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Youth Empowerment in Farm to School

NFSN Staff Friday, December 15, 2017
By Molly Schintler, Communications Intern

At our 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in June 2016, LaDonna Redmond gave keynote remarks focused on ending systemic oppression in the food system. In her address, she urged the audience to understand that “every community has the intellect to heal itself.” She explained that the role of individuals working within farm to cafeteria is to use our skillset to uncover the intellect in our communities so that people believe in themselves. What if this approach was seriously considered within farm to school and farm to early care and education work? What would it look like for youth to be leading the movement? 

Many organizations throughout the country focus on youth leadership as a way to further farm to school efforts.  In our most recent Trending Topics: Youth Engagement through Farm to School Webinar, our network highlighted three organizations that put youth empowerment front and center in their work: 

YES! Youth Empowered Solutions: Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change. 
Alameda County Office of Education’s Project EAT:  Project Eat works to end health inequities and close the achievement gap in school communities.
Vermont FEED’s Jr. Iron Chef VT: This statewide culinary competition challenges teams of middle and high school students to understand how they can effect change in the food system by creating healthy, local dishes that inspire school meal programs.

Mary Beth Louks-Sorrell, Executive Director for YES! highlighted that when youth are not included, “One fourth of the population is being ignored, instead of tapped for their potential to contribute to improving things.” Additionally, Mary Beth offered up a set of best practices to consider before starting work with youth, including asking these questions:
What will be the role of youth in your work?
What do you hope to achieve from the inclusion of youth
Why are you interested in the thoughts, ideas, input, and leadership of youth?
What are some ways you might envision the way you and your organization operates or the direction of the work changing once youth are involved? 

Vermont FEED’s School Food Programs Coordinator, Marissa Watson commented on the importance of holding space for kids to participate, stating that, “school food change takes many players: students, food service, parents, and the community.” 
Kate Casale from Alameda County’s Office of Education explained that including youth as leaders within farm to school work is a perfect opportunity to tap into their creativity and innate interest in justice. She also reminds us about the importance of letting youth tell their stories in their own words. 

Jason, a seventeen year old from the program Bronx Youth Force explains, “If you had a problem in the Black community, and you brought in a group of White people to discuss how to solve it, almost nobody would take that panel seriously. In fact, there’d probably be a public outcry. It would be the same for women’s issues or gay issues. But every day, in local arenas all the way to the White House, adults sit around and decide what problems youth have and what youth need, without ever consulting us.” Young people are the changes makers of tomorrow, and today. Their ideas, contributions and voices are invaluable to the work of growing more just and equitable food systems, and we should always be conscious to have a place for them at the table. 


Appetite For Change is a North Minneapolis nonprofit organization that uses food as a tool to build health, wealth and social change. "Grow Food" is the culminating project of Appetite For Change's Summer 2016 Youth Employment & Training Program. Urban Youth wanted to share their message - the importance of actively choosing healthy foods - with their peers in a fun, accessible music format. Learn more about Appetite For Change here.


If you are interested in learning more about youth leadership within farm to school and the local food movement, we invited you to join us at the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio in April 2018. An entire conference workshop track is dedicated to “Youth Leadership and Engagement” within the farm to cafeteria movement, and we’d love to have you be part of the conversation! 

Photo Credits (from top to bottom): Vermont FEED and Alameda County Office of Education (middle and bottom). 

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

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 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. Tater Tats Seed Fund Grants for Growers
Are you a growers? Tater Tats aims to help people grow vegetables--whether that means growing vegetables for the first time, expanding an operation, or experimenting with crazier, more delicious varieties. They applaud commitment to the land, to biodiversity, to the legacy of heirloom varieties, and want to help you grow! Tater Tats is giving ten percent of 2017 sales to subsidize seed purchases by offering $300 grants to vegetable producers nationwide. The deadline for next year's funding is December 31, 2017. Learn more and apply here


Webinars
1. Webinar: You are How You Eat: Food, Culture, and Social Inequality
December 12 // 12-1pm ET
Community Food Center's Canada presents this webinar focused on how inequality plays out through a variety of aspects of our current food culture. Though there are synergies and momentum toward progressive change building within the food movement, there are also complex dynamics related to race, class, gender, and social inequality. Sociologist Alice Julier has looked at subjects ranging from food as a vehicle for gentrification to how race, gender, and socio-economic experience reveal themselves around the dinner table. Register here

2. Webinar: Food Policy Storytelling: An Introduction to Harnessing the Power of Story Maps
December 13 // 1-2:15pm ET 
Sharing a powerful food policy story is vital to garnering support for new policies. Esri Story Maps, a web-based tool that combines maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content, provides one platform to develop and share these stories. Join us for an overview of the types of story maps available, how they have been used to tell impactful food policy stories, and a brief demonstration to help you get started making a story map of your own. You will hear from the head of Esri’s Story Maps team as well as a practitioner that has used story maps to communicate about her work on environment, agriculture, and food policy in Missouri. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future staff members will also share their experiences using story maps to support food policy in Maryland. Register here

3. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics: SNAP-Ed and Farm to School
January 4 // 2-3 PM ET
SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education), an evidence-based program aimed at helping people make healthier food choices and live healthier lives, offers a growing opportunity to bring food, nutrition and agriculture related education as well as gardening, local food procurement and other farm to school initiatives into schools and communities across the country. We will hear from practitioners from University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and other SNAP-Ed programs about the integration of farm to school in both direct education and policy, systems and environmental change SNAP-Ed initiatives. Register here.

4. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to ECE Quarterly Webinar: Placing Equity at the Center of Farm to Early Care and Education
January 9, 2018 // 3-4:15pm ET
At the intersection of multiple sectors, including policy, education, food systems and social justice, farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) can be a platform for advancing racial and social equity. Access to farm to ECE opportunities may be one approach to addressing health and education inequities by increasing access to healthy, local foods and high-quality education opportunities for children and communities while promoting ECE policies that address inequity. Farm to ECE can, at the same time, address inequities in the food system by changing ECE purchasing practices and policies. Join the National Farm to School Network, the Policy Equity Group, the Food Trust, and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems to learn how these organizations are both evaluating internal structures and practices to prioritize equity and working towards programs and policies that place equity at the center of farm to ECE initiatives. Register here.

5. Webinar: Opportunities in the 2018 Farm Bill: Federal Efforts to Advance Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems
Jan. 9, 3-4:15pm ET
This webinar will provide a brief overview of the Farm Bill and status of the reauthorization process, as well as highlight four key policy pillars within the legislation: the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), healthy food incentive programs such as Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI), and sustainable agricultural and local/regional food system development. Speakers will discuss challenges and opportunities in each policy arena and highlight opportunities to get involved in shaping the next Farm Bill. Hosted by the Healthy Food Access Portal. Register here


Events
1. Rooting DC
March 3, 2018 // Washington, DC
Rooting DC is a free day-long conference on urban agriculture and gardening. Rooting DC is currently seeking conference proposals for both interactive hour-long workshops and 7-minute "pressure cooker" talks that explore the topics of urban food consumption and production. The Workshop proposal deadline is Friday December 15, 2017. Submit your proposal here

2. MSU: Center for Regional Food Systems' Food Talk 2017
December 14 // East Lansing, MI and Virtual via ZOOM
In Food Talk 2017 each TED talk-style speaker will focus on one important food system issue, followed by a few minutes for questions. Food Talk is a unique opportunity to engage with MSU Faculty, Academic Staff, and Extension Educators helping to improve our food system. You have the option to register to attend in-person or via Zoom live streaming. Register here


Resources & Research
1. Study: Farm to school programs limit plate waste
Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences found that students at schools with a farm to school program ate 37% more vegetables and 11% more fruit than the average student consumed before their school adopted the program, according to the release. The study is published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, according to the release. Read more

2. An Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System: Fifth Edition
Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems presents this annotated bibliography which provides current research and outreach on structural racism in the U.S. food system for the food system practitioner, researcher, and educator. Structural racism in the United States has been defined as the “normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics—historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal—that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic outcomes for people of color. This fifth edition contains 9 videos and 47 new citations.

3. Are states creating equitable school funding systems?
Research shows state lawmakers may be falling short when crafting equitable school funding systems. One analysis shows that 21 states - up from 14 the year before - provide less funding to schools with higher concentrations of low-income students. Read more


Job Opportunities
1. Multiple Positions, National Young Farmers Coalition
The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) seeks a California Organizer to mobilize young farmers and ranchers across California to advocate for critical policy reform, and a full-time Policy Specialist to grow their federal policy team in DC. Learn more

2. Agriculture Institute Director, University of Wisconsin Extension

The Agriculture Institute Director is a senior level administrator who will provide organizational and cross-disciplinary leadership for the Agriculture Institute within Cooperative Extension. This full-time role will be responsible for strategic, financial, and operational oversight of centers within the institute, including the Center for Animal Agriculture, Center for Crops and Soils, Center for Farm Management, and Center for Horticulture. Learn more

3. Operations Assistant, Fair Food Network
Fair Food Network seeks to hire an Operations Assistant to be primarily based out of the Ann Arbor, Michigan office, but will also be responsible for maintaining the Detroit office and liaising with out-of-state staff on their local offices. This position is full-time. Learn more

4. Farm-to-Early Care and Education Program Specialist, Boulder County Public Health  
The Farm-to-Early Care and Education Program Specialist position is responsible for completing the goals and objectives of the FTECE Program with partial support provided by the City of Boulder Health Equity Funding for Boulder residents. This is a part time, benefited position. Learn more

5. Education Coordinator, Real Food Farm 
Real Food Farm is seeking an Education Coordinator Real Food Farm is Civic Works’ 8-acre urban farm enterprise that grows fresh vegetables and fruit in and around Clifton Park in Northeast Baltimore. Learn more


Farm to School in the News
Farm Fresh Fridays introduce Texas students to new veggies
“I tried the zucchini and I had not tried it before,” Bell said. “I thought it was a cucumber and I really liked it because it had a kick to it.” Students even experimented with the vegetables and dipped them in sauces and paired them with other foods from their lunches. (Killeen Daily Herald)

Thanksgiving starts in the garden for California students 
Each year in the fall, Crane School’s fifth-grade students harvest veggies from the school’s garden beds and prepare a big pot of soup for their class. They use a pitchfork to gently pry each carrot loose from the dirt. (Santa Barbara Family Life)

New greenhouse expands opportunities in Missouri
Central Missouri Master Gardeners has built a greenhouse for Callaway Hills Elementary School that will in time help students develop their green thumbs, and provide more vegetables to the school cafeteria and the Samaritan Center. (News Tribune)

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.

Food is Culture and Celebration!

NFSN Staff Wednesday, December 06, 2017

By Molly Schintler, Communications Intern

When I think about food, especially during the holiday season, I think about my traditions with family and friends. From holidays to birthdays and reunions, food has always been a central part of my celebration of life events. In the recently published New York Times Op-ed titled Feeling Conflicted on Thanksgiving Viet Thanh Nguyen explains, “DNA, in any case, tells us little about culture. Food tells us more.“ Farm to school is as much about food, culture, and celebration as it is about education, health and access.

Schools and early care settings across all 50 states, D.C., the U.S. Territories, and Native communities are using farm to school as an approach to deepen their understanding of food as a tool for cultural connection and celebration. At Warm Spring K-8 Academy on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon, there is urgency to connecting school and community culture to food traditions.  District Superintendent Ken Parnell explains:

You can’t just focus on math and literacy, because the rate of diabetes in our community is heartbreaking. Male life expectancy is 38 years. Many adults die from complications from diabetes. You can’t just say that’s a health concern and leave that in the community (outside of the school), because it affects our students. In my first year, eleven students lost parents. We have a responsibility to start working with students at a young age around nutrition.

The school district has framed farm to school as an opportunity to connect students to local, healthy, and traditional foods, such as root vegetables and salmon.  As the school became more engaged with these traditional foods in the cafeteria, they also realized there were opportunities to extend farm to school activities to families. For example, the school district’s family engagement nights, which turnout up to 1,000 students and family members, provided an exciting opportunity to celebrate healthy, traditional foods on a wider scale. After reflecting of how to better incorporate traditions into family nights, the district planned a powwow where everyone participated in dancing and enjoyed traditional food. Ken added, “It would have been much easier from the (school) kitchen (to work alone), but we worked with tribal partners to prepare traditional foods.”  

Every community has different food and cultural traditions – and that’s worth celebrating! Here are several additional snapshots of how farm to school celebrates traditions, relationships, and an overall connection to community-based food:

- Students in Arkansas are celebrating the holiday season and learning about each other cultures with a recipe swap. One student shared a family recipe dating back to 1911!

- In preparation for the upcoming holiday season, middle school students in rural Iowa learned about table settings, polite dinner conversation, and menu selection. To conclude their class, they enjoyed a Thanksgiving lunch together where they could put all they learned into practice.

- For about 20 Phoenix School culinary students, preparations to feed a Thanksgiving feast to 200 students and staff would not be complete without a trip to the school’s garden. Picking herbs from the garden was among the tasks needed to be finished before Tuesday’s big event.

This Week in Farm to School: 12/05/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Every week, we share opportunities, action items and a selection of media stories that relate to the farm to school movement. To submit an item for consideration, send us an email. To be considered, content should be of national interest to the farm to school community. 

Grants & Funding 

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

2. NIFA’s Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets)
AgVets seeks to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on, and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector. The program encourages the development of training opportunities specifically designed for military veterans. Eligible applicants must be nonprofit entities.The letter of intent deadline is Jan. 11, 2018. The application deadline is Feb. 8, 2018. See the request for applications for details.

3. Farm Asset Builder

Farm Asset Builder is an Individual Development Account (IDA) matched savings program. Farmers work with Angelic Organics Learning Center and partners to improve their financial and business planning skills, while also saving a monthly portion of their earned farm income that will then be MATCHED! Savings will then be used to purchase items (or assets) that help grow your farm business. Application period ends Friday, December 8, 2017. Read more and apply


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Building a Successful Food Forest
December 6 // 3:30-4:30 CT
The Wisconsin School Garden Network is partnering with colleagues at La Crosse Area Family YMCA, GROW La Crosse, and Coulee Region Ecoscapes to discuss how to build a successful food forest. A food forest, large or small, is a great way to enhance your youth garden with fruit trees, fruiting shrubs, and other edibles! Register here

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

3. Webinar: You are How You Eat: Food, Culture, and Social Inequality

December 12 // 12-1pm ET
Community Food Center's Canada presents this webinar focused on how inequality plays out through a variety of aspects of our current food culture. Though there are synergies and momentum toward progressive change building within the food movement, there are also complex dynamics related to race, class, gender, and social inequality. Sociologist Alice Julier has looked at subjects ranging from food as a vehicle for gentrification to how race, gender, and socio-economic experience reveal themselves around the dinner table. Register here

4. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to ECE Quarterly Webinar: Placing Equity at the Center of Farm to Early Care and Education
January 9, 2018 // 3-4:15pm ET
At the intersection of multiple sectors, including policy, education, food systems and social justice, farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) can be a platform for advancing racial and social equity. Access to farm to ECE opportunities may be one approach to addressing health and education inequities by increasing access to healthy, local foods and high-quality education opportunities for children and communities while promoting ECE policies that address inequity. Farm to ECE can, at the same time, address inequities in the food system by changing ECE purchasing practices and policies. Join the National Farm to School Network, the Policy Equity Group, the Food Trust, and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems to learn how these organizations are both evaluating internal structures and practices to prioritize equity and working towards programs and policies that place equity at the center of farm to ECE initiatives. Register here.

5. Food Tank Summit Events

Each Summit features 30+ speakers (to be announced soon) and includes a delicious breakfast and lunch, with tons of other terrific opportunities and surprises. Washington, D.C. Summit (February 28): Cultivating the Next Generation of Young Food Leaders presented in partnership with George Washington University and World Resources Institute, Seattle Summit (March 17): Growing Food Policy presented in partnership with Food Action, and Boston Summit (April 19): Exploring the Paradox of Hunger and Obesity presented in collaboration with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and Oxfam America. Read more


Resources & Research
1. School Nutrition Association’s 2017 Trends Report
As school nutrition professionals work to promote healthier choices and boost school meal participation, a recent SNA survey reveals school menus feature more international flavors, made-to-order entrees and cleaner label options. Read More.

2. Racial Equity in the Farm Bill: Context and Foundations
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has launched a new blog series focused on the Farm Bill as a tool for advancing racial equity in food and agriculture. In this first post from the series, NSAC wades into the complex and historical issues of racial equity, setting the stage for subsequent posts that will focus on the specific challenges faced by people of color in the food and farm system and recommendations for creating lasting institutional change.


Job Opportunities
1. Program Manager, Green Shoots for New Americans
The Green Shoots for New Americans - Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program (RAPP) is an educational urban farming program, located on Buffalo, New York's east side, that provides adult refugees adaptive farming and marketing skills. Green Shoots seeks to hire a Program Manager. Learn more

2. Executive Director, The Northern Colorado Food Cluster

The Northern Colorado Food Cluster is looking for an Executive Director to lead the organization in promoting food systems-led economic development in the Northern Colorado region. Learn more

3. Farm Manager, Allegheny Mountain Institute
Allegheny Mountain Institute is seeking a Farm Manager to manage the farm central to AMI's Farm and Food Education Fellowship, an intensive, hands-on cooperative experiential learning and training program in Highland County, VA. Learn more

4. Education Director, Wright-Locke Farm
Wright-Locke Farm is now hiring an Education Director to develop, manage, and facilitate youth and adult education programs. The Education Director is a full-time, year-round salaried position. Learn more

5. Garden Teacher, Pacific Elementary School 
Pacific School in California is hiring a Garden Teacher. Grow food with kids for a leading school meal program. Truly a unique school and part-time job. Learn more


Farm to School in the News
Anchorage School District is Really Living the Farm to School Dream
What do you get when you combine a former Minnesotan who grew up on a farm, a farmer in the Matanuska Valley who has many potatoes too small to sell, and 30,000+ Thanksgiving meal lunches for students in Anchorage schools? You get an excited Student Nutrition Department Executive Director, a happy farmer, and students thrilled about the fresh, nutritious, local mashed potatoes in their lunch! (KTVA The Voice of Alaska

New Mexico Teacher Prepares Fresh Lunches for 160 Students Every Day - From Scratch

“On pizza day, I will make five full-sized trays of focaccia and split down the middle, so we have 10 pieces. We make tomato sauce (sometimes we use fresh tomatoes from the school garden) and fresh herbs, we top that with green chile and other toppings. The kids go crazy … I love that.” (Babble)

Iowa Schools are Using Local Produce to Make Global Recipes
Every school day in October, the 550 students at Decorah Middle School sampled recipes from around the world. This program not only connected students to global foods, they also made local connection by using local, seasonal fruit and vegetables whenever possible. (The Lunchbox)

Read past editions of This Week for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country.



This Week in Farm to School: 11/28/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 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. 

Grants & Funding

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

2. Voices for Healthy Kids (VFHK) Grant 
Voices for Healthy Kids (VFHK) has opened a new round of funding to specifically support school health at the state and local level. Applications are due Dec. 8, 2017 and must be focused in passing policy related to these specific issue areas: Physical Education, School Marketing, Wellness Policies, School Food – Meals & Smart Snacks standards, Water Access. Watch this webinar for more information. 

3. Farm Asset Builder
Farm Asset Builder is an Individual Development Account (IDA) matched savings program. Farmers work with Angelic Organics Learning Center and partners to improve their financial and business planning skills, while also saving a monthly portion of their earned farm income that will then be MATCHED! Savings will then be used to purchase items (or assets) that help grow your farm business.  Application period ends Friday, December 8, 2017. Read more and apply


Webinars

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

2. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to ECE Quarterly Webinar: Placing Equity at the Center of Farm to Early Care and Education

January 9, 2018 // 3-4:15pm ET
At the intersection of multiple sectors, including policy, education, food systems and social justice, farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) can be a platform for advancing racial and social equity. Access to farm to ECE opportunities may be one approach to addressing health and education inequities by increasing access to healthy, local foods and high-quality education opportunities for children and communities while promoting ECE policies that address inequity. Farm to ECE can, at the same time, address inequities in the food system by changing ECE purchasing practices and policies. Join the National Farm to School Network, the Policy Equity Group, the Food Trust, and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems to learn how these organizations are both evaluating internal structures and practices to prioritize equity and working towards programs and policies that place equity at the center of farm to ECE initiatives. Register here.


Events

1. National Farmers Union Online Conference
December 4-7
This FREE four-day online conference is focused on developing agricultural leaders from all backgrounds, and provides an opportunity for beginning farmers to acquire the skills they need to run a successful operation. The conference will highlight leaders in the field of agriculture and focus on building a network for beginning farmers and ranchers throughout the country. Register here.

2. Future Harvest CASA's Conference
January 11-13 // College Park, Maryland
The program for Future Harvest CASA's 19th Annual Cultivate the Chesapeake
Foodshed Conference is up and registration is open. This conference offers over 40 sessions and pre-conference workshops; three nationally renowned keynotes -- Gabe Brown, Michael Twitty, and Ira Wallace -- farmer-to-farmer chats and quick-learn "lightning rounds." Register here

3. National Child Nutrition Conference

April 19-21, 2018 // San Antonio, TX
Scholarship applications for the 2018 National Child Nutrition Conference is open now through Wednesday January 24, 2018. Fifteen winners will receive complimentary conference registration, lodging and $300 towards travel. The recipients will be selected by the conference committee and notified by February 9, 2018. Scholarships are available in all the following categories: CACFP Sponsoring Agency, Head Start, School District, Food Bank, Tribal Nation, At-Risk/Afterschool, Summer Food, Child Care Center/Home Provider. Learn more.


Resources & Research
1. First Nation Institute's New Nutrition Education Toolkit for FDPIR
The First Nations Institute has launched a new FDPIR Nutrition Education Toolkit. The toolkit provides resources to help Native communities prepare healthy and tasty meals using the foods available through the FDPIR program. It contains free educational resources, including several cookbooks, videos featuring traditional foods and cooking methods, and additional materials on traditional, ancestral beverages. One of the featured resources is the First Nations cookbook, titled Cooking Healthier with FDPIR Foods, which provides healthy recipes using foods found in the FDPIR food package. 

2. Results and Recommendations from the 2017 National Young Farmer Survey
America’s farmers are retiring and need replacements. But who will take their place? A new survey by the National Young Farmers Coalition finds that today’s young farmers are doing things differently than generations past. They are operating smaller farms, growing more diverse crops, selling directly to consumers, committed to sustainable and conservation-minded farming practices, highly educated, primarily female, increasingly racially diverse, and optimistic about the future. Learn more about the challenges they face and opportunities for policy reform to support them by reading the report here: www.youngfarmers.org/survey2017

3. Study: Impact of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act on School Breakfast & Lunch Participation Rates
A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health evaluated National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program participation over a 7-year period before and after the implementation of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), which required healthier school lunch options beginning in school year (SY) 2012–2013 and healthier school breakfast options beginning in SY2013–2014. Results from the study find that the HHFKA did not have a a negative impact on school meal participation over time. Read more

4. Article & Research: Becoming (and Remaining) a Farmer is Hard

Civil Eats looks at the new academic research that suggests the 2014 Farm Bill’s efforts to support beginning farmer initiatives may not have been effective for addressing many of the obstacles beginning farmers face, including access to land, student loan debt, and, in the case of farmers of color, discrimination from predominantly white land owners in this country. Many farmer advocacy groups say the biggest issues facing beginning farmers are more structural and systemic than a lack of skills. “These structural barriers—whether rooted in informal social networks or systemic ethnocentrism, hold back some beginning farmers who otherwise energetically apply themselves to overcoming their individual knowledge deficits.” Read more.  


Job Opportunities

1.Working Lands Alliance Project Director, American Farmland Trust
American Farmland Trust seeks an energetic self-starter to lead Connecticut’s Working Lands Alliance (WLA). This is a telework position and requires extensive travel throughout Connecticut and occasional travel elsewhere in the region. Read more here

2. Midwest Cover Crop Assistant, Practical Farmers of Iowa
Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking an experienced professional to serve as our Midwest Cover Crop Assistant who will work directly with the growing PFI Cover Crop Team. Read more here


Farm to School in the News

In New Jersey, garden recess continues to grow
“There​ ​are​ ​some​ ​students​ ​who​ ​come​ ​to​ ​the​ ​garden​ ​every​ ​week​​ ​​​simply​ ​to make​ ​a​ ​connection,​ ​to talk​ ​and​ ​play​ ​quietly​ ​with​ ​the​ ​adults​ ​or​ ​other​ ​children​ ​in​ ​the garden. Others​ love​ ​to​ ​​search​ ​in​ ​the​ ​compost​ ​and​ ​under rocks​ ​and​ ​logs​​ ​for​ ​insects,​ ​salamanders ​and​ ​snakes.”​ Some students run ​into​ ​the​ ​garden to​ ​pull​ ​a​ ​carrot,​ ​paint​ ​a​ ​picture​ ​or​ ​taste​ ​some​ ​food​ ​before returning ​to​ ​their​ ​recess​ ​play. (Village Green NJ)

Alabama school partners with local restaurant on herb project

Students at the Dothan Technology Center will plant herbs, tend to them as they grow, then sell them to a local restaurant at market price. "The basis of it is to allow special needs and at risk students the ability to start doing tasks and jobs that can help them perform when they reach adulthood." (Dothan First)

In Michigan, students and families celebrate Thanksgiving tradition

The annual Thanksgiving tradition at the Grand Haven school is based on the book, “Stone Soup.” In the book, townspeople share their food to make a meal for everyone. In addition to donated ingredients, students harvested their school garden for items such as potatoes, parsley, kale, onion, oregano, turnips and carrots. The kids also made bread and butter to accompany the soup. (Grand Haven Tribune)

New York middle school students host harvest dinner
Eighth-grade students at Saranac Lake Middle School entertained their parents at the Harvest Dinner with an array of projects focused on sustainability, pollution and taking care of the earth. (Adirondack Daily Enterprise)


Read 
past editions of This Week for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country.

This Week in Farm to School: 11/21/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 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. Voices for Healthy Kids (VFHK) Grant 
Voices for Healthy Kids (VFHK) has opened a new round of funding to specifically support school health at the state and local level. Applications are due COB 12/8/17 and must be focused in passing policy related to these specific issue areas: Physical Education, School Marketing, Wellness Policies, School Food – Meals & Smart Snacks standards, Water Access. Watch this webinar for more information. 

2. National Child Nutrition Conference
April 19-21, 2018 // San Antonio, TX
Scholarship applications for the 2018 National Child Nutrition Conference is open now through Wednesday January 24, 2018. Fifteen winners will receive complimentary conference registration, lodging and $300 towards travel. The recipients will be selected by the conference committee and notified by February 9, 2018. Scholarships are available in all the following categories: CACFP Sponsoring Agency, Head Start, School District, Food Bank, Tribal Nation, At-Risk/Afterschool, Summer Food, Child Care Center/Home Provider. Learn more


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

2. National Farmers Union Online Conference
December 4-7
This FREE four-day online conference is focused on developing agricultural leaders from all backgrounds, and provides an opportunity for beginning farmers to acquire the skills they need to run a successful operation. The conference will highlight leaders in the field of agriculture and focus on building a network for beginning farmers and ranchers throughout the country. Register here

3. Registration Open: 21st Annual Georgia Organics Conference & Expo. 

Feb. 16-17, 2018 // Augusta, GA
Over two days, be inspired, connected, refreshed, invigorated and challenged at the 21st Annual Georgia Organics Conference and Expo. Farmers will share techniques, hacks and acumen that lift farmer productivity and prosperity. Educators will inspire with stories of kids loving broccoli. Advocates will rally us to fight for just and clean food. Augustans will tour us around their healthy food oasis. Exhibitors will show off the latest and greatest. And we will eat good and beautiful food grown by the ultimate stewards of land, flavor and joy. Come see why food is the answer! Learn more and register here


Resources & Research
1. Updated Resource: State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2017
Farm to school policies have been a key strategy for making local food procurement, food education and school gardens a reality for millions of children. To support the continued growth of state policy advocacy, the National Farm to School Network updated one its signature resources that tracks how farm to school supportive-bills strengthening the farm to school movement. The State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2017 offers a state-by-state review of every proposed farm to school policy since 2002, analysis of legislative trends, case studies of successful advocacy efforts and other resources for those working to advance farm to school in their communities.

2. Food from Farms: Toolkit for Direct Purchasing of Local Food

The Food from Farms: Toolkit for Direct Purchasing of Local Food provides examples and templates to start community-based local food procurement directly from farmers. The toolkit was originally developed for a small school district in northern Minnesota, and was designed to comply with USDA guidelines.The toolkit is adaptable and has been used for local food procurement by a hospital and a non-profit organization. 

3. Healthy Food Policy Project
The Healthy Food Policy Project (HFPP) identifies and elevates local laws that seek to promote access to healthy food, and also contribute to strong local economies, an improved environment, and health equity, with a focus on socially disadvantaged and marginalized groups. Learn more here

4. Dolores Huerta is Still Fighting for Farmworkers’ Rights
Dolores Huerta is having a bit of a celebrity moment. It began in 2012, when President Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom award for coining the slogan “Sí, Se Puede,” an early predecessor to his own campaign slogan, “Yes, We Can.” Now, she’s the subject of a documentary, “Dolores,” which was conceived of and produced by Carlos Santana, directed by Peter Bratt, and is screening around the country this fall. But the 87-year-old community organizer is far from your typical celebrity. Learn more


Policy Updates

1. Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act
A bipartisan coalition led by Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) has introduced the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act (BFROA) of 2017. This bill will ensure that the 2018 Farm Bill focuses on the future of American agriculture by driving investment toward programs and policies that create opportunities for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. Learn more here

2. Food Policy Report Card for U.S. Congress Shows Lack of Action
Food Policy Action (FPA) has released its 2017 National Food Policy Scorecard to help the public track actions taken by lawmakers in the US Congress. “While this year’s Scorecard shows a weak Congressional agenda on food policy, this is only a midterm score,” said FPA Executive Director Monica Mills. “Congress has a huge opportunity to show leadership on these issues as we move into discussions ahead of the 2018 Farm Bill. It is our job to hold them accountable during the next election cycle.” Read more

3. Letter Sent to Appropriations on School Equipment Grant

The National Farm to School Network has signed on to a joint letter that was sent to Senate and House Appropriations Committee leaders on behalf of organizations committed to ensuring students receive fresh, healthy food daily through federal school meal programs. The letter offers support for the language included in the House of Representatives Fiscal Year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which lowers the threshold for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) School Kitchen Equipment Grant purchases from $5,000 to $1,000. This year’s USDA School Kitchen Grant program is seeking $30 million in the appropriations bill, which is vital since nearly 90% of schools need at least one piece of updated equipment. 


Job Opportunities

1. Communications Director, Pesticide Action Network
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is seeking a passionate, pragmatic and innovative Communications Director. This is an 80% position — 4 days/week —  located in either PAN’s Berkeley or Minneapolis office. Read more here

2. Director of Development, Georgia Organics
Georgia Organics is seeking to hire a full-time Director of Development. The Director of Development is responsible for leading, planning, and accelerating fund development while fostering a culture of philanthropy within the organization. Learn more here

3. Año Nuevo Farm Director, Pie Ranch
Pie Ranch is seeking a full-time, year round Farm Director for 68 acres at the Año Nuevo site (approximately 30 acres row crop production and 30 acres of pasture). Its current integrated crop and livestock production focus is on diverse coastal vegetables, grains and legumes, as well as cattle and poultry with subleases on the pasture land. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News

Farm to School: Oklahoma students learning to eat and grow fresh veggies and fruits
"You’ve heard the concept ‘Farm to Table’ where high-end restaurants bring local produce to the dinner table. What about bringing that same organic food to the classroom? That’s what Muskogee Public Schools is doing with its ‘Farm to School’ program designed to teach students about health eating choices." (KJRH)

Green School Farms grows for schools in Nebraska
 

"We have a passion for providing local, health food to the schools to get kids excited about eating healthier." (LNKTV Health)

Arkansas school garden greens ready for harvest

Earlier this year they planted turnips, collard greens and mustard greens in a school garden. Now, the plants are ready to harvest. East Initiative students were in the garden Thursday, picking the produce. (Arkansas Matters)

Wisconsin elementary school kicks-off gardening program with Native American food presentation
A Native American chef recently visited Hintgen Elementary for food taste tests and demonstrations. The event marked the beginning of GROW La Crosse's gardening program at the school. The organization will also install and maintain a school garden for Hintgen through the program. (News8000)

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.



The State of State Policy

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 21, 2017

By Maximilian Merrill, Policy Director
 
Farm to school policies have been a key strategy for making local food procurement, food education and school gardens a reality for millions of children. To support the continued growth of state policy advocacy, we’ve updated one of our signature resources that tracks how farm to school-supportive bills are strengthening the farm to school movement.

The State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2017 provides state-by-state summaries of every enacted, defeated or pending farm to school-related bill from January 1, 2002 through March 31, 2017. It also includes analysis and infographics on state farm to school legislative trends; case studies on successful farm to school advocacy efforts in Alaska, Oregon, Texas and Washington, D.C.; and, additional resources to help advocates learn about and replicate the wide variety of existing state farm to school laws, policies and programs. 

The State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2017 builds on a survey that was originally released in 2011, and updated in 2013 and 2014. This most recent version reflects legislation through March 31, 2017. With this update, we’ve found that 46 states, including Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have proposed 491 bills and resolutions supportive of farm to school activities. Forty of these states, including D.C., have enacted farm to school-related legislation. Since the last legislative survey published in 2014, Louisiana, Arkansas, Wyoming, Utah and Arizona have enacted their first farm to school legislation, with only a handful of states remaining that have yet to pass farm to school policy.

In the last two years alone, over 200 farms to school-related policies have been proposed in state and territory legislatures. The most popular policy initiatives were food education, funding and promotional events. Other popular policies included price percentage preference legislation to enable schools to purchase local foods and farm to school pilot programs. 

In addition to providing summaries on each of these proposed policies, the State Farm to School Legislative Survey also offers tools to help advocates advance new legislation in their states. Check out four case studies that analyze successful farm to school advocacy efforts and compare how different states have tackled farm to school policy opportunities with different approaches. While each state and territory has a different political climate, these case studies offer examples that can be replicated across the board. For example, farmer databases or local preference laws may be more attractive for a legislature concerned by budgets or boosting local jobs. 

The State Farm to School Legislative Survey is designed to offer farm to school advocates like you a roadmap to learn about and compare existing, potentially replicable state farm to school laws, policies and programs in order to advance new legislation in your state. So dig in, and start exploring the opportunities! 

Have questions about this new resource or need a thought partner on how to connect with your state lawmakers? Don’t hesitate to contact our Policy team for support! We look forward to hearing how your advocacy efforts continue to support the growth of farm to school, state by state. 

An extraordinary 2017, thanks to you!

NFSN Staff Monday, November 20, 2017

By Lea Madry, Development Director

It’s hard to believe that the final weeks of 2017 are upon us, and at the National Farm to School Network, we are reflecting on an extraordinary year for farm to school. For that, we have you – our members, donors, partners and friends – to thank. Your commitment to our shared mission and partnership in advancing the farm to school movement has helped support many more healthy kids, thriving farmers, and vibrant communities across all parts of the country. Together, we’re keeping the farm to school movement growing strong! 

Here are several highlights of our 2017 success that you helped make possible:  

200 New State & Territory Partners: Embarked on an exciting new chapter of our work with 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 and Supporting Partners

New Strategy: Launched and began implementing our ambitious 2017-2019 Strategic Plan, which includes expanding and refining our policy advocacy, programs and partnerships to institutionalize farm to school and early care and education.

National Advocacy: Worked with bipartisan champions in Congress to introduce the Farm to School Act of 2017, which proposes an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the highly successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The Farm to School Act of 2017 would 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. 

Support for Native Communities: Launched Seed Change initiatives in five Native communities as a strategy to leverage community-wide initiatives towards building food sovereignty and revitalizing use of traditional foods. Activities have focused on procurement of local and traditional foods, school gardens, and food and agriculture education in Native schools. 

Expanding Farm to Early Care and Education: Enriched existing networking and collaboration opportunities among ECE stakeholders through a national listserv and quarterly webinars. We also launched a Roadmap for Farm to Early Care and Education resource and Growing Head Start Success with Farm to Early Care and Education tool, which promotes understanding of how farm to ECE can support achievement of Head Start Program Performance Standards.

Innovation Awards: Presented Innovation Awards to celebrate beginning farmers in their first 10 years of farming and farmer veterans. This year’s awards have been given to two farmers in recognition of their exemplary efforts in selling local produce to schools and engaging kids in learning where their food comes from: Dylan Strike from Strike Farms in Bozeman, Montana and Jon Turner from Wild Roots Farm Vermont in Bristol, Vermont.

National Partnerships: Facilitated expanded engagement in farm to school with a new initiative to designate a “National Partner of the Year.” In this inaugural year, we partnered with the School Nutrition Association to better connect our members and school nutrition professionals for fostering a nation of healthy, well-nourished kids. 

New Resources: Expanded our resource library with new resources for helping farm to school efforts grow in all communities, including a study of the economic impact of farm to school, an updated version of our State Farm to School Legislative Survey, and new non-English and bilingual farm to school resources

Your donations have made this work possible, and they’re crucial to helping us do more in 2018. Make your end of year, tax-deductible donation today to keep this movement growing. 

We’re on track to build on 2017 successes by expanding the farm to school movement in 2018, as part of our new strategic plan. To support our ambitious growth goals, we’ve launched the Seed Change Venture Fund so that passionate individuals like you can invest in our movement. Will you make a donation during the final months of 2017 to help sustain our movement and propel our growth? 

After all, farm to school doesn’t happen on its own – it takes people like you championing the movement. We need your help to continue this important work. 

With your gift, you’ll be contributing to the Seed Change Venture Fund, which supports our bold growth goals for farm to school in 2018 and beyond. 

By donating, you’re helping us build strong farm to school support networks, train farm to school practitioners across the country, drive policy change and develop vibrant communities that support healthy kids and thriving farms. Give today! 

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