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National Farm to School Network

News

This Week in Farm to School: 11/14/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 14, 2017
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. Carrying the Message of Farmers: Lobbying for Change on Behalf of Farmers Interests
November 14 // 12-1:15pm ET
The Chesapeake Foodshed Network presents this webinar as a part of their Fall Policy Series. These webinars with follow up Q&A are designed for Food Policy Councils, grassroots coalitions, young farmer coalitions, nonprofit food and farm organizations, and food and farm lobbyists. Register here

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics: Youth Engagement through Farm to School
December 7 // 2-3pm ET
Farm to school initiatives across the country are changing the way young people view and consume fresh, local foods and interact with their community. This month’s focus on youth engagement through farm to school will highlight unique approaches and initiatives to engage youth in their communities and food systems and empower youth to be leaders and active voices in the farm to school movement. Join us for the webinar to hear speakers from as they discuss initiatives, best practices, resources and more to boost youth engagement in farm to school. Register here

3. Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program Application Process

December 12 // 1pm ET
Join this webinar led by New Entry staff as we walk through the various components of application submission for your BFRDP grant. This webinar will cover aspects of the application package as well as navigating grants.gov. Register here

4. Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Summit

January 25-26, 2018 // Silverton, Oregon
Registration is now open for the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Summit. Join this two day conference with workshops, speakers, resources and networking opportunities to learn about farm and garden based education and incorporating local food in school meals. Learn more here


Action Items

1. Last call for workshop & poster proposals - 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Today, Tuesday, Nov. 14, is the last day to submit workshop and poster ideas for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, coming to Cincinnati, OH, April 25-27, 2018. Individuals and organizations working to to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, advance equity and increase opportunities for farmers are encouraged to submit proposals. The submission deadline is 8pm ET on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Learn more here

2. Join the FoodCorps Action Alert List

 You’re already an evangelist for healthy food in schools and now there is another way you can be a voice for change. FoodCorps has launched an Action Center where you can sign on to support policies and actions that will ensure kids can grow up healthy and reach their full potential. Visit the Action Center or join their action alert list today by texting FOODCORPS to 52886.

3. Help compiling list of organizations addressing racial equity in food system
New Entry Sustainable Farming Projecting is seeking to compile a list of organizations that are actively implementing initiatives to address racial equity in food systems (as opposed to articles, reading, resources, etc. which there are a lot of as well!). Please, email Kristen Aldrich at Kristen.Aldrich@tufts.edu if you have suggestions. 


Job Opportunities

1. Executive Director, The Vermont Community Garden Network
The Vermont Community Garden Network seeks a full-time Executive Director to be based in Burlington, VT. The ED reports to the Board of Directors, and works with the Board and Staff to establish the mission, vision, strategic plan, and long term sustainability and success of VCGN. Learn more and apply

2. Quality Assurance Specialist, La Montanita Coop. 

The Quality Assurance Specialist maintains all Quality Management Systems related to La Montañita’s Distribution Center (DC). This position also oversees La Montañita’s Group GAP program. Learn more and apply

3. Outreach and Development Director, Southern SAWG

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (Southern SAWG) is seeking an Outreach and Development Director to shape the organization’s messaging and build a strong plan for long term funding development. Southern residence is required for the successful candidate. Learn more and apply


Farm to School in the News
Louisiana school garden growing citrus for school lunch

Liberty’s Kitchen has launched a program giving students access to fresh fruits and veggies while educating the community about healthy choices, nutrition and farming. The Liberty’s School Garden is one of three farm-to-school initiatives in development by Liberty’s Kitchen, which serves 3,500 meals a day in partner schools through the School Nutrition Program. (Mid-City Messenger)

New policy language, dedicated coordinator help expand Minnesota school garden efforts

Renee Willemsen was hired to coordinate the various school efforts. She helped write the policy language that seeks to enhance nutritional and educational experiences of kids through the use of locally grown produce and school garden experiences. (Duluth News Tribune)

South Dakota geodome and aquaponics

In 2015, the Wagner school district built a 42-foot long geodome and started an aquaponics program for use in the school's science departments. Since then, students have created a community garden, installed a drainage system and completed various unique projects, prompting South Dakota Public Broadcasting to reach out to high school science teacher and geodome coordinator Carrie Tucek, who spearheaded the project. (Mitchell Republic

75 Georgia school districts win Golden Radish Awards for farm to school accomplishments 

Last month, Georgia farm to school partners came together to celebrate over 40 percent of Georgia school districts with outstanding farm to school programs. Seventy-five school districts, serving more than one million students in Georgia, are now participating in farm to school. The Golden Radish Award publicly recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school, from local food procurement to hosting taste tests and gardening with students. (Georgia Organics

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.

This Week in Farm to School: 11/07/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 07, 2017
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 FY 2018 Farm to School Grant RFA 
The USDA FY 2018 Farm to School Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. Applications are due Dec. 8, 2017. Learn more here

2. Annie’s Grants for Gardens

Annie's believes that showing future generations how sustainable food is grown can change their lives. Connecting kids to gardens helps them to start thinking more holistically about their food, their communities, and the planet. Want a garden? Apply today! Applications are due November 11, 2017. Learn more here

3. Carton 2 Garden Contest

Schools can compete to win one of several prize packages by repurposing 100 or more empty milk and juice cartons in their existing school gardens or by creating novel school gardens. Each garden will be judged for its creativity and incorporation of sustainable practices. The deadline for Carton 2 Garden contest submissions is Monday, April 16, 2018. More information about the contest, including its official rules, can be found at www.carton2garden.com.


Events & Webinars
1. Webinar: Planting Garlic & Other Fall Garden Tips
November 9 // 4:30-5:30pm ET
Join Jennica Skoug and Stefanie Bugasch Scopoline from the Wisconsin School Garden Network as they introduce how to plant garlic and discuss fall garden tips and activities. Specific topics will include: mulching and cover cropping, seed saving, fall fruit tree maintenance, preparing perennials for winter, and example fall activities for students from the Goodman Youth Farm program AND of course, planting garlic! Sign-up here

2. Webinar: "Carrying the Message of Farmers: Lobbying for Change on Behalf of Farmers Interests"
November 14 // 12-1:15pm ET
The Chesapeake Foodshed Network presents this webinar as a part of their Fall Policy Series. These webinars with follow up Q&A are designed for Food Policy Councils, grassroots coalitions, young farmer coalitions, nonprofit food and farm organizations, and food and farm lobbyists. Learn more and register here

3. Webinar: Montana Beef to School
November 15 // 4pm ET
Montana Office of Public Instruction invites you to learn about successful strategies for purchasing and serving local beef in Montana schools. This webinar will provide information about the Montana Beef to School Project’s findings and resources as well as give participants the first look at beef to school procurement templates. Participants can join (no preregistration needed) at: http://connect.opi.mt.gov/webinarwednesdays/

4. National Good Food Network Conference and Call for Proposals
March 27-30 2018 // Albuquerque, NM 
The National Good Food Network Conference is the only conference in the US with a central focus on the success of food hubs. This event will convene 500 food hub managers, staff and supporters of all types to dig deep into the nuts and bolts of running hubs, financing, technology, and enhancing their triple bottom line impacts. Learn more about the Call for Conference Proposals here.

5. National Children & Youth Garden Symposium 
July 11-14 2018 // Ithaca, NY
The National Children & Youth Garden Symposium is the only national event of its kind where you can network with like-minded teachers, garden designers, community leaders, program coordinators, and others involved with connecting kids to the natural world.  NCYGS 2018 attendees will have the opportunity to explore topics ranging from curriculum to program management to garden design and maintenance during four dynamic days of educational sessions, field trips, and expert keynote presentations. Learn more here


Action Item
1. Call for Workshop & Poster Proposals - 9th Farm to Cafeteria Conference
The 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Cincinnati, OH, April 25-27, 2017! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene more than 1,000 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Conference organizers are seeking workshop and poster proposals from individuals and organizations working to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, advance equity and increase opportunities for farmers. Learn more information about proposal submissions here. Proposals are due no later than 8pm ET on Nov. 14, 2017.

2. Wallace Center seeking food systems mentors
Calling all mentors! The Community Based Food Systems Team at the Wallace Center is excited to announce that they’re starting a food systems mentoring program! They are seeking nominations of those individuals you would approach for advice, and who you believe would be interested in “paying it forward” as a mentor. They are also happy to receive applications directly from individuals interested in serving in this capacity. Please click here for more information. Applications are due November 17, 2017.


Resources 

1. Qaqamiiĝux̂: Head Start Traditional Foods Preschool Curriculum
Qaqamiigux: Head Start Traditional Foods Preschool Curriculum” provides a series of lessons and activities that preschool teachers can use to teach the nutritional value of the local, traditional foods in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands Region. The aim is to provide culturally-relevant nutrition curriculum specific to the foods in the region.

2. Water Footprint Calculator 
Since 2015, GRACE’s award-winning Water Footprint Calculator has helped hundreds of thousands of people figure out how much water they use every day, including both tap water and the virtual water in the food they eat, the energy they use and the products they buy. Now, we’re releasing our updated calculator by combining it with over 100 water saving tips, numerous deep-dive articles about important water footprint topics and multiple resources for educators and students to use in the classroom.


Job Opportunities
1. Professor of Animal Science and Sustainable Agriculture, Warren Wilson College
Warren Wilson College seeks applicants for a full-time faculty position with joint appointment in the Departments of Biology and Environmental Studies. The successful applicant must be able to teach animal anatomy and/or physiology, introductory biology, and animal-related courses in their specialty that will support Warren Wilson College’s thriving Sustainable Agriculture program. Learn more here

2. Executive Director, Amagansett Food Institute

Amagansett Food institute seeks to hire an Executive Director. The mission of the Amagansett Food Institute (AFI) is to support, promote, and advocate for the farmers, vintners, fishermen, and other food producers and providers on the East End of Long Island. Learn more

3. Director of Horticulture, Green City Growers

Green City Growers seeks to hire a Director of Horticulture. The Director of Horticulture oversees the planting and maintenance of GCG’s 125 urban farm sites throughout the greater Boston area. Read more


Farm to School in the News
From Phở to Fajitas, School Lunches Feed a Diverse Nation
Cafeterias have begun to incorporate ingredients like wild rice and buffalo and serve items ranging from poi to fajitas. From Vermont to Hawaii, food service directors across the country are devising an array of solutions to the lack of diversity in school food. Whether through catering to traditional dietary cultures or teaching kids about native foods and their preparation, school food programs are beginning to see their students’ once-marginalized cultural traditions and dietary needs of as a wealth of opportunity. (Civil Eats)

Florida hosts farmers markets for elementary schools

As part of National Farm-to-School month, Chartwells, Bay District Schools’ food service provider, has been hosting farmers markets at elementary schools all across the district, partnering with local farms to expose students to fresh fruit and vegetables. (Panama City News Herald

Las Vegas Farm program lets students learn hands-on from animals

Life sciences teacher Kimberly Law helped start an animal program more than 10 years ago with a couple of snakes, which were offered as a way for students to gain a hands-on, real-life study of the subject. Her class, which she began teaching full-time in 2012, has since expanded to include an “animal lab” classroom with exotic birds, reptiles and rodents, as well as a farm outside with desert tortoises, ducks, chickens and other animals. (Las Vegas 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.

Farm to School Month Roundup: 31 Days of Action for Farm to School

NFSN Staff Wednesday, November 01, 2017

For the past 31 days, millions of schools, farmers and communities across the country have been celebrating the movement that’s connecting kids to fresh, healthy food and supporting local economies. From Florida to Alaska and everywhere in between, people are recognizing the power of farm to school to benefits kids, farmers and communities. That’s what National Farm to School Month is all about! 

This year’s campaign celebrated the small actions that people take every day to get involved and support farm to school and farm to early care and education in their communities. Through our Farm to School Month “Take Action Pledge,” we heard from hundreds of people across the country about the action steps they took in October:

  • Invited parents to join students for a lunch of fresh collard greens and South Carolina grown sweet potatoes – South Carolina
  • Worked to build an active Farm to School Committee that helps connect community entities and passionate people – Michigan
  • Continued to teach my daycare center children about the importance of growing vegetables by turning a recycled crib into a raised garden bed – New York
  • Incorporated produce from our own school greenhouse into school lunch menu and salad bar – Maine
  • Hosted a Fall Harvest Party in the school garden, featuring tasty treats using produce from the garden, reading from a garden-themed book together, and farmers who shared their stories with students – Iowa
At the National Farm to School Network, we’ve been leading Farm to School Month celebrations by sharing farm to school inspiration and stories from partners organizations including Alliance for a Healthier Generation, National CACFP Sponsors Association, The NEA Foundation, School Nutrition Association, USDA Office of Community Food Systems and Youth Empowered Solutions. Thanks to special support from CoBank, we also shared several stories about how small farmers across the country are experiencing the benefits of farm to school, such as new market opportunities, expanded profit margins, and consistent buyers for their products

On social media, we celebrated with a #FarmtoSchool101 tweet chat to spread awareness and generated new support for the movement. More than 289 people joined the conversation on social media, sharing stories about the positive impact farm to school has in their communities. On Instagram, we hosted #TakeoverTuesdays with Strike Farms, Loudoun County School Nutrition, and FoodCorps to share what farm to school looks like for the folks who do it every day! 


Millions of students celebrated Farm to School Month by crunch into fresh, local food with events like the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, Hawai’i CHOMP, Florida Cucumber Crunch and Montana Crunch Time. Policymakers from Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Vermont made proclamations declaring October Farm to School Month in their states. In Georgia, kids learned about planting, harvesting and cooking legumes with Georgia Organic’s “Make Room for Legumes” celebration. In Massachusetts, farm to school advocates gathered at the State House for a Farm to School Awareness Day and announcement of their 2017 Kale Blazer Award. In Alaska, schools celebrated farm to school every week in October by focusing on a different Alaska agricultural products, such as tubers and roots (Eskimo potatoes), meat (Caribou) and leaves (fiddlehead ferns). We could keep going! 


Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you, taking small actions every day to bring more local food sourcing and food and agriculture education to students across the nation. There are 334 days to continue growing and strengthening the movement before Farm to School Month 2018! Help us keep the momentum going by joining our network and stay up-to-date on the latest stories, new resources, policy actions, learning opportunities – like the upcoming 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, April 25-27, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Healthy kids, thriving farms and vibrant communities are worth taking action for every day!

Thank you to this year’s National Farm to School Month sponsors - CoBank, Territory Foods, Captain Planet Foundation, Organic Valley, Perdue, Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Stand2Learn and High Mowing Organic Seeds - as well as the Featured Partner and Outreach Partner organizations that are helping us spread the word about farm to school throughout October. And, thanks to you for being a farm to school champion in your community.

This Week in Farm to School: 10/31/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 31, 2017
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 FY 2018 Farm to School Grant RFA 
The USDA FY 2018 Farm to School Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. Applications are due Dec. 8, 2017. Learn more here

2. Support available for USDA Farm to School Grant Applicants
The National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring it reaches the communities that need this funding most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance to potential applicants in the areas of: planning and preparing the application; customized support for Native communities; evaluation; and, focus on early care and education / pre-K. The deadline to express interest in receiving assistance from the National Farm to School Network on a consultation basis is November 8, 2017. Learn more here


Events & Webinars
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Harvest of the Month 
Thursday, November 2 // 2-3pm ET
States across the country are developing Harvest of the Month programs including curriculum and resources to make it easier for schools, teachers, students and families to join in on farm to school fun. Though different from state to state, Harvest of the Month programs generally highlight a new seasonal product each month with activities, recipes, growing tips and many more resources designed to engage stakeholders and celebrate seasonal, local food. Join us for the National Farm to School Network’s November Trending Topics Webinar where we will hear from four different states about their Harvest of the Month journey. Learn about successful initiatives, best practices, and resources for developing or implementing Harvest of the Month in your school or even across your state. Register here.

2. North Carolina Food Council Gathering
Nov. 30 - Dec. 1 // Bermuda Run, NC
It’s time for another Statewide Food Council Gathering to celebrate the successes of the growing network of food councils across North Carolina!  Join us in building a network, strategy, and collective skills to improve our community’s food system. This event is being hosted in collaboration with the North Carolina Local Food Council and several local food councils across North Carolina. Register here
3. Beginning Farmer and Rancher Online Virtual Conference
December 4-7 
Join the National Farmers Union for their annual, nationally focused online conference: Growing for the Future. This FREE four-day online conference is focused on developing agricultural leaders from all backgrounds, and provides an opportunity for beginning farmers to acquire the skills they need to run a successful operation. Register here


Action Items
1. Call for Workshop & Poster Proposals - 9th Farm to Cafeteria Conference
The 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Cincinnati, OH, April 25-27,2017! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene more than 1,000 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Conference organizers are seeking workshop and poster proposals from individuals and organizations working to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, advance equity and increase opportunities for farmers. Learn more information about proposal submissions here. Proposals are due no later than 8pm ET on Nov. 14, 2017.


Resources & Research
1. Race and Food are Intertwined. Here’s How We Can Do Better.
“We spend as little as 6 to 12 percent of our disposable income on food. That is usually quoted as something that we should be very proud of. But it should be a national shame,” Ricardo Salvador (NFSN Advisor Board and senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists) said. “It’s as if the workers involved in the food industry and nature that is required to produce the food were costs to be minimized…We need to find a way in which we actually value all of those resources—the land and the people that are involved.” One of the long-simmering questions facing those striving for better food for all is how to go beyond voting with your fork? Is it possible to create a new food system that does not rely on exploitation? Read more here

2. University of Michigan 2017 Sustainable Food Systems Progress Report
The University of Michigan is in a unique position as a non-land-grant, tier-1 research institution with a strong and growing foundation in transdisciplinary sustainable food systems work. This report highlights the impacts from the collaboration of several different campus partners including: Research and Teaching (UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative), Student Leadership (UM Sustainable Food Program), UM Campus Farm, and Dining and Operations. Read more

3. New Organic Management Resource Available from SARE
SARE’s new Organic Production topic room assists organic producers who are struggling to manage pests, fertility and tillage in compliance with stringent organic standards. Including a wide range of free materials developed by SARE, SARE grant recipients and experts in the field. 


Job Opportunities
1. Multiple Positions, NASDA
NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government, and stakeholders. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is seeking a Public Policy Coordinator and an Associate Director for Public Policy to be based in DC. 

2. Agriculture Specialist/ outreach Coordinator, NCAT Northeast Region
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking an Agriculture Specialist/Outreach Coordinator who can create and distribute outreach communications for communities in the Northeast region.  The specialist will assist farmers in adopting sustainable agricultural practices to build healthier and more profitable farms and communities while helping to improve environmental conditions for all. Learn more here

3. Teaching Farm Manager, North Country School

North Country School and Camp Treetops seek a full-time Teaching Farm Manager to oversee a year-round farm program intended for both food production and education of middle school aged children. Learn more and apply


Farm to School in the News
Kentucky kids grow and prepare their own food
Barren County Schools celebrated National Farm to School Month today, with a Local Brunch for Lunch meal. "We had the kids make breakfast casseroles like I said, with the herbs and the peppers from the garden. We also used some leeks from the garden too, which was really neat because the kids had not had experience with that before." (WBKO)

Pennsylvania Family-Consumer Sciences Students Plant, Harvest, Cook Fresh Produce 
Students taking Family and Consumer Sciences classes at Radnor Middle School have a new source for ingredients in the meals they make in class, as a new garden outside the classroom has been providing them with produce they planted, harvested, and cooked with themselves. (Patch.com)

Why Indiana schools need gardens!

Growing food is as important a life skill as managing money, maintaining a car, or successfully interviewing for a job; and doing this, at school, through the act of tending a garden is a perfectly perfect way to teach sustainability and use one’s own place to allow rich learning experiences to occur. (Getting Smart)

New Jersey students learn about fresh food through Farm to School Month

How does food get into your lunchbox or onto your plate? Students in schools across the region are finding out through demonstrations and taste-tests with local chefs as part of National Farm to School Month. “I think it’s so quickly that we all forget what it takes to get food to the table or to the cafeteria,” said Laura Englemann, community health and wellness manager for AtlantiCare. (Press of Atlantic City)


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.

5 Tips for Celebrating Farm to School Month

NFSN Staff Friday, October 27, 2017


By Wendy Allen, Organic Valley

One of our favorite things about National Farm to School Month is October’s abundance of farm-fresh foods, many in a rainbow of colors that children don’t often associate with food. Apples in colors other than red; carrots in colors other than orange; white, yellow—even blue!—potatoes fresh from the soil. And nothing beats the flavor of vine-ripened, heirloom tomatoes in hues of red, orange, yellow and purple.
Schools that source local foods are providing an educational experience for our children that goes way beyond the classroom. Not only are the varied colors of unique, local foods beautiful, each color represents vital nutrients for growing bodies. Best of all, a rainbow-colored plate supports local farmers whose kids may be in your own child’s class. Schools that go one step further to source local and organic are also supporting a way of farming that reduces the use of chemicals on our food, our land and, therefore, in our children’s vulnerable bodies.

Here are a few more of our favorite ways you can participate in National Farm to School Month in your homes and communities!

Harvest the season’s bounty. Visit a local apple orchard or pumpkin patch and pick your own. Many children these days don’t connect that their food comes from the soil or animals rather than the store shelf. Teach them this valuable lesson with a fun and colorful fall experience! 

Know your farmer. Meet a farmer at the farmers market and learn the story behind your food. Ask them questions: Where is your farm? What’s your favorite part of your job? What can my family do to support you and other local farmers? Is your farmers market closed for the season? Look into fall and winter “community supported agriculture” (CSA) shares to get local foods nearly year-round. Find a CSA farm new you at www.localharvest.org.

Be a leader! If your local school doesn’t have a farm to school program, talk to the school administrators about starting one! You can use the National Farm to School Network’s excellent “Benefits of Farm to School” resource to help explain why farm to school is a win-win-win for kids, farmers and communities! In addition, many states have organizations that help install gardens, and schools can get free curriculum to connect science, nutrition, health and physical education classes with their gardens. Here’s a resource from Organic Valley’s home state of Wisconsin, which any state could use to get started:

  • The Got Dirt? Gardening Initiative provides a toolkit with step-by-step plans for starting a community, school or childcare garden. To bring the classroom to the garden, the program also created the Got Veggies? Garden Based Nutrition Curriculum, which is a free download. Download both toolkits here
  • For additional curricular resources, visit the National Farm to School Network resource library.
  • Know of other great resources? Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!
Grow your own! Start small with a window herb garden, a manageable space in the backyard, or even vegetables that are suited for pots on the porch. A great kids’ activity! Volunteer to visit your local school to help students plant their own classroom herb garden. 

Cook together. Cooking can be a great learning experience. Encourage lots of colors for balanced nutrition, and talk about where the foods came from – does your child know that butter comes from cream, which is part of milk, which came from a cow? Talk about it while making your own butter!

National Farm to School Month is a great time to engage with your child’s classrooms and encourage teachers to work in food and farming education. It’s so important to help our children learn to appreciate where our food comes from and the hard work it takes to bring that food to our tables.

Organic Valley is a 2017 National Farm to School Month sponsor, and happy to support the National Farm to School Network in its efforts to support family farming and teach children about where our food comes from.

Farm to School Brings a Consistent Market to this Kansas Farm

NFSN Staff Thursday, October 26, 2017


By Molly Schintler, Communications Intern

Growing up in suburban Dallas, Jill Elmers felt far from farm country. Even as a young adult, she did not envision her life as a farmer. Jill began her career as an engineer, got burned out, and took time off to farm in 2000. Ever since her first season, she has had a little bit of land every year. Then in 2006, Jill saved up enough money to buy her own farmland. Today, she owns and operates Moon on the Meadow Farm in Lawrence, Kansas. 

Moon on the Meadow is a six-acre, certified organic farm growing a variety of produce including: fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers. In addition to Jill, up to six employees work at the farm, some seasonally and a few year round. Through the use of season extension techniques such a tunnels, Jill is able to produce all year for the farm’s retail and wholesale markets including: farmers markets, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and farm to school. 

This is the farm’s second year selling to local schools, and Jill says that this business relationship has given her farm a consistently reliable market. “The core items that they (schools) buy, they know how much they need every week, and so those sales are consistent.”  Last year, the farm sold cucumbers and cherry tomatoes to the Lawrence schools, and this year they have added romaine, cilantro, and winter salad mix. 

Jill is one of a number of U.S. farmers discovering the economic benefits of farm to school. Economic Impacts of Farm to School: Case Studies and Assessment Tools, a recent report from the National Farm to School Network and Colorado University, examines the economic impact of local purchasing and provides new insight into the potential for farm to school procurement to positively impact local economies. This report finds that not only were surveyed farmers satisfied or very satisfied with most aspects of farm to school sales, but farm to school farms purchase more inputs from the local economy, which results in positive local economic impact. Beyond the economics, farm to school has far-reaching and positive impacts for students, farmers, and communities

Jill is happy that farm to school has secured her a more reliable farm income; however, she was quick to explain that farm to school is about so much more than that. The team at Moon on the Meadow Farm is proud to supply healthy, organic food to the schools surrounding them. Since the farm is located eleven blocks from the center of Lawrence, the schools that this urban farm supplies actually surround it. Jill’s favorite farm to school moments are when students make the trip to the farm. Specifically, the Lawrence 7th grade health students who take a field trip in the fall and spring.  Jill explained that the students not only inspire her but all of her farm’s workers. It seems some type of poetic that the students inspire Jill and her team, because I am most certain that the farm inspires the students - maybe even a future farmer or two.

The National Farm to School Network thanks CoBank for their generous support of this blog and our 2017 National Farm to School Month celebrations!

This Week in Farm to School: 10/24/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 24, 2017
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 FY 2018 Farm to School Grant RFA 
The USDA FY 2018 Farm to School Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. Applications are due Dec. 8, 2017. Learn more here

2. Support available for USDA Farm to School Grant Applicants
The National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring it reaches the communities that need this funding most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance to potential applicants in the areas of: planning and preparing the application; customized support for Native communities; evaluation; and, focus on early care and education / pre-K. The deadline to express interest in receiving assistance from the National Farm to School Network on a consultation basis is November 8, 2017. Learn more here

3. KidsGardening 2018 Youth Garden Grants
The 2018 Youth Garden Grant is an award designed to support school and youth educational garden projects that enhance the quality of life for students and their communities. Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. Applications are due December 8, 2017. Learn more and apply

4. Whole Kids Foundation's School Garden Grant
Created in partnership with FoodCorps, the Garden Grant program provides a $2,000 monetary grant to support a new or existing edible garden at either a K-12 school, 501(c)(3) Non-profit working in partnership with a K-12 school, or 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The application period is open September 1, 2017 through October 31, 2017. Learn more here


Events & Webinars
1. October is National Farm to School Month!
National Farm to School month is here! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials, activity ideas and a new calendar of events for ways you can get involved in October. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to get involved. 

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Harvest of the Month 
Thursday, November 2 // 2-3pm ET
States across the country are developing Harvest of the Month programs including curriculum and resources to make it easier for schools, teachers, students and families to join in on farm to school fun. Though different from state to state, Harvest of the Month programs generally highlight a new seasonal product each month with activities, recipes, growing tips and many more resources designed to engage stakeholders and celebrate seasonal, local food. Join us for the National Farm to School Network’s November Trending Topics Webinar where we will hear from four different states about their Harvest of the Month journey. Learn about successful initiatives, best practices, and resources for developing or implementing Harvest of the Month in your school or even across your state. Register here.

3. 2017 Ohio Food Policy Summit
November 6 //  The Ohio State University 
The Ohio Food Policy Summit is an annual event geared toward collaboration and conversation. Any stakeholder involved in food system work in our state is encouraged to attend. Whether you are a member of your local Food Policy Council, involved in a farmers' market or farm-to-school food hub program, or a concerned consumer, this gathering is meant for you. Learn more and register here

4. Community Food Systems Conference
December 5-7 // Boston, Mass. 
Register today for the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project's 2017 Community Food Systems Conference, December 5-7 in Boston, MA! This conference will address common underlying themes between food security, social justice and sustainable agriculture including obstacles in urban and rural environments and fostering community empowerment to create and sustain resilient local food systems. Learn more and register here


Action Items
1. Call for Workshop & Poster Proposals - 9th Farm to Cafeteria Conference
The 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Cincinnati, OH, April 25-27,2017! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene more than 1,000 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Conference organizers are seeking workshop and poster proposals from individuals and organizations working to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, advance equity and increase opportunities for farmers. Learn more information about proposal submissions here. Proposals are due no later than 8pm ET on Nov. 14, 2017.

2. National Farm to School Month's Take Action Pledge
Celebrate National Farm to School Month by adding your name to the National Farm to School Network's Take Action Pledge! Sign the pledge and you’ll be entered to win our Farm to School Month sweepstakes! Ten winners will receive a prize package that includes: assets from the Captain Planet Foundation Project Learning Garden™ program, a Stand2Learn student standing desk, and a collection of seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds. No action is too small – take the pledge now

3. 2018 Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes: Call for Nominations

Your help is needed in identifying the 2018 School Nutrition Heroes! Do you know an SNA member who goes above and beyond his/her/their responsibilities to make a difference in the community? We need you to tell us about this extraordinary person. The Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes will be held for the 5th year on Monday, March 5, 2018 during SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC). We are looking for the five special SNA members who will be recognized at the Celebration. Nominate your School Nutrition Hero today.


Resources & Research
1. New Farm to School Recipes from the Chef Ann Foundation
Chef Ann Foundation has added 50 new, farm to school recipes and 6 one-week menu cycles to its wide range of tools and resources, including some of the first recipes and menu cycles that count towards the USDA meal patterns for Pre-K that went into effect this fall. The recipes can be scaled for any number of servings, and include the full cost analysis for a school or district’s size in addition to the cost per serving - making it easier to plan budgets while incorporating new recipes. Learn more here

2. Process evaluation of a farm-to-preschool program in New York City
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene piloted a farm-to-preschool program for low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-eligible children and their families at 9 childcare centers in New York City. The program made local produce available for purchase at the preschools, offered nutrition education to parents and childcare center staff, and offered children’s gardening activities in participating classrooms. Process evaluation strategies included tracking produce sales, redemption of produce coupons provided with nutrition education, and nutrition education workshop attendance, as well as cross-sectional surveys with parents and staff, childcare center directors, nutrition educators, and childcare center teachers. This article describes the program model, shares process evaluation data, and summarizes lessons learned from this program.

3. Michigan State University's 2017 Sustainable Food Systems Progress Report
The University of Michigan is in a unique position as a non-land-grant, tier-1 research institution with a strong and growing foundation in transdisciplinary sustainable food systems work. This report highlights the impacts from the collaboration of several different campus partners including: Research and Teaching (UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative), Student Leadership (UM Sustainable Food Program), UM Campus Farm, and Dining and Operations. Read more


Job Opportunities
1. Marketing Specialist, FARMroots
FARMroots (the NYC Greenmarket’s technical assistance program)  is seeking to hire a Marketing Specialist. This position requires a nuanced understanding of agricultural marketing in the Northeast, including supply chains for various farm types and emerging marketing channels. Learn more and apply

2. Regional and Sustainable Food Systems Manager, Boston College Dining
Boston College seeks to fill the position of Regional and Sustainable Food Systems Manager. The position supports the implementation of Dining Services’ “Regional and Sustainable Roadmap and Action Plan”. Will research, consult, and assist procurement strategy for regional and sustainable sourcing with the Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services and BC Dining Services Management Team. Learn more and apply

3. Real Food Challenge hiring for multiple positions
Real Food Challenge is seeking to hire a Northeast Regional Coordinator as well as a Digital Strategy and Northeast Coordinator. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until November 20. Positions are based out of Boston, MA, though it may be possible to work remotely with occasional in-person meetings in the Boston area. 

4. FoodCorps hiring for multiple positions

FoodCorps is a fast-growing national nonprofit that provides a scalable response to the epidemics of childhood obesity and food insecurity, while training a new generation of leaders in the fields of food, health, education and sustainability. Read more about FoodCorps' job openings


Farm to School in the News
Students produce what is believed to be biggest sweet potato grown in South Carolina

School nurse Carolyn Hendrix said this is the first year Carlisle-Foster’s Grove Elementary had a school garden, created by a student club called the Green Team. Their goals did not include setting a state record, she said, but that is apparently the case with their sweet potato. It weighs 12 pounds, 45 ounces, which she likens to a “heavy baby.” (Charlotte Observer)

Locally sourced fruits, vegetables produce big results for Ohio district
Since becoming a Farm to School district, the amount of fresh produce being eaten has greatly increased, Nieset said. “We have also had many positive comments from parents who call and say things like ‘My child now says broccoli is their favorite vegetable,’ or, ‘I cannot believe my child is eating cherry tomatoes or cucumbers, when we were at the grocery they requested we buy them for at home.’” (Sandusky Register)

Olive Branch "Garden Party" in Mississippi

"My third-graders grow corn and peas and okra," said Willis. "We were hoping to expand our garden so the kids could expand the crops. We want to have enough where a class can grow an entire meal. One child talked about his grandmother who cooked food. We want that community involvement with kids and how they cook at home." (Desoto Times)

Hawaii asks, "Can school gardens get kids to eat their vegetables?" 
“When you grow your own carrot, you eat it top to bottom,” said Natalie McKinney, the executive director of Kokua Hawaii. “We want the kids to be contributors to a healthy food system, to be able to want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.” (Civil Beat)

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.

Tower Garden Grows More Than Plants

NFSN Staff Monday, October 23, 2017
By Jesse Graytock, Program Manager, The NEA Foundation
Students walking by the window to Sabrina Sullivan Conner’s classroom were perplexed. The large white column that they saw didn’t seem to make any sense. Was it a birdhouse? A piece of a maintenance equipment? Some sort of elaborate game board?

It turns out that it was simply a way to bring farming not just to schools, but to have it in schools. At Strongsville Middle School in Strongsville, Ohio Mrs. Conner, an intervention specialist who works with students with moderate to intensive disabilities, used a $2,000 grant from the NEA Foundation to work with her students to build a tower garden in their classroom. The tower, which pumps water through a central base and then filters it up to twenty different vegetables and herbs, allowed students to grow crops year-round and served as an invaluable hands-on learning tool.

Students were responsible for building the tower, choosing and planting the vegetables and herbs, and maintaining the system, which included pruning, checking water levels, filling the tank, and harvesting. “We wanted to teach healthy living and vocational skills to individuals with autism, Down syndrome, and multiple disabilities,” said Mrs. Conner. “I want my students to have access to opportunities to build skills to help them eventually live independently.”

In addition to acting as a catalyst for experiential learning, the garden also led to a significant change in students’ eating habits. Once the province of chocolate and pretzels, snack periods morphed into sessions with tomatoes, spinach, and thyme. But this transition was not without some hiccups.

“At first they were very confused,” remembers Mrs. Conner. “Most of my students have autism and are very rigid with their diets. Some of them have never really tried fresh vegetables. Many have never given a thought to the growing process – they only knew that vegetables came from the store.”

As time passed, and as students began to realize the fruits (and veggies) of their labor, attitudes changed. One student developed a deep love for basil. Others enjoyed sliced cucumbers with a light dressing. Every week, a group of students would choose a recipe, make a list of ingredients, and cook a meal for each other. Their pride in the garden was palpable. 

After a few months of having the tower in the window, students in the general education population began to ask how they could get involved. Eventually more than 100 students signed up to volunteer to assist their special needs peers with planting and harvesting.

The success of the project can’t be measured simply by students’ new appreciation for vocational skills, healthy living, and life science (although that was clear). For Mrs. Conner, the deep impact comes in the form of watching her students embrace this type of hands-on learning and turn it into a self-directed odyssey. “I’ll catch them smelling the plants and trimming off dead leaves or overgrowth independently and unprompted,” she recalls.

“They inspire me every day.”

Sabrina Sullivan is an intervention specialist at Strongsville Middle School in Strongsville, Ohio. She and thousands of other educators throughout the country have received a grant from the NEA Foundation. To apply for a $2,000 or $5,000 grant for classroom projects or professional development endeavors, visit www.neafoundation.org
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