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National Farm to School Network


This Week in farm to school: 1/5/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 05, 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. Save the Date: 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Save the date for the 2016 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, to be held June 2-4, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is a biennial event that convenes a diverse group of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The conference is hosted by the National Farm to School Network, in partnership with local host organizations. Registration opens Feb 15, 2016.

2. Webinars: USDA Farm to School
Intro to Farm to School: Planning and Building a Team
January 14, 1pm EST
How does a farm to school team function? Learn tips and best practices for building a farm to school team, facing struggles and surprises, and building a foundation for a successful project. Register here. 

Setting Goals and Establishing an Evaluation Baseline

January 28, 2pm EST
How do you know if your activities are helping local farmers and improving student health? Learn how to integrate program planning/evaluation tools and techniques that will document outcomes and show the impacts of farm to school programs. Register here. 

3. Webinar: PolicyLink and Healthy Food Access Portal
Leveraging Institutional Purchasing Power to Expand Access to Healthy Food
Thursday, Jan. 12, 2-3:15pm
You’re invited to join PolicyLink and the Healthy Food Access Portal for a discussion on leveraging university, hospital, and public school purchasing power to expand access to healthy food. Learn more and register here.

4. 2016 Annual Soil & Nutrition Conference, Feb. 8-9, Stockbridge, Mass.
The 5th Annual Soil & Nutrition Conference will gather farmers, researchers, nutritionists and food system advocates for a multidisciplinary conversation exploring the potential to improve food quality through regenerative agriculture that builds soil, crop and ecosystem health. The conference will explore how soil health and crop quality are interrelated, and how a renewed focus on the food qualities that industrial agriculture forgot – flavor and nutrition – can help drive transformation with important societal benefits. Learn more and register here. 

Research & Resources
1. New Study: Effects of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act
It’s been just over five years since the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed into law, requiring foods served as part of the National School Lunch Program to contain more whole grains, vegetables and fruits. A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics reveals that school lunches have indeed gotten healthier, and close to the same number of students are still participating in the school lunch program. Read the study here.  

2. Documentary: In Defense of Food
Join author Michael Pollan on a fascinating journey to answer the question: What should I eat to be healthy? Busting myths and misconceptions, In Defense of Food reveals how common sense and old-fashioned wisdom can help us rediscover the pleasures of eating and at the same time reduce our risks of falling victim to diet-related diseases. Information about the documentary and resources, including a comprehensive education program for middle school students created by the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education and Policy at the Teachers College, Columbia University, are available here. 

3. Documentary Screening Opportunity
Filmmaker Ernie Zahn has created a 25 minute documentary about the plight of tomato farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida titled Fair Tomatoes. The film discusses workers’ efforts to expose unjust working conditions, raise the living wage, and encourage the big buyers of tomatoes to rethink how they do business. Ernie is eager to share this film wildly through screening events, particularly in the Southwest. If you are interested in hosting a screening of Fair Tomatoes or would like to learn more, please contact Ernie directly at

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Research and Policy Program Manager, Detroit Food Policy Council
The Detroit Food Policy Council seeks a Program Manager to plan and implement the Council’s research and policy activities. The successful candidate will be familiar with land use, economic development and policy related to urban food systems. Learn more and apply here. 

2. Executive Director, Friends of Great Kids Farm
Friends of Great Kids Farm seeks qualified applicants to serve as Executive Director of their dynamic organization in Baltimore. The Executive Director will oversee execution of Friends of Great Kids Farm’s mission: to support and promote Baltimore City Public Schools’ Great Kids Farm. Learn more and apply here. 

3. Director, Minnesota Food Charter Network

This position will foster the development of the Minnesota Food Charter Network and implementation of Food Charter strategies, represent the Minnesota Food Charter Network in communities, manage budget and business operations, and provide direct support to multiple teams charged with various Minnesota Food Charter Network responsibilities. Learn more here (Job ID: 305825). 

4. Illinois Farm to School Network Coordinator, Seven Generations Ahead
Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) is seeking to hire a full-time Illinois Farm to School Network Coordinator to work in tandem with SGA’s Farm to School Program Manager to build upon SGA’s body of farm to school work and work collaboratively across the state to advance farm to school goals. The position will focus on developing and facilitating the Illinois Farm to School Network, designed to engage private and public sector agencies, non-profits, schools, health departments, and other community institutions in advancing local, sustainable and healthy food access and education in Illinois. Learn more here. 

Farm to school in the news
Getting a taste of new veggies
This Farm-to-Child Care initiative in Minnesota saw impressive results after encouraging child care program to offer local, fresh veggies to young children through taste tests and other farm to child care curriculum. (via Detroit Lakes Online)

From farm to classroom: McKinley students learn to plant, harvest and cook
McKinley Elementary in Davenport, Iowa has surpassed its sixth year of farm to school activities for kindergartners through fifth-graders. Read about the impacts of their successful farm to school model. (via Quad-Cities Online)

Bel Air High students learn about fish, plant farming in new aquaponics lab
Students in the Environmental Science II class at Bel Air High School are learning to grow and harvest crops through aquaponics systems, and how the food their growing contributes to a healthy diet. (via Baltimore Sun)

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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