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This week in farm to school: 5/26/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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. 



Funding & Grants
1. Grow your farm to school program with a Seed Change mini grant! (KY, LA, PA ONLY)
The National Farm to School Network is now accepting applications from eligible schools or school districts in Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania for $5,000 mini grants to help jump start new farm to school activities or ramp up existing programs. Grants can be used for local food for tastings, new processing equipment, hosting events, building school gardens and more. All non-profit schools and school districts in Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania are eligible to apply. Deadline for applications is Monday, June 15 at midnight ET. For more information and to apply now visit: www.farmtoschool.org/seedchange
2. USDA to Give Priority Funding for Regional Economic Development Projects
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA's plan to implement a Farm Bill provision that will have a major policy impact on the way the Department helps rural communities plan and finance regional economic development strategies. The new Regional Development Priority (RDP) policy will make it easier for rural communities to access resources to invest in long-term community development efforts by giving priority to applications for Rural Development programs that include regional partnerships and strategies. Under the RDP, communities with multi-jurisdictional economic development plans will be able to request funding priority when they apply for loans and grants in four key USDA programs. More information can be found in the full USDA press release, here

Research & Resources
1. The Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics Releases 'Cooperatives in Your Community' Teaching Modules
The Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics is pleased to release "Cooperatives in Your Community", a set of teaching modules for high school students about the economics of cooperatives. The teaching modules cover two themes in cooperatives education-consumer cooperatives and agricultural cooperatives. Both teaching modules are designed to take no more than 180 minutes of class time. Each can be adapted according to the use and needs of the instructor. The teaching modules are hosted on the Council for Economic Education's EconEdLink website. 
2. Submit your school obesity prevention programs to School Health Hub
Organizations with school obesity prevention programs are asked to map their location and promote themselves as a resource to schools on the newly launched School Health Hub. School Health Hub collects data on the many effective programs and resources available to fight childhood obesity in our nation’s K-12 schools. School administrators, policymakers, funders, educators and parents can access the interactive map to identify evidence-based programs in their communities, complete with contact information. Just as importantly, the map also serves to identify gaps in resources — helping to match funders and program providers with communities in need. There's no cost to participate - the goal is to get programs on the map so we all know where we are and to then promote the Hub to schools so they can take better advantage of these programs. Click here for more information. 

Policy & Action

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.

2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015
3. Community Eligibility Provision Action: Reach out to key districts
By now, most states have published a list of schools that qualify to adopt community eligibility for the 2015-2016 school year. You can find your state's list by clicking on the link in CBPP's map. Here are some additional steps you can take to make sure districts with high-poverty schools are considering community eligibility:
  • Start the conversation by sending a letter to eligible districts in your state. This template (MS Word document) is a great place to start and we can help you tailor it.
  • Broaden your reach by asking your Member of Congress to send letters to superintendents (MS Word document) in your state.
  • Make the case for community eligibility by utilizing the resources in FRAC's implementation guide (pdf). Check out the modelpresentation (Powerpoint file), brief (pdf), and sample blog posts for inspiration.
Also, don't forget to register for FRAC's upcoming Community Eligibility Webinars with USDA: Successful Implementation Strategies, Jun 10, 2015, 1pm EST.

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Nutrition Research Coordinator, Boston Children’s Hospital 
The Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital is conducting a major clinical trial to investigate how diet composition affects metabolism and risk for obesity-related disease.The Center seeks a Nutrition Research Coordinator to provide advanced dietary and operations support for this controlled feeding study. The Nutrition Research Coordinator will support study participants, aiming to maximize participant engagement (one-on-one counseling, group presentations, telephone check-ins) and also support daily operations of the dietary intervention. More information & application instructions can be found here
2. Farm Fresh Specialist and Event Specialist, TX Dept of Agriculture
Farm Fresh Specialist: Plan, develop, implement and coordinate the Farm Fresh Initiative and related functions of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Food and Nutrition (F&N) Division. Farm Fresh includes Farm to School, Farm to Childcare and Farm to Summer Site activities. Provide highly complex consultative services and technical assistance to agency staff, producers, governmental agencies, community organizations and the general public. 

Event Specialist: Coordinate special events for the Food and Nutrition Division (F&N) of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). Responsible for contributing to the promotion of F&N programs through its public events and activities. 
3. Call For Papers: Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
Call for Papers on Labor in the Food System
From migrant laborers and apprentices in our fields, to cutters in meatpacking plants and line workers in restaurants and food service, the world's food system is balanced on the backs of an often exploited group of people. The food system may be the largest employer in the world, but there is a dearth of research on the subject of labor in the food system. Click here (then scroll down) for details. Submission deadline: Sept. 22, 2015, with papers to be published in the winter 2015–16 issue or spring 2016.
 
Call for Commentaries on Race and Ethnicity in Food Systems
Despite the best intentions of many, the food movement manifests levels of whiteness and privilege that tend to exclude significant parts of society, and thus does not address the needs of the excluded. JAFSCD invites commentaries (preferably 1,500–2,000 words) from activists, scholars, and other food systems development professional and practitioners on issues and strategies related to race and ethnicity in food systems. Click here for details. Submission deadline: June 15, 2015, for publication in the summer 2015 issue.

Farm to school in the news
Northwest Side students dig into dirt to fight obesity
Oriole Park Elementary School in Chicago is fighting child obesity by having its students plant a garden at the school. (via Chicago Tribune)
Teaching Kids How to Grow Their Own Food — With Fish
Since September students in Pennsylvania have been harvesting vegetables from their aquaponics system, which has provided a yearlong biology curriculum incorporating STEM education, as well as lessons in horticulture, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and more. (via State College.com)

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: 5/5/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 05, 2015

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. 



Funding & Grants
1. Grow your farm to school program with a Seed Change mini grant! (KY, LA, PA ONLY)
The National Farm to School Network is now accepting applications from eligible schools or school districts in Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania for $5,000 mini grants to help jump start new farm to school activities or ramp up existing programs. Grants can be used for local food for tastings, new processing equipment, hosting events, building school gardens and more. All non-profit schools and school districts in Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania are eligible to apply. An informational webinar on how to apply for the Seed Change mini grants will be held on Thursday, May 21 at 2pm EST. Deadline for applications is Monday, June 15 at midnight ET. For more information and to apply now visit: www.farmtoschool.org/seedchange 

Webinars & Events
Webinar: USDA Food and Nutrition Services, May 6, 3pm EST
Summer Meals: Make Your Program the Talk of the Town!
USDA Summer Meals Program experts, partners, and special speakers will provide resources, technical guidance examples, and best practices that can make your Summer Meals Program a total success! This webinar will cover: access strategies on how to promote and increase participation through fun activities; explore how to take advantage of resources such as your local newspaper and radio; engage your community using social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Register here

2. Webinar: New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, June 2, 1pm EST
Community Food Projects: Planning & Community Engagement Strategies
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project will be hosting a webinar for organizations interested in learning more about how to prepare for the Community Food Projects grant program. Long-range planning and community engagement are two fundamental aspects of a successful proposal, so it's important to start thinking about it now. Presenters Aley Kent from the International Rescue Committee and Tes Thraves from the Center for Environmental Farming Systems will each speak about examples from their work. Register here

3. Webinar: USDA Food and Nutrition Services
Community Eligibility Provision Webinar Series
Join USDA Food and Nutrition Services to hear the USDA, the advocacy community, and state level official share success stories and best practices for implementing CEP. All webinars are from 1-2pm EST. 
  • May 20: State and Local Education Funding
  • May 27: Administrative Review
  • June 10: Successful Implementation Strategies

4. USDA Farm to School South Regional Workshops, October - November 2015
Registration is now open for various USDA Farm to School Regional Workshops, to be held in October and November 2015 in Arkansas. Teachers, school administrators, school nutrition staff, farmers and community partners from the South Region, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Tennessee are invited to attend. More information and registration can be found here


Policy & Action

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.


2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

3. Extension of Comment Period: Child and Adult Care Food Program: Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
USDA Food and Nutrition Service invites interested persons to submit comments on a proposed rule change to the meal pattern requirements for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to better align the meal patterns with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). If you are interested in using NFSN’s submitted comments as a template, please contact our Policy team. All comments can be submitted online here. To be assured of consideration, comments must be postmarked on or before May 27, 2015.

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Culinary Farmer, SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina
This individual will be responsible for hands-on involvement of all aspects of gardening, farming, instruction and product demonstration for SAS and/or other SAS related business. Responsibilities include creating a clean, organized and efficient garden/farm. Applicants should have an associate’s degree in Horticulture or two years of related farming experience. Full job description and application can be found here

2. Call for breakout proposals, Southern Obesity Summit
The Southern Obesity Summit Planning Committee invites proposals for breakout sessions for the 9th Annual Southern Obesity Summit. The breakout sessions at the Summit will help attendees develop strategies and provide resources and tools to use in their work to reverse the obesity epidemic through working together with other southern states. These workshops should showcase effective strategies that are scalable, evidence-based or promising practices that have application across a broader population base. The Summit will be held November 15-17 in Jackson, Miss. For more information, click here

Farm to school in the news
The farm-to-school movement finds fertile ground in Colorado
Late last month, USDA Farm to School program grantees gathered in Denver to discuss strategies for improving and strengthening farm-to-school efforts. Here are some of their success stories. (via Westword)

Planting seeds: Young students in Brooklyn learn to grow and sell foods in school gardens 
Brooklyn’s farms may be long gone, but one school is giving students a chance to delve into the city’s agricultural roots. Kids at Public School 216 in Gravesend learn to grow, cook and even sell fruits, vegetables and herbs in a half-acre garden oasis in the school’s backyard. (via NY Daily News)

Seed to Table program lets Sisters students grow, eat local
Sisters Middle School in Oregon takes its sixth graders on a field trip to a local farm to teach nutrition science by growing and eating local. (via The Bulletin)

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: 4/28/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 28, 2015

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. 



Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Slow Food USA, May 7, 2pm EST
May School Garden Webinar: The Edible Schoolyard
The Edible Schoolyard Network is an online community for educators and advocates working to transform how children eat and learn. This session will highlight how to use the Edible Schoolyard Network as a tool to map your program, connect with peers around the world, and contribute to an edible education curriculum for grades preK through 12. Join from your computer, tablet or smartphone at 
Research & Resources

1. Study finds healthier school lunches offered

More elementary schools are offering healthier meals and less high-fat pizza, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has said in a three-page brief released this month. Read the “Improvements in School Lunches Results in Healthier Options for Millions of U.S. Children” brief here


2. Exploring Economic and Health Impacts of Local Food Procurement

Exploring Economic and Health Impacts of Local Food Procurement, a report by the Illinois Public Health Institute and Crossroads Resource Center, highlights practical, effective strategies for communities to add locally sourced food to their institutional food systems; recommends ways to conceptualize and measure economic and health impacts; suggests effective funding strategies; and includes Critical Analysis of Economic Impact Methodologies, which discusses the literature on the economic impact of local foods. Read the report here

Policy & Action

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.


2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Nutrition Policy Associate, Center for Science in the Public Interest
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is a nonprofit health advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on nutrition and food safety. The Nutrition Policy Associate advocates for improved nutrition and health policies with local, state and federal policy makers and engages health professionals, academics and concerned citizens in supporting nutrition policies. For more information or to apply, visit CSPI’s website
2. Farm Aid hiring Farm Advocate and Program Manager positions
Farm Aid is a national nonprofit working to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. They are hiring for two full-time positions in their office in Cambridge, Mass. The Farm Advocate will serve as Farm Aid’s primary direct service provider, working one-on-one with farmers across the country to address their unique resource needs through quality referrals and emotional support. The Program Manager works to strengthen family farm and rural service organizations nationally and the resources and opportunities available for family farmers through strategic management, implementation, promotion and evaluation of Farm Aid’s grant program and the Farm Aid Resource Network website. Applications are due by May 3. See links for full job details. 
3. Executive Director, Food and Child Nutrition Services, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Under the direction of the Chief Operating Officer, this position will oversee all aspects of the district’s Child Nutrition Program (CNP) operation. The job functions include administrating, planning, directing, assessing, implementing and evaluating the program in order to meet the nutritional needs of CMSD students, as they relate to the CNP. The Executive Director shall partner with others in the CMSD and community to support a sound nutrition food program and nutrition education program while following federal, state, and local guidelines. The CNP is to provide an environment that supports healthy food habits while maintaining program integrity and customer satisfaction. Position is open until filled. Cleveland is an active farm to school district and currently part of the School Food FOCUS Upper Midwest Learning Lab. Click here for more information.

Farm to school in the news
Search for antibiotic-free chicken a struggle for schools
Two businesses and two Oregon school districts are teaming up, all in the name of chicken. They want to serve healthier chicken that’s raised without antibiotics, bought at a fair cost, and locally grown in Oregon. KGW
Farmers are banding together to form food hubs and compete against the big players
A movement toward more fresh produce has spawned food hubs that buy from local growers and sell to schools, hospitals and restaurants. The result in Minnesota has been Sprout, which by last year was supplying five area school districts, three hospitals, an assisted-living facility and several restaurants with more than 100,000 pounds of produce from 47 growers. Star Tribune
Voice for Education, Prof. Olivia Thompson
An interview with College of Charleston professor Olivia Thompson, who heads up a farm to school initiative in South Carolina that creates school-based gardens that provide learning opportunities, along with fresh and nutritious food, for students. Voices for Education: South Carolina School Boards Associate

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: 4/21/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 21, 2015

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. 



Webinars & Events 
1. Every Kid Healthy Week, April 19-25
Join us in celebrating Every Kid Healthy™ Week from April 19-25! Launched by Action for Healthy Kids in 2013, Every Kid Healthy Week is an annual observance when schools, students, parents, and community members come together to recognize their school’s wellness achievements through fun and interactive health-promoting events. Over 1,000 schools are participating in 2015! For more information on how to get involved and additional resources to help you plan an event go to EveryKidHealthyWeek.org.
2. Webinar: USDA Food and Nutrition Service,  April 28, 12:30 p.m. EST
Bringing Summer Meals to Farmers Markets
USDA Food and Nutrition Service is hosting a webinar on April 28 from 12:30PM-1:30PM EST about bringing summer meal sites to farmers markets. Summer meal sites at farmers markets can help increase food traffic and offer farmers another way to enhance the visibility of fresh foods or donate their products. This webinar will inform farmers market managers, sponsors, and the public about how to start and maintain summer meal sites at farmers markets and will share best practices from farmers markets that currently administer the program. Register here.
3. April is National Garden Month
Secretary Vilsack has declared April 2015 as National Garden Month.  The official proclamation celebrates the great American tradition of gardening at home, at school and in the community. Whether you are in Washington and can visit the majestic 446-acre National Arboretum, or can take a quick stop in a community, home or school garden near you, celebrate that winter is behind us. It’s time to tend the garden! 

Policy & Action

1. New County and Congressional District Data on Food Insecurity

Feeding America released its annual Map the Meal Gap report with state, county, and congressional district data on overall and child food insecurity rates. The report also includes data on food cost variation by county and congressional district and the percent of food insecure populations likely eligible for federal nutrition programs. There are also several resources available online: executive summary; interactive map with printable fact sheets by state, county or congressional district; and, printable data charts with overall child food insecurity rates by county and congressional district.

2. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.

3. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015.

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Senior Associate, Development, The Food Trust
The Food Trust is a nationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. The Senior Associate for Development will have diverse nonprofit fundraising experience, including a strong track record in developing grant proposals, building corporate partnerships, managing annual giving campaigns and overseeing fundraising events. The ideal candidate will have excellent interpersonal skills, and a passion for developing and executing creative fundraising strategies. This senior staff position will report to the Development Director, and will work closely with the Development Associate, program staff, and external partners. Find the full job description and application instructions here.
2. Kid Chefs: Join the Fourth Annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge!
Calling all budding chefs! Do you like to cook and make healthy food for your friends and family? If so, you might be able to show off your skills and creativity to the First Lady of the United States and your peers from across the country. Learn more about how you can represent your state at the Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House this summer.Visit pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge to learn more about the Heathy Lunchtime Challenge and submit your recipe by April 30.
3. Farm Aid hiring Farm Advocate and Program Manager positions
Farm Aid is a national nonprofit organization working to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. They are hiring for two full-time positions in their office in Cambridge, Mass. The Farm Advocate will serve as Farm Aid’s primary direct service provider, working one-on-one with farmers across the country to address their unique resource needs through quality referrals and emotional support. The Program Manager works to strengthen family farm and rural service organizations nationally and the resources and opportunities available for family farmers through strategic management, implementation, promotion and evaluation of Farm Aid’s grant program and the Farm Aid Resource Network website. Applications are due by May 3. See links for full job details. 

Farm to school in the news

WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices Series

WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices series continues with “Social Justice for Lunch: Delta Fresh Foods Initiative at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference.” This piece explores the work of the Delta Fresh Foods Initiative (DFFI) to transform the food system in the Mississippi Delta region into one that is more equitable and just for all.
Plymouth lunches feature student-raised pork
The Plymouth School District took the concept of local food one step closer to home this school year by featuring meat in several recent school lunches from two pigs raised by students. (via Sheboygan Press)

Seeds of Change: The Value of School Gardens in Education and Community Health
Gardening at school and at home can provide young people with learning opportunities, lasting skills, and positive, memorable experiences. But perhaps most importantly, it can help foster healthy lifestyles and encourage healthy eating with more nutritious foods. (via KCET)

Youth in Jacksonville's 'food deserts' learning about nutrition, helping teach parents
This farm-to-school program is geared toward school-age students and parents who live in so-called food desert communities, with little or no access to affordable, fresh food and produce. It works to introduce them to basic elements of health and nutrition, gardening and farming, and food preparation. (via The Florida Times-Union)
 

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: 4/7/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, April 07, 2015

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. 



Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Colorado Farm to School Task Force, Wednesdays, April 8 - May 6, 5 p.m. EST

Evaluation Made Easy: How to Evaluate your Farm to School Activities

The fourth (and last) five-week training series on the Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit from Colorado Farm to School Task Force and Spark Policy Institute starts tomorrow. The series is free and made possible by a USDA Farm to School Grant. Participation in the live webinars includes the following benefits: eligible for five contact hours of continuing education credits, participation in the F2S Evaluation Toolkit Forum for peer-to-peer learning, and up to four hours of free technical assistance to plan/implement your F2S evaluation. Register here.


2. The Chef Ann Foundation Webinar, April 14, 1 p.m. EST
Your Guide to the Lunch Box 
This webinar will feature a guided tour of the newly expanded school food resource website “The Lunch Box” and a Q&A with national school food expert Chef Beth Collins. The Lunch Box is dedicated to supporting school food service teams with technical assistants for shifting their food programs from a reliance on processed foods to developing whole food-based, scratch-cooked meals. Sign up here

Policy & Action

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.

2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015.

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Kid Chefs: Join the Fourth Annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge!
First Lady Michelle Obama is teaming up with PBS flagship station WGBH Boston, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host the fourth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge to promote cooking and healthy eating among young people across the nation. The challenge invites kids ages 8-12 to join a parent or guardian in creating an original recipe that is healthy, affordable, and delicious. One winner from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia will be selected and have the opportunity to attend a Kids’ “State Dinner” here at the White House this summer where a selection of the winning recipes will be served. Visit pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge to learn more about the Heathy Lunchtime Challenge and submit your recipe by April 30.

2. Garden Manager, Slide Ranch, Muir Beach, CA
Reporting to the Director of Operations, the Garden Manager is an integral member of the Ranch Operations Team.  Specific responsibilities include all aspects of maintaining a certified organic garden, native plant restoration, teaching and training Slide Ranch Teachers-in-Residence (TIRs), work with program staff to utilize the garden as a teaching environment for youth education, train and manage garden volunteers, and provide sufficient produce for daily program lessons as well as for resident staff consumption. This position requires living on-site in housing provided by Slide Ranch. For more information, visit the Slide Ranch website

3. Director of Development, Slide Ranch, Muir Beach, CA
Slide Ranch seeks a Director of Development who will manage all aspects of Slide’s Development Office: Annual Fund, Major Gifts, Special Events, Grants, Capital Campaign  and Communications. The Director of Development reports to and works closely with the Executive Director to create and implement development strategies and practices that will help Slide Ranch sustain and grow its operations and fulfill its mission. For more information, visit the Slide Ranch website

4. Request for Applications, Southern Regional Learning Lab Evaluator 
The Food Options for Children in the United States (FOCUS) Southern Regional Learning Lab (SRLL) engages seven school districts to leverage their combined buying power and redirect purchasing practices to access more wholesome food. The SRLL has just entered Phase One of a three-year implementation and is beginning work in two food categories: chicken and produce. FOCUS seeks an evaluation contractor (individual or team) that will work closely with program participants and staff to refine and implement an evaluation protocol designed during the SRLL Assessment Phase. The contractor will conduct evaluation activities for Implementation Phase One (April 2015 - June 2016) and ideally will continue over the duration of the project. Click here to download the SRLL Evaluation Contractor Request for Applications. Applications are due Sunday, April 19.  

5. Food Services Director, Austin Independent School District
This position is the chief administrator for supporting the facilitation and implementation of program areas within Food Services. Incumbent provides instruction and technical supervision to staff on non-routine and policy matters, especially in areas requiring oversight to ensure compliance. More information can be found on the AISD careers website

Farm to school in the news
Why 2015 is a big year for child nutrition
The new Farm to School Act and the proposed renewal of federal child nutrition programs should make this an important time for kids and healthy eating. (via Mother Nature Network)

How One Visionary Changed School Food in Detroit 
With a focus on healthier foods and local farms, National Farm to School Network Advisor Betti Wiggins has led Detroit Public School’s +55K students through a food revolution. (via Civil Eats

Helping Food Hubs Connect Local Farmers To VT Schools
A new online tool made possible with a U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School grant connects new Vermont farmers and food producers with their local communities using food hubs. (via My Champlain Valley)

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: 3/31/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants

1. Keep Spreading the Word about Community Eligibility

To provide ample time to school districts to consider implementing community eligibility, this month is a great time provide them with a variety of opportunities to learn more about the option and the success other school districts are having. Food Research and Action Center has updated some of its resources to help you spread the word to districts: FRAC’s Community Eligibility One-Pager (pdf) and Sample CEP Presentation Slides (PowerPoint file). 


2. Seeds of Change® Grant Program

To support the mission of the 1% Fund, Seeds of Change® is hosting the 4th annual Seeds of Change® Grant Program, which encourages communities nationwide to apply for funding to support community or school garden and farming programs. The application asks how the program helps build a healthier, more sustainable community and how it teaches people where their food comes from. The submission period for the grant program has been extended until April 6. A total of $200,000 in grant money is available. From April 9 through April 27, 2015, applications will be available for public voting at www.seedsofchangegrant.com.


Webinars & Events
1. Grow. Share. Prepare. Food Systems Program Training, Austin, June 8-10
Sustainable Food Center will offer its fourth annual Grow. Share. Prepare. Food Systems Program Training at its facility in Austin, Texas June 8-10, 2015. The intensive three-day workshop will be lead by SFC staff and partners and is designed for community-based organizations, local government entities, and other groups interested in sustainable and local food systems programming. A limited number of scholarships will be available, based on interest and need. Registration deadline is April 24, 2015, but early registration is strongly encouraged due to limited space.

Policy & Action

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.

2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015.

Jobs & Opportunities
1. USDA Seeks Reviewers for Grant Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service announced it is seeking reviewers to evaluate grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program. Applications are due April 27. Additional details can be found here.

2. USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for BFRDP Proposals
The USDA received a record number of BFRDP applications for 2015, and are looking for additional peer reviewers to serve on the panel this year. Panels are comprised of farmers and ranchers, practitioners, CBO/NGO representatives, academic personnel, agency staff, as well as others. To nominate yourself, send an email to bfrdp@nifa.usda.gov with “reviewer” in the subject line.  Include your contact information (organization, address, email, phone); a brief description of your areas of expertise or experience related to beginning farmers and ranchers; and whether or not you plan to be a participant on a proposal this round. Deadline for nominations is Friday, April 3, 2015. For additional information, email BFRDP National Program Leader, Jill Auburn, at jauburn@nifa.usda.gov

Farm to school in the news
Empowerment from the Earth: Reclaiming Cherokee health and heritage
Several community and youth efforts are using gardens to reconnect the Cherokee people to local food, health and a collective heritage defined by knowledge of the earth. (via Mountain Xpress)

Locally grown veggies now part of school lunches
More than 1,000 heads of locally grown lettuce now are being transported to 16 Gainesville schools each month. It's part of the Farm to School Work Hub. (via Gainesville Sun)

School garden helps emphasize healthy eating to Cannon students
Cannon Elementary school in South Carolina has received grants that will allow students to design gardens, learn how to plant and nurture foods and incorporate those foods into school lunch programs. (via GoUpstate)

Read past editions of This Week here on our blog 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: 3/24/15

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants
1. USDA Announces $96 Million Available to Expand Access to Healthy Food, Support Rural Economies

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of $96.8 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to support specialty crop producers, local food entrepreneurs, and farm to school efforts. The grant programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service include the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, which covers two types of grants: the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program. Also included in the announcement is the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service Farm to School Grant Program, designed to bring local foods into the school cafeteria.

With $5 million in funding available, the four different types of USDA Farm to School grants are:
  • Planning grants - to help schools get started
  • Implementation grants - to enable schools to expand existing programs
  • Support service grants - allows community partners such as nonprofit entities, Indian tribal nations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers to provide broad reaching support to schools in their efforts to bring local products into the cafeteria 
  • Training grants - to disseminate best practices and spread strategies known to succeed 
Proposals for planning, implementation, and support service grants are due by May 20, 2015. Letters of intent for training grants are due by April 30, 2015. More information about the Farm to School Grant Program, upcoming webinars relevant to applicants, and sample grant applications can be found at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school-grant-program.

2. Special Grant Call from Southern SARE Focuses on Local and Regional Food Systems
A special grant call to fund research on local and regional food systems across the Southern region is now available from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) program and the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC).The special grant, part of SSARE’s Sustainable Community Innovations Grant (SCIG) program, is open to any individuals, nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, governmental organizations and/or educational organizations located in the Southern region.

This grant is not to fund the development of individual local and regional food systems, but to fund research defining, evaluating and understanding the impacts of local and regional food systems on sustainable agriculture. Grant proposal deadline is May 4, 2015. The project is funded for one year at a maximum of $35,000. Download the Call for Proposal to follow the guidelines for writing and submitting the grant application.

Webinars & Events
1. Third Annual Native Food Sovereignty Summit, Oct. 26-29, Green Bay, Wisconsin
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin will co-host the Third Annual Food Sovereignty Summit in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Oct. 26-29, 2015, at the Radisson Green Bay Hotel and Conference Center. At the event, Native American communities come together to learn from one another to promote Native health, wellness and food sovereignty. This conference sold out well ahead of time the previous two years, so be sure to guarantee your attendance by registering now at www.firstnations.org/summit. Find more information here

Policy & Action

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 

The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire was distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16. School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.


2. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

Jobs & Opportunities
1. FoodCorps Service Member Application Deadline Approaching
FoodCorps service member applications are due March 31st. Applicants are encouraged to finish their applications, and to reach out to FoodCorps with any final questions by emailing serve@foodcorps.org. Organizations can help spread the word about the deadline by tweeting, sharing on Facebook, or doing personal outreach to people you think would make great candidates.

Farm to school in the news
Farm to School’s taste-test program steers kids from french fries to kale
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Growing Minds Farm to School program offers farm fresh taste-tests at schools and helps students develop healthy eating habits. (via Mountain Xpress

Farm to School on the Rise in Arkansas
Organized farm to school activity is relatively new in Arkansas and the surrounding area. Stakeholders gathered at the Farm to School Forum in Arkansas to discuss efforts for healthier school meals and food education. (via KUAF Radio)

At Dubuque alternative school, sowing seeds of learning
By cultivating the school’s first on-site garden, the novice gardeners at an Iowa high school will learn about collaboration, problem-solving and the importance of community involvement. (via The Des Moines Register)

Read past editions of This Week here on our blog 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: 3/18/15

NFSN Staff Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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. 




Funding & Grants

1. FY16 USDA Farm to School Grant RFA 
USDA is currently accepting applications for the next round of USDA farm to school grants. The application deadline is May 20, 2015 for planning, implementation and support service grant applications. Training grant letters of inquiry are due April 30, 2015. For more information please see: http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school-grant-program. (There is a webinar on March 25th at 1 pm EST to learn more.)

2. Maya Wiley Fellowship Program, The Center for Social Inclusion
The Maya Wiley Fellowship program celebrates and supports grassroots leaders seeking to achieve racial equity through structurally transformative policy strategies and campaigns. The fellowship is open through a nomination process and provides a $25,000 stipend to support a leader’s existing work or create an opportunity to expand or scale up that work. Visit the Center for Social Inclusion’s website for further information. 

3. Breakfast and Every Kid Healthy Grants, Action for Healthy Kids
Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) is now accepting School Grants for Healthy Kids applications for the 2015-2016 school year. Breakfast and Every Kid Healthy Grants up to $2,500 are available. Eligible schools may apply to pilot or expand their School Breakfast Programs, pilot universal school breakfast, and/or funding physical activity and nutrition initiatives working towards healthy schools certification. To learn more, tune in for an informational webinar on March 18 (Breakfast Grants) or March 24 (Every Kid Healthy Grants). Apply by May 1, 2015 for a 2015-2016 School Grant for Healthy Kids.

4. USDA Announces Funding Available for Specialty Crop and Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Programs
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of more than $66.5 million in funding for research and extension activities to address the needs of America's specialty crop industry and solve critical organic agricultural production issues. The grants will be funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. Both programs are administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and made available through the 2014 Farm Bill. Read the full USDA press release here

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, April 14, 1 p.m. EST
Making change, part two: Q&A with the leaders behind state policy success
State-level farm to school policy work is driving a broader expansion of farm to school across the country. Thirty-nine states and D.C. now have farm to school policies on the books, and 2014 saw a 64 percent increase in successfully enacted legislation over 2013. This webinar will feature a Q&A with some of the leaders behind the most successful and comprehensive state policy campaigns. Learn what works, what doesn't and how you can make change in your state. Register here

2. The Chef Ann Foundation Webinar, April 14, 1 p.m. EST
Your Guide to the Lunch Box 
This webinar will feature a guided tour of the newly expanded school food resource website  “The Lunch Box” and a Q&A with national school food expert Chef Beth Collins. The Lunch Box is dedicated to supporting school food service teams with technical assistants for shifting their food programs from a reliance on processed foods to developing whole food based scratch cooked meals. Sign up here

3. USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach, Grant Programs Teleconferences
The Office of Advocacy and Outreach will be hosting public teleconferences on its grant programs listed below that are currently active withinwww.grants.gov. The call-in information for both sessions is (800) 369-1617 and the passcode is 5274714. 

March 18, 2015, at 2:00pm EST - Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). 

March 19, 2015, at 2:00pm EST - Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center


Policy & Actions

1. Second Bi-Annual Farm to School Census 
The USDA Farm to School Census is a crucial tool for gathering information about the state of the farm to school movement. The first census was conducted in 2013, and USDA is now seeking updated information through the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census. The Census questionnaire is being distributed to school districts through state agencies the week of March 16 (this week). School district submissions must be received by May 29, 2015. Questions about the Census? Please contact matthew.benson@fns.usda.gov.

2. State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2014
The recently released State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2014 offers a comprehensive review of state-level farm to school policies, analysis of national trends, and advocacy guidance for those working to advance the farm to school movement across the country. The survey is designed to offer farm to school advocates a roadmap, allowing them to learn from the success of other states and copy their efforts. Download the full document on the National Farm to School Network's website or check out this map to see how your state compares. The survey was prepared by researchers at Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.

3. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

4. New School Meal Regulations Increase Fruit Consumption and Do Not Increase Total Plate Waste
new study published in Childhood Obesity confirms that students are consuming healthier food at school as a result of updated meal standards. According to research results, “Students respond positively to the news lunches. They consumed more fruit, threw away less of the entrees and vegetables, and consumed the same about of milk. Overall, the revised meal standards and policies appear to have significantly lowered plate waste in school cafeterias.” Read more here.  

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Local Food Summer Internship Opportunities, Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Illinois Stewardship Alliance is now hiring for two part-time internship positions: Local Food and Policy Outreach Intern and Local Food and Sustainable Agriculture Outreach Intern. To be considered, please email isa@ilstewards.org with a cover letter and resume no later than April 17, 2015. More information about these opportunities can be found on the Illinois Stewardship Alliance website

2. Students Wanted for 2nd Annual Native Youth in Food & Ag Summer Leadership Summit
Applications are now open for the second annual Summer Leadership Summit for Native Youth in Food & Agriculture at the University of Arkansas School of Law! The program is looking for student applications from American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth between the ages of 13 and 18 who are passionate about food and agricultural production and have the courage to lead their Tribes and communities into the future. For more information and application details, please visit The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law website. 


Farm to school in the news
Why Some Schools Serve Local Food And Others Can't (Or Won't)
An examination of real and perceived challenges of sourcing local food in school by Tracie McMillan. (via NPR)

Students enjoy local farm bounty through partnership
The Vista Unified School District is now a direct beneficiary of its prime location by partnering with Solutions Farms to provide the highest grade organic salad greens and basil to its cafeterias, as well as farm-based educational opportunities for its students. (via Seaside Courier)

Reconnecting Children with Local Food and the Land
The trend of nature-based and farm-to-school programs has been taking off. The Cornucopia Project in Peterborough is a perfect example, integrating curriculum about the natural world, and helping schools create their own gardens. (via Sentinel Source)


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