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National Farm to School Network


This Week in Farm to School: 10/29/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 29, 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 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 and apply 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 RFA: Regional Farm to School Institutes
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.

Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Project Waste Not: A tool for improving traceability and transparency
October 29 // 2 PM ET
Project Waste Not is building access to product, price, and availability data. Attend this webinar to learn more about this open food and beverage commerce network and how it can help simplify the process to get quick, real time data while increasing your institution's local and sustainable purchasing goals. This webinar is hosted by Farm to Institution New England (FINE) and the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network (FSCN). Learn more here

2. Webinar: The Power of Contracts for Institutional Procurement of Local Food
October 30 // 2 PM ET
One strategy to increase institutional access to local and sustainable foods is to ensure your desire for these items is integrated into any contracts with food service vendors. This approach sets clear expectations and enables vendors to function as partners with institutions in meeting their food procurement goals. This webinar, hosted by the Chesapeake Foodshed Network, will include examples of contract language used with food service management companies and other vendors. Register here.

3. Webinar: Strategies to Help Implement a Successful Farm to School Program
October 31 // 3 PM ET
More than two-thirds of school districts that engaged in Farm to School activities reported positive impacts, including increased support from parents and community members. Schools also reported that Farm to School helped lower school meal program costs. This webinar (hosted by the Institute of Child Nutrition) explores strategies and best practices on how to implement a local Farm to School program. It will highlight success stories from individuals on ways to start and sustain a lasting Farm to School program in your community. A continuing education certificate will be available after completion of the webinar. Register here.

4. NFSN WEBINAR Kids Win and Farms Win: What Do We Know About the Impacts of Farm to School
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.

5. NFSN EVENT Scholarships Open - 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Deadline: November 1
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, NM, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene nearly 1,000 diverse stakeholders who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The scholarship application is open through Nov. 1. Learn more at

6. Food Solutions Forum
November 5, 2019 // 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. Learn more here.

Research & Resources
1. EQUITY Article: Reconciliation and Resurgence Through Food
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
The Indigenous Food Circle in Northwestern Ontario demonstrates ways that food can be used as a tool for reconciliation and resurgence. It was built on the idea that Indigenous peoples should have control of their food systems and is rooted in the theory and practice of food sovereignty—emphasizing self-determination and a reconnection to land-based food systems. Read more in this new JAFSCD article, The Indigenous Food Circle: Reconciliation and Resurgence through Food in Northwestern Ontario.

2. Call for Submission: 2020 Harkin on Wellness Report
Deadline: Nov. 1
The goal of the Harkin Institute is to facilitate collaborative, high-quality, nonpartisan, multi-disciplinary public policy research and analysis in the area of wellness and nutrition. As part of this goal, the Institute is in the process of creating its annual Harkin on Wellness Report that highlights various wellness and nutrition initiatives and programs throughout the country. Programs and organizations are encouraged to submit their work focused on promoting better health through food and nutrition, improving sustainable agriculture practices, increasing economic vitality, creating health equity, and/or supporting sustainable development. Applications will be selected through a competitive internal and external review process. All designees will be invited to attend and present at the Harkin On Wellness Symposium in Spring 2020. The Harkin Institute will cover travel costs to Des Moines, IA and give each designee at $500 honorarium and plaque recognizing your organization. Learn more here

Policy Opportunities
1. USDA Reopens Public Comment Period for Categorical Eligibility in SNAP
In recent months, the United States Department of Agriculture has proposed a change in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also formerly known as “food stamps”). This rule would amend the categorical eligibility provision that allow families whose income would typically be too high to receive SNAP benefits to qualify based on their participation in other federal benefits programs. For example, a family that qualifies for TANF would automatically qualify for SNAP (if the state chooses to use categorical eligibility). Supporters of the rule change call this a “loophole” that takes resources from needy families. National Farm to School Network views the rule change as ultimately harmful to families in need of these benefits. The rule change would take vital food assistance away from nearly 3 million people. Given that many children’s free and reduced-priced meal eligibility is tied to their SNAP eligibility, this also puts children at risk of losing access to school meals. USDA recently released a report showing that nearly 1 million children could lose access to school meals as a result of this rule change. NFSN strongly opposes the rule change because farm to school can’t happen when families can’t eat.

How you can advocate: USDA has reopened the comment period to allow people to utilize this new data to make a decision. Submit a comment opposing the rule before the new deadline of November 1. The Food Research and Action Center has great resources on how to prepare and submit comments that you can access here.

National Farm to School Month Highlights
October is National Farm to School Month! Schools, ECE sites, farms and communities across the country are celebrating the connections between students and local food this month. See highlights of how states are celebrating below. National Farm to School Network has free resources, a calendar of events, planning materials and activity ideas for ways you can get involved in October. Visit to find more and join us!

  • Florida Crunch!” gets kids to try fresh farm to table fruits and vegetables.
  • An Arkansas school hosted its 9th annual Local Harvest Lunch at Mcnair Middle School Friday.
  • Sierra Harvest’s Tasting Days continues celebration at Nevada schools.
  • Hartford Public Schools have been celebrating Farm to School Month in Connecticut.
  • To close out National Farm to School Month, Indiana Grown and the Indiana State Department of Health will be unveiling a local food buyer's guide.
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy announces USDA grants and celebrates farm to school month in Vermont.
  • New York school celebrates Farm to School Month with smoothies for students.

Send your Farm to School Month highlights to to be included in our next edition of This Week in Farm to School!

Farm to School in the News
Nevada students hold farmers market to sell their school-grown produce More than 600 Las Vegas valley students sold veggies, fruits and herbs Wednesday morning that were grown at their schools. It took place at the largest student-run farmers market in the country. (KLAS)

Hands-on approach to nutrition education flourishes in Georgia schools
Giving the students that component can help the importance of good nutrition sink in, and it benefits them in the long run.“One way to combat chronic illness is to eat green, leafy vegetables and we grow those in our gardens,” Allen said. “We can provide a healthy lunch that meets USDA regulations.” (Albany Herald)

Missouri middle school gets first taste of local beef for ‘walking tacos’
The students at Missoula’s Washington Middle School were the first in Montana, and perhaps in the entire nation, to chow down on tacos made with beef that was locally grown, slaughtered and processed by its own local school district. (News Talk KGVO)

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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