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STEM, DIY Projects, Conservation & History: Partnership Ideas for Farm to School Month

NFSN Staff Wednesday, October 04, 2017
By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, Director of Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

At the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, we believe in the power of partnership with business. We are passionate about innovative solutions, like our newest one with Amazon Business, that bring bold change for children’s health.

To celebrate Farm to School Month, here are five ideas for collaborating with local businesses while linking school, afterschool and families. In honor of a new report from The Aspen Institute that underscores the importance of social and emotional learning, I have made an effort to focus on affirming activities that foster positive connections and welcoming spaces.

Build Bridges with STEM
In The Power of Partnerships with the Business Community, I emphasize that “healthy children grow up to be consumers with increased earning and buying power.” Farm to School Month is a tremendous opportunity to build bridges with local STEM-focused companies. Agriculture is uniquely situated at the intersection of STEM and wellness. If you’re hosting an event or celebration this month, invite business leaders to speak with your students and work together on fun enrichment activities like Apples Turning Brown! (page 3), that intentionally link nutrition with science. 

To help grow the STEM and wellness conversation, check out our new educational brief, STEM and Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity and recorded workshop during the National AfterSchool Association Virtual Convention in November.

Start Simple and Go Do-it-Yourself (DIY)
Swing by your arts and craft store and ask them to sponsor a farm-focused bulletin board to cultivate curiosity and brighten up your physical space. Spotlight a local farm and regularly feature “Foods of the Month.” October’s Food of the Month theme is Apples, Pears and Winter Squash. Why not ask a local orchard grower to serve as a guest speaker for your next family event. At your gathering, host a fresh fruit taste test.

Take a bite out of childhood hunger with 6 more apple themed ideas from a past article I wrote for School Breakfast Week. Don’t forget to provide take-home printables, like these from USDA, highlighting seasonal produce that’s budget friendly. Find out if your local art or hardware store will donate supplies year-round for creative activities.

Turn Field Trips into Long Term Relationships
A simple way to engage with local business leaders is through field trips, but don’t stop there. Whether you visit a creamery or a vegetable farm, foster an ongoing relationship by starting a pen pal project with a local farmer. After your field trip, dialogue with students and find out what their interests are. Maybe even organize a mini Youth-Hosted Forum to amplify youth voice in your community. Ask the farmer you visit to provide regular updates on crops and progress photos of animals and plants. A Farm to School Month field trip could turn into a long-term relationship with new adult allies. Imagine your next fall festival or a healthy Halloween potluck featuring local produce provided by new partners. Never stop searching for extensions and collaborators. Link field trips with literacy goals too! Why not collaborate with your library on an agriculture themed book nook?

Partner with Parks 
Farm to School Month is the perfect time to work with parks and recreation and other organizations with roots in nature. Conservation-focused community celebrations and service-learning projects are a great way to promote critical thinking and social responsibility while reinforcing healthy habits. Even simple healthy hydration activities can inspire a greater awareness of local water sources and sustainable farming practices.

Build Community History
As I explored in Creating a More Connected World Through Local Agriculture: 9 Voices, agriculture has the power to connect us and honor our collective history. Invite retired farmers to speak with students to help them understand the historic value of farming in your community. Young professionals in the farming and agriculture field can inspire career and trade exploration. Help students establish meaningful connections and build communication skills by presenting to business leaders on issues they care about. If you have a school garden, work with your local county extension agents to turn produce into recipes and partner with local restaurant owners to feature student creations. Use Farm to School Month as an opportunity to connect students with the world around them in a meaningful way.

I hope this article has given you a few new ideas for business partnerships. Which activity or idea will you try? Share your ideas with me on Twitter using @hatchdw. I’d love to add to this list and hear your success stories.

Want even more inspiration? Read how Kelliher School District started a farm to school program and made student wellness a priority.

BONUS ACTIVITY: Farm to School Month Energizer
Have you been sitting for a while? Why not take a fitness break? I adapted our Healthier Generation Task Cards (#17) into a simple activity with a farm and math twist. Ready?  Gather your coworkers and act out this math problem for a quick energizer. 15 crows were flying in the air and 7 stopped for a snack in a cornfield. How many were left flying?

Simple right?! Happy Farm to School Month.

Read more from Daniel Hatcher on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's New & Notable blog.

Photo credit for all photos: Alliance for a Healthier Generation

This Week in Farm to School: 10/03/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, October 03, 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. Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program
The four regional Extension Risk Management Education (ERME) Centers request
applications for the Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program. This announcement seeks applications from eligible organizations with a demonstrated capacity to develop and deliver results/outcome-based risk management education and training programs to agricultural producers and their families. Learn more here

Webinars
1. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics: Celebrating Farm to School Month State-by-State 
Thursday, October 5, 2-3pm ET
Join us for a special “Farm to School Month” themed webinar to hear how states across the country are lifting up and celebrating National Farm to School Month, and gather easy action ideas for how you can get involved this October. This webinar is generously sponsored by Co-Bank. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to ECE Quarterly Webinar: Farm to Early Care and Education in Head Start – A Natural Alignment

Tuesday, October 10, 3-4 PM ET
Explore the National Farm to School Network’s exciting new resource, Growing Head Start Success with Farm to Early Care and Education, and hear from Head Start practitioners about best practices and successes in implementing farm to ECE in the Head Start setting. Register here

3. Webinar: Economic Impacts of Farm to School

Wednesday, Oct. 11 // 12-1pm ET
This webinar is part of a wider effort to promote the release of the associated report “Economic Impacts of Farm to School: Case Studies and Assessment Tools” (a collaborative project of the National Farm to School Network and Colorado State University). Panelists will discuss findings of the new report, highlight the use of two key resources for conducting economic impact studies of food system initiatives and their application to farm to school economic impact assessment, and discuss continuing work to better understand the impacts of farm to school activities. Additional panelists include representatives from  USDA Office of Community Food Systems, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and Cornell University. Register for the webinar by submitting this form

Events
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. National Farm to School Month Tweet Chat
October 12 // 12-1pm ET
Every October, communities across the country come together to celebrate the connections happening between children and local food. Come celebrate with us during a live chat on Twitter! Ask your farm to school questions, hear from movement leaders, share resources and tell us about your favorite examples of farm to school in action. Join the National Farm to School Network (@FarmtoSchool) and special guests for a #FarmtoSchool101 tweet chat on Thursday, October 12 from 12-1pm ET to discuss how farm to school supports healthy kids, thriving farms and vibrant communities. 

3. Illionos Farm Bureau's Local Regional Food Conference

November 6-7 // Bloomington, IL
Are you a local farmer, processor, distributer, or retailer? Do you own a small business? Know your impact and what buying and selling local can bring your local economy. Attend the Local Regional Food Conference Conference and learn how to grow your business from the best. Early bird registration through October 13th. Read more and register

4. DC Greens' Regional School Garden Summit
October 14 // Washington, DC
Join DC Greens for the first annual Regional School Garden Summit. The goal of the Summit is to nurture the emerging regional network of non-profits, schools, and government agencies interested in capacity and network building around school gardens by providing a space to learn, share best practices, and make new connections. Register here

Action Items
1. 9th Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Call for Workshop & Poster Proposals 
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 8 pm ET on November 14, 2017. All questions should be sent to conference@farmtoschool.org

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

Resources & Research
1. NEW REPORT: Economic Impacts of Farm to School
Using a survey and case study approach, this new report (a collaborative project of the National Farm to School Network and Colorado State 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. The 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. 

2. A Farmer like Me: Exploring Hunger, Race, and Farming in America
In Food Justice Voices "A Farmer Like Me: Exploring Hunger, Race and Farming in America," farm and food justice activist Lorrie Clevenger of Rise & Root Farm, shares her childhood foundation, experience as a Black farmer and her vision on how we can make our agricultural system better.

3. From Coal to Kale: Saving Rural Economies with Local Food
Many counties are switching to oil and gas production as coal's fortunes wane, but farms, food hubs, and community kitchens may keep rural areas alive. “Recognition is growing that support of small/local farm businesses may keep a greater share of money recirculating in the local economy and allow farmers to retain a greater share of consumer expenditures on food,” Tropp writes in the book’s first chapter. Read more

Job Opportunities
1. Department Chair of Agriculture Science, Austin Community College 
Austin Community College seeks to hire a Department Chair of Agriculture Science to be housed at the Elgin campus. This position provides academic leadership, management, and overall coordination for the Agricultural Sciences area. Read more here

2. 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

3. Executive Director, Common Good City Farm
Common Good City Farm based in DC seeks to hire an Exec. Director. The ideal candidate will have experience working within a nonprofit organization and have the ability to manage the day-to-day of the organization while keeping an eye on the big picture. Learn more and apply

Farm to School in the News
Gov. Scott to sign proclamation for Vermont Farm to School Month
Farm to School month will kick off Monday, October 2, when Governor Phil Scott will sign a proclamation declaring October to be Vermont’s Farm to School Month at 1:00PM in the Governor’s Ceremonial Offices at the Statehouse. Second Graders from Northfield Elementary School will be on hand to witness the Proclamation’s reading and signing and to “gift” the Governor with saved seed packets and muffins made with ingredients from their Harvest School Garden. (VT Digger)

Oklahoma Community helped by Global Gardens 
Global Gardens began in 2007 as a school program for children at Eugene Field Elementary School in west Tulsa. The plan was to teach the students, many of whom came from low-income families, life skills through hands-on education about science and nutrition. In the 10 years since, the program has expanded to four sites. (Tulsa World)

Pride of Dakota School Lunch Day
 K through 12 schools across the state were celebrating their history Thursday afternoon for the Pride of Dakota School Lunch Day. “It's really about where their food comes from. North Dakota agriculture is the number one economy in the state, so we really want to recognize what agriculture does for our state,” said Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Jon Bodine. (West Dakota Fox News)

South Carolina: Lessons in the Garden

The Daniel Island School and Community Garden coordinators and volunteers have worked with teachers to develop educational programs since the inception of the newly purposed garden in 2015. The programs are designed to complement, enhance and bring to life academic subjects taught in elementary and middle school. (The Daniel Island News)

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.

Ready, Set, Celebrate!

NFSN Staff Monday, October 02, 2017

It’s the time of year again! Every October, when gardens and farms are full of harvest bounty and students are sliding up to lunchroom tables, we come together with schools, farmers, communities, families and food advocates from every corner of the country to celebrate the connections happening between students and local foods. Designated by Congress in 2010, National Farm to School Month is a time to raise awareness of the importance of farm to school as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate communities about the origins of their food.

This October, we invite you to join us in taking action for farm to school. Whether you’re hosting a taste test in the cafeteria, harvesting school garden produce, making a new farm to school connection, or advocating for supportive policies like the Farm to School Act of 2017, no action is too small! 

Here are five easy action steps to get you started: 

  • Take the Pledge: Sign our Take Action Pledge and commit to taking action to advance farm to school in your community this October. Add your name to 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! 
  • See what’s happening: Explore our national calendar of Farm to School Month events and see what celebrations are taking place in your community. 
  • Read inspiring stories: Visit our blog all month long to read inspiring stories of farm to school success and innovation. Guest blog posts include the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, School Nutrition Association, USDA Office of Community Food Systems, National CACFP Sponsors Association, the NEA Foundation, Youth Empowered Solutions and more!
  • Explore resources: Check out our free resources for planning and promoting celebrations in your community, including customizable posters and bookmarks, stickers, activity suggestions and communications tools. 
  • Donate to support our work: Invest in the future of farm to school. Donate to the National Farm to School Network and help us bring farm to school to communities across the country every month! Take one small step and make a charitable donation today. Take one small step and make a charitable donation today. 
We want to know: what action steps will you take this month? Share with us by taking the pledge! Or, let us know during our #FarmtoSchool101 tweet chat on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 12-1pm ET, or anytime with the social media hashtags #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool

Farm to school is a grassroots movement powered by people like you taking small actions every day to grow healthier kids, support local agriculture and cultivate vibrant communities. YOU are part of this movement, and you can help keep it growing. 

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 Feature 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.

Happy National Farm to School Month! 

This Week in Farm to School: 09/26/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 26, 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. NIFA: Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture presents the FINI Grant to support projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. The program will test strategies that could contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants that would inform future efforts, and develop effective and efficient benefit redemption technologies. Who is eligible to apply: See Part III, Eligibility Information in the Request for Applications (RFA) for details. Apply for the grant.

2. School Garden Grant from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Alaska Organic Fertilizer Company 
This grant opportunity supports school gardens in the United States, excluding it’s territories. BirdSleuth, Cornell Lab’s K-12 education program, will distribute $25,000 in grants to 20 schools that create or revitalize a garden that supports local wildlife, healthy living, environmental education, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning. Grants range from $500 to $2,000. The deadline for submitting grant applications is October 8. Read more and apply

3. Western Growers Foundation: School Garden Grant
Schools in California and Arizona, grades K through 12, can apply for the Western Growers Foundation School Garden Grant up to $1,500. The grants are designed to support new and existing school gardens. They are available to public schools, private charter schools, and private and charter schools with a nonprofit status. Nonprofit organizations and school districts supporting a garden at a public or nonprofit private school can also apply for the funds. Applications for the grant must be submitted by 3 p.m. Sept 30. Apply here

Webinars
1. Webinar: Economic Impacts of Farm to School
Wednesday, Oct. 11 // 12-1pm ET
This webinar is part of a wider effort to promote the release of the associated report “Economic Impacts of Farm to School: Case Studies and Assessment Tools” (a collaborative project of the National Farm to School Network and Colorado State University). Panelists will discuss findings of the new report, highlight the use of two key resources for conducting economic impact studies of food system initiatives and their application to farm to school economic impact assessment, and discuss continuing work to better understand the impacts of farm to school activities. Additional panelists include representatives from  USDA Office of Community Food Systems, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and Cornell University. Register for the webinar by submitting this form

2. Community Eligibility: Strategies to Improve Your ISP  
Wednesday, October 11 // 2pm ET
This webinar presented by the School Nutrition Association will focus on how to take the steps to improve your districts ISP and make community eligibility a more viable option. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.  Learn more and register

Events
1. NEW National Calendar of Farm to School Events
The National Farm to School Network is pleased to share a new national calendar of farm to school events, conferences and networking opportunities taking place across the country. Additional events will be added on an ongoing basis. Submit your farm to school event to the calendar by clicking the green "Submit Event" button. To be considered, events should be open to the public and specifically related to farm to school content. View the calendar here: farmtoschool.org/events

2. October is National Farm to School Month

National Farm to School month is right around the corner! 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 start planning. 

3. Minnesota Food Access Summit

October 25-27 // Duluth, MN
The 2017 Summit will be bigger and better than ever by welcoming up to 800 participants from a growing network of individuals and organizations dedicated to increasing healthy and equitable food access across Minnesota. Conference goals include: Bring together people working to advance reliable access to safe, affordable, healthy food, learn from each other’s lived experiences & stories, build connections across sector, cultural perspectives, and geography and cultivate alignment and momentum toward collaborative action. Learn more and register

Research
1. Development of the GREEN Tool
The GREEN (Garden Resources, Education, and Environment Nexus) Tool is an evidence-based model for school garden integration. The aim of this research was to develop a tool that captures how gardens are effectively established, integrated, and sustained in schools. Read more here

Job Opportunities
1. Leadership Development Coordinator, Food Chain Workers Alliance
The Leadership Development Coordinator is the principal staff member who manages the Alliance’s worker and organizer leadership development programs. These are principally the Justice in the Food Chain trainings and the annual worker leaders summit. Learn more and apply

2. School Chef, Sustainable School Lunch Program in San Francisco 
The Head Chef will be in charge of a menu focused on wholesome meals made from scratch with care, and served on-site to K-8 students and faculty. An ideal candidate understands local, organic foods and has an interest in what kids are eating in school. This position is responsible for carrying out Acre Gourmet's Real School Lunch Program on a daily basis and reports to the program manager. Learn more

3. Chair of the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems ; University of New Hampshire 
UNH seeks to hire a ANFS Department Chair. A competitive candidate will have scholarly research that aligns with the interdisciplinary mission of the department and demonstrated excellence in teaching/mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally,  candidates must hold a PhD. in a relevant field. Read more here

Farm to School in the News
Alaska Students' Spuds Sale From the classroom to the garden, the students at Soldotna Montessori Charter School have been hard at work growing, picking and cleaning a selection of produce to sell at today’s farmers market. “We have kale, potatoes, lots of stuff,” said fourth-grader Caitlyn Miller. “We don’t have carrots, though, they were a bust.” (Peninsula Clarion)

New Jersey Parents Get a Lesson in Homegrown Food at Back-to-School Night
Mallik said she feels the garden is an extension of Kings Road, and the reception helps parents not only get a better idea of what their kids are learning, but also gives them more information that will help them reinforce garden teachings at home. (Tap Into

Ohio School to Host Spinach Tasting Event

In an effort to highlight Farm to School month and National School Lunch Week, on Oct. 5 the Lorain Road school will be hosting a spinach taste-testing competition after the students harvest their first spinach crop from a new school garden. (Cleveland.com)

Louisiana Students Work with Master Gardeners

The LSU AgCenter has kicked off this year's training for the School Garden Initiative. The LSU AgCenter Lafayette Master Gardener Association, School Garden Initiative Committee is working to promote growing and learning with the youth in the community. (KATC)

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.

Magic is Growing in Maine

NFSN Staff Thursday, September 21, 2017


By Molly Schintler, Communications Intern 

Less than ten miles from the US-Canada boarder in far eastern Maine, sits the Indian Township school garden and greenhouse. Against the odds of the region’s short growing season, coupled with torrential rains this past spring, and followed by a drought in late summer, magic is growing. Donna Meader-York, the school’s librarian and farm to school champion, shared that this year’s squash harvest from their Three Sisters Garden has been a point of pride for all involved. Additionally, Donna was excited to tell us that the bountiful squash harvest has had an unexpected but positive impact. “Weeds and insects are down with tons of bees. Tons of bees buzzing around the squash blossoms!”

The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops - winter squash, maize (corn), and runner beans - of several Native American groups in North America. Traditionally, the Three Sisters are planted together as companion crops. As the plants grow, they support and benefit from each other. The maize grows tall which gives the beans a structure to climb, and the squash vines out along the ground which blocks weeds and holds moisture in the soil. All the while, the beans add nitrogen into the soil, which the corn and squash use to grow. Delicious cooperation! 

During the summer months, the produce from the Three Sisters Garden at Indian Township was donated to a local food pantry. Now that school is in session, each school garden harvest heads to the school kitchen. Donna told us that the spring rains delayed their corn and bean plantings, and that there is not much of a harvest from those crops this season. “There is a lot we learned with this garden, and we hope to get it right next growing season. Meanwhile, this winter, we are going to try to grow lettuce and spinach for our school salad bar in our newly repaired greenhouse!” The National Farm to School Network sees that the health of the soil, students, and entire community is growing in Indian Township, and we think that is pretty magical. 


Indian Township School is the recipient of a National Farm to School Network Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School mini-grant. Seed Change in Native Communities 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.


This Week in Farm to School: 9/19/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 19, 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. NIFA Announcement
The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced $945,400 in available funding to help foster the next generation of multicultural scholars in agricultural sciences.  Funding is made through NIFA’s Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP). The deadline for applications is October 31, 2017. See the request for applications for details.


Webinars

1. NFSN WEBINAR Growing Opportunities: Farm to School Benefits to Farmers and Producers
September 20 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about farm to school’s opportunities and benefits for farmers and producers. Catch a sneak peak of the National Farm to School Network’s forthcoming case studies on the economic impacts of farm to school, and hear firsthand experiences and tips from farmers in the movement. This webinar is generously sponsored by CoBank. Register here

2. NFSN WEBINAR Advocacy in Action: 2017 Farm to School Policy Opportunities

September 21 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about current federal legislative activities and state policy efforts that are advancing opportunities for the expansion of farm to school in K-12 and early care education settings nationwide. Register here

3. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model: Resources to Guide Implementation
September 21 // 1:00-2:00pm ET
This webinar will introduce a new resource that has been developed to support implementation of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model in schools and school districts. Presenters will provide implementation strategies for use in schools and school districts, and describe the steps that schools can take to move the WSCC model from theory to practice. Register here

4. How Regional Food System Investment Creates More Equitable Communities
September 21 // 3:30-5pm 
Wallace Center and the National Good Food Network (NGFN) will be hosting this webinar. Speakers will discuss the role that food business incubators, food hubs, and financial institutions can do to integrate social equity into food systems projects and programs. Register here


Events
1. NEW National Calendar of Farm to School Events
The National Farm to School Network is pleased to share a new national calendar of farm to school events, conferences and networking opportunities. Additional events will be added on an ongoing basis. Submit your farm to school event to the calendar by clicking the green "Submit Event" button. To be considered, events should be open to the public and specifically related to farm to school content. View the calendar here: farmtoschool.org/events

2. October is National Farm to School Month
National Farm to School month is right around the corner! 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 start planning. 

3. Mississippi Farm to Cafeteria Conference

October 12 // Jackson, MS
The Mississippi Farm to Cafeteria Conference brings farm to school practitioners and future practitioners together from across the state and region to share, learn, and help grow the farm to school movement. Register here

4. Rhodes Island Farm to School Conference
October 21 // URI Campus
“The conference is designed to empower educators to meet their academic goals by engaging students in outdoor classrooms,” said Cabaniss. “We’ve brought together school garden experts to inspire and support educators in garden-based learning. It will be an interactive experience, with participants involved in hands-on activities and idea sharing.” Learn more

5. Community Food Systems Conference 2017
December 5-7 // 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. Registration is now open!

6. Campus Farmer Summit: "What's Growing on your campus?"
February 10, 2018 // Easton, MA
The Farm at Stonehill is pleased to be partner with Farm to Institution New England and the Vela Foundation to host this inaugural gathering of the campus farmer community in New England.  This one-day summit will be participatory in nature and may result in the establishment of a more official “Campus Farmer Network” if this is deemed a priority by attendees. Learn more


Resources

1.HEAL School of Political Leadership (SoPL)
SoPL is a new training program exclusive to HEAL member and ally organizations. Over the next year, SoPL will prepare a class of emerging leaders from our community to drive transformative political change in our food and farm systems. And we want someone from your organization to step into this leadership. Learn more and apply

2. Wasted: The Story of Food Waste 

This movie aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle, and eat food.  Audiences will see how several of the world’s most influential chefs make the most of every kind of food, transforming what most people consider scraps into incredible dishes that create a more secure food system. Check out the movie trailer


Job Opportunities
1. Executive Director, Grow Dat Youth Farm
Grow Dat Youth Farm seeks an Executive Director with a demonstrated commitment to social justice and experience growing nonprofit organizations. Grow Dat is a youth leadership development organization in New Orleans, LA with the mission to nurture a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food. Learn more and apply

2. Farm Operations Manager, Center for Environmental Farming Systems

CEFS is seeking a Farm Operations Manager. This position will plan and manage the implementation of production, research, and field demonstrations at the Small Farm Unit of CEFS. Apply here

3. Farm to School Consultant Coordinator, Intermediate School District

The Farm to School Consultant Coordinator will oversee 4 AmeriCorps VISTA members, to implement programming supporting the development of a school culture of health in schools served by the ISD. The Coordinator will integrate farm to school lessons and activities with state curriculum standards, and support school food service directors in their efforts to serve more healthful, locally grown foods. Apply here

 
Farm to School in the News
St. Louis students eating up farm to cafeteria
For the last several years, one St. Louis area school district has been feeding students produce that comes fresh from the fields. Staff in the Eureka High School kitchen cut up massive watermelons brought in that morning. Just a couple hours earlier, a forklift at the Rockwood School District’s warehouse was pulling that load of melons off the back of John Kopmann’s pick-up truck. (CBS St. Louis)

Alaska students' spuds sale
From the classroom to the garden, the students at Soldotna Montessori Charter School have been hard at work growing, picking and cleaning a selection of produce to sell at today’s farmers market. “We have kale, potatoes, lots of stuff,” said fourth-grader Caitlyn Miller. “We don’t have carrots, though, they were a bust.” (Peninsula Clarion)

Indiana high school garden grows in popularity with students
Raabe, a 2000 graduate of South Whidbey High School, said the general scope of the class is to show students how humans went from hunter-gatherer societies to cultivating and domesticating plants. Long ago, humans figured out ways to “coax” the plants to behave differently and provide more nutrition, he said. (South Whidbey 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: 9/12/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 12, 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. Seeds for Education Grant Program
Cash grants under $500 are available for plants and seeds, and in-kind donations from Nursery Partners can help stretch these dollars. Learn more and apply here.

2. Samull Classroom Herb Garden Grant
The Herb Society of America will select ten (10) schools/classrooms to receive $200 "Seed Money" to establish an indoor or outdoor herb garden. The funds may be used for supplies such as soil, plant trays, containers, child or youth sized tools, etc. Apply by Oct. 1. Learn more and apply here.

3. GreenWorks Grant
Project Learning Tree offers GreenWorks! grants up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. Students implement an action project they help design to green their school or to improve an aspect of their neighborhood’s environment. Apply by Sept. 30. Learn more and apply here.

Webinars
1.Professional Development for Garden Educators
TODAY! September 12 // 4pm ET
School Garden Support Organizations work to prepare teachers, organization staff, and community volunteers to lead students in garden-based learning activities. Learn different approaches School Garden Support Organizations use to lead high quality professional development for garden educators. Register here

2. Local Perspective on School Wellness Policy Implementation 

September 13 // 1pm ET
Alliance For a Healthier Generation presents this webinar focused on implementing school wellness policies following the USDA’s final rule. This webinar will highlight the local perspective, featuring speakers from California Project LEAN, the California Department of Education, and Arvin School District. Register here

3. NFSN WEBINAR Growing Opportunities: Farm to School Benefits to Farmers and Producers

September 20 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about farm to school’s opportunities and benefits for farmers and producers. Catch a sneak peak of the National Farm to School Network’s forthcoming case studies on the economic impacts of farm to school, and hear firsthand experiences and tips from farmers in the movement. This webinar is generously sponsored by CoBank. Register here

4. NFSN WEBINAR Advocacy in Action: 2017 Farm to School Policy Opportunities
September 21 // 2-3pm ET
Join the National Farm to School Network to learn about current federal legislative activities and state policy efforts that are advancing opportunities for the expansion of farm to school in K-12 and early care education settings nationwide. Register here

Events
1. October is National Farm to School Month
National Farm to School month is right around the corner! 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 start planning. 

2. 2016 Food Week of Action
The global Food Week of Action (October 15-22) is an opportunity for Christians and others around the world to act together for food justice and food sovereignty. It is a special time to raise awareness about approaches that help individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty. Beyond examining our food choices, we must also recognize the lingering roots of racism embedded in our food system, which was founded on slavery and plantation agriculture, and still exploits the environment and workers in the food chain. Read more here

3. Farm & Food Leadership Conference 
September 25-26 // McKinney, Texas
Join small-scale farmers, farm-to-table chefs, local food enthusiasts, home gardeners, and others who care about where their food comes from and find out how you can help transform our food system! Learn more here

4. Widening the Welcome: The Future of Agriculture for Communities of Color
November 4 // Hartford, CT
The face of farming is radically changing. How can we encourage more African American/Black, Latinx and API/APA communities to be in the vanguard of these changes in New England? Join Hidden Acres Farm Inc. for a rare opportunity to raise the voices of global majority actors with a vested interest in agrarian-based ventures statewide and regionally. Learn more

Resources
1. Measuring Up: Demonstrating the Impact of Farm to Institution through Metrics
Measuring Up is a six-part blog series from Farm to Institution New England (FINE) designed to provide a data-driven account of the farm to institution landscape in New England. This series will draw from two years of work by the FINE metrics team dedicated to understanding key indicators for farm to institution success across institutional sectors. Read more

2. School Food Institute 
School Food Institute, an initiative of the Chef Ann Foundation. gives school food service professionals and childhood nutrition advocates the in-depth training, operational skills, and strategic vision necessary to make school food fresh, healthy, and sustainable. Eight engaging online courses give you a front row seat in Chef Ann Cooper’s classroom, where you can learn directly from a leader in school food change on how to transition school meal programs to scratch-cooked operations that provide real, healthy food to kids at school every day. Learn more here

Policy News
1. Farm to School Act of 2017 Introduced in Congress
The Farm to School Act of 2017 has been introduced in Congress with bipartisan support by legislative champions Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH). The Farm to School Act of 2017 builds on the success of the farm to school movement by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2017 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. Make sure Congress knows that farm to school is a powerful tool for supporting our kids, our farmers and our communities! 

Job Opportunities
1. Policy Associate, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) is currently accepting applications for a part-time policy associate. The deadline to apply is September 22, 2017. Learn more

2. Associate Director, The Cornucopia Institute
The Cornucopia Institute is seeking a full-time employee to join their team. The Associate Director will assist with the overall management of Cornucopia’s operations in support of its mission. Learn more

Farm to School in the News

An Indiana Community Garden Full of Education 
For the people living in the surrounding area of Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Terre Haute, it is very difficult to get quality fresh food. Because of these conditions, Rose-Hulman has partnered with the elementary to start an after school gardening program. (My Wabash Valley)  

From the Alaskan Garden: Kale: The Gateway Vegetable
“Mrs. Mercer, when are we going to make kale chips?” It happens every year without fail. The first week of school students are anxious to get back to the garden, dig in the dirt, and taste what has been growing.(Echo AK)

West Virginia Students Bringing in Harvest
Principal Jean Mewshaw said the gardening class is part of the school’s STEM program, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students learn about science and engineering through hands-on projects, such as building and maintaining the school’s community garden. (Parkersburg News and Sentinel)

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 Act of 2017 Introduced in Congress

NFSN Staff Thursday, September 07, 2017

By Maximilian Merrill, Policy Director 

Yesterday, members of Congress took the first step toward a major win for local economies, farm families and the health of our nation’s children. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) introduced the bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2017

The two identical bills, originally introduced in the last Congress, build on the progress of the farm to school movement by expanding the highly successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program, which provides funds on a competitive basis to schools, nonprofits, farmers, and local, state and tribal government entities to help schools procure local foods and to support farm to school activities in cafeterias, classrooms and communities. In its first five years, the program has received more than 1,600 applications totaling more than $120 million in requests. With only $5 million available annually, the program has only been able to fund 365 awards. In other words, demand for the program is nearly 5 times higher than available funding. The Farm to School Act proposes an increase in funding to $15 million annually to level this disproportionate ratio of demand to supply. In addition, the bill will also ensure that the grant program fully includes early care and education sites, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers, while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.   

We know that farm to school activities have proven to be an economic driver for local farms across the country. In the most recent USDA Farm to School Census, schools reported purchasing nearly $800 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen and food processors in just one school year. Every dollar spent on local food generates up to an additional $1.60 in economic activity, indicating school districts’ local food purchases are driving over $1 billion in local economic activity. The Farm to School Act will expand these efforts by supporting the growth of farm to school activities in schools, while also ensuring that more farmers and local food producers can reap the benefits of these new market opportunities. 

In 2010, the National Farm to School Network and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition - along with our network of supporters from across the country - successfully advocated for the creation of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. In 2015, we teamed up again to advance farm to school priorities in the reauthorization process of the Child Nutrition Act, with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms. While CNR was not completed in the last Congress, we scored major victories with key Republicans and Democrats supporting farm to school priorities through the process (see more here). This puts us in a strong position for federal policy wins with the reintroduction of this marker bill. 

“Farmers have been struggling for years with a weak agricultural economy,” says Wes King, NSAC Policy Specialist. “One of the many benefits of farm to school programs is that they open up new, lucrative marketing channels to American producers. The Farm to School Act would create opportunities across the board – children win by gaining access to delicious local food and agricultural programming that is both fun and educational, schools and families win by helping children to maintain and/or improve their health, and farmers win by gaining new customers for their products.”

This grant program is an essential tool to improve the health of our children, our food system and our local economies. Help us champion the Farm to School Act of 2017 and grow farm to school across the country. Here are five ways to get involved: 

TAKE ACTION 
  • Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2017 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. (Note: individuals who signed on to support the previous Farm to School Act are still signed on – no need to submit your info again! Organizations, please re-sign on to show your support!)
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest Farm to School Act of 2017 news and opportunities to take action by signing up for our action alerts
  • Help spread the word about this important bill and the importance of farm to school activities in your community by posting to social media with the hashtag #F2SAct. Download our campaign graphics and sample messages here
  • Learn more about the Farm to School Act of 2017 in this fact sheet
  • As Congress considers the Farm to School Act of 2017 over the coming months, expect to hear more from us about steps you can take to encourage your legislators to support the bill. 

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