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This Week in Farm to School: 11/19/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 19, 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. 

Action Opportunities
1. Get Counted! USDA Farm to School Census Still Open
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems' third Farm to School Census is currently open and will be wrapping up at the end of November. Be sure your school district is counted! The Farm to School Census is the only national survey that examines school districts’ farm to school activities. It's imperative that all School Food Authorities (SFAs) - whether or not they currently participate in farm to school activities - complete the Census in order to have the most accurate picture of the scope, reach and impact of farm to school nationwide. The Census has been sent directly to SFAs. Please check with your SFAs to ask if they've submitted the Census, and make sure your efforts are counted! Learn more about the Census here


Grants & Funding
1. USDA 2020 Farm to School Grant RFA Now Open
Deadline: December 13
The 2020 USDA Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. With additional funding made available through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $10 million in FY 2020 funding. Grants ranging in size from $20,000 to $100,000 will be available to schools, nonprofits, State and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to plan and implement farm to school activities. Applications are due Dec. 13, 2019. Learn more here.
 
2. NFSN Consultation Services to Support USDA Farm to School Grant Applicants
National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring this funding reaches the communities that need it most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance during the application process (thought partnership, preparing the grant application, evaluation) and during grant implementation (needs assessment, evaluation, action plan, virtual coaching). Learn more here.  

3. 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.

4. 2020 Youth Gardening Grant
Deadline: December 16, 2019
Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States or US Territories planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. The selection of winners is based on demonstrated program impact and sustainability. Previous Youth Garden Grant winners who wish to reapply must wait one year after receiving the award and must prove that their garden programs have been significantly expanded. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Product Spotlight - Increasing Regionally Sourced Grains in Institutions
Nov. 19 // 2 PM EST
Join FINE and the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network (FSCN) for a one-hour webinar to learn more about regional grain production and how it can be a cost effective choice for your institution. Across the state of Maine, allies are working to transform the grain economy by increasing production and reducing procurement bottlenecks while serving and educating customers. Register here.

2. EQUITY Webinar: Building Partnerships to Support Food Sovereignty in African American Communities
Dec. 3 // 3PM EST
This webinar is an opportunity to explore how and why African American communities are working together to enhance their food sovereignty. Following this 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 will discuss their partnership designing and co-leading the Food Literacy for All course. They will describe how the partnership was developed and its impact both in the community and on campus. The webinar also will introduce Kimberly Carr, a post-doctoral research associate in food sovereignty and racial equity at the Center for Regional Food Systems and Center for Interdisciplinarity at Michigan State University. The webinar is hosted by the Racial Equity in the Food System workgroup, coordinated by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Register here.

3. Call for Proposals: National Children & Youth Garden Symposium
Deadline: January 8, 2020
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. Learn more here

4. Request for Proposals: The Test Kitchen
Deadline: January 10, 2020
No Kid Hungry's The Test Kitchen is a concept accelerator designed to help nonprofits, schools, faith organizations, and local governments turn their best ideas into validated strategies and promising practices. The focus of each cohort is different, as selected innovation teams work concurrently to develop and test new ideas that may help reduce childhood hunger. Now in its second year, this year’s focus is on ending childhood hunger in rural communities in the summer. Selected teams will receive grant funds and technical assistance to support a pilot to test their idea and have the opportunity to build relationships with other innovative organizations at an in-person planning retreat. Learn more here

5. Scholarship Application: 2020 National Child Nutrition Conference
Deadline: January 16, 2020
Scholarships are now available for the National Child Nutrition Conference. Apply today for the opportunity to join over 1,700 attendees at the premier training and networking event for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and Afterschool Meals community. The conference will be held April 14-16, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Atlanta, GA. Learn more here

6. National Farmers Union’s Women’s Conference
January 19-21 // San Diego, California
Farming is never a one-woman job – it takes a village to run a successful operation. This conference will not only prepare attendees for success in agriculture, but it will also provide them with their own network of women farmers and ranchers they can reach out to throughout the year. Farmers, policy makers, educators, and specialists will present on a number of subjects, including financial management, farm labor, leadership, and more. Learn more and register here

7. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 21-23, 2020 // Albuquerque, New Mexico
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Are you passionate about supporting local agriculture and fostering a culture of food literacy in your community? This event is for you. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Research & Resources
1. New Data on Child Poverty Rates
The number of children living in neighborhoods with high poverty and low opportunity is examined in a new data snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Living in High-Poverty, Low-Opportunity Neighborhoods. This snapshot shares the latest data — for the nation and each state — on children growing up in high-poverty areas. It also singles out two important factors, geographic location and race and ethnicity, that shape a child’s risk of living in concentrated poverty. The document ends by outlining recommended moves that leaders can take to help families in these communities thrive. Read here

2. EQUITY Food Sovereignty Stories
What is food sovereignty and what does it look like in the United States? Food sovereignty can take on unique meanings in different communities, but it always puts questions of power, control, and social justice at the heart of food and farming. Food Sovereignty Stories, created by the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, is a series of videos from social movements in the United States working towards a more just and sustainable food system. These films explore issues of farm justice, migrant rights, feminism, radical urban agriculture, fighting the extractive economy, Indigenous cosmovision and farm justice, amongst others critical issues. Watch here


Farm to School in the News
California students help bring small-scale urban farming to community
Students in the Greater Victoria school district participated in a small-scale urban agriculture project over the summer and were able to grow food, connect with the community and improve their mental health in the process. (Victoria News)

For DC students, lessons in growth, of the garden variety
When students returned to the District’s Capital City Public Charter School in September, they encountered old friends, new teachers and a one-of-a-kind classroom. Rather than walls and books, it bursts with plum and cherry trees, blueberry and aronia bushes, milkweeds and vegetables, and lots and lots of insects. (The Washington Post)

Arizona elementary school students use lunch leftovers to make compost
Elvira Elementary students in Tucson are turning their lunch leftovers into food for a future school garden. (Yahoo! News)

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.

Native F2S Champions: Indian Township School

NFSN Staff Monday, November 18, 2019
By Lea Zeise, Intertribal Agriculture Council, Eastern Region


Photo Credit: Indian Township School
This blog is part of a series of profiles of Native Farm to School Champions, organized and collated by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). IAC is NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year, and we are excited to collaborate with IAC on this storytelling project to celebrate farm to school activities happening across Indian Country. These Champion profiles were written and submitted by IAC's Regional Technical Assistance Specialists, and these programs will be recognized for the farm to school leadership at the 2019 IAC Annual Meeting. Learn more about the IAC at www.indianag.org.

Indian Township School sits along the shores of Long Lake in Northern Maine in the small, tight-knit community of the Passamaquoddy Indian Township Reservation. The school enrollment fluctuates depending on the hunting and fishing seasons, between 125 and 145 students in Pre-K to 8th grade. Their farm to school program started three years ago when the School Librarian, Donna Meader-York, approached the Special Education Teacher in Junior High, Brian Giles, to revive the defunct greenhouse on the school grounds and expand the small garden. Teaming up together, Donna and Brian flexed their resourcefulness muscle and reached out to several organizations, including the National Farm to School Network (NFSN). 

Brian attended the very next NFSN Conference where he was especially inspired by a presentation from Intertribal Agriculture Council’s Youth Programs Coordinator, Kelsey Ducheneaux. Brian saw clearly the connection between the issues faced in Native American communities, including Indian Township, and the opportunity to address those issues by empowering the youth to grow and cook their traditional foods. “I realized we’re all fighting the same fight and I felt even more invigorated to help overcome those difficulties,” said Brian, and his commitment soon paid off. Indian Township School received the Seed Change in Native Communities mini-grant and got to work bringing the greenhouse back into working order and building raised beds to increase the garden. They also started Passamaquoddy O.G.’s (Original Gardeners) club to bring a cool factor to the youth participating.

Today the Indian Township School features a functional greenhouse, raised-bed garden, a wild rice pond, and a fruit and nut orchard planted by the students through partnership with ReTreeUS. The school has partnered with the food pantry, offering space in the greenhouse to start seedlings that grow to provide food for dozens of families throughout the harvest season. Students in the afterschool program help to plant the seedlings in the spring and return in the fall to gather and prepare the harvest in cooking classes. They also embark on foraging field trips for chokecherries and return to the school to preserve them into traditional dried leather. In their time spent together, the staff help youth focus on the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of health.

When the school opens the doors for community feasts, produce from the garden is served alongside harvested berries, moose and venison for all to enjoy. Families file past the signage in the cafeteria featuring Passamaquoddy and English to share a traditional meal together. These community feasts are just one aspect of their success though – Brian and Donna also created a more secure and culturally-relevant food system, set an example of partnership to achieve their goals, and most importantly, empowered the next generation.

Learn more about Indian Township School here: http://www.indiantownshipschool.org/

Native F2S Champions: Newcomb High School

NFSN Staff Wednesday, November 13, 2019
By Matthew Denetclaw, Intertribal Agriculture Council, Navajo Region


Photo Credit: Newcomb High School 
This blog is part of a series of profiles of Native Farm to School Champions, organized and collated by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). IAC is NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year, and we are excited to collaborate with IAC on this storytelling project to celebrate farm to school activities happening across Indian Country. These Champion profiles were written and submitted by IAC's Regional Technical Assistance Specialists, and these programs will be recognized for the farm to school leadership at the 2019 IAC Annual Meeting. Learn more about the IAC at www.indianag.org.

Many miles from the nearest grocery store lies the community of Newcomb, New Mexico. Located on the Navajo Reservation, Newcomb High School is an institution full of opportunity. One unique individual providing the opportunity for students to see a future in locally grown food initiatives is agriculture instructor Augusta Ahlm.

Ms. Ahlm has been teaching at Newcomb High School for two years. She has taken the immediate initiative to find ways to revive the agriculture program which now makes an impact beyond campus borders. After observing little to no infrastructure in place for food production or available funding within the school district, she managed to pursue and receive many in-kind donations from producers near and far to create their current agriculture science center.

It all began by coordinating labor from the chapter house summer student work program, who used recycled materials to build animal housing facilities and box gardens with a hoop house for a controlled growing environment. In addition to growing produce, Ms. Ahlm later acquired several head of sheep and numerous chickens for animal protein production. Every year, the Newcomb High School agriculture program harvests a sheep using the traditional Navajo method to offer a meal for the community in addition to offering fresh vegetables annually. Students and community members alike enjoy and participate in the cooking demonstrations.

The local senior center also benefits by receiving eggs produced by the chickens. Recently, they have installed an aquaponics systems producing a successful harvest of herbs, and soon will be looking forward to adding radish sprouts and wheatgrass. They also help mitigate food waste by collecting cafeteria veggie scraps to add into their compost heap. Ms. Ahlm now looks forward to working with IAC Navajo Region to find the available resources through the National Farm to School Network to help take her program to the next level.

Learn more about Newcomb High School here: https://www.newcombhigh.org/

This Week in Farm to School: 11/12/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 12, 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. 

Action Opportunities
1. Get Counted! USDA Farm to School Census Still Open
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems' third Farm to School Census is currently open and will be wrapping up at the end of November. Be sure your school district is counted! The Farm to School Census is the only national survey that examines school districts’ farm to school activities. It's imperative that all School Food Authorities (SFAs) - whether or not they currently participate in farm to school activities - complete the Census in order to have the most accurate picture of the scope, reach and impact of farm to school nationwide. The Census has been sent directly to SFAs. Please check with your SFAs to ask if they've submitted the Census, and make sure your efforts are counted! Learn more about the Census here


Grants & Funding
1. USDA 2020 Farm to School Grant RFA Now Open
Deadline: December 13
The 2020 USDA Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. With additional funding made available through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $10 million in FY 2020 funding. Grants ranging in size from $20,000 to $100,000 will be available to schools, nonprofits, State and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to plan and implement farm to school activities. Applications are due Dec. 13, 2019. Learn more here.
 
2. NFSN Consultation Services to Support USDA Farm to School Grant Applicants
National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring this funding reaches the communities that need it most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance during the application process (thought partnership, preparing the grant application, evaluation) and during grant implementation (needs assessment, evaluation, action plan, virtual coaching). Learn more here.  

3. 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.

4. Food System Vision Prize
Early Deadline: Dec. 5 / Final Deadline: Jan. 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.

5. NCR-SARE 2020 Call for Proposals Youth Educator Sustainable Agriculture Grants
Deadline: November 14, 2019
NCR-SARE recognizes that youth programs are a way to introduce new and exciting farming and ranching options to youth, parents, and community members.Youth Educator Grant projects provide opportunities for youth in the North Central Region to learn about Sustainable Agriculture (farming and ranching that is ecologically sound, profitable, and socially responsible). Educators use the grants to encourage young people and their parents to try sustainable practices and see sustainable agriculture as a viable career option. Learn more here.

6. National One Earth Award
Deadline: Varies by region / As early as December 1, 2019
The National One Earth Award, sponsored in part by the Salamander Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation, provides four students whose creative works address the pressing issue of human-caused climate change with $1,000 scholarships. Additional state scholarships of $500 are available to two students from each of the following states: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. This award is part of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. The Awards encourage, publish, and grant scholarships to creative teens. Learn more here.  


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Product Spotlight - Increasing Regionally Sourced Grains in Institutions
Nov. 19 // 2 PM EST
Join FINE and the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network (FSCN) for a one-hour webinar to learn more about regional grain production and how it can be a cost effective choice for your institution. Across the state of Maine, allies are working to transform the grain economy by increasing production and reducing procurement bottlenecks while serving and educating customers. Register here.

2. Farm to School 101: Free Farm to School Trainings
Nov. 21 // Massachusetts
Join ChicopeeFRESH for Farm to School 101, a training opportunity for K-12 food service operators and community partners who are looking to take the leap into farm to school. Each training will take place in a different region of Massachusetts, and will feature a field trip to a local farm. Farm to School 101 will cover the basics of launching a successful farm to school program, including building relationships with farmers and producers, planning affordable seasonal menus, and branding and marketing your program. The first two trainings will take place in November. Learn more here.

3. 2020 National Child Nutrition Conference Scholarship: Application Open
Deadline: January 16, 2020
Scholarships are now available for the National Child Nutrition Conference. Apply today for the opportunity to join over 1,700 attendees at the premier training and networking event for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and Afterschool Meals community. The conference will be held April 14-16, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Atlanta, GA. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. 2019 Florida Farm to School Annual Report
In the 2018-2019 school year, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services collected specific data for the third year in a row related to the purchase of Florida agricultural products by school districts. As part of the Farm to School initiative, the department analyzed the economic impact these purchases had to the state of Florida using IMPLAN, a regional economic modeling system that utilizes Florida’s state and county databases to estimate economic multipliers for over 500 different industries. Working with school districts, food service vendors, processors and agricultural associations, the department is able to create a summary of local purchasing made by school districts and the impact on Florida’s economy. Read here

2. New Book Featuring Minneapolis Public Schools' Farm to School Program
Why is it so hard for schools to cook healthy meals from scratch using locally sourced ingredients? Why are so many school kitchens and cafeterias lacking adequate facilities? How are schools at the forefront of the real food movement managing to eliminate "ingredients of concern" from their supply chains and build robust farm-to-school programs? The Labor of Lunch: Why We Need Real Food and Real Jobs in American Public Schools, a new book by Professor Jennifer Gaddis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, answers these questions and more. Notably, this is the first major study to center the perspectives of cafeteria workers who cook and care for the nation's children. Chapter 5, "Building a Real Food Economy," will be of special interest to farm-to-school practitioners and policymakers. It features a case study of Minneapolis Public Schools, a leader in the national farm-to-school network. Using interviews with frontline workers and district leadership, the chapter traces the process and impact of investing in on-site kitchens and values-based purchasing. Learn more here.

Job Opportunities
1. Prevention Resource Center VISTA, Montana Team Nutrition Program (Bozeman, MT)
Montana Team Nutrition Program at Montana State University in Bozeman is now searching for a Prevention Resource Center VISTA to serve for one-year beginning in January 2020! This project will move Montana children out of poverty by assessing and addressing training, resources and communication gaps resulting in the increased access to healthy foods through the implementation of farm to school in Montana schools, afterschool, and early care and education settings. Learn more here

2. Office Specialist 2, Oregon Department of Education (Portland, Oregon)
The Office Specialist 2 provides a wide variety of secretarial, technical, or minor administrative related tasks in support of an agency program or operation. The Office Specialist 2 will support the Farm to School Program and Farm to School Coordinator in the delivery of Farm to School Program. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Kentucky agriculture students grow their own food
Instead of growing food in large rural fields, John Hardin High School agriculture students are farming plants indoors next to their classroom. The program was created out of what Hall said is “a need to educate and empower students on the issue of food security as well as solutions.” (The News Enterprise)

Florida teacher, students revive agriculture program with hydroponic garden
Dozens of teenagers broke a sweat Tuesday morning in a back-campus garden at Riverdale High School, driving poles into the ground, building towers of pots and hand-churning a faux-soil mixture that will soon sprout salad bar fixings for the school’s lunchroom. By the final bell, the students had created a functional hydroponic garden — a self-contained system of growing plants in columns instead of in the ground. (News-Press)

New York students grow with new garden
Thanks to the efforts of first grade teacher Terry Stacy, CER students are now able to explore healthy eating options and grow some of their own food in the school’s new garden. (Oswego County Today)


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.

The First 10 Months of 2019: A Farm to School Policy Perspective

NFSN Staff Wednesday, November 06, 2019

By Chloe Marshall, Policy Specialist

Ten months in, 2019 has been full of exciting farm to school policy wins, challenges, and opportunities. Now that we’ve gone through another successful National Farm to School Month and have begun to look towards 2020, I want to pause, reflect and celebrate what we’ve accomplished so far this year, together.

In early 2019, while catching our breath from the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, we were jolted back into action by Sen. Pat Roberts’ (R-KS) February announcement of his desire to write a child nutrition reauthorization (CNR). Advocates around the country, including us at the National Farm to School Network, quickly became ready to gear up for another journey towards a new CNR. Child nutrition bills have not been reauthorized (government speak for rewriting a package of bills) since 2010, when sweeping changes were made to school meals, including new comprehensive nutrition standards, adoption of the Community Eligibility Provision, and - a gold star on our list - the beginning of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program

Since February, we’ve made major strides and had some big wins in advocating for strong farm to school priorities in the next CNR: 

  • We hosted a series of listening sessions to hear from farm to school advocates about how CNR can better support their efforts. 
  • In partnership with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, we championed the introduction of two signature bills - the Farm to School Act of 2019 and the Kids Eat Local Act - that directly address the feedback and needs we’ve heard from farm to school stakeholders. As of today, the Farm to School Act has 17 cosponsors and the Kids Eat Local Act has 22 cosponsors. Both bills have strong bipartisan support, a beautiful example of how our advocacy can push Congress to work together for good.
  • In September, we hosted three farm to school advocates on Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers from Arkansas and Kansas about the importance of farm to school. Our fly-in was made possible with the generous support of the Johnson Family Foundation - thank you! 
  • We have deepened relationships with national partners including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Food Corps, both of whom have led advocacy efforts alongside us and offered tremendous support. Additional thanks goes out to original endorsers of our farm to school bills, including American Heart Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Food Corps, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Education Association, and the National Farmers Union.
  • Our online petitions in support of our two bills have gathered more than 800 signatures from individuals and organizations. You can still sign on!
  • And, the US Senate passed a resolution declaring October 2019 National Farm to School Month! The US House did this in 2010, and we love bicameral support for a great cause! 
Can you believe we accomplished all that in less than ten months? If you haven’t thanked yourself for the hard work you’ve done, do it right now. Then turn to your neighbor (or your social media friends) and repeat after me: “Thank you for moving the movement.” Farm to school has worked because of YOUR work, and we thank you. 

Will you help us take it even further? The future of farm to school is in our hands, and everyday is an opportunity to transform our food system. While we wait to see a draft CNR bill, there’s work that can still be done: 

  • Add your name and/or your organization to our letters to Congress, then share with a friend (or many friends). 
  • Share your farm to school work on social media and tag us - @farmtoschool / #farmtoschool - and your members of Congress. Ask them to support the Farm to School Act and Kids Eat Local Act. 
  • Reach out to your members of Congress to urge their support for our bills (lobbying) or simply educate them on the state of farm to school in your community (not lobbying). 
Beyond CNR, there are many other opportunities to advocate for policy that advances farm to school that we’ve been working on at the National Farm to School Network. In 2019, we’ve been: centering equity in our policy advocacy; establishing an official policy platform; supporting the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill; building new federal agency relationships; sharing our new State Farm to School Policy Handbook: 2002-2018 (co-authored by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School); digging deeper into state and local policy opportunities; and, working to become a more active voice in organizing for food justice. 

The heart of our work at the National Farm to School Network is not policy or programs, it’s people - kids, farmers, communities, and everyone in between. What policy matters matter to you, and how can the National Farm to School Network support your interests? I want to know! Connect with me anytime at chloe@farmtoschool.org. The power of our network is in partners like you who are working for change. As we continue to organize and advocate for strong policy, let’s remember that we’re ultimately advocating for ourselves, for each other, for our children, and for our futures. Onward and upward, together! 

This Week in Farm to School: 11/05/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 05, 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. 

Action Opportunity
1. Get Counted! USDA Farm to School Census Still Open
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems' third Farm to School Census is currently open and wrapping up at the end of November. Be sure your school district is counted! The Farm to School Census is the only national survey that examines school districts’ farm to school activities. It's imperative that all School Food Authorities (SFAs) - whether or not they currently participate in farm to school activities - complete the Census in order to have the most accurate picture of the scope, reach and impact of farm to school nationwide. The Census has been sent directly to SFAs. Please check with your SFAs to ask if they've submitted the Census, and make sure your efforts are counted! Learn more about the Census here


Grants & Funding
1. USDA 2020 Farm to School Grant RFA Now Open
Deadline: December 13
The 2020 USDA Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. With additional funding made available through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $10 million in FY 2020 funding. Grants ranging in size from $20,000 to $100,000 will be available to schools, nonprofits, State and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to plan and implement farm to school activities. Applications are due Dec. 13, 2019. Learn more here.
 
2. NFSN Consultation Services to Support USDA Farm to School Grant Applicants
National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring this funding reaches the communities that need it most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance during the application process (thought partnership, preparing the grant application, evaluation) and during grant implementation (needs assessment, evaluation, action plan, virtual coaching). Learn more here.  

3. 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.

4. Food System Vision Prize
Early Deadline: Dec. 5 / Final Deadline: Jan. 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 WEBINAR Kids Win and Farms Win: What Do We Know About the Impacts of Farm to School
This Week! November 7 // 1 PM ET
Advocates claim that 'kids win, farmers win, and communities win' from policies, programming and initiatives that promote farm to school. However, what do we know about the extent to which this is true? Recent research funded by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides interesting insights into the kids win and farms win impacts of farm to school efforts. This webinar, featuring researchers from Colorado State University and University of Illinois, will highlight recent and ongoing research and important areas for future farm to school work. Register here.

2. Webinar: Product Spotlight - Increasing Regionally Sourced Grains in Institutions
November 19 // 2 PM EST
Join FINE and the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network (FSCN) for a one-hour webinar to learn more about regional grain production and how it can be a cost effective choice for your institution. Across the state of Maine, allies are working to transform the grain economy by increasing production and reducing procurement bottlenecks while serving and educating customers. Register here.

3. Farm to School 101: Free Farm to School Trainings
Nov. 6 & Nov. 21 // Massachusetts
Join ChicopeeFRESH for Farm to School 101, a training opportunity for K-12 food service operators and community partners who are looking to take the leap into farm to school. Each training will take place in a different region of Massachusetts, and will feature a field trip to a local farm. Farm to School 101 will cover the basics of launching a successful farm to school program, including building relationships with farmers and producers, planning affordable seasonal menus, and branding and marketing your program. The first two trainings will take place in November. Learn more here.

4. Food Solutions Forum
November 5 // Durham, NH
On November 5th, the Food Solutions Forum will bring together presidential candidates, farmers, fishermen, small business owners, workers, advocates, scientists, and the general public, to celebrate the future that is possible with food at the center of our national conversations. The Food Solutions New England network is one of more than a dozen partners helping to organize and promote this free event. The forum will be livestreamed. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. Article: Farm to School Education Grants Encourage Children to Learn About Fruits and Vegetables
Journal of Translational Behavioral Medicine
Oregon established its Farm to School Education Grant Program to increase knowledge of and preference for fruits and vegetables among children in low-income school districts. This evaluation found that the program reached the targeted low-income students, encouraged districts to implement educational activities, and allowed low-income children to learn about produce. Read more here

2. EQUITY Updated Racial Equity Tool Glossary
Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large. An updated set of key terms for racial equity is now available. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Florida students are seeing which plants are edible in space
Last year, a student participating in a Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden program that is testing which edible plants can grow in space had an idea. What would happen if you grew short and tall plants together in one planter, utilizing limited space on the International Space Station and giving astronauts a variety of plant-based foods to eat? (Miami Herald)

Massachusetts students grow greens, learn life skills with indoor garden
Growing season is over around New England, but for a group of Milton High School students, it’s only just beginning. Special education students are getting the chance to grow their own garden right in the classroom. (CBS Boston)

New Jersey school officials cut ribbon on farm-to-table learning concept
Students across all grade levels in the Wildwood School District will get a farm-to-table learning experience as the district unveiled a new outdoor classroom this week. (The Press of Atlantic City


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.

Senate Adopts National Farm to School Month Resolution

NFSN Staff Friday, November 01, 2019
 
On October 31, the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution (S. Res 403) – sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and David Perdue (R-GA) – designating October 2019 as “National Farm to School Month.” The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and National Farm to School Network (NFSN) jointly praised the effort to highlight the important relationship between farmers, schools, and our nation’s children. The organizations, which work closely together to advance federal policies that further farm to school connections and the socioeconomic benefits that those relationships confer, also underscored the opportunity for Senators to further support these efforts by including the Farm to School Act of 2019 (S. 2026) and the Kids Eat Local Act (S. 1817) in the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR).

“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition welcomes this strong showing of support from the Senate for national farm to school efforts,” said Wes King, Senior Policy Specialist at NSAC. “Farm to school partnerships are important opportunities for our youth to learn about food, agriculture, and how to respect and care for the land. That’s not where the benefits stop, however. Farm to school programs also allow our nation’s family farmers – many of whom are struggling due to lagging markets and unstable trade partnerships – to form lucrative business relationships with schools and school districts. These relationships are a win-win-win, providing crucial business opportunities to family farmers, fresh foods to public schools, and healthy meals and hands-on educational opportunities for students. We hope that this resolution signals that Senators are also ready and willing to support the Kids Eat Local Act in the upcoming CNR. The Act was introduced with bipartisan support earlier this year, and would help make it easier for schools to source healthy food from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen.”

“Farm to school activities - including kids eating, growing, and learning about local and just food - happen 365 days a year across more than 42,000 schools. “National Farm to School Month” is a well-deserved time to celebrate the successes of these efforts and to raise awareness of the opportunity and need for more,” said Chloe Marshall, Policy Specialist at the National Farm to School Network. “We applaud the Senate for recognizing the positive impacts that farm to school has in improving child nutrition, supporting family farmers and local economies, and building vibrant, more equitable communities. We urge the Senate to continue to invest in the well being of our nation’s kids, farmers, and communities in the next CNR by strengthening the USDA Farm to School Grant Program with the Farm to School Act of 2019, which was introduced with bipartisan support earlier this year. In addition, we also urge support for child nutrition programs that ensure every child has sufficient access to nutritious meals, including expansion of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and maintaining strong nutrition standards within these programs.”

Learn more about our farm to school priorities for the next Child Nutrition Reauthorization here.

National Farm to School Network and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition are partnering to advance farm to school priorities in the next Child Nutrition Reauthorization, with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms.

Local Lunches, Apple Crunches & Proclamations: How We Celebrated National Farm to School Month 2019

NFSN Staff Thursday, October 31, 2019


By Anna Mullen, Communications Manager 

For 31 days every October, millions of students, farmers, educators, and communities across the country celebrate the movement that’s connecting kids to local and just food and supporting family farmers and local economies. Over 42,000 schools and early care and education sites across the country put farm to school into action every day, and National Farm to School Month is a time to recognize those efforts, the people who make them happen, and to energize more people in our communities to join in!

Everyone can be part of National Farm to School Month, and this year we saw lots of inspiring celebrations - from state-wide crunch events and local food days, to legislators in the lunchroom and proclamations. Here are some of the ways our farm to school friends like you celebrated this October:

Apple Crunches: Did you hear that CRUNCH? Millions of students across the country participated in state and region-wide crunch events this October. Many places crunched with locally sourced apples, including Alabama, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia. The Mountain Plaines region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) held its first regional Apple Crunch Off. The Great Lakes Region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin) continued its annual Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch with more than 1.8 million (wow!) crunchers. Louisiana had the Great Louisiana Satsuma Peel. And in states like California, Florida and Hawai’i, schools picked from a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to crunch and munch on local food.

Proclamations: While the federal government first recognized National Farm to School Month in 2010 (House Resolution 1655), numerous state governments recognize this annual celebration with proclamations and declarations of their own. This year, governors including Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made proclamations related to Farm to School Month and kids eating local food in schools.

Local Food Days & Weeks: Statewide local food days and weeks encourage schools and communities to be part of their local food systems. Here are few states that had campaigns to put local on kids plates: Iowa Local Food Day, the Mississippi Farm to School Challenge, New Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, Pennsylvania Preferred Day, New Mexico Grown Week, Make Your Plate South Carolina Grown Week, the Texas Farm Fresh Challenge, and Virginia Farm to School Week.


Legislators in the Lunch Room: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue kicked off National Farm to School Month at Sugar Creek Elementary School in Wisconsin. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy visited St. Albans Town Education Center. Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry crunched into local apples with students at Clinton Elementary School. Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney took a tour of school gardens and cafeterias at Groton public School. California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross visited several farm to school sites. Idaho First Lady Teresa Little and Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam ate with kids in school cafeterias. And Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring visited Lynchburg City Schools to see their bulk milk machines carrying single-source, local milk.

And more! Georgia schools planted, tasted, cooked with and learned about squash with the “Oh My Squash” celebration. Indiana Grown and the Indiana State Department of Health unveiled their new local food buyer's guide. Massachusetts had a farm to school awareness day and awarded its 2019 Kale Blazer Award. And in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new funding to support schools purchasing locally grown food.

At the National Farm to School Network, we’ve been leading National Farm to School Month celebrations by sharing farm to school inspiration and stories from partner organizations including Farm to Cafeteria Canada, National Farmers Union, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, CoBank, Hawthorne Gardening Company, and Farm Credit. And on social media, we celebrated by encouraging people to share their ideas and help spread awareness for the farm to school movement using #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool. Over 6,500 social media posts celebrated farm to school this month, showcasing hundreds of activities and events. We were so inspired by the excitement for farm to school that we saw!

Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you who are working every day to ensure the health of our nation's children and to support local farmers in our communities. There are 334 days to continue growing and strengthening the movement before the 10th annual National Farm to School Month in October 2020! Help us keep the momentum going by joining our network and stay up-to-date on the latest stories, new resources, policy actions, learning opportunities – like the upcoming 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, April 21-23, 2020 in Albuquerque, NM. Healthy kids, thriving farms and vibrant communities are worth taking action for every day!

Thank you to this year’s National Farm to School Month sponsors - CoBank and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council - as well as Outreach Partner organizations that helped us spread the word about farm to school far and wide throughout October. And, thanks to YOU for being a farm to school champion in your community!

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