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National Farm to School Network


This week in farm to school: 11/17/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 17, 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. 

Grants & Funding
1. 2016 USDA Farm to School Grant Awards Announced
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced $4.8 million in grants for 74 projects spanning 39 states that support USDA’s efforts to connect child nutrition programs with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School Program. For the 2016 school year, grants will serve more than 5,211 schools and 2.9 million students, nearly 40 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Awards ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 are distributed in four different grant categories: Planning, Implementation, Support Service, and Training. For a complete list of 2016 Farm to School Grant recipients, see the 2016 Farm to School Grants summary page. Read the USDA press release here

2. OFRF Invites Proposals for Organic Farming and Food System Research
The Organic Farming Research Foundation is dedicated to fostering the widespread adoption and improvement of organic farming systems in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To that end, OFRF provides funding for research on organic farming and food systems and the dissemination of those research results to organic farmers and the greater agricultural and research communities. One-year grants of up to $15,000 are available for research projects related to agricultural production and/or a social, economic, or policy-related topic of concern to organic farmers and/or ranchers. Learn more here

3. NEA Foundation Invites Applications for Learning and Leadership Grants
The NEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the National Education Association, is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, and others. The foundation supports student success by helping public school educators work with key partners to build strong systems of shared responsibility.As part of its effort to achieve this goal, the foundation is inviting applications for its Learning and Leadership Grants program. Grant amounts are $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups engaged in collegial study. Learn more here

4. Citi Foundation Announces $20 Million Community Progress Makers Fund
The Community Progress Makers Fund is a $20 million, two-year initiative by the Citi Foundation to support high potential community organizations that are transforming low-income communities by bringing together residents, nonprofits, businesses, and municipal agencies to accelerate urban progress and drive economic opportunity. The Fund will provide up to $500,000 in core operating support over two years to cutting-edge organizations in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. Learn more here

Webinars & Events
1. Proposals now accepted for National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Organizers of the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference are seeking proposals for workshops, posters and lightning talks to feature during the two-day gathering in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the premier gathering of individuals and organizations working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Cafeterias in schools and early care, colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons and other institutional settings serve tens of millions of Americans every day, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems. The 2016 conference theme Moving Forward Together lifts up new and innovative partnerships to continue building momentum and ensure long-term sustainability in the movement. The application period is open now through Dec. 4, 2015. Learn more at

2. National CACFP Conference, Orlando, Florida, April 21-23, 2016 
Are you on staff at a Family Child Care or Center Sponsor Agency, Head Start, Independent Center, Tribal Agency, At-Risk / Afterschool, State Agency, Summer Food Service, Food Bank, or Emergency Shelter? Join over 1,000 members of the child nutrition community in Orlando, Florida next April for an incredible few days of training, networking, and learning opportunities. The conference is presented by the National CACFP Sponsors Association in cooperation with the USDA & the National Professionals Association. Early registration closes Feb. 15, 2016. Learn more here

Research & Resources
1. USDA Funding and Resources Demonstrate Commitment to New Farmers and Ranchers
USDA has announced that it will prioritize $5.6 billion over the next two years for programs and services that serve new and beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA has also unveiled a web tool at to connect new farmers with programs and resources available. The site features advice and guidance on writing a business plan, obtaining a loan, and filing taxes. Farmers can use the Discovery Tool for personalized recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs.

2. National Food Policy Scorecard, Food Policy Action 
Food Policy Action released its National Food Policy Scorecard today, a go-to source for information about the most important food legislation considered by the House and Senate and how all members of Congress voted on those issues. The scorecard reflects the consensus of top food policy experts who select the key food policy votes each year, including issues of domestic and international hunger, food safety, food access, farm subsidies, animal welfare, food and farm labor, nutrition, food additives, food transparency, local and regional food production, organic farming and the effects of food production on the environment. The National Food Policy Scorecard lets you identify which legislators are working for sensible food policies. View the scorecard here

3. Farm to School Program Models survey
Two Vermont Farm to School non-profit organizations are doing research on other organizations that earn revenue from providing a variety of services to schools. As they refine their business models to reach more schools in a more sustainable manner, they are looking to learn from similar organizations throughout the US who are paid by schools to deliver educational programming, professional development, school garden curricula, etc. Please share this survey, and specifically to any organizations you know of who fit the criteria. The survey will close in mid-November. 

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Education Program Manager, Hudson Valley Farm Hub
The Hudson Valley Farm Hub (Farm Hub), a 1,255-acre working farm in Hurley, NY that provides training for new and existing farmers, supports research and demonstration of new practices, and serves as a resource to advance local food and farming. The Farm Hub is seeking an Education Program Manager. S/He will be responsible for developing and managing educational programming as well as assisting with some teaching and serving as a representative of the Farm Hub. Learn more and apply  here

2. Creating Healthy Communities Outreach Coordinator, Cornell University Cooperative Extension
Under guidance from Nutrition and Consumer Science Team Coordinator, work with internal and external collaborators to facilitate community based environmental changes that support healthy behaviors. Build support for obesity and diabetes prevention with decision-makers, elected officials, other stakeholders and community members to influence policy changes. Learn more and apply here

3. Farm Manager, Mills College
This position is responsible for directing and overseeing the planning, implementation and operation of the Mills College Urban Farm. The Farm Manager directs and coordinates all activities related to the farm including assisting faculty with curriculum development and coordinating community outreach events. Learn more and apply here

Farm to school in the news
Ugly tomatoes produce marinara students will enjoy
Instead of wasting in the fields, local blemished, bruised and misshapen tomatoes will make 18,000 gallons of marinara sauce for the university dining services at Harvard and Tufts. Read how NFSN Massachusetts State Co-Lead Simca Horwitz helped connect the farmers, processors and dining service directors. (via Boston Globe)

Producers give school lunch menu a beef boost
At one rural Nebraska school, the hamburgers children eat at lunch taste a little fresher than the fare eaten by their peers across the state. The beef on trays at Thayer Central Community Schools in Hebron is raised exclusively in Nebraska and donated by local ranchers. (via Midwest Producer)

Farm to School program grows
Beloit’s Farm to School program is helping to bring in locally-produced fresh fruits and vegetables to its classes and lunchrooms. Using grant funds, the district was able to hire a nutrition educator and is forming a task force to promote fresh food and nutrition. (via Beloit Daily News

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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