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National Farm to School Network

News

We Need to Rebuild Our Food System. Schools Can Lead.

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 21, 2020

By National Farm to School Network and Urban School Food Alliance

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role schools play in our food systems, as a source of food for students, an employer of essential food service workers and a market for food producers. The pandemic also exposed the deep, pervasive inequities in our food system, including the devastating impacts COVID-19 had on those historically underserved.

Our food system is permeated with troubling disparities. Even before the pandemic, access to healthy food has been a challenge most pronounced for people of color who live in low-income communities. And since the onset of the pandemic, a survey has found that nearly 41 percent of mothers with children ages 12 and under reported household food insecurity.

Food system workers, who represent 1 in 5 essential workers, are predominantly people of color who often earn less than a living wage, and have been dying at higher rates from COVID-19 due to prevalence of underlying health conditions. Concerns exist that farmers of color, who make up less than 4 percent of the nation’s producers, are being overlooked in the US Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Combined, these inequities in our food system span urban, suburban and rural communities, the direct result of inequitable and inefficient policies and practices as old as our nation itself.

When, in March, nearly all 100,000 schools across the country closed their doors, there were herculean efforts to ensure that school children – nearly 75 percent of whom receive free or reduced price meals – continued to have access to food. Ensuring every child is fed must be part of our work to rebuild the food system. As conversations turn towards “what’s next” in responding to the pandemic, we have a tremendous opportunity to change our food system and ensure that every person along the supply chain – from grower to eater, is treated justly. To recover from the present health and economic crisis, we must relook at the critical role food plays in health, equity and prosperity in our communities.

Many approaches will be needed to do this work, and we’ve been heartened to see multiple ideas already shared. There is one approach we think deserves more attention: school cafeterias can be a major propeller of this urgent, needed change in how we eat. Here’s how:

School cafeterias are our nation’s largest restaurant chain. When school is in session, cafeterias feed 30 million hungry mouths each day. More than 7 billion meals are served annually through the National School Lunch Program and National School Breakfast Program and more than $18.2 billion invested in these programs annually. With schools everywhere, focusing on school food supply chains means focusing on food in every community.

School meal funding recirculates in local communities. The collective purchasing power of school food service provides an opportunity to invest in local communities – both in the food purchased for meals, and in providing stable workforce opportunities. According to the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, schools spent nearly $800 million annually on local food purchases, and more than 42 percent of schools report engaging in farm to school opportunities. Every dollar invested in farm to school efforts stimulates an additional $0.60-$2.16 of local economic activity.

School meal infrastructure helps make communities adaptable during a crisis. During this pandemic, many schools have taken on the role of feeding entire communities. The existing infrastructure of school meals and the experience and ingenuity of school nutrition professionals has allowed them to meet this critical need. Furthermore, schools’ existing relationships with farmers have shown resilience during this crisis: a School Nutrition Association survey found that nearly a quarter of schools are supporting local agriculture and serving local foods in their emergency feeding programs. Simultaneously, we’re seeing support of local food systems continue to rise during this pandemic.

School meals are an investment in the future. This pandemic shows we are capable of cooperation and rapid change, and it is important this continues. Every community deserves a strong and just local food system and we must continue to leverage our collective energy for equitable change as we rebuild by seeking opportunities for collaboration and action amongst schools, growers, producers, governmental agencies and community advocates. Investing in school meals is smart and a proven strategy for whole-community health, economic stimulus and resilience. School meals must be part of the conversation as we talk about the future.

Learn more at www.farmtoschool.org and www.urbanschoolfoodalliance.org.

This Week in Farm to School: 7/21/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 21, 2020
SIGN UP: National Farm to School Network has weekly e-newsletter to share a roundup of COVID-19 related resources and information with farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders - similar to what is shared weekly in these This Week in Farm to School blog posts. Sign up here to have this information delivered in your inbox weekly.

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 RFA: Innovating Formal and Non-Formal Educational Experiences in Food and Agricultural Sciences During the Time of Social Distancing
Deadline: August 20 
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Education and Workforce Development RFA now includes a new program area priority to address the need to develop and deploy rapid, reliable, and readily-adoptable strategies in workforce preparation through formal K-14 education, as well as in youth development through non-formal education to cultivate interest and competencies in STEM and agriculture during this challenging time. This program area accepts new applications only. Learn more and apply. Interested applicants are invited to register for an informational webinar on July 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time.

2. USDA's Office of Partnership and Public Engagement RFA: Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
 Deadline to apply: August 26
Via section 2501 funding, these grants support community-based and non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities to conduct programming to assist producers. The deadline to apply is August 26th (please note, the announcement in the Federal Register incorrectly states the deadline as September 11!) OPPE will host a call for potential applicants on July 28, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EST (Telephone Number: (877) 692-8955, Passcode: 6433267). No registration needed. Learn more and apply.

3. Cigna Foundation's Healthier Kids For Our Future Grant Program
Deadline: September 30 
Cigna Foundation is looking to partner with school systems and surrounding communities — including clinicians, local and national nonprofits — to supplement existing mental health programming and help close gaps both within and outside the school environment to address loneliness, anxiety, depression, and suicide prevention. To that end, it will fund programs that foster collaboration between various stakeholders, including school administrators and teachers, clinicians, and local and national nonprofits. The grants are up to $65,000 grants per year for two years. Learn more and apply.

4. USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational and Applied Science Program RFA
Deadlines: Vary based on program, view RFA for details
The AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program supports grants in six AFRI priority areas to advance knowledge in both fundamental and applied sciences important to agriculture. The six priority areas are: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health; Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities. Research-only, extension-only, and integrated research, education and/or extension projects are solicited in this Request for Applications (RFA). See Foundational and Applied Science RFA for specific details.


Webinars & Events
1. Horizon Summer Camp - Farm Education Video Series
July 2020
Horizon Organic is opening up the barn doors for Summer Camp! Kids and families are invited to tune-in to this summer camp video series to get a behind-the-scenes look at farm life. Throughout July, Horizon will be sharing fun and education activities - like creative ways to upcycle milk cartons, how to milk a cow, and a farm tour - on their YouTube page. Check-in weekly to see what's new at camp! Watch the summer camp video series here: www.youtube.com/HorizonDairy

2. Webinar Series: Building Sustainable Power for Change: Toolkit for Activism
Every Tuesday in July // 3-4:30pm ET
Join The New School's four-part workshop series on organizing, community building, and how to influence change in the world. Hear from Ted Kerr, Kiara Nagel, A.W. Strouse, and Miski Noor, who will lead the discussions. Workshops will take place every Tuesday in July from 3:00-4:30 p.m. (EST).  Presented by the Office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice and the Dean's Office at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts. 
Organizing by Understanding Power (7/21)

3. Webinar Series: How Threatened is New England's Farmland--and What are the States Doing to Protect It? 
A new study from American Farmland Trust – “Farms Under Threat: The State of the States” – provides groundbreaking new data that answer these questions. Along with hearing from special guests from state agriculture departments, AFT will be looking at the spatial and policy scorecard findings and talking through tools available through this report to help planners, land trusts, farm and conservation organizations, policymakers, and advocates strengthen and expand farmland retention and protection efforts. The webinars are free and open to anyone with an interest in learning more. 
Register for:
·       Massachusetts – Tuesday, July 21 at 1 p.m.
·       Rhode Island – Wednesday, July 22 at 1 p.m.

4. EQUITY Virtual Training Series on Racial Equity in Farm to School
July 21 // 3PM EST
Please join the Farm to School Coalition of NC for a virtual summer series on Racial Equity in Farm to School. This 5 module workshop will be led by Ronda Bullock with We Are and be spread out over 8 weeks. Register separately for each module. Come to any or all, join with others from your school or community ideally, but you must have attended at least one module to register for the last module.These are free trainings for any whose work involves farm to school and who have an interest in applying a racial equity lens to their work. Internet and zoom accessibility needed. Video capability strongly recommended. Racial Equity in Farm to School Part 1: Implicit Bias (7/21)

5. EQUITY The Equity Journey
July 14-September 15
The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and Thought Industries announced an online training to help Americans begin the conversation about social equity. The Equity Journey course will be available free of charge for 30 days, beginning July 15. Learners will explore the meaning of equity and what it looks like in society, test their own understanding of privilege and how it impacts access and learn how to advance equity in their own organizations and communities. Learners will move through the sessions at their own pace and will earn a certificate upon successful completion. Register here.

6. EQUITY Panel Discussion: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Mind, Community, and Institution
July 22 / 1-2:30pm ET
Sponsored by eXtension, this panel discussion will focus on diversity, equity and inclusion for social race relations (mind), community leader input (community), and Extension leadership input (institution). Register here. 

7.  COVID-19 COVID-19 and Local Food—Challenges and Opportunities 
July 22 // 2:00PM EST
Despite challenges like shuttered farmers' markets and restaurants, a shortage of meat processors, and the scramble to move sales online, food producers selling into local and regional markets have demonstrated real resilience during COVID-19. In this panel, from James Beard Foundation, hear how the pandemic has affected regional food systems in different areas around the country and what that means for the future. Register here.

8. Webinar: Planning for the Next Normal at School: Key starter plays for prioritizing health when schools re-open
July 22 / 3:30pm ET 
To assist school and district leaders with specific, evidence-informed guidance and operating procedures for keeping school communities healthy during school reopenings, a number of nationally recognized and trusted school health organizations have come together to develop a playbook for school reopening — “Planning for the Next Normal at School: Keeping students, staff, and families safe and healthy.” Join this webinar for a deep dive into the five chapters of the playbook. Register here. 

9. EQUITY "Food Systems Friday" Webinar Series: Food is Racialized - Building Accountability for Justice
July 24 // 12PM PST
Brought to you by Prescott College, Drs. Kim Greeson and Emily Affolter will guide an interactive webinar on how justice can be explored, cultivated, and enacted by food system practitioners. Come prepared to unpack your own identities and role(s) with relationship to power and privilege in food systems, so you can leave with a more critical lens and toolkit to advance food justice. This will kick off a mini-series of Food Systems Fridays webinars on the theme of “The Human Right to Food” that can increase attendees’ literacy on equity and justice in the food system. Register here.

10. Farm to School Producer-Support Community Roundtable I
July 28 // 3-4:30PM EST
The National Farm to School Network is hosting two Community Roundtables - one in July and one in August - to offer a unique space for producer-focused dialogue related to farm to school and COVID-19. These conversations will help provide additional framing for the Bringing the Farm to School training program for agricultural producers; inform training curriculum by highlighting strategies for managing risk while staying committed to farm to school, innovative procurement approaches, and partnerships; and make sure our training implementation strategies are meeting the needs of producers, particularly those new to farm to school. Join us on July 28 at 3:00-4:30pm EST to hear from the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Washington State Department of Agriculture and National Young Farmers Coalition about the work they are doing to try and support producers during this time. Register here.

11. COVID-19 USDA Adapting SNAP-Ed to COVID-19 Webinar Series
The SNAP-Ed Connection and the SNAP-Ed Toolkit invite you to join us for a 3-part webinar series where we’ll hear from state and local SNAP-Ed programs who are creating, innovating, and delivering SNAP-Ed remotely in the COVID-19 era. Register here.
July 28, 1-2:30 PM EST Adapting SNAP-Ed Programming to Remote Delivery

12. Rapid Response: Formal and Non-Formal Educational Experiences in Food and Agricultural Sciences During the Time of Social Distancing Program Priority Area Webinar
July 28 // 12PM EST
Learn more about the USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Education and Workforce Development newest program priority area and RFA on addressing the need to develop and deploy rapid, reliable, and readily-adoptable strategies in workforce preparation through formal K-14 education, as well as in youth development through non-formal education to cultivate interest and competencies in STEM and agriculture during this challenging time. Register here.

13. PSU Summer Series: How to Use AMS Market News Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Information in School Meal Programs
August 4 // 2PM CST
At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:
1. Identify information in AMS Market News reports to aid in school nutrition procurement decisions, including Buy American;
2. Use AMS Market News to determine the market value of produce and factors that impact cost; and
3. Use AMS Market News to check for seasonal availability and associated costs.
Register here.

14. Change For Good Town Hall
August 13 // 12PM CST
The crises facing our nation have revealed how much children and families depend on schools for more than just a quality education. Schools serve as essential community anchors that provide daily meals, outdoor space and critical mental and physical health services. With so much at stake in the upcoming election and the coming school year, Healthy Schools Campaign is hosting a virtual town hall to hear from national and local leaders, education and health experts, and you. A networking session will follow the virtual event at 1PM CST. Register here.


Research & Resources
1. Help Michigan State University Extension Learn More About Farm to Institution Produce Safety
Deadline: August 31
Do you purchase fresh produce for an institution or know someone that does? Participate in a national survey about institutional food safety programs to inform educational initiatives for fresh produce buyers. The aim of this survey is to gather data on accepted food safety verification programs for fresh produce, awareness of the program’s requirements for farms, and confidence in these verification programs. Please consider taking and/or sharing a survey by the Michigan State University Extension about food safety requirements for suppliers. All of the questions are in multiple choice format and the survey will take an estimated time of 7 minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous and participation is completely voluntary. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the survey, feel free to contact Mariel Borgman from MSU Extension at mborgm@msu.edu. Learn more.

2. Resource: Tips for Caring for a Garden with Young Children
Need a break from the virtual world? Georgia Organics and Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education have developed some simple tips for gardening with toddlers to fiver-year olds. Check out the video here.

3. National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Social Equity Working Group's White Paper: Election 2020 Recommendations for Executive Action
The executive action agenda outlined in Improving Child Well-Being & Reducing Food Insecurity recommends using an existing cross-agency priority goal to improve child well-being through a Food Nutrition Service (FNS) initiative implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). To improve equitable outcomes in child well-being, NAPA recommends that policy and funding shifts be made to early care and education (ECE) settings serving young children in preschool as well as early and aftercare programs.  Also, NAPA suggests a broader agenda to improve food security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. View the white paper.

4. Article: Strengthening National Nutrition Research: Rationale and Options for a New Coordinated Federal Research Effort and Authority
The US faces remarkable food and nutrition challenges. Read in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, how a renewed and coordinated nutrition research program could pave the way for an evidence based federal response to address multiple national challenges. Read more.

5. EQUITY Indigenous Futures Survey Research Project
Deadline: August 1
IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance, and Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth are partnering with acclaimed researchers Dr. Stephanie Fryberg (Tulalip) of the University of Michigan and Dr. Arianne Eason of the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct the Indigenous Futures Survey -- a groundbreaking research project for Native peoples by Native peoples. The 15-20 minute survey launched Tuesday, June 23, 2020 and will close on August 1, 2020. IFS researchers are looking to reach as many Native relatives as possible, and are seeking to partner with organizations and tribal leaders to help disseminate the survey to at least 2,000 participants 18 years of age and older. IFS disseminating organizations and tribes can request access to data collected from the survey to be helpful to their future work. To participate in the IFP survey dissemination, or have questions regarding the survey, please email indigenousfuture@aspeninstitute.org or call (202) 736-2905. Learn more and take the survey.

Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. National Farm to School Network's federal policy platform calls on Congress to strengthen its support for school meal and child nutrition programs, farmers and those who feed us, Native communities, essential workers, children and families, and others who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. Please add your voice by endorsing our federal COVID-19 policy platform, and help us advocate for key food systems priorities on Capitol Hill. Sign on here.

2. USDA Posts the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Final Report 
The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) today posted the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final scientific report, an objective review of the latest available science on specific nutrition topics. The report’s evidence-based findings will inform USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as they co-develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will provide recommendations on what to eat and drink to promote health and prevent chronic disease.  Read more.

3. Policy Brief: Beyond School Walls: How Federal, State and Local Entities are Adapting Policies to Ensure Student Access to Healthy Meals During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools during the spring of 2020, these students were at risk of not having enough to eat. Waivers allowing program flexibility helped ensure students didn't go hungry and should stay in place until the pandemic is fully controlled. Read more.

4. USDA Boosts Food Assistance for Tribes During Pandemic
In partnership with tribes across the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced additional food for families in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The increased food assistance will temporarily supplement the monthly food package FDPIR households currently receive. Read more.


Job Opportunities
1. Education Director,  KC Farm School at Gibbs Road (Kansas City, Kansas)
Deadline to apply: July 24
KC Farm School at Gibbs Road empowers individuals through on-farm hands-on
experiences and vocational education connecting them to the land and soil, food, themselves and their communities. The first Education Director will add structure to existing education programming goals and build bridges between the farm, schools and the community. The Education Director will develop and guide the learning experiences of all who walk the farm with an eye to inclusivity, respect and in a way that accomplishes the mission and vision of KC Farm School. Learn more and apply.


In The News
Growing Together, Giving Together
Guåhan Sustainable Culture unites nonprofits to support farmers and feed families. Now in its second year, the group has stepped up to help prop up those in need during economic hardship brought by the pandemic through the Sustaining Farmers, Supporting Families program. (The Guam Daily Post)

Ohio Community Garden Offers New Program for Children
The Jefferson Street Oasis Community Garden is designating space for school-age children to learn about basic gardening skills, to grow their own items and have fun. On June 30, the group added a brand new 10 by 12-foot children’s cottage that will be used for education classes, a library of books about gardening, storage and activities. (Springfield News Sun)

Young Farmers and Farmers of Color Have Been Shut Out of Federal Assistance During the Pandemic
The federal government’s PPP and CFAP relief programs leave out beginning farmers even as the coronavirus decimates their primary sales outlets. (Washington Post)


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.

Federal Policy Update: A Big Budget Win & More Opportunities to Champion Farm to School Through COVID-19

NFSN Staff Thursday, July 16, 2020



By Karen Spangler, Policy Director


On July 9, the House Appropriations Committee advanced its agricultural spending bill for Fiscal Year 2021. The package provides $12 million in funding for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, a discretionary bump of $7 million above the annual mandatory $5 million level. In addition, it allocates discretionary funding for school kitchen equipment grants, outreach to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), and the Food Safety Outreach Program. This is a huge win for farm to school, and follows USDA’s recent announcement of a record 159 Farm to School Grant awards, made possible by the additional funding secured by our Congressional champions through appropriations bills for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The Senate is currently working on its own set of FY2021 spending priorities, which it must negotiate with the House before passing a final spending bill for the President’s signature. After those steps, this increased funding for farm to school will be official. 
 
Of course, farm to school activities can’t take place without the strong foundations of a viable local and regional food system, school meal programs and CACFP sites that actually have the resources to invest in farm to school, and educators who are supported in using farm to school activities with kids. We’re pleased to have such strong champions in House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, including Chair Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Ranking Member Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), who help make possible this important additional support. But to make the most of this future funding, we must address the immediate needs of stakeholders across the farm to school community that need relief now, and that will need support to rebuild in the years to come.
 
That’s why National Farm to School Network was pleased to endorse the Local FARMS Act, introduced July 2 by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). This bill would waive the non-federal match required for USDA Farm to School Grants, covering 100% of project costs instead of the current 75%. As state and local budgets are squeezed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, finding scarce matching funds will no longer be a barrier to accessing these grants. The Local FARMs Act would also support local food systems as producers rebuild, in particular directing 50% of bonus Specialty Crop Block Grants to purchase crops from women, veterans, and people of color.
 
School meal programs and early care and education providers who participate in CACFP have borne the responsibility of transforming their operations to continue feeding kids, even as reduced reimbursements from federal programs put programs in the red at a median level of $200,000. The HEROES Act, passed by the House in May, contains two provisions that would help somewhat, offering funding to cover some operational costs and make up for declining reimbursements. But as the uncertainty and burdens of the COVID-19 crisis drag on, more groups are looking to universal free meals in the 2020-2021 school year, including the School Nutrition Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a new joint campaign, School Lunch for All, led by Urban School Food Alliance and Student Voice. Universal free meals would not only help ensure health and educational equity for low-income children, but would also allow school nutrition staff to focus on nourishing kids rather than worry about reimbursement paperwork in the midst of a crisis. National Farm to School Network is supportive of these calls for universal free meals, and urges that any new policies to emerge be rooted in racial equity and justice. 
 
What’s next? Senate leaders face growing pressure to take action and pass more COVID relief legislation as the costs and uncertainty of this pandemic drag on. The good news is that there’s still time to shape what’s in this package - including many of the policy needs cited here in this post. 


You can take action by:
1) Signing NFSN’s COVID-19 platform on federal policy response.

2) Urging your Senators to support the Local FARMS Act.

3) Telling your Senators that relief for school meal programs and CACFP sites must be part of any new legislation. (Need support reaching out to your Senator? Just let us know!)

4) Joining forces with groups pushing for immediate universal free school meals in the 2020-2021 school year.

This Week in Farm to School: 7/14/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 14, 2020
SIGN UP: National Farm to School Network has weekly e-newsletter to share a roundup of COVID-19 related resources and information with farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders - similar to what is shared weekly in these This Week in Farm to School blog posts. Sign up here to have this information delivered in your inbox weekly.

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.  Call for Proposals: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health Prize
Deadline: July 31
A Culture of Health recognizes that where we live—such as our access to affordable homes, quality schools, good jobs, and reliable transportation—affects how long and how well we live, and that improving health and well-being requires collective efforts to create the conditions to ensure all residents have a fair and just opportunity for health. This request seeks an entity to re-imagine, lead, and manage the next two-year phase of the leadership and management of the national RWJF Culture of Health Prize. Learn more and apply. 

2. Pure Farmland™ Pure Growth Project
Deadline: July 31
Pure Farmland believes that good things are grown from the ground up. That’s why they created the Pure Growth Project— an initiative and grant program (ranging from $1,000 to $20,000) that supports community gardens in neighborhoods throughout the country and builds on our longstanding commitment to protect vital American farmland. View the press release. Learn more and apply. 

3. Farmers Advocating For Organic (FAFO) Fund 
Deadline: August 1 (LOI) and August 15 (Application)
Funded entirely by voluntary contributions from Organic Valley farmers, FAFO is the largest farmer-funded grant program in the U.S. and one of the few focused solely on organic. FAFO awards grants of $5,000-$50,000 to research, education, and advocacy projects that protect and promote the organic industry and the livelihood of organic farmers. Learn more and apply. 

4. Mountain Rose Herbs' Grants for Plants
Deadline: August 3
Mountain Rose Herbs will award five grants in the amount of $4,000 each to those who demonstrate that they share our mission-driven philosophy, passion for herbalism, and commitment to taking care of people while protecting the planet. We are looking for grassroots organizers, small businesses (that give back to their community), home herbalists, and nonprofit organizations that are poised to bring their visions to life and make a lasting impact. Learn more and apply.

Webinars & Events
1. EQUITY  Webinar: Black Women on Black Food Sovereignty
Webinar Recording
View FoodShare Toronto's conversation featuring four Black women leading the call for Black food sovereignty in Canada, the U.S.A., and the United Kingdom. Hear from the panelists’ uniquely valuable perspectives and experiences on what Black food sovereignty means, why it is important, and how we can collectively work to advance it. View the recording.

2. COVID-19  Lessons From Indigenous Food Models in a Time of Pandemic
Today! July 14 // 2:00PM EST
Join the James Beard Foundation in discussing how the global COVID-19 crisis has exposed structural weaknesses in our dominant food supply chain. In this webinar, learn how Indigenous peoples have survived, thrived, and continued to grow their food systems, culture, and communities in the face of tragedy and countless historical pandemics and epidemics.
Register here.

3. COVID-19 Webinar: USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Producer Webinar
Today! July 14 // 3PM EST
Join the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) on a Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Producer Webinar to discuss the additional commodities eligible for the program announced July 9. The webinar will also cover adjustments made to the program based on comments received from agricultural producers and organizations and review of market data. FSA is accepting applications for CFAP through Aug. 28, 2020. The CFAP program helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. Register here.

4. Back to School Leadership Series for K-12 Child Nutrition and College Dining Services Directors
July 14-August 11
This five-week digital educational series by Food Management will feature industry experts, data and research and solutions for gearing back up for service this fall. Sessions for the virtual leadership series include how to start a delivery program on your college campus; revenue-building ideas for child nutrition programs; lunch in the classroom and other new service styles for schools; what’s the future of dining halls; and menu development in a socially distanced world. Learn more and register.

5. Building Sustainable Power for Change: Toolkit for Activism
Every Tuesday in July // 3-4:30pm ET
Join The New School's four-part workshop series on organizing, community building, and how to influence change in the world. Hear from Ted Kerr, Kiara Nagel, A.W. Strouse, and Miski Noor, who will lead the discussions. Workshops will take place every Tuesday in July from 3:00-4:30 p.m. (EST).  Presented by the Office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice and the Dean's Office at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts. Narrative Power in the Time of Uprising (7/14)

6. Webinar: Balancing Academics and Wellbeing as Schools Reopen in 2020
July 17 // 1PM-3PM EST
Please join WholeHealthED to consider how communities can work together to best assist educators, students and families as schools re-open -- however and whenever that takes place -- while facing continued behavioral, social, emotional and learning challenges compounded by COVID-19. Join the Zoom call here. Meeting ID: 689 178 8987

7. 2020 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) Virtual Conference
July 20-July 24
SNEB’s annual conference will imagine and plan for how nutrition education, rooted in food, can move us to a new food future. Conference chair and President-Elect, Pam Koch, chose “What Food Future?”  for this year’s conference theme and organized research, program and policy presentations into five highly relevant themes:  Building Equity; Future Nutrition Education; Healthy Children & Youth; Planetary Health; and Research & Evaluation. Learn more and register by July 16!

8. Horizon Summer Camp - Farming Video Series
July 2020
Horizon Organic is opening up the barn doors for Summer Camp! Kids and families are invited to tune-in to this summer camp video series to get a behind-the-scenes look at farm life. Throughout July, Horizon will be sharing fun and education activities - like creative ways to upcycle milk cartons, how to milk a cow, and a farm tour - on their YouTube page. Check-in weekly to see what's new at camp! Watch the summer camp video series here: www.youtube.com/HorizonDairy

9. Sustainable Agriculture Education Association 2021 Conference Preview
July 17// 3PM-5PM EST
The theme for the 2021 SAEA Conference is AgriCultural Crossroads: Social and Ecological Convergence in the Heartland. Ohio currently is the seventh most populous state in the nation but spread across a relatively uniform distribution of urban centers ringed with rural land. This patchwork of rural and urban, connected by highways, provides abundant opportunities for field trips that allow participants to experience the diversity inherent in Ohio agriculture. This convening will preview the 2021 conference connecting participants with experiences across the rural-urban continuum and explore the endless possibilities for expanding sustainable agriculture education across the country. Register here.

10. COVID-19 USDA Adapting SNAP-Ed to COVID-19 Webinar Series
The SNAP-Ed Connection and the SNAP-Ed Toolkit invite you to join us for a 3-part webinar series where we’ll hear from state and local SNAP-Ed programs who are creating, innovating, and delivering SNAP-Ed remotely in the COVID-19 era. Register here.
July 28, 2020* 1:00 – 2:30 PM EST Adapting SNAP-Ed Programming to Remote Delivery
August 4, 2020* 1:00 - 2:30 PM EST Measuring and Evaluating Impact
August 11, 2020* 1:00 - 2:30 PM EST Collecting and Reporting Data

11. Webinar: Growing Opportunities for Farm to School in New York: Lessons Learned from the 30% Initiative After Year One
Aug 3 // 2-3pm ET
In January 2020, American Farmland Trust/FINYS released the Growing Opportunities report evaluating the New York State Farm to School Incentive’s effectiveness in helping schools buy more New York grown food. This webinar is for state and federal policymakers, school administrators and food service staff, and farm to school support organizations to learn more about where the New York’s farm to school incentive program has succeeded and where more work needs to be done. Register here. 


Research & Resources
1. EQUITY Indigenous Futures Survey Research Project
Deadline: August 1
IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance, and Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth are partnering with acclaimed researchers Dr. Stephanie Fryberg (Tulalip) of the University of Michigan and Dr. Arianne Eason of the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct the Indigenous Futures Survey -- a groundbreaking research project for Native peoples by Native peoples. The 15-20 minute survey launched Tuesday, June 23, 2020 and will close on August 1, 2020. IFS researchers are looking to reach as many Native relatives as possible, and are seeking to partner with organizations and tribal leaders to help disseminate the survey to at least 2,000 participants 18 years of age and older. IFS disseminating organizations and tribes can request access to data collected from the survey to be helpful to their future work. To participate in the IFP survey dissemination, or have questions regarding the survey, please email indigenousfuture@aspeninstitute.org or call (202) 736-2905. Learn more and take the survey.

2. A Set of Critical Analyses on US Farm Bill: Policy, Politics & Potential 
View the special issue published in the Renewable Agriculture & Food Systems Journal titled, "US Farm Bill: Policy, Politics & Potential." This is a far-reaching set of 15 critical analyses of major titles, themes, histories, crises, contexts, inequities, and opportunities at work in this omnibus piece of agri-food legislation. All fifteen articles are Open Access this summer and can be viewed here.

3.  COVID-19 USDA Team Nutrition's School Feeding Resources
View a compilation of resources by USDA to support food service programs during the summer and in transitioning to the school year:
- Child Nutrition Program Meal Service During Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Feeding Kids When Schools Are Closed Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- CACFP: Providing Multiple Meals at a Time During the Coronavirus Pandemic          
    - For Summer Food Services Program
    - For National School Lunch Program-Seamless Summer Option
- Team Nutrition Handwashing and Cleaning Resources

4. Healthy Food, Healthy Kids Colorado Facebook Group by Chef Ann Foundation
The Chef Ann Foundation recently launched Healthy Food, Healthy Kids, a Facebook group for families invested in the health and nutrition of K-12 kids. Join the group for tips and tricks, recipes, inspiration, and opportunities to interact with their resident nutritionist. This group is focused on Colorado families, but is open to members nationwide. Click here to join. Click here for messaging for sharing on social media.

5. EQUITY ASAP Growing Mind's Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Bias Resources
Children begin to develop racial awareness and bias at a very young age. In an effort to create learning environments that are more diverse, inclusive, and reflective of our culturally diverse society, farm to school programs should follow equity-minded best practices. Visit the ASAP Growing Minds Farm to School website for our Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Bias resources page, to find children’s books (including farm to school literature) that celebrate diverse voices, and access recommended external resources that can be used by both teachers and parents to teach children about race, diversity, and inclusion. 


Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. National Farm to School Network's federal policy platform calls on Congress to strengthen its support for school meal and child nutrition programs, farmers and those who feed us, Native communities, essential workers, children and families, and others who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. Please add your voice by endorsing our federal COVID-19 policy platform, and help us advocate for key food systems priorities on Capitol Hill. Sign on here.

2. USDA Announces Additional Specialty Crops Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released an initial list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and announced other adjustments to the program based on comments received from agricultural producers and organizations and review of market data. Producers will be able to submit applications that include the new commodities on Monday, July 13, 2020. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting applications for CFAP through Aug. 28, 2020. USDA expects additional eligible commodities to be announced in the coming weeks. View the changes to the CFAP here.

3. Expanding SNAP Options Act Introduced
On July 2, Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the Expanding SNAP Options Act to allow more purchasing options for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers in online grocery orders. Low-contact purchases allow customers to limit their exposure to COVID-19, and in response the online SNAP pilot has quickly expanded to nearly all states during the pandemic. However, in most states all but a handful of the largest stores miss out on the chance to serve this market. This bill would fund a long-term solution to the technological barriers; an earlier bill introduced by Senator Casey (D-PA) would also help expand options for SNAP purchases by funding work-around solutions allowed under current law. 

4. RAMP-UP Act Introduced
On July 10, a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives introduced the RAMP-UP Act, legislation that would fund small- and medium-sized meat processing facilities to become USDA inspected and increase their capacity. The scarcity of regionally available slaughter facilities for livestock and poultry growers is not only a bottleneck in the farm to school supply chain, it is an ongoing tool for concentration of the meat and livestock industry into a handful of extremely powerful companies. National Farm to School Network is hopeful that this legislation, supported by food safety groups as well as producer groups, will help strengthen the viability of local and regional producers. 

5. Sign the Petition: School Lunch for All
Advocates are calling on the Senate Committee on Agriculture and the USDA to create a pilot program to establish a free school meals program for the 2020-21 school year to provide daily meals, FREE OF CHARGE, to all students upon the reopening of schools. No student should have to bear the financial burden of school meals. No student should be shamed over school lunch. Sign the petition to show your support


In The News
About 14 Million Children in the U.S. Aren't Getting Enough to Eat
From Lauren Bauer at the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution: “I find that 13.9 million children lived in a household characterized by child food insecurity in the third week in June, 5.6 times as many as in all of 2018 (2.5 million) and 2.7 times as many than did at the peak of the Great Recession in 2008 (5.1 million). During the week of June 19-23, 17.9 percent of children in the United States live in a household where an adult reported that the children are not getting enough to eat due to a lack of resources.”  (Brookings
 
Op-Ed: The Farm Bureau Says It Wants to Fight Racism. Here’s Where to Start
Addressing systemic racism in U.S. agriculture has to begin with the USDA. (Civil Eats)

In Changing Urban Neighborhoods, New Food Offerings Can Set the Table for Gentrification
When the type of food sold in an area changes, it provides a focal point for identifying gentrification. And it can lead residents to push back. Read how co-editors of “A Recipe for Gentrification: Food, Power, and Resistance in the City” have identified the many ways that food and gentrification are linked in cities across North America. (The Conversation)

Seeds of Change: Local Organizations Team-Up to Bring New Life to School Gardens
Captain Planet Foundation partners with Food Well Alliance to revive 102+ learning gardens across metro Atlanta. (Alive)

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.

Advisory Board Perspectives: Bertrand Weber

NFSN Staff Monday, July 13, 2020
This post is part of National Farm to School Network's new series of interviews with members of our Advisory Board about the impacts, challenges and opportunities that COVID-19 has brought about for the farm to school movement. 


Name: Bertrand Weber
Title: Director, Culinary and Wellness Services
Organization: Minneapolis Public Schools
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
First-year on the National Farm to School Network Advisory Board.

Betrand Weber joined Lacy Stephens, NFSN Senior Program Manager, to share insights on how the COVID-19 emergency has impacted school nutrition programs, what it has revealed about our food system, and how nutrition programs and communities have responded in the short term and are preparing for long term change.

“At its core value, from the beginning, farm to school was about making a connection
back to the food system for our students, providing our students with the best quality
food, reducing carbon footprint, and increasing local economies and sustainability,
those are still all there, none of that has gone away. We will have to adapt on how we
provide that to our customers, but at its core, that is still there and still a value we need to continue.”
 – Bertrand Weber

Remembering Philando Castile, School Food Hero

NFSN Staff Wednesday, July 08, 2020
By Noah Cohen-Cline – Lead Program Officer, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation – and Helen Dombalis – Executive Director, National Farm to School Network

This blog originally appeared on The Rockefeller Foundation’s website. 


Photo courtesy of Joan Edman, via TIME.
This week—July 6, 2020—marks the four-year anniversary of the police killing of Philando Castile, only a few miles from where George Floyd was killed in Minnesota, during a traffic stop on his drive home from the grocery store with his girlfriend and her young daughter. Philando was many things to many people; in a statement by his family, he was remembered as “an amazing mentor, supporter, friend, son, brother, and Man.”

And to hundreds of children at a small elementary school in St. Paul, he was “Mr. Phil,” the kind and devoted cafeteria supervisor who handed out meals and made sure that kids had the food they needed to thrive. According to his obituary and to reporting at the time, Philando loved his job, loved the children he served, and often paid for the lunches of students who could not afford them.

Philando—like so many other Black people who have died at the hands of police violence recently and throughout our country’s history—was a victim of institutional racism. Because Philando was a school nutrition professional, we also remember him as a champion of racial justice—because school food programs, and the thousands of workers who make them run, are a bedrock of equity in our food system.

We knew before the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent Black Lives Matter protests that our food system is rife with racial inequities and that the current public health crisis has only exacerbated them. Our nation’s economy and our agricultural system are built on a foundation of racism and exploitation. Beginning with the theft of indigenous land from Native people and then the enslavement and forced labor of Africans to build our country’s wealth, the way we grow and produce food and get it from farm to table—both historically and today still—relies heavily on the underpaid and undervalued labor of Black, Latinx, and Native American communities. These inequities in our food system contribute to economic and health inequalities: the same people that provide labor in our food system often can’t afford nourishing food for themselves and their families. As a result, Black, Latinx, and Native American communities are significantly more likely to face hunger and food insecurity than White individuals, and to suffer from diet-related diseases like diabetes.

School food programs play a central role in addressing this injustice. By serving 30 million children every day—22 million of whom qualify for subsidized meals based on family income—school meal and child nutrition programs are delivering critical nourishment to the children who have been most underserved by our economic and food systems’ structural racism. School food alone cannot dismantle systemic racism, nor can any food access program. But schools can play a critical role by providing the nourishment that all children, of every race and ethnicity, need to grow, learn, and thrive.

In addition to providing equitable food access, many school food directors are finding innovative ways to use their programs to drive equity and sustainability in the broader food system. Good Food Purchasing Programs in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and many other cities are using the collective market power of their school food budgets—totaling $18 billion nationally—to advance racial and social equity on farms and in food businesses and communities. National Farm to School Network’s early advocacy efforts for values-based universal meals—and the team of organizations and schools supporting this model—show promise for a national shift in how we spend our resources, and serve our children, to become a system rooted in racial equity and justice instead of the opposite.

School food heroes show up every day, motivated by the needs of the children they serve. They work tirelessly—often for unreasonably low wages and with limited training and subpar equipment—to serve our children nourishing meals. They’re serving balanced, nutritious meals on unrealistically tight budgets, and they have met the challenges of the global pandemic with innovation and devotion. They do this because they believe every child, everywhere, deserves to eat well and thrive.

Philando Castile was one of these heroes. As we remember his life and honor his legacy, let us also recognize and support school food programs and school nutrition professionals as the essential drivers of racial justice that they are.

View the original blog, posted on The Rockefeller Foundation’s website, here.

This Week in Farm to School: 7/07/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 07, 2020
NEW: National Farm to School Network has launched a new weekly e-newsletter to share a roundup of COVID-19 related resources and information with farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders - similar to what is shared weekly in these This Week in Farm to School blog posts. Sign up here to have this information delivered in your inbox weekly.

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. COVID-19 Reinvestment Fund's 2020 Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program
Deadline: July 10
The 2020 HFFI round has $3 million in grant funds available (grants from $20,000-$200,000) for food retail and food enterprises working to improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities. Funding for HFFI is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the Farm Bill. A webinar will be held on June 2 at 2 p.m. EST to confirm details about the application process and answer questions. No registration is required to join and a recording of the webinar will be accessible using the same link. Learn more and apply here.   

2. Call for Proposals: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health Prize
Deadline: July 30
A Culture of Health recognizes that where we live—such as our access to affordable homes, quality schools, good jobs, and reliable transportation—affects how long and how well we live, and that improving health and well-being requires collective efforts to create the conditions to ensure all residents have a fair and just opportunity for health. This request seeks an entity to re-imagine, lead, and manage the next two-year phase of the leadership and management of the national RWJF Culture of Health Prize. Learn more and apply. 

3. Pure Farmland™ Pure Growth Project
Deadline: July 31
Pure Farmland believes that good things are grown from the ground up. That’s why they created the Pure Growth Project— an initiative and grant program (ranging from $1,000 to $20,000) that supports community gardens in neighborhoods throughout the country and builds on our longstanding commitment to protect vital American farmland. View the press release. Learn more and apply. 

4. Farmers Advocating For Organic (FAFO) Fund 
Deadline: August 1 (LOI) and August 15 (Application)
Funded entirely by voluntary contributions from Organic Valley farmers, FAFO is the largest farmer-funded grant program in the U.S. and one of the few focused solely on organic. FAFO awards grants of $5,000-$50,000 to research, education, and advocacy projects that protect and promote the organic industry and the livelihood of organic farmers. Learn more and apply. 


Webinars & Events
1. Workshop Series: Edible Schoolyard Summer Training at Home
Starts June 30
Edible Schoolyard is hosting a free, multi-month summer program of online training and professional development sessions for the field of edible education. The program will consist of a four-part workshop series on adapting edible education to remote and home learning and a three-part panel series on the core values of nourishment, stewardship, and community. All sessions will be offered at no cost. Learn more and register here. 

2. EQUITY Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED) Build, Unlearn, Decolonize Learning Series
Deadline to apply: Today!
Drawing inspiration from abolitionist & decolonial pedagogy, CoFED’s Build, Unlearn, Decolonize program (BUD) is a 5-week-long cooperative education intensive designed to support teams of young BIPOC looking to build community health and wealth through thriving, cooperative food and land-based businesses. BUD will take place from September 14 - October 19, 2020, in virtual space. Open to teams of 2-3 people from ages 18-30, BUD is a life-changing experience where you and your crew can learn more about cooperative economics, decolonizing our food system, and creating community-led food solutions with a triple bottom line of food sovereignty, sustainability, and decoloniality. Learn more and apply.

3. Building Sustainable Power for Change: Toolkit for Activism
Join The New School's four-part workshop series on organizing, community building, and how to influence change in the world. Hear from Ted Kerr, Kiara Nagel, A.W. Strouse, and Miski Noor, who will lead the discussions. Workshops will take place every Tuesday in July from 3:00-4:30 p.m. (EST).  Presented by the Office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice and the Dean's Office at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts.

Self Care and Resiliency in the Face of Grief: Working Inside and Out
(7/7)
Narrative Power in the Time of Uprising (7/14)
Organizing by Understanding Power (7/21)
Engagement Burnout: How to be Restored (7/28)

4. How to Host a Nonpartisan Virtual Candidates Forum 
July 8 & July 22 // 12-1PM EST
Join Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Community Food Strategies, and Rural Advancement Foundation International - USA in this webinar designed to support food councils or community groups in considering hosting their own local food-themed virtual forum this fall. With a presidential election this fall, it is an important election year to bring attention to issues related to food, farming, and health with your community leaders and stakeholders. Register for July 8. Register for July 22. Contact Jared Cates at jared@carolinafarmstewards.org or Matt Kneece at matt@carolinafarmstewards.org with questions. 

5. National Young Farmers Coalition Produce Safety for Farm to School Focus Group
July 8 // 4PM EST
The National Young Farmers Coalition is seeking produce farmers who grow for Farm to School programs to participate in an online focus group this summer on produce safety in farm to school. All participants will receive a $50 stipend and a copy of our food safety guidebook: A Small Farmer's Practical Guide to Food Safety.  Register here.

6. NFSN Twitter #LunchChat 
July 9 // 1PM EST
National Farm to School Network is hosting a Twitter #LunchChat with FoodCorps next Thursday, July 9 from 1-2pm ET and you're invited to join us! We'll be tweeting about the ways school meals can support our country through COVID-19, how communities and policy makers can take action, and our vision that all students – across all races, places, and classes – deserve access to healthy food. Hope to see you there! Follow: @FoodCorps & @FarmtoSchool on Twitter.

7. EcoFarm's Farm to Farmer Conversation Series
July 28 // 12 PM PST
During the pandemic, USDA and state agencies have funded over $3 billion to purchase food as a way to reduce food waste and to feed the millions of newly unemployed. This 90 minute conversation hosted by the Ecological Farming Association will feature national leaders from organic farms, food hubs, food banks, academia, and sustainable agriculture groups to explore these new and old programs. You will learn about the policy, marketing, and nutritional implications of this new CFAP program and related state efforts. Register here.

8. National CACFP Sponsors Association's Child Nutrition Virtual Summit
Deadline to register: August 7 //  August 11, 12, 18, & 19
The National CACFP Sponsors Association is bringing training to your office! With offerings spanned over 4 days, the virtual summit allows up to 20 hours of Continuing Education Credits for food program training for $149. View the schedule and register here. Online registration deadline is August 7.

9. The Power of Food: Cultivating Equitable Policy Through Collective Action
September 20-22, 2021 // Kansas City, Missouri
Join the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Food Policy Networks project for the first-ever, in-person national forum dedicated to food policy councils (FPCs) and similar groups. The Power of Food: Cultivating equitable policy through collective action will now take place on September 20-22, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Forum is committed to creating an equitable space to foster learning and sharing that will transform how FPCs imagine community-centered policy change for vibrant, healthy and equitable communities. To stay up-to-date on the latest plans for the Forum, sign up here.

10. Honoring School Food Heroes Campaign
Kids can’t eat a virtual lunch, and farmers can’t sell virtual vegetables! It’s time to recognize the school food heroes who serve our children meals every day, and use their school food dollars to support our local food producers. Help appreciate these front line heroes by sharing this video and join TIPS for School Meals That Rock, Chef Ann Foundation, Life Time Foundation, Wellness in the Schools, and Whole Kids Foundation in celebrating our heroes. View the campaign video and learn more. 

11. University of Massachusetts' Online Organic Vegetable Production Class 
The UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture is offering an online class on organic vegetable production beginning July 6.  STOCKSCH 320 - Organic Vegetable Production is a 3 credit, college class taught by Stockbridge instructor, Renee Ciulla, who has experience both as a college teacher and an organic farmer.  This online course will cover the principles and practices of growing vegetables organically for both the professional small farmer and serious home gardeners. The UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture is offering 5 online classes during the 6-week summer session including Urban Agriculture and Professional Development in Sustainable Food and Farming. Classes offered during the second summer session will begin on July 6, 2020, and registration is now open.  For information on all 5 online classes offered this summer as well as the 13 classes offered this fall at UMass Amherst click here.

12. Horizon Summer Camp - Farm Education Video Series
July 2020
Horizon Organic is opening up the barn doors for Summer Camp! Kids and families are invited to tune-in to this summer camp video series to get a behind-the-scenes look at farm life. Throughout July, Horizon will be sharing fun and education activities - like creative ways to upcycle milk cartons, how to milk a cow, and a farm tour - on their YouTube page. Check-in weekly to see what's new at camp! Watch the summer camp video series here: www.youtube.com/HorizonDairy



Research & Resources
1. EQUITY Indigenous Futures Survey Research Project
Deadline: August 1
IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance, and Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth are partnering with acclaimed researchers Dr. Stephanie Fryberg (Tulalip) of the University of Michigan and Dr. Arianne Eason of the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct the Indigenous Futures Survey -- a groundbreaking research project for Native peoples by Native peoples. The 15-20 minute survey launched Tuesday, June 23, 2020 and will close on August 1, 2020. IFS researchers are looking to reach as many Native relatives as possible, and are seeking to partner with organizations and tribal leaders to help disseminate the survey to at least 2,000 participants 18 years of age and older. IFS disseminating organizations and tribes can request access to data collected from the survey to be helpful to their future work. To participate in the IFP survey dissemination, or have questions regarding the survey, please email indigenousfuture@aspeninstitute.org or call (202) 736-2905. Learn more and take the survey.

2. In Defense of Food: A Middle School Curriculum
The IDOF curriculum was developed by Kikim Media, the producers of the program, in partnership with the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, Program in Nutrition at Teachers College, Columbia University.  It is designed to help adolescents develop something valuable: practical tools for healthier eating. Even though scientists know a lot about food and health, the messages that reach adolescents about healthy eating have become increasingly complex and contradictory. View the curriculum.

3. Urban Agriculture Survey: Please Share Your Thoughts
What do you need from your local Cooperative Extension? If you are engaged in urban agriculture anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast region, U of M like to hear from you -- please fill out this survey to help get a better understanding of what urban agriculture looks like and how Extension can better serve urban farmers! The survey should take less than 30 minutes to complete. It is open to all individuals who are at least 18 years old and grow food plants or engage in other agriculture in urban areas in the Northeast U.S. If you have any questions, please contact Neith Little at nglittle@umd.edu and Dr. Matthew Richardson at matthew.richardson@udc.edu. Complete the survey.

4. EQUITY A Reading List For Learning About Anti-Black Racism and Food
Here are some books to educate ourselves on racism in America as it relates to farming, cooking, grocery shopping, and beyond. 

5. EQUITY ASAP Growing Mind's Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Bias Resources
Children begin to develop racial awareness and bias at a very young age. In an effort to create learning environments that are more diverse, inclusive, and reflective of our culturally diverse society, farm to school programs should follow equity-minded best practices. Visit the ASAP Growing Minds Farm to School website for our Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Bias resources page, to find children’s books (including farm to school literature) that celebrate diverse voices, and access recommended external resources that can be used by both teachers and parents to teach children about race, diversity, and inclusion. 

6. EQUITY Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development Statement on Anti-Black Racism
After consultation and feedback from the JAFSCD Shareholder Consortium, the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development has released the JAFSCD Statement on Anti-Black Racism. This is a starting point and a way to remain accountable to the work the journal needs to do. Feedback on this statement is welcome. Contact JAFSCD Shareholder Consortium Co-Chair Keith Williams for comments and questions: keithw@fnti.net

7. 'Google Maps for Food Systems': New Dashboard Aims to Aid Decision-Making
A new online data hub intended to help countries make more informed food policy decisions aggregates data from different aspects of the food system — from supply chains to individual diets — to provide a fuller picture of whether and how people around the world access the nutritious foods they need. Read more.

8. National Museum of African American History and Culture's Talking About Race Resources
Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. The National Museum of African American History and Culture provides tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation. View the resources.



Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. National Farm to School Network's federal policy platform calls on Congress to strengthen its support for school meal and child nutrition programs, farmers and those who feed us, Native communities, essential workers, children and families, and others who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. Please add your voice by endorsing our federal COVID-19 policy platform, and help us advocate for key food systems priorities on Capitol Hill. Sign on here.

2. COVID-19 Local Food Assistance and Resilient Markets Act
Last week, the National Farm to School Network endorsed the Local Food Assistance and Resilient Markets Act, a bill by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to expand food assistance and increase support for the local and regional food systems that have proven most resilient during the COVID-19 crisis. This bill addresses several of NFSN’s asks for crucial COVID-19 relief for our partners, families, kids, and farmers. The bill would:
  • Cover 100% of project costs with USDA Farm to School Grants for the next two years (rather than the 25% match currently required to access F2S grants)
  • Waive the matching requirement for several other local food systems grants
  • Expand funding for local food projects
  • Expand funding and access for Farm Microloans to help the smallest producers 
  • Address barriers to online SNAP participation for smaller retailers, including local food hubs and farmers markets

3. House Appropriations Subcommittee Increases Funding for USDA Farm to School Grant Program 
On July 6, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture approved a spending bill to fund agriculture and nutrition programs for Fiscal Year 2021. The federal Farm to School Grant Program received an unprecedented increase to $12 million per year in funds -- $7 million per year above the mandatory $5 million level. We wish to thank subcommittee leaders, particularly Chairman Sanford Bishop and Ranking Member Jeff Fortenberry, for prioritizing the expansion of these crucial grants. Join us in thanking these Members of Congress! Their Senate counterparts are hard at work on their own version of funding legislation, which will be unveiled later this month.

4. COVID-19 California Budget Provides Essential Funding for Safe School Meals
California’s legislative leaders and Governor Newsom have passed a final budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year that includes a $112 million allocation for California school districts providing free school meals during the pandemic, and another $10 million in funding for the Farm to School program and the Office of Farm to Fork. Read more. 

5. COVID-19 One-Third of Small Independent Farms Could Go Bankrupt in 2020 Due to COVID-19
The poll finds that more than 35% of farmers experienced an average drop in revenue of over 51% in March and April, compared to the same period the previous year, due to a lack of sales to restaurants and at farmers’ markets. The concern for them is getting stuck with goods they can’t sell; of the almost 37% who expect to have this problem, over half don’t have cold storage or another way to salvage what they’ve produced. Read more.


In The News
EQUITY Remembering Philando Castile, School Food Hero
On the four-year anniversary of the police killing of Philando Castile, National Farm to School Network and The Rockefeller Foundation have co-authored a blog honoring the legacy of Philando, a school nutrition professional, and calling for the recognition of school food programs as essential drivers of racial justice. Read the blog here

COVID-19 Walla Walla Valley Farm to School Program Expands Into Oregon
Despite school closures during the coronavirus pandemic this spring, Walla Walla Valley Farm to School volunteers have kept busy maintaining gardens at local schools and expanding the program south of the state line. Program manager Beth Thiel said funding from an Oregon State Farm to School Grant now supports a garden education manager in Oregon. (Union-Bulletin)

COVID-19 FoodCorps Members Keep Students Learning About Food
When COVID-19 forced schools to close across the United States, FoodCorps reimagined hands-on food and nutrition education. The national service program educates students in more than 375 schools across the United States. But now FoodCorps service members are teaching classes remotely while also serving on the frontlines of emergency feeding programs.(Food Tank)

How the Rise of Supermarkets Left Out Black America
60-plus years of corporate strategies, white flight and stereotypes about black Americans have made it significantly harder for many black people to access a supermarket than it is for most white people, according to leaders of big cities across the country as well as food policy advocates, historians and urban studies experts. (CNN)

An Essential Reading Guide For Fighting Racism
From Audre Lorde's groundbreaking essays to Ibram X. Kendi's guide to being antiracist, these books are a great resource for understanding why people are protesting right now. View the list.


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.

Harvesting the Benefits of Hydroponics: Highlights from the Gro More Good Hydroponics Pilot Project

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Preschoolers getting ready to taste their hydroponically-grown lettuce. Source: San Pedro Elementary, San Rafael, California, March 2020 Final Survey
By Jenileigh Harris, Program Associate

National Farm to School Network in partnership with Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and collaboration with KidsGardening is excited to release Exploring Hydroponics: A Classroom Lesson Guide. This lesson guide is the product of the Gro More Good Hydroponics Pilot Project and includes basic how-to information for growing plants hydroponically in the classroom, lesson plans to help students learn through hands-on investigations, construction plans for simple hydroponic setups, and additional reference materials to support educators. The lessons are designed to align with third through fifth grade Next Generation Science Standards but can be adapted for both younger and older students and those with different abilities. The lessons are sequenced so that each topic builds upon the previous topics but the activities can also be used independently, in any order.

The Gro More Good Hydroponics Pilot Project, launched in the fall of 2019, was aimed at integrating indoor hydroponics growing systems into systemically under resourced schools across the country. National Farm to School Network supported hydroponics experts, KidsGardening, in developing the curriculum guide, Exploring Hydroponics: A Classroom Lesson Guide. During the 2019-2020 school year, the curriculum was used in conjunction with Scotts Miracle-Gro’s AeroGarden hydroponic kits in 15 schools across California, New York and Washington D.C. In addition to introducing hydroponics into their science, technology engineering and math (STEM) classrooms, pilot schools participated in peer learning and networking calls to share successes and challenges with each other.

“The grow station is the shining light in an amazing space. It draws visitors to it and opens up conversation about what we do at FoodPrints and Kimball. The students love to talk about it. Thank you for letting us participate!” -Kimball Elementary School, Washington, D.C.
Between the 2018-2019 and the 2019-2020 school year, there was an overall increase in both engagement of students in garden-based activities as well as the total number of students reached by gardening or farm to school activities that align with Next Generation Standards as a direct result of the hydroponics system and curriculum.

By March 2020, a total of 2204 students were reached through the pilot project with gardening or farm to school activities that align with Next Generation Science Standards across New York, Washington D.C., and California, and 1954 students were directly engaged in lessons or activities using the hydroponics growing system. Additionally, between September 2019 and March 2020, there was a perceived 20% increase in student interest and a 15% increase in adult interest (teachers, administration, teaching aides, community members) in gardening as a direct result of the hydroponics system and Exploring Hydroponics curriculum.

“The Exploring Hydroponics guide has really been a huge asset to our science curriculum.” -Amidon-Bowen Elementary, Washington, D.C.

Pilot schools cited many observed benefits and positive outcomes due to the hydroponics curriculum and growing systems for students, families and adults in their respective school communities. These include:

Benefits for Students  Benefits for Students, Families, Educators and Community Members
  • Interest and knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts
  • Increased demonstration of social-emotional development (e.g., cooperation, empathy, self-regulation)
  • Access to fresh fruits and vegetables 
  • Increased engagement
  • Improved attitudes, knowledge and behaviors
  • Improved knowledge about gardening, agriculture and food systems 


Teacher, Helene, leads students in exploring the hydroponics garden and learning about how far away their food comes from. Source: P.S. 32 The Belmont School, New York, January 2020 Site Visit
When schools began closing in March, some pilot schools were able to pivot and continue hydroponics and gardening learning at home. At Kimball Elementary, the FoodPrints teacher has encouraged kids to find bean or vegetable seeds, wrap them in damp paper towels, insert into a plastic bag, tape to a window with lots of sunlight and observe daily for germination. At other schools, teachers were able to take the hydroponics units home and update students remotely through online meetings and photos. The Exploring Hydroponics guide offers many remote-adaptable lessons and at-home opportunities including how to build an aeration system at home, map your meals explorations, exploring land use worksheets, discussion questions and digging deeper videos.

“I documented the plants before we left school, transplanted them with students into soil and we are studying how they are growing at home now via live meetings and pictures. Students have been engaged in a "regrow" vegetables from scratch lesson, and have shared amazing results of starting vegetables in water with scraps they normally would've thrown out.” –P.S. 32, The Belmont School, Bronx, NY
National Farm to School Network and Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation learned a lot from the schools as they piloted and adapted the Exploring Hydroponics curriculum, troubleshooted the AeroGarden grow kit, and brought the hydroponics learning experience to life for their students. By all measures, the Gro More Good Hydroponics Pilot Project has been a success: there was an overall increase in student and family engagement in gardening and farm to school activities as a direct result of the hydroponics growing system and curriculum. While the benefits and positive outcomes are substantial, opportunities for growth have also emerged:

Strategies for better curriculum integration of opportunities to encourage at-home hydroponics and gardening
  • Adapting curriculum for younger ages
  • More opportunities to support sustained implementation (e.g., to purchase pods and other necessary resources)
  • Incorporating more multimedia tools or approaches within curriculum (e.g., instructional video)
  • Collecting and disaggregating data based on race and income (e.g., which students are more likely to have access to gardening at home?)
  • More opportunities to engage families

Students giving presentations to their classmates about hydroponics. Source: P.S. 214, Bronx, New York, March 2020 Final Survey
National Farm to School Network and Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation are excited to see how schools continue to use their hydroponic curriculum and systems in the upcoming school year, whatever that may look like, and beyond. We know students increased their understanding of where their food comes from, the environmental impacts of growing food in soil versus water, their access to fresh produce, and we can’t wait to see these benefits grow. 

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