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West Virginia’s COVID-19 Response Builds Long-Term Resilience for Local Food System

NFSN Staff Thursday, June 11, 2020

By Olivia Wein, NFSN Programs and Policy Intern

The landscape of food and education changed quickly when COVID-19 became an inextricable part of everyone’s lives. Communities had to shift and make drastic changes as schools and businesses closed their doors. In order to ensure children had continued access to meals, stakeholders had to rapidly and creatively adjust to the new circumstances. With the help of strong community partnerships, innovation and willingness to collaborate from the state to the local level, communities in West Virginia have made tremendous headway in not only continuing to provide meals for children across the state, but also maintaining markets for farmers, and supporting food businesses in their communities. Sector lines have started to blur as communities come together to build and leverage resiliency in their local food system.  

When businesses and schools started closing, West Virginia’s Office of Child Nutrition partnered with communities to establish 505 feeding sites across the state. The strong partnerships rooted in these communities made it possible for children and families to access bagged lunches from a variety of locations. Not only did the Office of Child Nutrition want to ensure kids were being fed, but that they maintained highly nutritious meals while continuing to source locally from producers during the pandemic.
 

Setting up for distribution at Madison Elementary School. Photo credit: Grow Ohio Valley
Producers sent out weekly updates of local items that were available and the Office of Child Nutrition supported coordinated delivery of those items to regional distribution sites so the products could make their way to grab and go meals. In the beginning weeks, it took a period of trial and error in order to assess the best methods of creating grab-n-go style meals while incorporating local ingredients that would withstand the holding conditions during distributions. With time and patient collaboration, school districts and producers were able to successfully meet the goals of feeding kids with local products. 

While the state worked on broader distribution, local partners were building innovative collaborations and leveraging community resources, creativity, and talent to further support community members. Grow Ohio Valley (GrowOV), a community-based non-profit working to advance economic prosperity, improved health, and a better environment, partnered with West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC), Ohio County Schools, and local chefs to launch the Restaurant-to-School program in early weeks of the pandemic. 

Staff from Sarah's on Main, local eatery in Wheeling, WV preparing meals in WV Northern Community College teaching kitchen. Photo credit: Grow Ohio Valley
The program utilized WVNCC kitchen space and equipment to allow chefs and staff from local restaurants to create meals to distribute to Ohio County students. This innovative partnership not only helped to provide local kids with nutritious meals, but also helped support local restaurants by keeping employees paid. About 75% of each meal was paid for with funding from USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), with remaining costs covered by other community partnerships. Restaurant owners have been busy preparing meals using locally-sourced fruits and vegetables and delivering meals to school sites for daily distribution. In the last few weeks, two more counties have teamed up with local restaurants to build out similar models. 

As schools shift to summer feeding programs, West Virginia will continue to build on these solid partnerships and lessons learned in establishing these programs. The Office of Child Nutrition will continue to encourage and facilitate counties in maintaining relationships with local producers and implementing creative community based opportunities to reach children and families with local food. This includes providing funding to feature local products in grab and go “farmers market bags” to supplement grab and go summer meals. West Virginia has seen great program and partnership successes that will continue through the summer months. For example, two counties had partnered with a closed state park (Cacapon State Park) as a location for food distribution sites and other counties are launching on-site farmers markets at their summer feeding sites. By building on strong existing cross-sector relationships and leveraging resources and talent, from the state to the local level, West Virginia children, families, producers, and food businesses are benefiting in the immediacy while building long-term resilience in local community food systems. 
@yourfriendishere

we love to hand out free meals! ##fyp ##fypage ##volunteer ##americorps ##westvirginia ##wv ##coronavirus ##covid ##covid19 ##wheelingwv

♬ Shooting Stars - Bag Raiders

This Week in Farm to School: 6/9/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 09, 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 NEA Foundation COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants
Deadline: June 11
The purpose of the NEA Foundation’s Rapid Response Funding is to support educator-led initiatives to adapt to the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer months of 2020. Among other initiatives, this may include meeting the nutritional needs of students who rely on school meals and school-based summer feeding programs. These grants will be awarded for a six-month grant period and for amounts of $1,500 to $5,000. Applicants must be teachers, education support professionals, or specialized instructional support personnel and must be current NEA members. Learn more here.

2. COVID-19 United Philanthropy Forum's Momentum Fund
Deadline: June 18
The Momentum Fund will provide grants to 501(c)(3) organizations that are managing an active COVID-19 fund. The grants will help these organizations build their capacity so that they can effectively grow, promote, manage and sustain their funds (whether they need to add new staff, access consulting expertise, acquire new software, etc.). Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $100,000 and a total of $8.5 million will be awarded. Learn more and apply.

3. USDA Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets)
Deadline: June 26
USDA NIFA's Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program provides grants to non-profits to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector. The program encourages the development of training opportunities specifically designed for military veterans. NIFA requests applications for the AgVets to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for training programs and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans. The close date is June 26. Learn more and apply here.

4. USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program
Deadline: July 6
USDA has announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. There is approximately $1 million available for Planning Projects and $2 million for Implementation Projects. The close date is July 6. Learn more and apply here.

5. 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

6. COVID-19 Nourishing Neighbors Program to Support Summer Meals
Deadline: June 22 
Nourishing Neighbors (formerly known as Hunger Is), an initiative of the Albertsons Companies Foundation, has established a fund to help local families impacted by the current crisis. This new opportunity is specifically aimed at increasing participation in, and access to, the Summer Meals Programs this summer. Intermediary organizations, sponsors, and schools can apply for funding. Learn more and apply. Contact Christy.Duncan-Anderson@albertsons.com with additional questions. 


WEBINARS & EVENTS
1. EQUITY Webinar: Farming for Justice: From Gun Violence to Homesteading
June 10 // 12pm ET
Farmer Chantel Johnson will speak about her journey, from surviving the impacts of gun violence to creating and operating Off Grid in Color, a farming business that uses sustainability as a tool for healing and building intentional community. As a farmer, a doula and a counselor with a Masters degree in social work, Chantel embraces holistic practices including agriculture, restorative living and the power of healing. This webinar is hosted by Groundswell. Register here. 

2. Webinar: Maintaining Mental Wellness During Difficult Times (In Spanish)
June 10 // 5-7pm ET
Action for Healthy Kids is partnering with Alma Consulting Services to host a virtual Spanish-language workshop on June 10. Parents and families will learn how to handle stressful situations, prevent conflict, manage emotions and practice self-care techniques to maintain family harmony during these times. 

Manteniendo el Bienestar Mental en Nuestro Hogar Durante Tiempos Difíciles
Taller virtual para padres y familiares
10 de junio // 5-7 pm Este
Organizado por Action for Healthy Kids y presentado en español por Chely Romero de Alma Consulting Services. Vea los detalles y regístrese.

3. COVID-19 Webinar: A Shared Narrative in COVID-19 and Beyond
June 11 // 2pm ET
This webinar, hosted by Blue Sky Funders Forum will feature opportunities for organizations to message the importance of their work during COVID-19 and beyond through the Rethink Outside shared narrative. Learn more and register.

4. COVID-19 Webinar: Meeting Students’ Nutritional Needs Next School Year
June 11 // 3pm ET
Many states and school districts are beginning to plan for how to safely reopen schools in the fall. Ensuring access to school meals is a large part of this conversation. Due to the impact of COVID-19, it will be more important than ever to collaborate with district and community stakeholders to implement best practices to ensure students have continued access to the nutrition they need to thrive. Join this webinar, hosted by FRAC, to learn what’s included in the CDC's Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools, in regards to school meals, and best practices your school district can implement to meet the needs of students, including operating innovative service models and community eligibility. Register here

5. Webinar: The Essentials of Accessibility: School and Community Gardens June 16 // 1pm EST
This presentation from the University of Maine and Maine AgrAbility Program will discuss planning for school and community gardens for all users including those of all ages and abilities. The presentation includes concepts on making the garden an enjoyable destination and how assistive technology in the form of adaptive garden tools can help. Learn more and register.

6. COVID-19 Webinar: Green Schoolyards In a Post COVID-19 Era
June 18 // 2pm ET
Green schoolyards are an exceptional use of public space, creating equitable access to green space, providing places to play and learn during school time, and offering community access out-of-school time. Cities Connecting Children to Nature brings together experts from the Children & Nature Network, Landscape Architecture Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, and the Austin Green School Parks program to understand what is happening with schoolyards in the face of COVID-19, and what we should aim for post-COVID-19. Register here.  

7. Webinar: Planning for the Reopening of Schools: The Importance of School Nutrition & District Leadership Relationships
June 11 // 2PM EST
As districts think through what the reopening of schools will look like, school meals must remain a service kids and families can count on. Whatever phase of back-to-school planning your district is in, it is vital to include all key stakeholders, including school nutrition leadership, to create a comprehensive and compatible plan that will best equip schools for reopening. In this interview-style webinar, you'll hear directly from a school nutrition director, superintendent and school board president about how they have worked together in the past and how they are working together now to maintain a robust child nutrition program. Learn more and register.

8. Webinar: Food Procurement for a More Just Food System
June 18 // 11am PDT
How can we use food procurement policy to drive health equity?
Join ChangeLab Solutions on discussing how institutional food purchasing can be used to build a more just food system and promote economic and health equity. Learn more and register.

9. Prescott College's Food Systems Friday Webinars
June 19 // 12pm PDT
Join Dr. Robin Currey, Director of the MS in Sustainable Food Systems program at Prescott College, as the "Food Systems Fridays" series moderator for Episode 11 of Food Systems Friday. Learn more and register.


Research & Resources
1. COVID-19 Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
Are you a farmer or rancher whose operation has been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic? The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. USDA is accepting applications now through August 28, 2020. Producers should apply through the Farm Service Agency at their local USDA Service Center.

2. Farm to Table: A Play on Farm to School at Home
View Action for Healthy Kids' resource for adapting farm to school to farm to school at home!

3. COVID-19 Join Heal Food Alliance's Call to Actions for Worker Safety
Nearly 25,000 food workers have tested positive for COVID-19. Workers nationwide are calling for an emergency OSHA standard that gives them workplace protections. Learn more here.

4. The Movement for Black Lives' Week of Action
Racial justice is food justice. Stay in the know with M4BL's week of action and other advocacy efforts. Learn more.

5. COVID-19 CDC and Department of Labor Release COVID-19 Related Guidance for Agriculture Workers, Employers
This guidance provides a template of action to protect agriculture workers from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Agricultural employers can adopt these recommendations to protect workers at their particular work sites or in specific work or in specific work operations. View the resource.

6. COVID-19 New USDA Resource for Nonprofits Seeking Food Assistance Support
Nonprofit organizations seeking to receive food through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program can learn more about the program overview and Frequently Asked Questions available at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service website. 

7. Article: Implementation of a Multi-Component School Lunch Environmental Change Intervention to Improve Child Fruit and Vegetable Intake: A Mixed-Methods Study
Nudge interventions are widely used to promote health in schools, yet implementation metrics are seldom used to understand intervention outcomes. A multi-component intervention consisting of cafeteria decorations, creative names, social norming taste tests, and flavor station components was implemented in three rural elementary school cafeterias by school nutrition services (SNS) and extension staff. Read more.

8. Vidigrow Home Gardening Videos for Parents and Kids
View Vidigrow's simple gardening activities to the school curriculum and big issues in food and farming. The videos are targeted at ages 6-12 and can be found on the Vidigrow YouTube channel. Each session is designed to work at home or in school, and *no garden is required*.

9. EQUITY COVID-19 BIPOC-Led How To Videos, Gardening Projects and Online Learning Resources
Soul Fire Farm has compiled a comprehensive list of how to videos and other online resources learning developed by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color on a variety of food, farming and gardening projects. These are great resources to reference for distance agriculture education. View the list here

10. EQUITY A List of Black Owned Farms & Food Gardens
The United Black Library has compiled a list of black-owned farms and food gardens across the country. Nationally, Black-owned farms make up less than 2 percent of all farms. See the list here.

11. COVID-19 Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s Farm Finance Support Videos (Spanish)
MSU Extension has created videos on labor challenges, the Families First Act, Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Spanish speaking farmers financially affected by Covid-19. View the video series.

12. COVID-19 USDA's Seamless Summer Option: Providing Multiple Meals at a Time During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Under nationwide non-congregate feeding and meal time waivers, state agencies may allow school food authorities to provide more than one day’s worth of meals to eligible children via a single meal pick-up or delivery. View USDA's comprehensive resource on considerations, tips, best practices, and sample menus for the National School Lunch Program: Seamless Summer Option operators who wish to distribute multiple meals at one time. Access the resource.


Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
National Farm to School Network's response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic are grounded in a central goal of continuing to advance towards strong, just local and regional food systems. There is a need for immediate relief to the people most impacted by this crisis, while building towards longer-term policies that strengthen a resilient, just food system. As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. Our 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 Take Action to Support CACFP in The HEROES Act
Send a letter to the Senate and the White House to support provisions that would provide financial relief for the CACFP Community including child care providers, centers, afterschool programs, emergency shelters, and sponsoring organizations. Take action here.

3. COVID-19 Policy Brief: Food and Farm Worker Protections Critical to COVID-19 Pandemic Response
A new policy statement from Johns Hopkins University experts is calling for urgent action to protect food and agriculture workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

4. COVID-19 School Nutrition Group to USDA: Provide Free Meals for All Students in 2020-21
Two more waivers allowing schools’ grab-and-go meal sites to operate are set to expire at the end of this month unless the U.S. Department of Agriculture extends them. Meanwhile, the School Nutrition Association is asking the USDA to extend 11 school meal waivers through the 2020-21 school year and provide all students with free meals. Read more.

5. COVID-19 'Not Moving Fast Enough': Millions of Children Still Without Food Aid
Millions of low-income school children are still waiting to receive federal help to buy food, even as the number of families having trouble affording groceries skyrockets. Read more.


In The News
COVID-19 Opinion: Purchasing Farm-To-Table Foods During the Pandemic Is Important
The pandemic has the power to change our relationship with food. (LA Times)

This New Site Shows Parents How to Cook Healthy, Quick, Affordable Meals
It's not easy to make healthy, quick, and affordable meals day after day, which is why so many people turn to fast food when the kids are hungry and time and the budget are both tight. Instead of wishing that kids would eat healthy mostly plant-based meals, Arielle Kestenbaum, a Registered Dietitian and certified nutritionist, launched Fare Meals by Arielle, a resource designed to help parents of young kids feed their families nutrient-dense meals on a budget. (The Beet)

COVID-19 School Lunch Programs Are Losing Millions Feeding Hungry Kids; They Could Be Broke by Fall
Still in emergency mode, school nutrition directors like Shenae Rowe, whose program has lost $500,000 since March, say they’re too overwhelmed to even begin thinking about what they’ll do when schools reopen in the fall. “Honestly, we haven’t been able to get past looking at today, day by day and week by week,” Rowe said. “We just keep going.” (USA Today)

COVID-19 Kids Could Go Hungry This Summer With School Lunch Programs in Peril
Anti-hunger advocates are warning that children won’t have access to the food they need during the summer months unless the Trump administration loosens rules for school meal programs. (Washington Post)

Local Tennessee Food Network Launches Farm to Pre-School Program
Nourishing Connection programming includes training teachers to access and implement Farm to Preschool curricula, educational outreach to parents and educators, and planting different crops three times per year. All materials and programming are provided at no cost to the programs involved thanks to multiple funders. (NWTOWN Today

COVID-19 Opinion: Why Covid-19 Threatens Military Readiness — and How School Lunch Can Help
The pandemic has exposed flaws in the federal school and summer lunch program, but we can fix them. (Politico)


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

This Week in Farm to School: 6/2/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, June 02, 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 NEA Foundation COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants
Deadline: June 11
The purpose of the NEA Foundation’s Rapid Response Funding is to support educator-led initiatives to adapt to the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer months of 2020. Among other initiatives, this may include meeting the nutritional needs of students who rely on school meals and school-based summer feeding programs. These grants will be awarded for a six-month grant period and for amounts of $1,500 to $5,000. Applicants must be teachers, education support professionals, or specialized instructional support personnel and must be current NEA members. Learn more here.

2. COVID-19 Action for Healthy Kids: Emergency Meal Distribution Equipment Grants
These grants provide funds for additional equipment to create “grab and go” curbside meal pickups at schools and other locations within the community. School districts (not individual schools) providing meals during school closures as a result of COVID-19 may apply for as many sites/schools that can use equipment. Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis until all funds are awarded. Learn more and apply here.

3. COVID-19 United Philanthropy Forum's Momentum Fund
Deadline: June 18
The Momentum Fund will provide grants to 501(c)(3) organizations that are managing an active COVID-19 fund. The grants will help these organizations build their capacity so that they can effectively grow, promote, manage and sustain their funds (whether they need to add new staff, access consulting expertise, acquire new software, etc.). Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $100,000 and a total of $8.5 million will be awarded. Learn more and apply.

4. USDA Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets)
Deadline: June 26
USDA NIFA's Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program provides grants to non-profits to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector. The program encourages the development of training opportunities specifically designed for military veterans. NIFA requests applications for the AgVets to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for training programs and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans. The close date is June 26. Learn more and apply here.

5. USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program
Deadline: July 6
USDA has announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. There is approximately $1 million available for Planning Projects and $2 million for Implementation Projects. The close date is July 6. Learn more and apply here.

6. 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.


WEBINARS & EVENTS
1. Webinar Series: Rise Up and Root Deep
June 3 // 1pm ET
The National Black Leadership Commission on Health is presenting a 3-part webinar series, "Rise Up and Root Deep." Part 2 will share how a youth group in Harlem is changing lives and growing community. The webinar is facilitated by Karen Washington, Farmer and Activities, with guest speaker Nando Rodriquez, Brotherhood SisterSol. Register here

2. Webinar: USDA's Grants for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
June 3 // 2pm ET
USDA is hosting webinars to explain the purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for applying for recent opportunities from the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. $3 million is available for competitive grants to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects.  Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 6, 2020 through Grants.gov. Learn more and register. Recordings of the webinars will be posted at farmers.gov/urban.

3. Webinar: USDA Rural Development Business and Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program
June 3 // 2pm ET
View this webinar for stakeholders and the public from USDA on the B&I CARES Act Program which offers loan guarantees to rural businesses and agricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans. Learn more and register.

4. COVID-19 Webinar: How Navajo Nation SoPL Leaders Are Advocating, Organizing and Farming During COVID-19
June 4 // 12pm ET
Join the HEAL Food Alliance's webinar for a timely conversation on priorities and challenges related to food and farming systems in Navajo Nation during the pandemic, and ongoing organizing and advocacy efforts by community members. Register here.

5. Webinar: USDA's Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction
June 4 // 2pm ET
USDA is hosting webinars to explain the purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for applying for recent opportunities from the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. $900,000 is available for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The cooperative agreements will support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 26, 2020 through Grants.gov. Learn more and register. Recordings of the webinars will be posted at farmers.gov/urban.

6. Webinar: Serving the Whole Household through Community Partnerships
June 9 // 2pm ET
Join No Kid Hungry to learn about how schools and community partners in Charlotte, NC are working together to meet the needs of children and their families, with special attention given to hard-to-reach and immigrant communities. Register here.

7. COVID-19 Webinar: A Shared Narrative in COVID-19 and Beyond
June 11 // 2pm ET
This webinar, hosted by Blue Sky Funders Forum will feature opportunities for organizations to message the importance of their work during COVID-19 and beyond through the Rethink Outside shared narrative. Learn more and register.

8. COVID-19 Webinar: Green Schoolyards In a Post COVID-19 Era
June 18 // 2pm ET
Green schoolyards are an exceptional use of public space, creating equitable access to green space, providing places to play and learn during school time, and offering community access out-of-school time. Cities Connecting Children to Nature brings together experts from the Children & Nature Network, Landscape Architecture Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, and the Austin Green School Parks program to understand what is happening with schoolyards in the face of COVID-19, and what we should aim for post-COVID-19. Register here


Research & Resources
1. EQUITY COVID-19 BIPOC-Led How To Videos, Gardening Projects and Online Learning Resources
Soul Fire Farm has compiled a comprehensive list of how to videos and other online resources learning developed by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color on a variety of food, farming and gardening projects. These are great resources to reference for distance agriculture education. View the list here

2. EQUITY A List of Black Owned Farms & Food Gardens
The United Black Library has compiled a list of black-owned farms and food gardens across the country. Nationally, Black-owned farms make up less than 2 percent of all farms. See the list here

3. COVID-19 Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s Farm Finance Support Videos (Spanish)
MSU Extension has created videos on labor challenges, the Families First Act, Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Spanish speaking farmers financially affected by Covid-19. View the video series.

4. COVID-19 New Resources for Producers Applying for USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Payments
As of May 26, USDA’s Farm Service Administration will begin accepting applications from producers for aid through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Please see this brief from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition with information about the program to help producers determine whether applying makes sense for them. Funding is first-come-first-served. Read more here.

5. COVID-19 USDA's Seamless Summer Option: Providing Multiple Meals at a Time During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Under nationwide non-congregate feeding and meal time waivers, state agencies may allow school food authorities to provide more than one day’s worth of meals to eligible children via a single meal pick-up or delivery. View USDA's comprehensive resource on considerations, tips, best practices, and sample menus for the National School Lunch Program: Seamless Summer Option operators who wish to distribute multiple meals at one time. Access the resource.


Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
National Farm to School Network's response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic are grounded in a central goal of continuing to advance towards strong, just local and regional food systems. There is a need for immediate relief to the people most impacted by this crisis, while building towards longer-term policies that strengthen a resilient, just food system. As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. Our 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 Take Action to Support CACFP in The HEROES Act
Send a letter to the Senate and the White House to support provisions that would provide financial relief for the CACFP Community including child care providers, centers, afterschool programs, emergency shelters, and sponsoring organizations. Take action here.

3. COVID-19 Policy Brief: Food and Farm Worker Protections Critical to COVID-19 Pandemic Response
A new policy statement from Johns Hopkins University experts is calling for urgent action to protect food and agriculture workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.


In The News
EQUITY Groups Supporting Food and Land Justice for Black Americans
Civil eats has compiled a listed of organizations working to strengthen food justice, land access, and food access in the Black community. (Civil Eats

EQUITY Podcast: Not Being Racist with Leah Penniman
Leah Penniman, farmer at Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black, talks about three pillars of anti-racism work - education, reparations, and amplification of the efforts and demands of BIPOC - and shares resources on how to begin engaging in anti-racism work on The Best Advice Show. This is a short, 4 minute listen with lots of great links in the show notes. Listen here

EQUITY We Don't Farm Because It's Trendy; We Farm as Resistance, for Healing and Sovereignty
Ashley Gripper, a PhD Candidate in the Environmental Health Department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has written an essay on how for more than 150 years, Black people have used farming to build self-determined communities and resist oppressive structures that tear them down. (Environmental Health Network)

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.

There Is No Food Justice Without Racial Justice

Anna Mullen Sunday, May 31, 2020

By Helen Dombalis, NFSN Executive Director
 
Racism is older than our country, and it’s long past time we change it. I, like many of you, have been grieving over the senseless murders of Black Americans for no other reason than the color of their skin. As a white woman in America, I know I would have walked away with my life while George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many other Black Americans leave in body bags. I also know that I have a responsibility as the Executive Director of the National Farm to School Network and as a white woman in a position of privilege to not just be an ally for equity but an active participant in the fight for justice. We cannot stand by while Black people continue to lose their lives to police violence and racism. 

My values and our collective vision at the National Farm to School Network support a food system centered on justice, and we know that we cannot achieve food justice if we're not willing to do racial justice work. 

Our current food system is a legacy of exploitation and racism - land stolen from Native people, a US agricultural empire built on the backs of enslaved Africans, today’s farmworkers being predominantly underpaid immigrant and migrant Latinx workers, and many of the school food professionals that feed our kids being Women of Color who earn less than a living wage. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color and Immigrants are the backbone of our food system and ensure we can eat. They’re also a constant target of racist acts and violence. 
 
If you are White, saying you are not racist is not enough. Institutional racism and structural racism are at play in our communities, destroying the fabric of human good, and we must dismantle this. Children of Color participating in school meal programs have been publicly shamed when they lack the funds to pay for their meals. Black and Latinx youth have substantially higher rates of obesity than their white peers, as do Indigenous youth. Our national policies do not equitably commit resources to feeding our children, our future. People of Color are disproportionately represented on the frontlines of COVID-19 response and in our food system as essential workers, and are dying at higher rates due to the prevalence of underlying health conditions - a direct result of systemic inequities in access to healthy food options, health care and safe working conditions. And in the case of police brutality and murder, People of Color are killed by police at higher per capita rates than White people. Structural racism allows these sobering statistics to become normalized, accepted and perpetuated.
 
Personally, as a mother, I am constantly fighting cultural racism, where Whiteness is idolized in books, movies, dolls and toys, undervaluing and dehumanizing People of Color. My daughter and I discuss how all people hope for our future, need the same love, and feel the same pain.
 
I am committed to leading the National Farm to School Network as an anti-racist organization. As a predominantly White-led organization, we cannot be silent allies. There is no food justice without racial justice. The lives of all Black people who have lost their lives to violence and racism matter. National Farm to School Network stands in support of those demanding police reform and justice, and I want you to stand with us. Speak up, act boldly and demand justice.  

On an individual level, here are things we can all do: 
Racism will not stop, nor will our children and our future be more peaceful and something we’re proud of, unless we take action. #BlackLivesMatter. #DemandJustice

This Week in Farm to School: 5/26/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 26, 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 Action for Healthy Kids: Emergency Meal Distribution Equipment Grants
These grants provide funds for additional equipment to create “grab and go” curbside meal pickups at schools and other locations within the community. School districts (not individual schools) providing meals during school closures as a result of COVID-19 may apply for as many sites/schools that can use equipment. Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis until all funds are awarded. Learn more and apply here

2. USDA AMS Local Food Grant Programs
TODAY! Deadline: May 26
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) pushed back the deadlines of its key local food grant programs by three weeks to May 26, due to COVID-19. These include Farmers Market Promotion Program, Local Food Promotion Program, and Regional Food System Partnerships.

3. USDA AMS Seeks Grant Reviewers
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) seeks subject matter experts as peer reviewers to objectively evaluate grant applications against the published criteria in its competitive grant programs’ Requests for Applications. Given the sector’s great need for these resources, AMS is aiming to avoid delays on announcing its key local food grants awards, to the extent possible. They are seeking grant reviewers to assist in the upcoming review process. Learn more and apply here.

4. USDA Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets)
Deadline: June 26
USDA NIFA's Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program provides grants to non-profits to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector. The program encourages the development of training opportunities specifically designed for military veterans. NIFA requests applications for the AgVets to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for training programs and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans. The close date is June 26. Learn more and apply here

5. USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program
Deadline: July 6
USDA has announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. There is approximately $1 million available for Planning Projects and $2 million for Implementation Projects. The close date is July 6. Learn more and apply here.

6. COVID-19 California Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) Emergency Fund
It’s in these times of crisis that communities realize just how valuable–and vulnerable–family farmers are. CAFF's emergency fund will directly support family farmers–anchors of California's local food systems–to help ensure they make it through this crisis. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and award decisions will be made every other week based on a fixed dollar amount. Learn more and apply here.

7. COVID-19 Reinvestment Fund's 2020 Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program
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.  Reinvestment Fund will hold a webinar on June 2, 2020 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.


Webinars & Events
1. COVID-19 Webinar: "A Sharing of Healing Works"
May 27 // 3pm ET
This free North American Food Systems Network Good Food Talk webinar will provide a space for anyone to share creative, healing works of poetry, music, artwork, or dance that have served as their anchor, guiding star, or nurturing inspiration. We are leaning in and being in community with each other during these challenging times. Register here.

2. COVID-19 Webinar Series: Mobilizing Food Policy Councils to Support Food Workers During COVID-19
May 28 // 12pm ET
As workers from across the food supply chain risk their lives to continue feeding us, the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the harms of existing labor policies and practices. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Food Policy Networks project invites you to join them for a series of webinars to discuss how food policy councils can support food chain workers during COVID-19. Register here.

3. Online Meeting: Native Youth Food Sovereignty
May 28 // 12pm ET
Youth! You are the future and Food Sovereignty is the foundation of the future! You can be the center of making a real difference and have fun in the process! Youth are encouraged to join the Intertribal Agriculture Council for the Native Youth Food Sovereignty online meeting Thursday, May 28 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time, using this link (no registration required).

4. Virtual Conference: National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP)
May 29-June 3
Are you looking for professional development with practitioner presentations that address real community issues? Do you want to hear and discuss the implications of COVID-19 on the future of communities? Join NACDEP for 4-days of discussion (spaced for Zooming comfort!), energizing talks, and actionable ideas at Community Development in Practice: Improve Your Skills and Add to Your Toolbox. Special virtual professional development fee of $105. Use discount code: “Extension” or “Professional” and register today here.

5. COVID-19 Webinar: Liability for Transmission of COVID-19 to Customers of Farm and Food Businesses
May 29 // 4pm EST
If your actions lead to a customer contracting COVID-19, are you legally liable? Join Farm Commons for a webinar discussing whether, when, and how, legal risk could befall a farm or food business, including farmers markets and food hubs. Register here.

6. COVID-19 Webinar: Green Schoolyards In a Post COVID-19 Era
June 18 // 2pm ET
Green schoolyards are an exceptional use of public space, creating equitable access to green space, providing places to play and learn during school time, and offering community access out-of-school time. Cities Connecting Children to Nature brings together experts from the Children & Nature Network, Landscape Architecture Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, and the Austin Green School Parks program to understand what is happening with schoolyards in the face of COVID-19, and what we should aim for post-COVID-19. Register here.

7. COVID-19 Webinar Recording: USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Direct Payments
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has posted a recording of the webinar for farmers, ranchers and other producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) held Thursday, May 14. The recording is available on the Farmers.gov YouTube channel for immediate viewing and will be posted at farmers.gov/cfap.


COVID-19 Resources
1. COVID-19 CDC Stakeholder Resources: Schools and Childcare
View the CDC's guidance on reopening School and Childcare programs here, as well as decision trees for specific settings:
Childcare Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Youth Programs and Camps During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic

2. COVID-19 Cultivating Social-Emotional Health with Farm to Early Care and Education
Families and children are confronting stress and uncertainty in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents, caretakers, and early care and education providers may be looking for ways to encourage play-based learning that can teach children critical skills pertaining to this crisis - especially those related to social-emotional health. This resource from Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems outlines farm to ECE activities that can be helpful for continuing to cultivate young children's emotional wellness during this time. Learn more here.

3. COVID-19 Cornell Cooperative Extension Provides Online Farm to School Learning
Cornell Cooperative Extension has assembled a collection of Farm to School materials and exercises in a public Google Drive folder. Here, you can find virtual farm tours and live streams, worksheets, and hands-on learning activities that can help you teach your child these important lessons all while still at home. Read more.

4. COVID-19 Farmers Markets Respond to COVID-19 — Best Practices, Examples, and Resources
View the Farmers Market Coalition's guidance on safely operating a farmers market during the pandemic here.

5. COVID-19 National Young Farmers Coalition's (NYFC) Portable Handwashing Station
Hand washing is one of the most important food safety practices, and in important in any time of food-growing setting including school gardens. View NYFC's guidance on building portable handwashing stations here.


Research & Resources
1. Research Article: Tradeoffs in Farm to School Implementation: Larger Foodsheds Drive Greater Local Food Expenditures
Read the new Journal of Agriculture and Resource Economics article on the relationship between two supply chain indicators -- local foodshed size and length of local food supply chain-- and districts' local food expenditures. Data shows that a school districts' actions to increase student access to local foods by widening definitions of local or sourcing through intermediaries thus have the potential to reduce localized benefits to nearby farmers and community members. Read more here.

2. Farm to Early Care and Education: Toward a Shared Language
Farm to early care and education (ECE) happens where early care and education and food systems meet. Although we are often working towards the same goals, it can be difficult for food systems and early care and education to communicate because there is not a shared language. This resource from Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems aims to begin a conversation between early care and education providers and food systems practitioners to work towards developing a shared language and fuller understanding of the common purpose we are working towards. Learn more here.

3. Farm to Fork Strategy – for a Fair, Healthy and Environmentally-Friendly Food System
View the European Commission's Farm to Fork Strategy that aims to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. The Farm to Fork Strategy aims to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system that should ensure food security, nutrition and public health, making sure that everyone has access to sufficient, safe, nutritious, sustainable food among other things. Read more.

4. Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) Editorial: Food Waste in K-12 Schools — an Opportunity to Create More Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems
Institutions such as K−12 schools, which operate on large scales and feed hundreds of children, are ideal settings to implement system changes to reduce food waste. A recent systematic review of food waste in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) found that approximately 30% of food served is wasted. Read more here.


Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
National Farm to School Network's response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic are grounded in a central goal of continuing to advance towards strong, just local and regional food systems. There is a need for immediate relief to the people most impacted by this crisis, while building towards longer-term policies that strengthen a resilient, just food system. As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. Our 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 Take Action to Support CACFP in The HEROES Act
Send a letter to the Senate and the White House to support provisions that would provide financial relief for the CACFP Community including child care providers, centers, afterschool programs, emergency shelters, and sponsoring organizations. Take action here.

3. COVID-19 Farm to Family Food Box Distribution
The USDA Farm to Family Food Box program has selected distributors to purchase produce, dairy, and meat products from farmers and producers and distribute them to families through partnerships with local non-profit organizations (including food banks, schools, and community sites). If your ECE site or non-profit organization has the operational and financial capability to receive, store and distribute requested food items, contact an awarded distributor.

4. COVID-19 USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
On May 19, the USDA announced further details on the direct assistance to producers that it will provide in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Applications will open on May 26. These direct payments will compensate a variety of producers for losses they suffered by April 15, 2020, as a result of the pandemic. To find out more about the program, and how to apply, you can visit their website at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap.

5. COVID-19 Georgia’s CAPS Program Expands Child Care Assistance to Essential Services Workforce Serving During COVID-19 Pandemic
Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services, or CAPS Program, is expanding its new priority group for the Essential Services Workforce during COVID-19 to include those who work within the food supply chain like grocery stores, farming, and food delivery and pick-up. CAPS provides scholarships to help with the cost of child care so parents can work or attend school. Read more here.


Farm to School in the News
With Schools Closed, Their Gardens Take on a New Role
It’s clear now that schools around the country will be closed until at least next fall, but that hasn't stopped school gardens. “I want people passing by on their daily walks to see that [the garden] is still growing and that our community still grows and continues,” says FoodCorps member Tara McDaniel. (Civil Eats)

Supporting Local Farmers to Feed Children in Hawaii
During the COVID-19 health crisis, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), school districts, and communities across the country have been working tirelessly to ensure that children have access to food. In Hawaii, one community college professional found a way to pull resources together for a common cause and help feed Hawaii's keiki. (USDA)

As the Coronavirus Pandemic Strains Supplies, Native Americans Fight Food Insecurity
A "Seeds and Sheep" project in Utah is one of many innovative programs seeking to help Native communities become more food sovereign and self-reliant. (NBC News)

Op-Ed: While Food Supply Chains Snap, a Solution Is on the Table
Supporting local farmers can help build resilience in our food system. (The Hill)


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

This Week in Farm to School: 5/19/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 19, 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 Action for Healthy Kids: Emergency Meal Distribution Equipment Grants
These grants provide funds for additional equipment to create “grab and go” curbside meal pickups at schools and other locations within the community. School districts (not individual schools) providing meals during school closures as a result of COVID-19 may apply for as many sites/schools that can use equipment. Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis until all funds are awarded. Learn more and apply here

2. USDA AMS Local Food Grant Programs
Deadline: May 26
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) pushed back the deadlines of its key local food grant programs by three weeks to May 26, due to COVID-19. These include Farmers Market Promotion Program, Local Food Promotion Program, and Regional Food System Partnerships.

3. USDA AMS Seeks Grant Reviewers
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) seeks subject matter experts as peer reviewers to objectively evaluate grant applications against the published criteria in its competitive grant programs’ Requests for Applications. Given the sector’s great need for these resources, AMS is aiming to avoid delays on announcing its key local food grants awards, to the extent possible. They are seeking grant reviewers to assist in the upcoming review process. Learn more and apply here.

4. USDA Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets)
Deadline: June 26
USDA NIFA's Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program provides grants to non-profits to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector. The program encourages the development of training opportunities specifically designed for military veterans. NIFA requests applications for the AgVets to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for training programs and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans. The close date is June 26. Learn more and apply here

5. USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program
Deadline: July 6
USDA has announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. There is approximately $1 million available for Planning Projects and $2 million for Implementation Projects. The close date is July 6. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. COVID-19 Webinar: Opportunities and Challenges in Providing School Meals in the Wake of COVID-19
TODAY! May 19 // 1:30-3pm ET
School nutrition professionals are working hard to provide school meals to children in their local communities while our nation continues to deal with an unprecedented public health emergency. State agency leadership from three states will provide an overview for the progression of USDA policy changes requested from the state agencies to support local districts in receiving necessary flexibilities to successfully provide meals during COVID-19. This webinar is hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Register here.

2. COVID-19 Webinar: Menu Planning for Non-Congregate Meals
TODAY! May 19 // 2pm ET
Cold meals or re-heatable meals? Individually portioned items or bulk components? Planning menus for non-congregate meal service can be a challenge, especially as the weather turns warmer. Tune into this webinar to learn about planning and procuring healthy, nutritious meals for kids in your community - and about keeping those meals safe on hotter days. You'll hear from Jen McNeil from LunchAssist, Aleshia Hall-Campbell from the Institute on Child Nutrition, and Miguel Villareal from San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Register here.

3. COVID-19 Webinar: Are You Ready For The New Normal, Part Two
TODAY! May 19 // 3:30pm ET
Join Health-e Pro for the second in a two-part series on steps for child nutrition programs to prepare for Fall. Part 1 focused on asking the right questions. Part 2 will provide answers. This webinar will discuss: caring for staff; managing waivers; assessing changes to MPLH; and engaging with distributors and local farms. Register here

4. COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall: "Speak Up & Speak Out:  A Virtual Town Hall Meeting for Educators”
TODAY! May 19 // 7pm ET
Join the National Education Association for “Speak Up & Speak Out: A Virtual Town Hall Meeting for Educators," presented by the Congressional Black Caucus focused on COVID-19 and Black America. NEA’s Vice President, Becky Pringle will serve as a speaker in this important discussion. This Town Hall will include such allies as: Congresswoman Karen Bass and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (D-CA-37), Congressman and Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA-03), Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL-24), American Federation of Teachers, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., as well as other educators, activists, and thought partners. Register here

5. COVID-19 Webinar: CDC Stakeholder Webinar and Resources: Schools and Childcare 
May 20 // 4pm ET
CDC has announced upcoming live stakeholder calls to help communities plan for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The May 20 call is specifically for schools and childcare programs. Register here

6. COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall: Dispatch from the Frontlines: COVID-19 and Indigenous Communities
May 20 // 7pm ET
The Congressional Progressive Caucus Center and the Native Organizers Alliance are hosting “Dispatch from the Frontlines: COVID-19 and Indigenous Communities” to focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Tribal Nations and Indigenous people in the U.S. Speakers include: Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-01, Laguna Pueblo); Faith Spotted Eagle (Native Organizers Alliance, Brave Heart Society, Yankton Sioux); State Rep. Ruth Buffalo (ND-HD27, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation); Tara Houska (Giniw Collective); Kevin Allis (National Congress of American Indians, Forest County Potawatomi). Register here

7. COVID-19 Webinar: Farm Credit COVID-19 Specialty Crop Virtual Panel Discussion
May 21 // 11am ET
Join this virtual panel discussion featuring Farm Credit fruit and vegetable producers. The panelists will discuss the challenges they are facing due to COVID-19, the impacts on the food supply chain and what additional resources they may require to be able to continue to operate and meet the demands of consumers. This webinar is hosted by Farm Credit. Register here

8. COVID-19 Webinar Series: Mobilizing Food Policy Councils to Support Food Workers During COVID-19
May 21 & May 28, 12pm ET
As workers from across the food supply chain risk their lives to continue feeding us, the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the harms of existing labor policies and practices. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Food Policy Networks project invites you to join them for a series of webinars to discuss how food policy councils can support food chain workers during COVID-19. Register here

9. COVID-19 Webinar: Transitioning to Summer Meals
May 21 // 3pm ET
Summer's almost here - what does that mean for the Summer Nutrition Programs and those schools and sponsors that have been operating feeding programs due to COVID-19? This webinar will cover the most up-to-date information on the program flexibilities, tips for maintaining momentum, and things to consider for this summer. This webinar is hosted by FRAC. Register here

10. COVID-19 Webinar: Pickup and Order Options at Farmers Market: Create Resilience, Not Legal Vulnerability
May 21 // 4pm ET
As Farmers Markets add curbside pickup, take advance orders, and offer bundled market purchases, customers are getting fresh, local foods in the midst of a pandemic. But, these innovations can also bring legal risk as well. With some advance planning, market managers can address these risks and create a program with strength beyond COVID-19. This webinar cover issues including increased liability risk, shifting insurance needs, potential licensing obligations, and concerns under site agreements. Register here.

11. COVID-19 Webinar: True Cost Accounting in Post-COVID Food Policy
May 22 // 3pm ET
The current pandemic is showing us how brittle our food supply chains can be. But there is scope to respond to the crisis through building more sustainable, equitable food systems with policies that support localized supply chains, creating circular economies that benefit people and the planet. True Cost Accounting in food and agriculture is a currently evolving way of seeking to make visible the true costs and benefits of different food production systems with implications for everyone. Dr. Robin Currey will facilitate this panel discussion to explore how true cost accounting - applied along the food value chain - could guide post-COVID food policy. Register here

12. COVID-19 Webinar: Delivering Food and Nutrition Content During COVID-19
May 22 // 1pm ET
The Tisch Food Center, FoodCorps, and Common Threads are partnering to host a webinar on producing digital food and nutrition education content. Key areas of focus will include tailoring interventions to your audience, basic filming and video editing tips, and developing content for Google Classrooms. Hear from FoodCorps and Common Threads as they describe how they are developing high-quality digital content for their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Register here

13. COVID-19 Webinar Recording: USDA Posts Recording of CFAP Direct Payments Webinar
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has posted a recording of the webinar for farmers, ranchers and other producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) held Thursday, May 14. The recording is available on the Farmers.gov YouTube channel for immediate viewing and will be posted at farmers.gov/cfap.


Research & Resources 
1. COVID-19 NFSN Farm to School / ECE & COVID-19 Resource Hub
National Farm to School Network has launched a new page on our website dedicated to making it easier for you to find all of the resources, information, and news you need to support your community food systems work during the COVID-19 pandemic. See more here: www.farmtoschool.org/covid19

2. COVID-19 USDA Extends Three Nationwide Waivers
The USDA had announced that three nationwide COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response waivers will be extended through August 31, 2020, providing critical guidance to schools and other organizations making plans now to provide meals through the summer months. Waivers extend through August 31 include: the non-congregate meal service waiver; the parent meal pick-up waiver; and the meal service times waiver. The USDA also confirmed that program operators will be able to distribute meals for more than one day at a time. View the full press release here.

3. COVID-19 EQUITY When Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Programs Close, Who Cares for Farmworkers' Children?
Over 90% of Head Start programs have temporarily closed since the COVID-19 outbreak began. These closures include nearly all Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs, which provide early education, nutrition, and health services to agricultural workers and their families. Agricultural workers, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus and many of whom were excluded from stimulus relief, now have the added strain of finding child care, while Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs do their best to support families from afar. Read more

4. COVID-19 EQUITY Orgs Providing Emergency Food Relief to Native Communities During COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to spread, Native communities across the country have been particularly hard hit by the virus. The pandemic has also exacerbated food insecurity in Native communities, which typically already face high rates of poverty and hunger in urban and rural areas. As COVID-19 disrupts food supply chains, communities face more severe water and food shortages. Food Tank is highlighting 17 organizations providing emergency food relief to Native communities during COVID-19. Read more here
 
5. COVID-19 Cultivating Social-Emotional Health with Farm to Early Care and Education
Families and children are confronting stress and uncertainty in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents, caretakers, and early care and education providers may be looking for ways to encourage play-based learning that can teach children critical skills pertaining to this crisis - especially those related to social-emotional health. This resource from Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems outlines farm to ECE activities that can be helpful for continuing to cultivate young children's emotional wellness during this time. Learn more here

6. COVID-19 Big Green at Home - Virtual Education Resources
Big Green at Home compiles garden education resources for educators and families including standards-aligned curriculum material and weekly activity newsletters. See more here.

7. COVID-19 The Green Our Planet Virtual Academy
Farmers, chefs and hydroponic experts from Green Our Planet film themselves doing lessons in the gardens and at their homes, which Green Our Planet is sharing with teachers, students and families via the weekly Green Our Planet Virtual Academy Newsletter. See more here

8. COVID-19 Maine School Garden Network's Strategies for Remote School Garden Engagement 
The Main School Garden Network has a great list of ideas on how to maintain school or early care and education (ECE) gardens safely, strategies to engage kids this spring during the pandemic and many other resources. Access the document here.

9. Farmers Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms (English & Spanish)
This publication, created by the National Young Farmers Coalition, compares farm-specific software platforms that support direct-to-consumer sales, and highlights related educational resources. English version available here. Spanish version available here.

10. Spanish Translation of FDA Produce Safety Rule
The FDA has released a Spanish translation of the codified text of the Produce Safety Rule. The Produce Safety rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. The rule is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. See more here


Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
National Farm to School Network's response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic are grounded in a central goal of continuing to advance towards strong, just local and regional food systems. As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. Our federal policy platform calls on Congress to strengthen its support for school meal and child nutrition programs, farmers and those who fed us, Native communities, essential workers, children and families, and others who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. Please add your voice to endorse NFSN’s federal COVID-19 policy platform, and help us advocate key food systems priorities in the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800). Sign on here

2. COVID-19 HEROS Act Provides Additional $16.5 Billion for Farmers During Pandemic
Last week, the House of Representatives unveiled another COVID relief package. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act largely builds off of previous relief bills and includes a broad range of support from support for nutrition programs to support for worker protections and increased funding for sustainable agriculture programs. Read more from NSAC here

3. COVID-19 NY State Kicks Off Nourish New York Initiative
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball kicked off the new Nourish New York Initiative last week. The initiative is providing $25 million to food banks for the purchase of surplus agricultural products from New York State farms to distribute to populations who need them most. Read more here

4. COVID-19 Massachusetts Invests $56M to Combat Food Insecurity
To bolster the food supply chain amid the coronavirus pandemic, Massachusetts state announced an investment of $56 million to combat food insecurity as a result of findings from the state’s Food Security Task Force. The group prioritized more than 80 recommendations tied to developing an emergency food program; fortifying the food bank system; maximizing federal resources for food and nutrition and reinforcing the food system infrastructure. Read more here.


Farm to School in the News
National Farm to School Network Announces FoodCorps as 2020 National Partner of the Year
In 2017, National Farm to School Network launched a “National Partner of the Year” program to strategically align and partner with other national organizations that share our goals of ensuring a nation of healthy kids, thriving family farms, and resilient communities. In 2020, we're pleased to be partnering with FoodCorps. We are joining forces to bolster our advocacy and programming so that we can better serve our communities, especially those most impacted by an unjust food system. Read more

COVID-19 Maine Lunches Made with Local Ingredients Feeding More than Students
The Community Regional Charter School in Skowhegan is pouring its school lunch dollars into the local community, helping businesses stay afloat. "It supports local and small businesses that are the backbone of our country and helps that local hub of businesses stay alive during this time and beyond really." (News Center Maine)

COVID-19 Tennessee Schools Serving Local Produce in Grab-n-Go Lunches 
Locally grown, fresh strawberries were served in Weakley County School lunches last week. “Supplying local schools has been a goal of ours for a couple of years;” Tyler Smith, owner of Future Vision Farms, said. “However, we just haven’t had the capacity. As we have grown to meet the production of our larger customers we have been able to begin servicing local school systems with our produce. We look forward to working with Weakley County Schools throughout our season from now until Thanksgiving.” (Weakley County Press)

COVID-19 YMCA Is More Than Gym-And-Swim When Kids Need Lunch
When Shelby County Schools had to cancel its plans to provide lunches for students during the pandemic because one of its food service workers had tested positive for COVID-19, the YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South stepped up. As of last week, the project had made, boxed up, delivered and handed out 279,569 meals. (Daily Memphian)

COVID-19 Listen: ‘Our Food System Is Very Much Modeled on Plantation Economics’
CounterSpin, FAIR's podcast, interviewed Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists and NFSN Advisory Board member, about the coronavirus food crisis. Listen here.


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.

Our 2020 National Partner of the Year: FoodCorps

NFSN Staff Thursday, May 14, 2020

Though 2020 is anticipated to be a year of uncertainty and significant challenges, the National Farm to School Network continues to look forward. As always, we’re a national organization that is uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors and communities. Networking and partnership building have always been at the core of our efforts, and they will continue to be so long after this crisis ends.
 
We understand that working together is integral to our success, and is essential to the growth and long-term sustainability of our vision for a just food system. That’s why, in 2017, we launched a “National Partner of the Year” program to strategically align and partner with other national organizations that share our goals of ensuring a nation of healthy kids, thriving family farms, and resilient communities. (Learn more about our 2017, 2018, and 2019 partners.) We know that in order to redesign our food, education, health, and economic systems with justice at the core, we must build a big tent of organizations working multi-sectorally as we do. And in light of the COVID-19 health crisis, we believe partnerships like these are more important than ever. Coordination, collaboration, and working together is key to meeting urgent needs and accelerating our work to ensure a just food system for kids, farmers, families, and communities.  

In 2020, we're pleased to be partnering with FoodCorps as our National Partner of the Year. FoodCorps is a national nonprofit that connects kids to healthy food in school. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced school closures, FoodCorps service members are helping with emergency meal services, remote food, and nutrition lessons that reinforce academic priorities, and garden cultivation for community building and local nourishment. FoodCorps is also mobilizing its nationwide network of partners and allies to advocate for policies that will help schools keep kids nourished through this crisis and beyond. 

National Farm to School Network and FoodCorps already have a long history of collaboration. In 2010, National Farm to School Network was a founding partner of FoodCorps. NFSN had been founded several years earlier in 2007 to serve as a movement building, systems change, and advocacy organization, and recognized that it was also important to invest in direct service of farm to school efforts in communities through FoodCorps. Over the past 10 years, both organizations have naturally evolved and adapted to pressing needs and strategies towards our long-term visions: for National Farm to School Network, a just food system, and for FoodCorps, healthy food for all kids. What’s remained constant is partnership on many activities and projects - from advocacy days on Capitol Hill to story sharing during National Farm to School Month. So why focus on more intentional and coordinated partnership in 2020? Because we know that the visions of our organizations are urgent: we must act immediately and strategically to ensure that all kids - across all races, places, and classes - are connected to a just food system. 

We are joining forces to bolster our advocacy and programming so that we can better serve our communities, especially those most impacted by an unjust food system. And while we didn’t start 2020 anticipating it, our work now is also focusing on how to meet the urgent needs of the school food community in the face of a global pandemic. Read here a post we’ve co-authored about how the COVID-19 pandemic has shown school nutrition to be essential to kids’ health and well-being, and why USDA must uphold strong nutrition standards and build on the progress schools across the country have made to serve healthy school meals. 

National Farm to School Network and FoodCorps share a goal for the future where every child is able to be nourished by healthy food because their community food systems are thriving. We recognize that our collaboration at both the community and systems change levels towards this goal is what will accelerate our collective vision. It’s what the National Partner of the Year program is all about: leveraging our unique ideas, strategies, and resources towards a more just food system for all. 

Learn more about FoodCorps on their website and social media channels: 
And, stay tuned for opportunities to dig into this partnership with us throughout the rest of 2020!

FoodCorps and National Farm to School Network friends at the White House Vegetable Garden in 2016. From Left to Right: Cecily Upton (FoodCorps Co-Founder and Chief Strategist), Michelle Markesteyn (Rootopia and former NFSN Advisor), Curt Ellis (FoodCorps Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer), Linda Jo Doctor (W.K. Kellogg Foundation), Ricardo Salvador (Union of Concerned Scientists and NFSN Advisor), Anupama Joshi (National Farm to School Network Co-Founder and former Executive Director), and Jerusha Klemperer (FoodCorps Co-Founder).

This Week in Farm to School: 5/12/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 12, 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 GENYOUth Emergency School Nutrition Funding
GENYOUth is providing grants of up to $3,000 per school to supply much-needed resources for meal distribution and delivery efforts to get food to students during COVID-19. From soft-sided coolers, bags and containers for individual servings, to protective gear for food service sanitation and safety, this equipment will help ensure our children continue to receive the nutritious meals they need. Learn more here.

2. COVID-19 EQUITY NDN Collective's COVID-19 Response Project
The NDN Collective’s COVID-19 Response Project is designed to provide immediate relief to some of the most underserved communities in the country. NDN’s intent is to quickly distribute resources to frontline organizations, Tribes, and individuals who are providing essential services to Indigenous communities within the next 15-45 days to provide gap resources during this health crisis. Grants are available to support medical supplies, food delivery, youth and/or Elder care, educational access, economic relief and more. Grant review and funding notifications will occur on a weekly basis through the end of May 2020. Learn more here. Donations to support NDN's Collective's COVID-19 Response Project can be made here

3. EQUITY Native American Agriculture Fund 2020 Request for Applications
Deadline: June 1
NAFF is a private, charitable trust serving Native farmers and ranchers through strategic grantmaking. Grants are available to eligible grant recipients in the mission areas of business assistance, agricultural education, technical support and advocacy services. NAFF will also be accepting applications across four special emphasis areas: Traditional Foods and Food Sovereignty; Advocacy; Agriculture Extension; and Youth (available in a separate application process). Learn more here.

4. "One Planet. One Health" Initiative  
Deadline: June 22
Danone Institute North America – a non-profit innovation center established by Danone North America – is soliciting proposals for its second annual “One Planet. One Health” Initiative, which offers academic-based teams the opportunity to design, implement and evaluate actionable community-based projects that drive the sustainability of local food systems. The grant will provide seed funding for projects such as pilot studies, feasibility testing, needs assessments and planning grants. The four teams selected will each receive grants of $20,000 to implement their projects and amplify their messages to a broader audience – plus a $10,000 incremental award for the team with the strongest communications plan. Learn more and apply here.

5. USDA's Notice of Funding Opportunity: Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program 
Deadline: July 6
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on May 6 the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. There is approximately $1 million available for Planning Projects and $2 million for Implementation Projects. USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight July 6, 2020. Learn more and apply here.

6. USDA: Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets)
Deadline: June 26
The Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Program provides grants to non-profits to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector. The program encourages the development of training opportunities specifically designed for military veterans. NIFA requests applications for the AgVets to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for training programs and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans. The close date is June 26. Learn more and apply here. An informational webinar will be held on May 14 at 2pm ET. 


Webinars & Events
1. EQUITY Webinar Series from the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust
April - August 2020
Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust is hosting a webinar series to dive deep into some of the strategies they're employing, such as Reparations, Cultural Respect Easements, Cooperative Land Tenure, and building a new economy that centers BIPOC experiences and knowledges. Featuring land and food sovereignty activists such as David Ragland, Stephanie Morningstar, Ramona Peters, Carmen Mouzon, Karen Washington, Christine Hutchinson, and Leah Penniman, you will have an opportunity to meet the food and land sovereignty change makers who work every day to make land, food, and community wealth accessible to Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Register for webinars here.

2. COVID-19 Weekly Virtual Gatherings: School Garden Support Organization Network
The School Garden Support Organization Network is hosting weekly gatherings on topics related to supporting school gardens during closures and social distancing. The next gathering is on May 12. Learn more and watch recordings here

3. COVID-19 Webinar: Produce in a Pandemic: Providing Children with Fresh Fruits and Vegetables During COVID-19 School Closures
May 13 // 2pm EST
Across the country school, nutrition professionals are doing incredible work to ensure children in their communities have access to meals during COVID-19 school closures. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a balanced meal and a required meal pattern component. This SNA webinar, made possible in partnership with School Nutrition Association and United Fresh Produce Association, will highlight how several school nutrition programs are sourcing and serving fresh produce, and share how produce companies are working with school nutrition customers and supply chain partners during this unprecedented time. Register here.

4. Webinar: Menu Planning for Non-Congregate Meals
May 19 // 2:00PM EST
Cold meals or re-heatable meals? Individually portioned items or bulk components? Planning menus for non-congregate meal service can be a challenge, especially as the weather turns warmer. Tune into this webinar to learn about planning and procuring healthy, nutritious meals for kids in your community - and about keeping those meals safe on hotter days. You'll hear from Jen McNeil from LunchAssist, Aleshia Hall-Campbell from the Institute on Child Nutrition, and Miguel Villareal from San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Register here.

5. Webinar Series: Resiliency through Agriculture
May 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, & 26 
A webinar series, Resiliency through Agriculture, developed by team members at the Intertribal Ag Council (IAC) is exploring topics under the IAC mission areas of Legal and Policy, Professional Development, Conservation and Production Innovation, Food Systems, Communications and Economics.  Resiliency through Agriculture is an initiative to help educate producers, provide them resources and offers toolkits that will help them make informed decisions. Webinars will occur throughout the month of May and will be archived. Learn more and register here.


Research & Resources
1. COVID-19 NFSN Farm to School / ECE & COVID-19 Resource Hub
National Farm to School Network has launched a new page on our website dedicated to making it easier for you to find all of the resources, information, and news you need to support your community food systems work during the COVID-19 pandemic. See more here.

2. COVID-19 NFSN New Weekly COVID-19 & Farm to School Resource E-Newsletter
National Farm to School Network is launching a free weekly e-newsletter to share a roundup of new COVID-19 related resources and information with farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders. Sign up here to have this information delivered in your inbox weekly.

3. COVID-19 NFSN Infographic: How to Create a Mutual Aid Pod in Your Community
Farm to school, at its core, is about relationships: relationships that benefit children and families while strengthening local community food systems. In times of crisis, these community-based relationships are even more vital in supporting continued healthy food access, community well being, and producer viability. Models like mutual aid bring people in communities together so no one goes hungry. Learn about starting a Mutual Aid Pod in your neighborhood with this new infographic

4. COVID-19 ABC Adventure Video Series featuring Chef Asata
Small Bites Adventure Club has created the ABC Adventure series to help children discover, love, and eat fruits and vegetables at home while schools are closed. This series introduces a new food and an *EASY* tasting activity. The series also touches on counting, colors, shapes and critical thinking skills! New videos will be uploaded every week! View the video series here.

5. COVID-19 USDA Approves $1.2B in Contracts for Farmers to Families Food Box Program 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved $1.2 billion in contracts to support American producers and communities in need through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. A full list of approved suppliers can be found here. Additional information on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, including webinars and an FAQs, is available here.  

6. COVID-19 Research: The COVID-19 Crisis Has Already Left Too Many Children Hungry in America
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity has increased in the United States. This is particularly true for households with young children. Two recent nationally surveys - The COVID Impact Survey and The Hamilton Project/Future of the Middle Class Initiative Survey of Mothers with Young Children - have found that rates of food insecurity observed in April 2020 are meaningfully higher than at any point for which there is comparable data. The Survey of Mothers with Young Children found that 40.9 percent of mothers with children ages 12 and under reported household food insecurity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 17.4 percent reported that since the pandemic started, “the children in my household were not eating enough because we just couldn’t afford enough food.” Read more here.


Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Local Policy Ask Template in Response to COVID-19

National Farm to School Network has compiled local policy asks to create a COVID-19 Local Response Template for advocates. The asks in this template have been pulled together with the support of over 20 local organizations, and reflect policy concerns beyond just farm to school, as we understand that food justice is tied to the larger justice conversation. Advocates are encouraged to pull ideas from this template, making changes and additions as needed, to address the needs of your community. See more here

2. COVID-19 NFSN COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
As the federal government continues to develop legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic, National Farm to School Network urges policymakers to respond to this emergency in ways that will advance a more just food system. Read our COVID-19 federal policy platform here.

3. COVID-19 NFSN Policy FAQ: Farm to School/ECE and COVID-19
National Farm to School Network is compiling policy-related questions and answers for how COVID-19 is impacting farm to school and farm to ECE efforts. In this document, find a summary of information about how the federal government has done so far to allow farm to school and ECE programs to adapt; what resources are available to farmers who are suffering losses as a result of school and program closures; and more. See more here.

4. COVID-19 EQUITY Intertribal Agriculture Council Loan Relief Call to Action
The Intertribal Agriculture Council is seeking your support for a common-sense solution that will provide meaningful, timely assistance to nearly all of the 80,000 Indian Producers, countless other farmers and ranchers across the country. This solution would reduce loan payments for all borrowers for 2020 and 2021 and allow for planning in this time of uncertainty. View the call to action and sign-on here.

5. COVID-19 Washington State Legislators Introduce “Farmers Feeding Families Act” to Support Local Farmers Washington State Congresswomen Kim Schrier, M.D. and Cathy McMorris Rodgers introduced the Farmers Feeding Families Coronavirus Response Act which would provide funding for state agencies and partnering food-banks to replenish their food stocks to meet increased demand spiked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

6. COVID-19 National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Child Nutrition & School Meals
Congress has provided $8.8 billion in additional funding for child nutrition programs and temporarily removed some existing program requirements in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act); the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided administrative flexibilities. 
Click here to learn more about federal options to provide meals during COVID-19.

7. COVID-19 CACFP Relief Bill Introduced in Congress to Provide Emergency Funding
Maryland Representative David Trone has introduced a bill to Congress that would provide emergency funding to CACFP operators. If passed, child care providers, centers, and sponsors would receive emergency funding equal to 55% of reimbursements from the same month of the previous year minus any current reimbursements. Read more and see the bill text here.  


Farm to School in the News
COVID-19 STEM Academy in Ohio Sponsors Virtual Farm Tour
Global Impact STEM Academy (GISA) in Springfield, Ohio gave its students a chance to venture onto a sheep farm through their computers from home Wednesday. The STEM Academy has participated in several virtual farm tours over the years, but this was their first time sponsoring one, according to school officials. (Springfield News-Sun)

COVID-19 Kids, Adults Learn to Grow Vegetables at Home With Free Online OSU Courses
How’s this for convenient learning: Oregon State University Extension Service has free, online gardening courses that adults and interested older kids can access anytime. The introductory course to the Oregon Master Gardener program, which trains volunteers to teach others about the science and art of gardening, is always free and a vegetable growing course has been extremely popular since its $45 fee was waived until May 27. (The Oregonian)

COVID-19 Schools Struggle to Afford Meals for Low-Income Kids
Many public schools that are closed by the coronavirus pandemic are still providing lunches to low-income students who would otherwise go hungry. Some are serving entire families and other community members, acting more like soup kitchens than school cafeterias. But what happens when the school year ends? (AXIOS)

COVID-19 NFSN Share Your Story: Farm to School and ECE During COVID-19
Communities across the country are demonstrating innovation and resilience as they continue to connect children and families to local foods and education opportunities and support local producers. National Farm to School Network wants to hear from you about what food systems resilience looks like in your community.  If you have a farm to school, farm to ECE or community food systems story to share, please share it with us using this brief form.

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.

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