of the board this year, they will be focusing on:


Many thanks again to our outgoing Advisory Board members, and welcome to our new members! I’m looking forward to an exciting new year together. 

This Week in Farm to School: 1/7/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 07, 2020
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. Food System Vision Prize
Deadline: January 31
With a total of $2 million in prize money and a global network of partners, the Food System Vision Prize is an invitation for organizations, companies, governments, and other entities around the world to develop inspirational, concrete Visions for the food system of the future. The Prize, launched by The Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with SecondMuse and OpenIDEO, is driven by a central question: “How might we envision regenerative and nourishing food futures for 2050?” The Prize seeks systems-focused proposals that encourage people worldwide to take action and think collaboratively about the future. Submitted Visions should also reflect the Prize’s core beliefs that include diversity, resilience, equity, and the power of food to connect people. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN EVENT 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 21-23 // Albuquerque, NM
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is just four months away, and now is the time to start planning! With 40 skill-building workshops, 10 experiential field trips, inspiring keynote addresses, valuable networking time, and a showcase of New Mexico’s vibrant local food culture, this biennial event hosted by the National Farm to School Network is an unparalleled opportunity to learn and network with food systems leaders from across the country. Early Bird registration opens in January. Save $50 on regular registration pricing and secure a seat on your first-choice field trip! Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more. 

2. California Farm to School and School Garden Conference
March 26-27, 2020 // San Diego, CA
The 2020 CA Farm to School and School Garden Conference will focus on empathy and coalition building, with an emphasis on establishing "complete" farm to school programs that coordinate student voice, local food procurement, education in classrooms and cafeterias, and experiential learning in school gardens, agriculture and culinary programs, and farms. The conference is organized by the California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F), in partnership with Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP). Tickets go on sale January 30. Questions can be sent to Nick Anicich, Farm to School Program Lead with CDFA nicholas.anicich@cdfa.ca.gov


Resources & Research
1. Webinar Recording: Institutionalizing School Garden Programming
This webinar recording features a special National Farm to School Network Partner Open Space presented in partnership with the School Garden Support Organization Network. The Open Space webinar features district-run school garden program directors from a small, medium and large school district sharing their experience and expertise in launching and maintaining district run garden programs. This webinar was recorded on December 12, 2020. Watch here.

2. Greenhouse Manual: An Introductory Guide for Educators
United States Botanic Garden, the National Association for Appropriate Technology and City Blossoms developed this freely available manual in response to an expressed need to help guide would-be greenhouse managers and educators as their schools explore ways to build new infrastructure or reinvest in existing greenhouse facilities. Its purpose is to support and expand the planting and use of school gardens and greenhouses, farm to school activities, and the integration of plant science in the curriculum. The manual lays out a basic understanding of greenhouses, how to integrate greenhouses into lessons, and how to use greenhouses in classroom curricula and after-school activities. View the resource here

3. EQUITY Article: Students of Color See a Future in Agriculture, but Farming Is a Tougher Sell
A nonprofit guiding young people of color to agriculture finds science, research, and outreach, rather than food production, are top career choices. Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) is working to diversify the agriculture workforce, whether in food production or elsewhere, while some farmers of color and farm networks are helping more people of color earn a living from the land. But throughout the agriculture system, efforts to increase diversity face a number of systemic, geographic, and demographic challenges. Read more


Jobs & Opportunities 
1. Program Fellow, National Farm to School Network (Remote) 
National Farm to School Network is seeking a Program Fellow to support multiple aspects of NFSN’s programmatic initiatives aimed at advancing and institutionalizing farm to school, with a focus on farm to early care and education (ECE) settings. The fellow will gain experience in resource creation, project evaluation, virtual networking and facilitation, and partner capacity building. This is a 10 hour per week, twelve-month, temporary position with a projected start date of February 10, 2020. Application review will begin January 15. Learn more here

2. Farm to School Coordinator, Delta Health Alliance (Stoneville, MS)
The Delta EATS Farm-to-School Coordinator provides day-to-day coordination and assistance in school cafeteria, farmer, and community aspects of Delta EATS programming and network. Learn more here.

3. School Breakfast Coordinator, Mass Farm to School (Remote within Massachusetts)
The School Breakfast Coordinator will coordinate the efforts of Mass Farm to School’s “Farm to Breakfast After the Bell” project working with two Massachusetts school districts to organize data collection, menu and recipe development, school staff support, and project evaluation efforts. Learn more here

4. Tribal Affairs Specialists, USDA Food & Nutrition Service (Denver, Dallas and Chicago)
USDA Food & Nutrition Service’s Regional Offices have three positions open for Tribal Affairs Specialists in the Mountain Plains (Denver), Midwest (Chicago), and Southwest (Dallas). These positions provide oversight of and/or implement federally-funded programs made to and operated by tribes or tribal organizations; integrate culturally appropriate planning and implementation strategies into tribal programming, oversight and technical assistance activities; provide in-depth, expert level analysis on how proposed policies and regulations would impact federally-funded programs; and coordinate and conduct issue analysis. Application deadline is January 13. Learn more here

5. FoodCorps Service Member Application Opens Jan. 10
Applications open on Friday, January 10 for FoodCorps' next class of leaders - people who want to serve up change in their community. Service members get kids excited about eating healthy food and help create healthier school communities. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Lessons on leftovers in Hawai'i
Schools on Kauai are looking to decrease the amount of food waste coming out of cafeterias. Several organizations, including the ‘Aina Pono farm-to-school program and Malama Kauai are leading waste audits at schools, weighing the already separated waste from cafeteria lunches and monitoring what gets thrown out and what gets eaten. This information can helps schools refine their menus. (The Garden Island)

Connecticut Schools Trying Out Farm-to-Table Menu
“How can we not only give our kids better food but also help the local farmers,” asked Dr. Joseph Olzacki, superintendent of the Region 14 school district. The answer came during a recent trip to Indianapolis.  At a conference for Future Farmers of America Olzacki learned that school districts are adopting a farm-to-table mentality. Now, several Region 14 schools are implementing farm to school. (NBC CT

West Virginia Schools Suggest a Mobile Greenhouse
Officials in a West Virginia school district are considering replacing a high school's greenhouse with a mobile alternative as it plans to relocate to another campus. The mobile greenhouse -- called a "freight farm" -- would provide food for school meals, with some estimates finding that using the greenhouse's lettuce could save money for the district. (The Exponent Telegram)

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.

Centering Our Work in Equity: 2019 Reflections & Looking Ahead

NFSN Staff Friday, December 20, 2019

Artwork by Bonnie Acker
In 2007, the National Farm to School Network was founded with core values of local and just food and a vision of equality in the food system. But it was not until more recent years that we’ve come to recognize that the fullest expression of our vision is ultimately equity and justice. Many of the systems and sectors within which farm to school exists—including the food system, education system, economic system, and other public institutions and structures—are deeply racialized and have in the past and continue in the present to exclude, disadvantage, and cause harm to Black, Indigenous, Latino, immigrant and other people of color in our communities. Systems like these that are failing anyone are failing all of us, and we can not engage in farm to school effectively without changing them.

As we begin this new decade, we’re reflecting on National Farm to School Network’s journey to centering our work in equity and focusing our intentions towards justice. Below, learn about our efforts in 2019 to further our commitment to equity, and see what we’re planning for in 2020 here.


By Helen Dombalis, NFSN Executive Director

I do this work every day from a place of equity. The early years of my career were spent in direct service - first working with kids with developmental disabilities and then with adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses - without realizing my upbringing afforded me privileges that advantaged me and made it difficult to understand the realities of those I was attempting to serve. As my career focus shifted to making nutritious foods available to all people, I quickly learned that there’s more to the equation than want; everyone wants to live healthy, fulfilling lives, but there are intentionally inequitable and discriminatory systems and policies affecting access and ability to do so. People should not have to want for nutritious food; everyone has a right to food that nourishes them. So I shifted my focus to demand that right through advocacy and systems change. I remain grateful to the clients that inspired that shift. There was the client that took me to the grocery store with his SNAP dollars (then food stamps) at the start of the month; he held up a box of mac’n’cheese and an apple - both about $1 - and asked which I thought he would choose. (The mac’n’cheese of course; it’s more filling.) There was the client that took me to the food pantry and showed me that the foods I was teaching about in our cooking classes were far from the sugar- and salt-laden foods on the shelves.

As Executive Director of the National Farm to School Network (NFSN), I am honored and challenged to center our work in equity every day. Our food systems was built on injustices, and I cannot seek to change it without standing against those injustices. The work is urgent, because specific groups have been consistently impacted, and this has to stop now. There remain too many injustices in our food system and society

In 2007, NFSN was founded with core values of local and just food and a vision of equality in the food system. But it was not until more recent years that we’ve come to strive for equity (not just equality), and that far more is required beyond acknowledging need. In our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan, we made intentional and practice-orientated goals for making our commitment to equity more than just talk; we worked to put equity “in action.” If we are to truly achieve our vision, nothing less than this will do.

We also recognize that we have a responsibility as a national movement building organization to have a broad and diverse reach, including over 20,000 members, 70,000 followers on social media, and more than 12.5 million people plugged into National Farm to School Month in October. We have significant reach, and great potential to drive justice-oriented work in the farm to school movement and beyond. We have an important role to play in inspiring more partner organizations - at the national, regional, state, community, and sovereign levels - to create equity-driven impact in their work. We certainly know that this is not a linear process; we work forwards, backwards, and sideways. And we know it will take all of us - as reflected in our tagline Growing Stronger Together - to make forward progress.

In this spirit, I want to share what National Farm to School Network did in 2019 to further our equity work. First, we’ve kept the conversations going. Prioritizing discussions about equity ensures we all continue our learning (because there’s always something new to learn) and make the time for the work. This is a journey. We used to notice how it was too easy to set aside our focus on equity for the day-to-day things that “had” to get done: grant deliverables, fundraising, and so on. But the truth is, equity work is the work that “has” to get done. So we make time for it. Thanks to inspiration from other organizations, a group of NFSN Partners and Staff led the creation of the NFSN Community Agreements for our Annual Meeting with Core and Supporting Partners this spring. We recently realized that those agreements are a good way to start not only our annual gatherings, but all meetings, so we’re now doing so for everything from staff and board meetings to meetings with our partners. Take a few minutes of meetings to make space to remind us why we’re here and how to come to the conversations with respect. 

Our staff continued internal monthly calls dedicated to discussion for grounding our work in equity, and mid-year, we began rotating facilitation and topic identification between staff to ensure professional development opportunities for all. Topics for these calls ranged from how to embed equity into our 10th National National Farm to Cafeteria Conference (coming April 2020) program and communications, to reviewing the results of and discussing opportunities for growth stemming from our biannual organizational equity assessments. We also dedicated calls to approaching Native American Heritage Month as allies and adding land acknowledgement to our email signatures (which we now do), practicing removing deficit-based language in our communications, deciding about companies to take money from based on values alignment, integrating equity into research and evaluation, and reviewing our hiring processes with an equity lens. The two NFSN Staff teams also held weekly informal discussions about emerging equity issues and questions in our work and the world, and NFSN Advisory Board members participated in an equity enrichment activity at the in-person meeting. 

To track that our discussions and idea sharing are being put into action, we use the aforementioned biannual organizational equity assessments and also an equity action plan dashboard, developed in conjunction with our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan. We’ve also developed a standard practice of  using the NFSN Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool for Farm to School Programs and Policy that we developed in 2018 to meaningfully advance equity in our advocacy and programming. For example, the legislative language in the Farm to School Act of 2019 was not a simple copy-paste from the 2017 and 2015 versions. Rather, our Policy Team conducted listening sessions and thoughtfully reviewed the language to better ensure that the USDA Farm to School Grant funding is prioritized for communities that have been systematically disadvantaged by the food system, often communities of color. 

Integration of equity throughout the work of our organization also goes beyond programming and policy. I was reminded by my colleagues many times throughout the year that there’s always an “equity path” to take. This includes everything from the contractors and vendors we pay for services to the way our staff celebrate the holiday season. There are always opportunities to center our practices - no matter how small - in equity; sometimes, it just takes slowing down, talking to others, and thinking through what that path is and how to find it. Finally, recognizing demand from NFSN Partners to dig deeper into integrating this work into their own organizations and communities that we get in Annual Meetings and webinars, and with guidance from our equity consultant, we envisioned and then successfully fundraised for our first official equity program, the NFSN Equity Learning Lab. Stay tuned for more on this in 2020. 

Thank you for being part of the farm to school movement and for the work you do in your communities every day to advocate for equity and justice through our food system. If you have not been part of this work, we welcome you as new partners in this work. If you are not already a member, please join us (it’s free) to stay up-to-date in 2020 for more regular news about our equity journey. And, if you’re inspired by reading this, we always welcome donations to support our continued equity journey. Happy holidays, and here’s to a bright and bold 2020 together! 

This Week in Farm to School: 12/17/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 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. USDA Regional Farm to School Institutes RFA
Deadline: December 27
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems is pleased to announce the new Regional Farm to School Institute Grant Request for Applications (RFA). This new grant for fiscal year 2020 will support the creation and dissemination of information on farm to school program development, and provide practitioner education and training, and ongoing school year coaching and technical assistance. The Food and Nutrition Service anticipates awarding at least two grants with a combined total of $150,000, to eligible 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations working regionally to promote farm to school activities and support practitioners. Learn more here.

2. Food System Vision Prize
Deadline: January 31
With a total of $2 million in prize money and a global network of partners, the Food System Vision Prize is an invitation for organizations, companies, governments, and other entities around the world to develop inspirational, concrete Visions for the food system of the future. The Prize, launched by The Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with SecondMuse and OpenIDEO, is driven by a central question: “How might we envision regenerative and nourishing food futures for 2050?” The Prize seeks systems-focused proposals that encourage people worldwide to take action and think collaboratively about the future. Submitted Visions should also reflect the Prize’s core beliefs that include diversity, resilience, equity, and the power of food to connect people. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN EVENT 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 21-23 // Albuquerque, NM
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is just four months away, and now is the time to start planning! With 40 skill-building workshops, 10 experiential field trips, inspiring keynote addresses, valuable networking time, and a showcase of New Mexico’s vibrant local food culture, this biennial event hosted by the National Farm to School Network is an unparalleled opportunity to learn and network with food systems leaders from across the country. Early Bird registration opens in January. Save $50 on regular registration pricing and secure a seat on your first-choice field trip! Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more. 

2. Call for Proposals: National Children & Youth Garden Symposium
July 7-10 // Santa Cruz, CA
The American Horticultural Society is pleased to announce its 28th annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS). The 2020 event will take place July 7-10 in Santa Cruz, California, hosted by Life Lab. At the core of the symposium are peer-led educational sessions that focus on relevant, thought-provoking topics, provide attendees with practical knowledge and skills, and appeal to attendees representing a variety of experience levels, educational settings, and youth audiences. Deadline to submit proposals is Jan. 8, 2020. Learn more here

3. Call for Proposals: 2020 Natural Start Conference
July 29-August 1 // Cincinnati, OH
The Natural Start Alliance’s annual Nature-Based Early Learning Conference brings together hundreds of new and seasoned nature-based early childhood education professionals from the U.S. and abroad. Sessions explore how to plan, implement, and advocate for nature-based early learning programs; report on new and relevant research; share best practices in teacher education; explore education policy; and examine other topics that advance the field of nature-based early learning. This conference may be of interest to farm to early care and education practitioners who would like to highlight their farm to ECE efforts. Deadline for proposal submissions is Feb. 7, 2020. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. EQUITY National Farm to School Network Announces New Equity Learning Lab
Thanks to the generous support of National Co+op Grocers and Newman’s Own Foundation, National Farm to School Network is excited to launch a new initiative aimed at advancing racial and social equity and addressing injustices in farm to school and the wider food movement. Our Equity Learning Lab, launching in 2020, will train farm to school leaders from across the country in equity principles and strategies that will maximize impact towards creating a more equitable and just food system. Read more

2. EQUITY Webinar Recording: NAFSN Good Food Talk
This recording features, “Best Practices in Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity Training in Food Systems,” a NAFSN Good Food Talk in collaboration with eXtension Community, Local & Regional Food Systems National Open Forum. Speakers had a thoughtful and productive session with panelists from Michigan State, Tuskegee, and Iowa State universities, North Carolina A&T, and the North American Food Systems Network (NAFSN). Watch here.

3. EQUITY Article: Food & Race: 10 Years of Creating a More Just Food System
Since its inception, Civil Eats has chronicled the myriad efforts to expose and address the ways that structures in the food system actively work to silence, marginalize, and disadvantage people of color. To mark the site’s 10th anniversary, they have conducted a series of roundtable discussions in an effort to take an in-depth look at many of the most important topics they have covered since 2009. In this final conversation of the series, they invited four experts to discuss their own work on food justice and some of the pervasive, systemic issues facing people of color working to put food on our tables. Learn more here.

4. EQUITY Webinar Recording: Building Partnerships to Support Food Sovereignty in African American Communities
Racial Equity in the Food System Workgroup
Learn about how and why African American communities are working together to enhance their food sovereignty. Following the introduction to the concept of food sovereignty and its role in African American communities, Malik Yakini with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and Lilly Fink Shapiro with the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative discuss their partnership designing and co-leading the Food Literacy for All course. They describe how the partnership was developed and its impact both in the community and on campus. Watch here.

5. EQUITY Commentary: Fighting for the Taste Buds of Our Children
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
In this commentary, A-dae Romero-Briones (First Nations Development Institute) looks at the impacts of Indian boarding school food on American Indian foodways and community as a source of acculturation, arguing that, "From the introduction of specific foods that now make up the modern diet of many American Indian communities to the generational cycle that begins in utero, the taste buds of American Indian children are still subject to the 'American Indian Boarding School experiment' that began in the late 1800s." Read the complete commentary here

6. Free Recipes: 30 Kid-Approved, Plant Forward Recipes
The Chef Ann Foundation is excited to announce that the Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Kids Collaborative, with support from Whole Kids Foundation, has created 30 culinary-inspired, kid-approved, plant-forward recipes available FREE for all K-12 schools! Learn more at chefannfoundation.org/HKC.


Jobs & Opportunities
1. RWJF Culture of Health Leaders Application Opening Soon
Culture of Health Leaders is for visionary individuals who are sparking changes in communities to overcome injustice and promote opportunity, allowing everyone access to what they need to thrive. Leaders in the program develop deep relationships with other diverse thinkers and doers, knowing that meaningful change cannot be achieved alone. During the course of the program, leaders undertake a personal and professional journey that broadens their perspectives and approaches, amplifying their ability to solve complex health challenges in their communities. Applications open January 10, 2020. Learn more here.

2. Regional Farm to School Program Specialist - USDA FNS Mid-Atlantic Regional Office (Robbinsville, New Jersey)
This position is located in a Regional Office of the United States Department of Agriculture's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS). Through the Agency's Federal nutrition assistance programs, FNCS provides children and needy families with access to nutrition and a more healthful lifestyle. The Regional Office is responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient operation of the Federal nutrition assistance programs administered by State agencies within each region. Applicants must select the Robbinsville, NJ location to receive consideration for the Farm to School position. The closing date is 12/20/19. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Mississippi students experience hands-on farm to table lessons
Amory School District Food Service Director Steve Stockton got a tip from a former student that has grown into an interesting project for West Amory Elementary School students. “Amory graduate Jill Miley Stevens introduced me to the idea of tower gardening. It was a perfect fit for the kids. It’s a great hands-on lesson,” he said. (Monroe Journal)

Student growth through gardening: how California garden expands education
Only in a garden can one experience the technicolor tartness of biting into a fresh tomato, enjoy the smell of sun-warmed, scented herbs, and delight in the buzzing bees, who offer a pollinator’s promise of good things to come. In today’s technology-centric world, Clairbourn School’s gardens provide students with a way to connect with life’s simple, outdoor pleasures. But more importantly, they offer a way for students to understand humanity’s role in maintaining a healthy, life-sustaining ecosystem. (Pasadena Now)

Montana school garden provides fresh vegetables for students
Frenchtown Elementary School students have a special connection to the lunches they eat every day. Because of Freedom Gardens volunteer efforts and donations, students are learning how their food grows and tastes in the greenhouse behind the school. (KPAX)

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.

Recent Posts


Archive


Tags

Newsletter Archives

We have lots of great info in our newsletter archive!

View the Archive

  1 2 3 4 5 .. 66   Next