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. Farmers and School Food Services Workshop
January 30 // Walla Walla, WA
Farmers and school food services can find out how to help schools purchase more locally grown foods at a Walla Walla Valley Farm to School workshop on January 30. The workshop will explore interests that exist to purchase locally grown products; explain local and federal procurement standards that control most K-12 schools’ food purchases; connect local farmers and school buyers; share past and current successes and challenges; and, establish next steps to increase local foods in area school cafeterias and other institutions. Learn more here.
4. Common Ground Winter Farm and Garden Conference
February 1 // New Haven, CT
Common Ground Farm and The Schoolyards Program in New Haven, CT are hosting a day of learning perfect for the school educator, backyard gardener, small scale farmer, curious food explorer and food justice activist. (There's a kids track for ages 5-12, too!) The workshop includes: planning your learning garden, backyard chicken keeping, Black folxs and farming, traditional medicinal Korean and Indian cooking, composting at home and more. Learn more here.
5. Nebraska Food Systems Summit
February 4 // Papillion, NE
Learn about key challenges in the Nebraska food system and help identify people and organizations who can build policy solutions to support the direction of food systems work for 2020. Those involved in food production, transformation and processing, distribution and marketing, consumption and access, and resource management will get the most out of this event. Alena Paisano, Program Manager with the National Farm to School Network, will be the featured capnote speaker. Learn more here.
6. Mississippi Farm to Cafeteria Conference
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. This year’s conference features Wande Okunoren-Meadows as the keynote speaker. Learn more here.
7. Food Connects Vermont's Farm to School Conference
April 8 // Brattleboro, VT
The conference brings together Vermont teachers, administrators, child nutrition professionals, parents, and other school-based staff for a day of learning, networking and resource sharing. Hear from regional farm to school experts and harness inspiration for your school’s farm to school programming. The agenda will include a keynote speech by Joseph Kiefer, Food Justice Educational Consultant, as well as three breakout sessions and a locally-sourced lunch. Learn more here.
Research & Resources
1. EQUITY An Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System, Seventh Edition
The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food System has compiled the seventh edition of its annotated bibliography identifying literature that links the social construction of Whiteness and its intentional or consequential impact on structural racism within the United States’ local food movement. It is focused on recent peer-reviewed and gray literature materials that are national, regional, and local in scope that included significant references. The seventh edition contains 279 sources, including 10 new videos and 46 new journal citations. Notably, a significant number of these new additions discuss food sovereignty within the frame of structural racism in the food system. Learn more here.
2. Study: Rural School Gardens Get Students Back in Touch With Their Food
Agriculture and Human Values
As technology and supermarkets have made buying food easier and more convenient than ever, researchers believe people are growing more distant from the food they consume. As knowledge about crops, food production and healthy eating is lost over generations — a process sociologists call “de-skilling” — some school districts are looking to reconnect children with their food by educating them in a garden setting. In a new study from the University of Missouri, researchers observed one such school garden in a rural Midwestern school district, in which classes were held outside in a garden one or two times per month. They found that not only was the concept successfully integrated into an otherwise normal public school district, but it also fostered an appreciation for fresh, healthy foods. Read more here.
1. NFSN Statement Newest USDA Proposed Changes to School Nutrition Standards
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 should not sacrifice quality and nutrition in school meals. With more than 20 million children receiving free and reduced-price meals and relying on school meals for the majority of their daily calories, the nutritional quality of these meals is of utmost importance in ensuring a lifetime of health and wellbeing. Read the full statement here.
2. PA Farm Bill Included $500,000 for Ag Education Grants
Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Education Executive Deputy Secretary David Volkman have announced $500,000 in agriculture education grants as part of the PA Farm Bill. Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 40 to restart the Ag and Youth Grant Program in July last year. The money will 55 fund ag-related projects and equipment purchases in 25 counties. Read more.
1. Equity Consultant, National Farm to School Network (Remote)
National Farm to School Network is seeking an Equity Consultant to support initiatives aimed at advancing equity at the organizational and programmatic levels. Applicants are encouraged to apply early; applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the deadline of February 12. For more information, email Jenileigh Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Statewide Program Coordinator, California Food for California Kids / Center for Ecoliteracy (Berkeley, CA)
The Statewide Program Coordinator maintains relationships with school districts and allied organizations throughout California to cultivate, support, and sustain active implementation of the California Food for California Kids program. This position engages with partners through site visits, technical assistance, and network communications for a variety of school community stakeholders. Learn more here.
3. 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.
Farm to School in the News
Minnesota school district is making students more environmentally conscious
A Minnesota elementary school is doing its part to make the world a little greener. Each year North Park takes on a new initiative as a means of growing and learning. This year’s initiative is to get rid of single-use plastic, and a group of students called the "Green Team" are helping make it happen by sorting waste in the cafeteria. (ABC Newspapers)
Oregon's Find Your Farmer cultivates connections
The Find Your Farmer event in Klamath Falls, Oregon provided a training for school officials, agricultural producers and business owners interested in the process of buying local products and those interested in selling their products locally to school districts and nonprofits. “What an opportunity to meet these farmers and we would like to understand where they’re coming from and hopefully they understand where we’re coming from." (Herald and News)
Training the Next Generation of Farm to School Educators in North Carolina
ASAP’s Growing Minds @ University program is offering training for future educators and dietitians who want to integrate local food and farm to school programming into their careers. "Wouldn’t it be nice if we embedded this idea and this notion into the pre-service training or the training for future teachers and future dietitians? If we embedded farm to school and local food activities into that training, then we’d be graduating people who have this mindset and hopefully this desire to integrate this into their future professional practice,” said Emily Jackson, director and founder of ASAP’s Growing Minds program. (ASAP - Growing Local)
A Look Back at Michigan's Six-Year Farm-to-Institution Program
In an effort to both provide local farmers with a more steady stream of income and help local produce get into the bellies of more local residents, public health experts and advocates have been making more of a concerted effort to make sure that the food supplied to these institutions come from local sources. “It may have been aspirational, but it is pushing the movement forward,” says Brandon Seng, co-owner of Farm to Freezer and NFSN Advisory Board member. (Next City)