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National Farm to School Network

News

This Week in Farm to School: 4/18/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 18, 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. United Fresh Start Foundation Community Grants Program
The United Fresh Start Foundation is now accepting applications for its new Community Grants Program, established to help advance the organization’s mission to increase children’s access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Not-for-profit organizations focused on child nutrition, food access and creating healthy communities through increased access to fresh produce, can download the grant application here. Applications are due by April 20, 2017.


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: School Garden Program Sustainability and Finances
April 25, 1pm PST
School gardens are tremendously popular and valuable resources, but these programs often face questions about if they can continue year-to-year. In this Webinar, the National School Garden Network will discuss dedicated garden program staffing, community engagement, and other factors that lead to programmatic sustainability. You’ll also learn from successful initiatives to secure corporate sponsorships; community partnerships; legislation; and school or district-level investments that lead to financial sustainability. Learn more and register here

2. Every Kid Healthy Week
April 24-28
Join us in celebrating Every Kid Healthy Week, April 24-28! Launched by Action for Healthy Kids in 2013, Every Kid Healthy Week is a time for schools, students, parents and communities to recognize their school’s wellness achievements through fun and interactive health-promoting events. Find more info and get involved at EveryKidHealthyWeek.org.

3. Request for Proposals: Southern Obesity Summit
October 1-3 // Atlanta, Georgia
The Southern Obesity Summit Planning Committee invites individual applications for pre-conference sessions, breakout sessions, special sessions and Pillar workgroup sessions during the 11th Annual Southern Obesity Summit. These sessions  will help attendees develop strategies and provide resources and tools to use in their work to reverse the obesity epidemic through working together with other southern states. The deadline for submissions in May 1. Learn more here


Resources
1. Webinar Recording: Statewide Farm to ECE Network Building
Statewide network building is a key approach to institutionalizing farm to ECE. Watch a recording of the April NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar to hear from farm to ECE leaders who share models from their states and identify keys to success in building statewide networks. Watch the recording here


Action Opportunities
1. Be Counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture
In just a few months, America’s farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their operations and communities by taking part in the Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census captures a complete count of all U.S. Farms and ranches and those who operate them. NASS is in the final stage for preparing the 2017 Census of Agriculture mailing list. If you are new to farming or didn’t receive a 2012 Census of Agriculture questionnaire there is still time to be counted by signing up at https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/cgi-bin/counts/.  Simply click on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button below and provide the requested information.


Farm to School in the News
Hawaii farm to school program awarded NFSN grant
Mala‘ia Kula Kauai Farm to School Pilot Program is one of five schools selected for the National Farm to School Network’s Seed Change in Native Communities mini-grants. That means those involved with Mala‘ia Kula will be able to help develop school menus that include traditional foods like kalo; work with native producers for the school food supply chain and plant traditional crops; and break down barriers and reinvigorate traditional food philosophies. (The Garden Island)

Local farm to school efforts could expand amid state uncertainty
Despite concerns Wisconsin’s farm to school leadership could be cut in the next state budget, local proponents are carrying on with what an expanded outreach of homegrown healthy food selections. "What's happening in the classrooms and cafes is not going away. We know we have passionate schools and producers committed to farm to school," said Beth Hanna, farm to school director for Community GroundWorks and NFSN Wisconsin Core Partner. "What is at stake is the big picture planning ... needed to continue at significant levels or to scale up." (Green Bay Press-Gazette)

Massachusetts Representative gets a taste of farm to school education
State Representative Dylan Fernandes ate overwintered kale from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School’s garden, and it quickly became a new favorite. “This is truly the best kale I’ve ever had,” Representative Fernandes said during a tour of the school garden last Thursday. (The Martha’s Vineyard Times)

Schools Will Soon Have To Put In Writing If They 'Lunch Shame'
With policies to handle unpaid meals all over the map, the USDA will soon require that all school districts have a policy on what to do when kids can't pay. By July 1, those policies must be in writing and communicated to staff, parents and the community. (NPR)

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. 

Five Mini-Grants Awarded in Native Communities

NFSN Staff Monday, April 17, 2017

The National Farm to School Network’s new Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School project is taking off this month with the selection of five Native schools as mini-grantees. From planting native orchards to serving traditional foods in school meals, the schools will be expanding farm to school activities and leveraging community support to build food security and food sovereignty. Here’s a preview of the projects they’ll be working on:
 
Hardin School District 17H&1Crow Reservation: Crow Nation (Montana)
Partner with local entities and individuals to empower students in learning about traditional foods, preparation, storage and ceremony. Create a native orchard, featuring a variety of native berries, including buffalo berries, june berries and chokecherries.
 
Hydaburg City SchoolHydaburg, Prince of Wales Island: Haida Nation (Alaska)
Connect students with locally grown and traditional foods (such as rutabagas, parsnips and the Haida potato) by expanding the existing school garden to include a greenhouse. In May, students will celebrate Haida Day by giving Elders a tour of the new greenhouse and learning about the village’s old garden site.
 
Indian Township SchoolIndian Township Reservation: Passamaquoddy Tribe (Maine)
Engage students in traditional growing practices by reviving an existing greenhouse and school garden. Students will catch fish to be used as garden fertilizer, and will learn planting techniques like the Three Sisters. Food grown in the garden will supplement the school lunch program, summer food service and elderly food site.
 
Mala`ai Kula: Kaua`i Farm-to-School PilotKaua`i Island: Native Hawaiians (Hawaii)
Support an existing three-year pilot project to create a culturally relevant farm to school program at two Kaua`i schools. On Kaua`i, where 90 percent of food is imported, Mala`ai Kula is helping students build a healthier relationship with traditional food systems through school gardens and locally-grown foods in school meals.
 
Warm Springs K8 Academy Warm Springs Reservation: Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Oregon)
Help students make connections about where food comes from and how it relates to their cultural heritage by planting a school garden and promoting a healthy snacks program. The garden will also be used for science and nutrition education.

Stay tuned to hear more from these schools in the coming months. We'll be sharing their stories and successes in our e-newsletter, social media and here on our blog!
 
 
Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School is made possible with generous support from the Aetna Foundation, a national foundation based in Hartford, Conn. that supports projects to promote wellness, health and access to high-quality health care for everyone.

Celebrating 10 Years and 200 Partners

NFSN Staff Thursday, April 13, 2017

As the National Farm to School Network celebrates our 10-year anniversary, we embark on an exciting new chapter of our work to strengthen and expand the farm to school and early care and education (ECE) movement. It is with great excitement that we announce the selection of nearly 200 partner organizations across all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and, for the first time, U.S. Territories, to serve as our 2017-2019 Core Partners and Supporting Partners.  

Representing non-profits, state agencies, school districts, farms and universities, these partner organizations will work in collaboration with NFSN to advance the farm to school and ECE movement at the local, state and national levels. Serving as the primary contact for farm to school and ECE in their state, D.C. or Territory, Core Partners will take the lead on building capacity and support for farm to school and ECE, and serve as liaisons for information, resources, needs and opportunities with NFSN. Each Core Partner is supported in these activities by up to four Supporting Partner organizations. Together, NFSN’s Core and Supporting Partner organizations are recognized leaders in farm to school and ECE, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with them for the next phase of farm to school and ECE growth and evolution. 

You can connect with your state, D.C. or Territory Core and Supporting Partners here: farmtoschool.org/ournetwork

The selection of Core and Supporting Partners comes at an important juncture in NFSN’s work. The first decade of our efforts focused on developing a strong network of partnerships across sectors, building awareness and increasing activities at the state and regional levels through training, capacity building and policy advocacy. This approach resulted in unprecedented growth for the farm to school movement, with farm to school activities now reaching more than 42,000 schools across the nation. Since 2011, we’ve prioritized ECE settings as touch points for expanding our network and activities. Our 2015 Survey of Early Care and Education Providers indicates farm to ECE activity in 850 sites covering 48 states and Washington, D.C.

While this growth is impressive, we recognize that there remain significant hurdles to expanding access to farm to school and ECE so that it is a norm in all K-12 schools and ECE settings, and its benefits are available to all children and all communities. In the next phase of our work, advancing farm to school and ECE in areas of high-need – including locations with high poverty and obesity rates, high free and reduced price meal eligibility, lack of policy support, weak or nonexistent state networks, and minimal funds to support farm to school and ECE efforts – will be a priority. 

As our name implies, the National Farm to School Network is truly a network – a connected and collaborative group of passionate people working to make healthy kids, thriving farms and vibrant communities a reality in all places across our country. Our network is made up of Core and Supporting Partners, national staff, an Advisory Board and you - our 15,000 members. (Not a member? Sign up here!) We believe that robust movement building is possible only when we work collaboratively across all sectors and locations. So dig in! Meet your Core and Supporting Partners, learn what’s happening in your community and get involved. Get started by visiting our network map and selecting your location. With your engagement, the National Farm to School Network is Growing Stronger Together!

Welcome, Maximilian Merrill!

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The National Farm to School Network is excited to welcome Maximilian A. Merrill, Esq. MS, to our team as Policy Director! As an environmental lawyer, policy analyst, hydrologist and farmer, Maximilian has over a decade of experience in agriculture policy and family farm advocacy at the local, state and federal levels. 

Maximilian gained his passion for agriculture and the environment while growing up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. He has diverse educational and experiential background in agriculture, including undergraduate and graduate degrees in natural resources and hydrology from North Carolina State University, a J.D. from Vermont Law School, and professional experience as a cartographer and wetland scientist. Prior to joining NFSN, Merrill held positions with The Land Trust for Central North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Western Growers. While working with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Merrill designed, implemented and administered the Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, which protects family farms by purchasing agricultural easements and funding agricultural development projects. He also represented agriculture stakeholders on numerous state environmental committees and commissions.

As NFSN’s Policy Director, Maximilian will lead the development and implementation of our organization’s policy priorities, cultivate policymaker and coalition partnerships, and educate and mobilize our partners, members and stakeholders around key policy issues. NFSN serves as the leading voice of the national the farm to school movement, and a principle resource on national, state and local policies that impact farm to school efforts. Maximilian will lead our continued advocacy towards the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization through the Farm to School Act, and will prepare for advocacy for the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization.

When not on Capitol Hill, Maximilian continues to pursue his love of agriculture with regular visits to his once fallow family farm in Pennsylvania, where he spends time pounding in fence posts, reclaiming fields and raising bison. 

Maximilian is based in our Washington, D.C. office. Reach out to him with your policy questions, to brainstorm solutions to policy challenges, to share you successes or to find out how you can get involved in advocating for policy change. Send him a message or say hello at maximilian@farmtoschool.org

This Week in farm to school: 4/11/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 11, 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. Webinar: Statewide Farm to ECE Network Building
Wednesday, April 12, 3:30 – 4:30 PM ET
Statewide farm to early care and education (ECE) network building is a key approach to institutionalizing farm to ECE and increasing opportunities for all children, families, and communities to reap the many benefits of farm to ECE. Join us for the April NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar where we will hear from Emily Jackson of the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network and Erin Croom of the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Coalition who will share models from their states and identify keys to success in building a statewide farm to ECE network. This webinar is open to the public so please share through your networks. Register here.

2. Webinar: How to Bring Farm Fresh into Schools with New USDA Meal Pattern Recipes 
Thursday, April 13, 4pm ET
The Lunch Box, a program of the Chef Ann Foundation, is launching fifty new tried and true, farm-to-school recipes to bring farm fresh meals to your students. Join their upcoming webinar to see all the new recipes and menu cycles and how they credit toward the school and child care meal patterns. Hear from Andrea Northup from USDA Farm to School and Jerilin Nunu from USDA Farm to Summer and Child Care about how school districts across the nation are procuring food from local and regional farms and ranches. They’ll also share best practices for lunchroom-based nutrition education. Register here


Action Opportunities
1. Be Counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture
In just a few months, America’s farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their operations and communities by taking part in the Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census captures a complete count of all U.S. Farms and ranches and those who operate them. NASS is in the final stage for preparing the 2017 Census of Agriculture mailing list. If you are new to farming or didn’t receive a 2012 Census of Agriculture questionnaire there is still time to be counted by signing up at https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/cgi-bin/counts/.  Simply click on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button below and provide the requested information.


Farm to School in the News

$5.6 million for Oregon farm-to-school funding passes key committee
A bill directing $5.6 million to Oregon's farm-to-school food program has won unanimous approval from the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. (Portland Tribune

Montana made food the focus of HMS Harvest of the Month Program
Helena Middle School students got a Montana beef-centered treat Friday, concocted and served by their peers. The beef was provided thanks to a mini-grant the school recently received from the Montana Harvest of the Month Program through the Montana State University Extension. (Helena Independent Record

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: 4/4/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 04, 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. Action for Healthy Kids Grants
Schools need resources to implement health and wellness practices that help students eat better and be physically active. Action for Healthy Kids’s School Grants for Healthy Kids can help your school health team achieve its goal to make every kid healthy and ready to learn. Action for Healthy Kids is now accepting grant applications for the 2017-2018 school year: School Breakfast Grants and Game on Grants. Applications are due Friday, April 7, 2017. Learn more here

2. RFA: USDA Team Nutrition Training Grants
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has released the Request for Applications for the FY 2017 Team Nutrition Training Grants program. Team Nutrition Training Grants can be leveraged to expand and support statewide farm to school and farm to ECE efforts. Examples of previous Team Nutrition Grants for farm to school projects include:  Colorado's CACFP: CHOP Program; Missouri's Growing with MO: Harvest of the Season; Montana's Harvest of the Month Program. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Promising Partnerships: Extension and Farm to Early Care and Education
New Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2pm ET - TODAY!
With the goal of bringing practical information to improve the lives of agricultural producers, consumers, families, and children, extension is a natural fit for partnership in farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) initiatives. The National Institute for Food and Agriculture, in partnership with the National Farm to School Network, will be offering a webinar to share extension and farm to ECE partnerships and projects. Register here.

2. Webinar: Statewide Farm to ECE Network Building
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 3:30 – 4:30 PM ET
Statewide farm to early care and education (ECE) network building is a key approach to institutionalizing farm to ECE and increasing opportunities for all children, families, and communities to reap the many benefits of farm to ECE. Join us for the April NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar where we will hear from Emily Jackson of the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network and Erin Croom of the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Coalition who will share models from their states and identify keys to success in building a statewide farm to ECE network. This webinar is open to the public so please share through your networks. Register here.


Resources
1. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income inequality, and teen births in nearly every county in America. The annual Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Explore the Rankings & Roadmaps here


Action Opportunities
1. 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
Food Solutions New England (FSNE) is committed to addressing all forms of racism in our food system. FSNE believe that we cannot talk about and work for sustainability, food security, and economic prosperity in our region without facing the realities of discrimination and social inequity in our food system and beyond. You’re invited to join FSNE’s 2017 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge: April 9 - April 29. Sign up here


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to School Program Coordinator
South Carolina Farm to School seeks a Farm to School Program Coordinator. The Farm to School Coordinator will plan, develop  and  implement the SC Farm to School Program. Responsibilities include working with grants, providing training and technical assistance for the program, identifying training and technical assistance voids in the Farm to School community and filling these needs by modifying existing resources and/or creating new program offerings. Applications are due April 16. Learn more here

2. Communications Coordinator
Georgia Organics seeks a Communications Coordinator to join its team. The Communications Coordinator conveys Georgia Organics' programmatic impact to the public, strengthens our brand, strategically leverages digital platforms to remain relevant, and builds donor and stakeholder loyalty and trust through effective storytelling. Applications due May 1. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Columbus schools using more Ohio-produced food
Columbus City Schools serves 3 million apples to students every year. “Prior to this year, because we never asked, our apples were coming from Washington state.” Now, they’re saving more than $40,000 in transportation costs by purchasing apples from Ohio growers. (The Columbus Dispatch)

Farm to school advocates gather in California
Nearly 350 people turned out for a three-day event aimed at getting more wholesome food into student meals. “Farm to school is all about connecting the classroom, the cafeteria and the community.” said Helen Dombalis, Programs Director for the National Farm to School Network. (The Modesto Bee)

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: 3/28/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 28, 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. Webinar: Promising Partnerships: Extension and Farm to Early Care and Education
New Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2pm ET
With the goal of bringing practical information to improve the lives of agricultural producers, consumers, families, and children, extension is a natural fit for partnership in farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) initiatives. The National Institute for Food and Agriculture, in partnership with the National Farm to School Network, will be offering a webinar to share extension and farm to ECE partnerships and projects. Register here.

2. Webinar: Statewide Farm to ECE Network Building
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 3:30 – 4:30 PM ET
Statewide farm to early care and education (ECE) network building is a key approach to institutionalizing farm to ECE and increasing opportunities for all children, families, and communities to reap the many benefits of farm to ECE. Join us for the April NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar where we will hear from Emily Jackson of the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network and Erin Croom of the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Coalition who will share models from their states and identify keys to success in building a statewide farm to ECE network. This webinar is open to the public so please share through your networks. Register here.

3. Request for Proposals: Southern Obesity Summit
October 1-3 // Atlanta, Georgia
The Southern Obesity Summit Planning Committee invites individual applications for pre-conference sessions, breakout sessions, special sessions and Pillar workgroup sessions during the 11th Annual Southern Obesity Summit. These sessions  will help attendees develop strategies and provide resources and tools to use in their work to reverse the obesity epidemic through working together with other southern states. The deadline for submissions in May 1. Learn more here

4. Request for Proposals: Community Food Systems Conference 
December 5-7 // Boston, Mass. 
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project's Community Food Systems Conference will address common underlying themes between food security, social justice and sustainable agriculture. There are certain cross-cutting issues we believe are fundamental in community food systems and in building a strong, equitable food future. We hope to see these represented across all sessions: Skill Building across cultures and sectors; diversity of presenters; and racial, social and economic equity. Proposals are due April 3. Learn more here


Resources
1. Report: USDA ERS - Daily Access to Local Foods for School Meals
To examine progress in the use of locally produced foods in school meals and to help identify school districts for technical assistance, this new report from USDA ERS uses data from the 2013 Farm to School Census to measure the prevalence of school districts that serve local food daily and the characteristics of those districts. Read the full report here.  

2. Recording Available: Farm to Summer: How Regional Offices and State Agencies Support Farm to Summer
Increasingly, Summer Meal sponsors are embracing the Farm to Summer movement by serving fresh, local foods and offering engaging activities, and Regional and State-level staff play a unique role in supporting these efforts. This USDA webinar provides an overview of farm to summer activities, resources, and a snapshot of how Regional offices and State agencies have encouraged sponsors to adopt farm to summer principles. From MAP addendums to partner meetings, discover how your Regional and State colleagues support “bringing the farm” to Summer Meal Programs. Watch the recording here

3. Study: School Lunch Quality and Academic Performance
In a recent paper, economists set out to determine whether healthier school lunches affect student achievement as measured by test scores. The intense policy interest in improving the nutritional content of public-school meals—in addition to vendors’ efforts to market their school meals as good for the body and the mind—sparked the researchers’ curiosity and led to an unexpected discovery: Students at schools that contract with a healthier school-lunch vendor perform somewhat better on state tests—and this option appears highly cost-effective compared to policy interventions that typically are more expensive, like class-size reduction. Read an article about the study here. Read the study here


Action Opportunities
1. 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
Food Solutions New England (FSNE) is committed to addressing all forms of racism in our food system. FSNE believe that we cannot talk about and work for sustainability, food security, and economic prosperity in our region without facing the realities of discrimination and social inequity in our food system and beyond. You’re invited to join FSNE’s 2017 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge: April 9 - April 29. Sign up here


Job Opportunities
1. Education and Training Specialist, Institute of Child Nutrition
The University of Mississippi’s Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) seeks an Education and Training Specialist I. This is a professional position in which the incumbent develops, implements, and evaluates ICN educational curricula and training program materials for face-to-face and web-based delivery. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News
Colorado School District constantly seeking participation from local farmers, ranchers
Natalie Leffler, who heads Greeley-Evans School District 6’s Farm to School program, is always looking for new local farmers and ranchers to get involved in farm to school. More than 80 percent of meals in District 6’s kitchen are now made from scratch, thanks to farm to school. (The Fence Post)

Maple syrup, lobster rolls part of New Hampshire school program
After a morning of tapping maple trees, students in New Hampshire returned to their school cafeteria for a lunch of mini lobster rolls, maple-glazed scallops and clam chowder - all of the seafood sourced locally. The school was a recipient of a USDA Farm to School grant, which will end this year. But, the program will continue on, thanks to Seabrook voters, who have approved a school operating budget with money for continuing the farm to school initiative. (Newbury Port News)

North Dakota kids visit farm
Fourth graders from Thompson Public School (North Dakota) recently visited a local farm to learn about agriculture and their local food systems. "When they go to the grocery store with their parents, I want them to be able to point (to a food product) and say, 'I know a farmer who grows that,'" farmer Bob Drees said. (AgWeek)

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: 3/21/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 21, 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. Request for Applications: Native Communities with Farm to School
The National Farm to School Network is pleased to announce a new mini-grant project: Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School. This project aims to expand farm to school activities (procurement of local and traditional foods, school gardens, and food and agriculture education) in Native communities as a strategy to leverage community-wide initiatives towards building food security and food sovereignty and towards revitalizing use of traditional foods. The project will provide five Native schools mini-grants in the amount of $5,900 to expand and promote farm to school. Native schools/early care and education sites will be selected through an open application process to partner on this project. The full RFA can be found here. Applications are due March 22, 2017 at 6pm ET. 

2. RFA: Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Sustainable Community Projects
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA announces the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) funding program to improve the quality and quantity of comprehensive community-based programs for at-risk children, youth, and families supported by the Cooperative Extension System. The application deadline is March 29, 2017. Learn more here

3. Seeds of Change: Garden Grant Program
Seeds of Change® is awarding grants to 24 garden project around the country. Four Grand Prize grants (totaling $110,000) and twenty Secondary grants (totaling $200,000) will be awarded. To be eligible, entries must be received by March 28, 2017. Learn more here

4. United Fresh Start Foundation Community Grants Program
The United Fresh Start Foundation is now accepting applications for its new Community Grants Program, established to help advance the organization’s mission to increase children’s access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Not-for-profit organizations focused on child nutrition, food access and creating healthy communities through increased access to fresh produce, can download the grant application here. Applications are due by Monday, April 20, 2017.


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Farm to School in the Every Student Succeeds Act
March 21, 3-4pm ET - TODAY!

Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this webinar will discuss new opportunities for  farm to school under the newest authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, called the Every Student Succeeds Act. In this legislation, there are various funding opportunities and policy levers that advocates and educators on the ground can utilize to move farm to school forward in their communities. This webinar is open to the public. Register here

2. Webinar: Schools As Nutrition Hubs: The Business Savvy Strategy to Reduce Childhood Hunger
Wednesday, March 22, 2-3:15pm ET
Are you passionate about providing meals to food insecure students? Do you want to operate a year-round food service program that is financially sustainable, creates jobs, and eases procurement? Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is working to support schools serving as “Nutrition Hubs” within their communities. Nutrition Hubs provide children with access to the full range of child nutrition programs including breakfast, served after the bell, lunch, afterschool suppers, and summer meals. In low-income neighborhoods, where students rely heavily on school meals, the role of the Nutrition Hub holds increased importance. In this interactive webinar, learn tips and how-to lessons from and brainstorm with expert Food Service Directors who operate Nutrition Hubs. Register here

3. Webinar: Local Meat to Local Schools: Lessons Learned from the Montana Beef to School Project
Thursday, March 23, 12-1pm ET
Many folks all over the nation are organizing to get local ingredients into public schools and other institutions as a way to support local farmers as well as improve the quality and healthfullness of school food. Fruits and vegetables have been the low-hanging fruit; local meat and animal products can be much more challenging to get on school menus. The Montana Beef to School Project is a three-year collaborative project between several Montana beef producers and processors, schools and many stakeholders represented in the Montana Beef to School Coalition. Hear from one of the project leaders, Thomas Bass of Montana State University Extension along with one of the key processing partners, Jeremy Plummer of Lower Valley Processing in Kalispell, about what they learned over the three years of this project. Register here

4. Webinar Rescheduled: Promising Partnerships: Extension and Farm to Early Care and Education
New Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2pm ET
With the goal of bringing practical information to improve the lives of agricultural producers, consumers, families, and children, extension is a natural fit for partnership in farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) initiatives. The National Institute for Food and Agriculture, in partnership with the National Farm to School Network, will be offering a webinar to share extension and farm to ECE partnerships and projects. Register here.

5. Webinar: Statewide Farm to ECE Network Building
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 3:30 – 4:30 PM ET
Statewide farm to early care and education (ECE) network building is a key approach to institutionalizing farm to ECE and increasing opportunities for all children, families, and communities to reap the many benefits of farm to ECE. Join us for the April NFSN Farm to ECE Webinar where we will hear from Emily Jackson of the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network and Erin Croom of the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Coalition who will share models from their states and identify keys to success in building a statewide farm to ECE network. This webinar is open to the public so please share through your networks. Register here.


Resources
1. Webinar recording: Health, Nutrition and Wellness Strategies for Your Community
NFSN's webinar for the AFT Share My Lesson Plan Virtual Conference is now available to view online. “Health, Nutrition and Wellness Strategies for Your Community” features Lacy Stephens, MS, RDN, Farm to Early Care and Education Associate with the National Farm to School Network, who discusses how farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education sites. Educators receive free professional development hours by viewing. View the recording here

2. Campus Dining 101: A Benchmark Study on Farm to College in New England
Farm to Institution New England is pleased to announce a report that highlights the data collected from college dining operators in the region. “Campus Dining 101: A Benchmark Study on Farm to College in New England” presents in-depth findings and makes specific, data-based recommendations for institutions of higher education as well as government officials, funders, and institutions. Explore the report here


Action Opportunities

1. Organizational Sign-On Letter: Young Farmer Success Act
Last month, Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-PA) and John Faso (R-NY) reintroduced the Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 1060), National Young Farmer Coalition’s bill to provide student loan forgiveness to young farmers. To demonstrate broad support for this bill, NYFC is circulating an organizational sign-on letter that will be sent to the Chair and Ranking Members of the Committees of jurisdiction for this measure. If your organization would like to add their name, please fill out this Google Form by March 22. 

2. Nominations for USDA Beginning Farmer and Minority Farmer advisory committees

USDA is currently accepting nominations for both the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee and the Minority Farmer Advisory Committee. Learn more about the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers here. Learn more about the OAO Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers here. Nominations for both committees are are due next Friday March 31. 

3. 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
Food Solutions New England (FSNE) is committed to addressing all forms of racism in our food system. FSNE believe that we cannot talk about and work for sustainability, food security, and economic prosperity in our region without facing the realities of discrimination and social inequity in our food system and beyond. You’re invited to join FSNE’s 2017 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge: April 9 - April 29. Sign up here


Job Opportunities

1. Farm to School Educator, Island Grown Schools
Island Grown Schools, Martha’s Vineyard’s Farm-to-School program, is hiring a full-time educator. This position works with grades K-12 at two local schools throughout the school year, and facilitates our teen apprenticeship program during the summer months. If interested please send your resume, cover letter, and 2 references to kaila@igimv.org.


Farm to School in the News
Vermont students compete in Jr. Iron Chef cook-off
Fiftyfive student cooking teams gathered on Saturday wearing uniforms as inventive as the food they hoped to present to the judges at the 10th Junior Iron Chef Vermont competition. The competition’s mission is to empower students to use local products and develop healthy eating habits. Vermont FEED (NFSN Vermont Core Partner) sponsors the event. Burlington Free Press

Fish to School: Sitka lunch program continues to satisfy
A weekly lunch program in Sitka, Alaska is getting wild salmon out of the fisherman’s net and onto students’ plates. “No one that’s not vegetarian does not like fish that I know,” exclaims Seren. She’s in fifth grade and takes a second to think of her favorite foods of all time. “Salmon is second on my list of favorite foods,” she says. KCAW

A healthier school lunch
Try County Schools (Nebraska) recently held its first farmer’s market, which included veggies picked from the school’s greenhouse and foods provided by local businesses. “Every class of students gets to go through our farmer's market today and try local produce. We have new vegetables out today, and we're all still learning how to spell them.” Beatrice Daily 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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