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.
1. Register today! National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
June 2-4, 2016 // Madison, Wisconsin
Don’t miss the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it a crucial leadership development opportunity to advance community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Event organizers expect more than 1,500 attendees, and the last event sold out before the registration deadline, so don’t wait. Registration closes May 16. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.
2. Webinar: How to Successfully Implement Salad Bars in Your School Cafeteria
Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools
Thursday, April 28, 3pm ET
School salad bars are one of the easiest ways to meet the fruit and vegetable standards for school lunch, increase participation in the lunch program, reduce plate waste and increase student’s fruit and vegetable consumption. The Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative has donated salad bars to more than 4,500 schools nationwide and has resources to help schools successfully implement salad bars. Hear from school food service directors about their experience with salad bars and how you can apply for salad bars from LMSB2S. Register here.
3. Webinar: Farm to Summer: Incorporating local foods in Summer Food Service Programs
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
May 3, 2016 2:00-3:30 pm ET
Summer Food Service Programs can be an ideal time to start looking at local purchasing. At the height of the Michigan farming season, there is more local product available than at any other time in the year. Farmers are often willing to sell seconds or bulk surpluses at a discounted rate, and what better way to take advantage of those than in your Summer Food Service Program! Join the Michigan Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, and MSU Center for Regional Food Systems for an interactive and informative webinar covering all things Farm to Summer. Hear about farm to summer programs happening in Michigan, learn how to incorporate local purchasing into your site’s meal program, and see how Farm to Summer programs can increase nutritional quality of meals and boost participation rates. Register here.
4. Webinar: School Garden Education for Children Experiencing Behavioral and Mental Health Challenges
Slow Food USA
Tuesday, May 17, 2pm ET
School Gardens for students with behavioral and mental health challenges provide interesting opportunities to develop positive and empowering life skills. The Creeks School Garden in Portland Oregon integrates practical education theory and methods into tangible, thoughtful teaching exercises that results in dynamic behavioral changes. The Creeks School Garden team will describe: the learning characteristics of these special children, their school settings, the importance of community partnerships, and specific activities that help these student’s gain confidence and develop productive collaborative relationships. Learn more here.
5. USDA's Minority Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee
May 10-12 // New Orleans
Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Office of Advocacy and Outreach is announcing a meeting of the Minority Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee. The committee is being convened to consider issues involving minorities. The members will deliberate on recommendations to be prepared for USDA Secretarial consideration. The meeting will be open to the public. Public written comments for the committee's consideration may be submitted by close of business on May 6. More details here.
6. Call for Proposals: School Food FOCUS 2016 National Gathering
December 6-8, 2016 // Braselton, Georgia
School Food FOCUS is seeking proposals that demonstrate how more healthful, regional and sustainable school food can drive food systems change. They seek innovative and dynamic speakers who can share the opportunities and challenges of institutional procurement. Ideal proposals will highlight inspirational success stories and emphasize the importance of equitable food access for all children. All proposals should be submitted to the online form by Friday, May 27, 2016. Learn more here.
Research & Resources
1. Survey Results: Farm to School in Early Care and Education Builds Healthy Kids with Bright Futures
In 2015, the National Farm to School Network surveyed early care and education providers across the country. Nearly 1,500 providers serving 183,369 young children in 49 states and Washington, D.C., responded and shared fascinating insight into the important work that they are doing to connect young children to healthy, local foods and food related educational opportunities. The results show that farm to school in early care and education is on the rise across the country. 54% of respondents are already doing farm to school activities and another 28% plan to start in the near future. A new infographic and factsheet are available with more survey results. To see the results and learn how the National Farm to School Network is working to expand farm to school in early care and education, visit farmtoschool.org/earlychildhood.
2. CDC Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity: Data, Trends and Maps
The CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity's Data, Trends and Maps online tool allows you to search for and view indicators related to nutrition, physical activity and obesity. You can search on the basis of a specific location or an indicator. Access this powerful data tool here.
3. Engagement and Cultural Competence Webinar Recording
Suzanne Bronheim, PhD from the National Center for Cultural Competence presented "Community Engagement to Address Cultural Competence" on March 31st. During this thought-provoking and practical webinar, Bronheim discusses the difference between community engagement and community outreach, cultural brokering, and specific strategies program managers can use for engaging diverse communities. This was the third cultural competence webinar provided by the National Center during the Healthy Places for Kids to Eat (HPKE) project. The HPKE project is part of a cooperative agreement between ASPHN and CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Watch the recording here.
Jobs & Opportunities
1. Executive Director, West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition
The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial, committed leader to help build and support West Virginia’s rapidly growing local food system. The position of WVFFC Executive Director is one that advocates for sound legislative policy to benefit West Virginia farmers and consumers, builds stakeholder partnerships, and continues the Coalition’s success in promoting food and agriculture as a critical part of West Virginia’s economy. Learn more here.
Farm to school in the news
A Model Network: The National Farm to School Network - shout out to Anupama Joshi, NFSN Executive Director and Co-Founder!
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group has profiled the National Farm to School Network as a model network on their blog. Read how our strategies of connecting people with information, policy advocacy and networking have supported the growth of the farm to school movement across the country. Read more here.
Bill aims for slow food to simmer in La. schools - shout out to Katie Mularz, Louisiana State Lead!
Louisiana Sen. Francis Thompson wants to incorporate a farm to school program in all Louisiana public schools. Thompson's Senate Bill 240, which overwhelmingly passed by the Senate last week, would require such a program be developed and implemented by the state departments of education and agriculture. (via The News Star)
Students use love of science & nutrition to help others enjoy healthier school lunches
Mays High School in Atlanta, Ga. uses aquaponics and hydroponics to grow year round herbs and vegetables and teach students about healthy eating. School officials say the program allows student to apply cutting edge, economical and sustainable methods that yield safe and nutritious food in Atlanta Public Schools cafeterias. (via Fox 5 Atlanta)
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.