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.
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.
1. National Farmers Union Online Conference
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.
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.