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National Farm to School Network


This Week in farm to school: 1/19/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 19, 2016

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. Scholarships available for National Farm to Cafeteria Conference 
Scholarships are now available for the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, a biennial event hosted by the National Farm to School Network that will convene more than 1,500 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Scholarship awards will cover short course and/or registration fees for the conference, pending available funds. Costs associated with travel, lodging and field trips are not covered by the scholarship award. In order to ensure the conference reflects the full diversity of farm to cafeteria constituents, scholarships are prioritized for farmers, farmer support organizations, youth (through age 22), persons of color, food service professionals, among others. Additional preference will be given to first-time conference attendees and presenters. Representation from all regions of the country will also be taken into consideration when evaluating scholarship applicants. The application is available online at Applications must be received or postmarked by 5pm (EST) on February 29, 2016.  

2. Registration now open for the Midwest Farm to School Conference
The Midwest Farm to School Conference is coming to Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Wednesday, March 2, 2016! This full day event will bring together those interested in building the farm to school initiative in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, including food service professionals, teachers, students, farmers, ranchers, parents and other engaged in farm to school activities. Throughout the day, the event will spark connections and provide the necessary paths to bring the farm to more of our region’s schools. A keynote address will be given by Chef Robert Rusan, a School Nutrition Association's 2015 School Nutrition Hero. Farm to school is not a "one size fits all" program - come share what you know and learn from others as we build a healthier future for our kids, schools, farms, and communities. Register by Feb. 1 to receive an early bird discount! More information is available here.

3. Applications available for the Northeast Farm to School Institute
Vermont FEED is excited to invite school communities in New England and New York to apply for the 2016-2017 Northeast Farm to School Institute – a unique, year-long professional development program for 12 selected school teams! The Institute is designed for schools with farm to school programming that are looking to boost their program’s impact in the cafeteria, classroom, and community. Institute school teams spend three days at the Kickoff Summer Retreat at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont, where they will participate in professionally-led workshops, network with their peers, and create a farm to school action plan. Each team will also have an experienced farm to school coach to support them in carrying out their action plan through the school year. Applications are due March 11, 2016. Learn more and apply here

4. Webinars: USDA Farm to School - NEW REGISTRATION LINK
Looking for great resources to help launch a successful farm to school program in 2016? The USDA Farm to School team has you covered with a new Planning Farm to School Success webinar series. The series will guide viewers through the USDA Farm to School Planning Toolkit with eleven 30-minute webinars. Note the link to register for the webinars has been update. Register and learn more here

5. Webinar Series: Food Forward
Food Forward is a free webinar series on plant-based meal options. In this informational two-part series, hear from a panel of school foodservice professionals that successfully implemented plant-strong entrees that appealed to all customers, while embracing the health, environmental and financial benefits.

Webinar 1: Powering Up with Plant-Strong Programs
January 27, 4-5pm EST
Learn why K-12 school districts across the country are increasing their plant-strong menu offerings each week to complement the national nutrition standards while meeting student demand. Register here.

Webinar 2: Powering Up with Plant-Strong Menus and Marketing
February 10, 4-5pm EST
As a follow up to Powering Up with Plant-Strong Programs, attendees will hear a more in-depth discussion on menu planning and marketing ideas that can increase participation and excitement, while promoting sustaining health habits to every customer. Register here

Policy & Action
1. Senate Agriculture Committee releases its draft of Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization
On Monday evening, the Senate Agriculture Committee released its draft of the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR). Nearly all of the policy changes recommended in the Farm to School Act of 2015 have been included in this draft along with a doubling in funds for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, raising the grant funding level from $5 to $10 million. The Senate Agriculture Committee hearing to pass this bill out of committee will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 20. This is a major victory for farm to school, but this Senate Agriculture Committee draft is only the first step of many in signing CNR into law. The next step will be for the committee to agree on a final version of the bill and send it to the Senate floor for voting. Sign up for the National Farm to School Network newsletter and follow us on Twitter for the latest CNR updates. 

2. Farm to School Program Models Survey
Green Mountain Farm-to-School and Food Connects seek to better understand and develop farm-to-school program service models that generate revenue and commitment from schools in order to establish sustainable and permanent programming in communities. You are invited to participate in a brief survey to help them compile crucial best-practice methods and information. The survey closes Friday, Jan. 22. Take the survey here. 

Research & Resources
1. Healthy Communities Navigator Tool
Trust for America's Health has released Healthy Communities Navigator: Cross-sector Grants, Success Stories and Policy Papers, a dynamic searchable interactive platform that provides stakeholders with community and population health resources, grants and examples. View the tool here.  

2. New Study: Latino Kids Have Less Healthy Food Options In and Near Schools
Salud America! has released a report that finds children in high-density Latino neighborhoods more frequently have easy access to unhealthy food options in cafeteria vending machines or within a few blocks of their schools. Read the “Making a Healthy School Environment the Norm for Latino Kids” study here

3. Free online course: An Introduction to the U.S. Food System
An Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health is a free, six week course offered online through the Johns Hopkins University partnership with Coursera. Topics include food security, food animal production, aquaculture, food waste, and the farm bill. Learn more about the course and register here

Jobs & Opportunities
1. FoodCorps Service Member Application Open
Are you a leader passionate about healthy food, farms and kids? Become a FoodCorps service member! FoodCorps recruits talented leaders for a year of paid public service building healthy school food environments in limited-resource communities. Learn more about this opportunity and apply here

2. Program Manager, FoodWhat
FoodWhat is a youth empowerment and food justice organization that uses food, through sustainable agriculture and health, as the vehicle for growing strong, healthy, and inspired teens. FoodWhat seeks a highly motivated, detail-oriented and energetic person to join our staff in this newly created position of Programs Manager. This position will work in concert with our Farm Manager and Executive Director in the planning and implementation of our farm-based Spring, Summer, and Fall core youth programming, in-school Winter Community Educator program, and year-round Junior Staff training. Learn more here.  

3. School Farm Coordinator, The Delta Schools
The Delta School is a newly founded progressive prek-12 independent school in The Mississippi Delta. The School Farm Coordinator is a full-time position that offers critical support teachers and students to ensure that a school can maximize the educational potential of the school garden. Learn more and apply here

Farm to school in the news
How Agriculture is Helping These At-Risk Teens
BoysGrow, a Kansas City nonprofit, helps teenage boys find footing in the world through growing and selling fresh vegetables. The young men work on an 10-acre farm, and produce and market their own organic food and artisan farm products like salsa and barbecue sauce. Civil Eats

The Montauk Fishburger: Sustainable Local Food for School Lunches
An alliance of Hamptons, N.Y. chefs has come up with a plan to introduce students to sustainable local eating. Their new fishburger, which includes only local species of wild finfish that are rated sustainable, will be served on bread rolls utilizing organic flour from indigenous strains of wheat harvested in the area. Curbed: Hamptons

Connecting the classroom, cafeteria, and community to the local agricultural 

Farm to school efforts have proven to be a winning proposition for all involved in Maryland. Farmers and distributors are benefitting from local business, money is put back into the local economy, and students are eating healthier foods and being educated on agriculture. Hagerstown Magazine

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. 


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