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National Farm to School Network


This Week in Farm to School: 12/17/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 17, 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 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.

2. Food System Vision Prize
Deadline: January 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 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 in January. Save $50 on regular registration pricing and secure a seat on your first-choice field trip! Visit to learn more. 

2. Call for Proposals: National Children & Youth Garden Symposium
July 7-10 // Santa Cruz, CA
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. Deadline to submit proposals is Jan. 8, 2020. Learn more here

3. Call for Proposals: 2020 Natural Start Conference
July 29-August 1 // Cincinnati, OH
The Natural Start Alliance’s annual Nature-Based Early Learning Conference brings together hundreds of new and seasoned nature-based early childhood education professionals from the U.S. and abroad. Sessions explore how to plan, implement, and advocate for nature-based early learning programs; report on new and relevant research; share best practices in teacher education; explore education policy; and examine other topics that advance the field of nature-based early learning. This conference may be of interest to farm to early care and education practitioners who would like to highlight their farm to ECE efforts. Deadline for proposal submissions is Feb. 7, 2020. Learn more here

Research & Resources
1. EQUITY National Farm to School Network Announces New Equity Learning Lab
Thanks to the generous support of National Co+op Grocers and Newman’s Own Foundation, National Farm to School Network is excited to launch a new initiative aimed at advancing racial and social equity and addressing injustices in farm to school and the wider food movement. Our Equity Learning Lab, launching in 2020, will train farm to school leaders from across the country in equity principles and strategies that will maximize impact towards creating a more equitable and just food system. Read more

2. EQUITY Webinar Recording: NAFSN Good Food Talk
This recording features, “Best Practices in Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity Training in Food Systems,” a NAFSN Good Food Talk in collaboration with eXtension Community, Local & Regional Food Systems National Open Forum. Speakers had a thoughtful and productive session with panelists from Michigan State, Tuskegee, and Iowa State universities, North Carolina A&T, and the North American Food Systems Network (NAFSN). Watch here.

3. EQUITY Article: Food & Race: 10 Years of Creating a More Just Food System
Since its inception, Civil Eats has chronicled the myriad efforts to expose and address the ways that structures in the food system actively work to silence, marginalize, and disadvantage people of color. To mark the site’s 10th anniversary, they have conducted a series of roundtable discussions in an effort to take an in-depth look at many of the most important topics they have covered since 2009. In this final conversation of the series, they invited four experts to discuss their own work on food justice and some of the pervasive, systemic issues facing people of color working to put food on our tables. Learn more here.

4. EQUITY Webinar Recording: Building Partnerships to Support Food Sovereignty in African American Communities
Racial Equity in the Food System Workgroup
Learn about how and why African American communities are working together to enhance their food sovereignty. Following the 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 discuss their partnership designing and co-leading the Food Literacy for All course. They describe how the partnership was developed and its impact both in the community and on campus. Watch here.

5. EQUITY Commentary: Fighting for the Taste Buds of Our Children
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
In this commentary, A-dae Romero-Briones (First Nations Development Institute) looks at the impacts of Indian boarding school food on American Indian foodways and community as a source of acculturation, arguing that, "From the introduction of specific foods that now make up the modern diet of many American Indian communities to the generational cycle that begins in utero, the taste buds of American Indian children are still subject to the 'American Indian Boarding School experiment' that began in the late 1800s." Read the complete commentary here

6. Free Recipes: 30 Kid-Approved, Plant Forward Recipes
The Chef Ann Foundation is excited to announce that the Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Kids Collaborative, with support from Whole Kids Foundation, has created 30 culinary-inspired, kid-approved, plant-forward recipes available FREE for all K-12 schools! Learn more at

Jobs & Opportunities
1. RWJF Culture of Health Leaders Application Opening Soon
Culture of Health Leaders is for visionary individuals who are sparking changes in communities to overcome injustice and promote opportunity, allowing everyone access to what they need to thrive. Leaders in the program develop deep relationships with other diverse thinkers and doers, knowing that meaningful change cannot be achieved alone. During the course of the program, leaders undertake a personal and professional journey that broadens their perspectives and approaches, amplifying their ability to solve complex health challenges in their communities. Applications open January 10, 2020. Learn more here.

2. Regional Farm to School Program Specialist - USDA FNS Mid-Atlantic Regional Office (Robbinsville, New Jersey)
This position is located in a Regional Office of the United States Department of Agriculture's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS). Through the Agency's Federal nutrition assistance programs, FNCS provides children and needy families with access to nutrition and a more healthful lifestyle. The Regional Office is responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient operation of the Federal nutrition assistance programs administered by State agencies within each region. Applicants must select the Robbinsville, NJ location to receive consideration for the Farm to School position. The closing date is 12/20/19. Learn more here.

Farm to School in the News
Mississippi students experience hands-on farm to table lessons
Amory School District Food Service Director Steve Stockton got a tip from a former student that has grown into an interesting project for West Amory Elementary School students. “Amory graduate Jill Miley Stevens introduced me to the idea of tower gardening. It was a perfect fit for the kids. It’s a great hands-on lesson,” he said. (Monroe Journal)

Student growth through gardening: how California garden expands education
Only in a garden can one experience the technicolor tartness of biting into a fresh tomato, enjoy the smell of sun-warmed, scented herbs, and delight in the buzzing bees, who offer a pollinator’s promise of good things to come. In today’s technology-centric world, Clairbourn School’s gardens provide students with a way to connect with life’s simple, outdoor pleasures. But more importantly, they offer a way for students to understand humanity’s role in maintaining a healthy, life-sustaining ecosystem. (Pasadena Now)

Montana school garden provides fresh vegetables for students
Frenchtown Elementary School students have a special connection to the lunches they eat every day. Because of Freedom Gardens volunteer efforts and donations, students are learning how their food grows and tastes in the greenhouse behind the school. (KPAX)

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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