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Farm to school is taking place in all 50 states, D.C. and U.S. Territories! Select a location from the list below to learn more or contact a Core Partner. 

National Farm to School Network


This week in farm to school: 2/23/15

NFSN Staff Monday, February 23, 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 $9 Million to Support Community Food Projects Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of $9 million in funding to assist low-income individuals and communities in developing local and independent food systems. NIFA is funding the grants through the Community Food Projects program (CFP), authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).Grants are intended to help eligible, private, nonprofit entities in need of a one-time installment of federal assistance to establish and carry out multipurpose community food projects. Projects are funded from $10,000 to $300,000 and up to 36 months. All grants require a dollar-for-dollar match in resources. More information can be found here

2. USDA Announces More Than $160 Million Available in Funding for Food and Agriculture Research, Education, and Extension
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of more than $160 million in funding for research, education, and extension projects that address key challenges affecting U.S. agriculture production. NIFA will fund the awards through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).The purpose of AFRI is to support research, education, and extension work by awarding grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture. Application deadlines vary by program area. More information can be found on the USDA website.

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Webinar, March 10, 1 p.m. EST
Making change: How you can support farm to school policy this spring
Although the Child Nutrition Act (known as CNR) isn't set to expire until September 30, the action in D.C. is happening now, and we need your help. Join us to learn how farm to school legislation is progressing as part of CNR and what you can do to help make sure farm to school gets the support it needs from Congress! We will cover actions that anyone can take to join the effort and become an effective advocate for farm to school. The 20-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Register here

2. New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, February 26, 2 p.m. EST
Evaluation for Community Food Projects Applicants 
Applying to the USDA for a Community Food Projects grant can be a challenge, but the benefits to your program and the people you serve can also be extremely valuable. New Entry and its partners are available to help you evaluate your project and provide expert advice on how to submit a high quality proposal that reflects the impactful work you do in your community. Register for this upcoming webinar, or visit the New Entry website for more information. 

3. “The ABC's of Farm Based Education," March 28-29, Fort Collins, CO
Are you a farmer or rancher looking to improve current programming or starting to explore opportunities for farm-based education? Are you a teacher looking to include more nature-based activities in the classroom? This  workshop is for you! Spend two days in activity-based learning, discussion and exploration, presented by seasoned farm-based educators from Vermont and Colorado. You’ll experience easy and fun ways to develop agricultural education programs with engaging, kid-tested, educator-approved activities from Shelburne Farms’publications Project Seasons and Cultivating Joy and Wonder. You’ll also discuss ways to engage school groups,camp participants, and farm visitors. For more information, visit this website

4. 2015 Farm to Institution Summit, April 7-9, UMass Amherst
Are you working to increase the amount of local and regional food used by schools, colleges and health care facilities in the Northeast? You’re invited to the 2015 Farm to Institution Summit at UMass Amherst on April 7-9! This first- year conference will feature 50+ sessions, inspiring speakers, local tours, good food, live music, an exhibitor fair and more. Join hundreds of other farm to institution advocates for three exciting days of learning, sharing and connecting. Register by March 2nd to save $20 per day:

Jobs & Opportunities
1. Finance & Operations Director, National Farm to School Network  
The National Farm to School Network is now accepting applications for a full time finance and operations director. The position description may be found on our website or downloaded as a PDF here.  The finance and operations director will direct all organizational activities related to finance, budgeting, human resources and general operations. The finance and operations director will be part of the organizational leadership team, serving as a strategic thought partner and reporting directly to the executive director (ED).  Projected start date: April 1, 2015. Please share this listing with anyone you think is interested and qualified. The deadline to apply is February 25, 2015.

2. Solicitation Of Nominations To The Advisory Committee On Agriculture Statistics 
On September 2, 2014, the Secretary of Agriculture renewed the AdvisoryCommittee charter for a two-year term to expire on September 2, 2016. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the scope, timing, content, etc., of the periodic censuses and surveys of agriculture, other related surveys, and the types of information to obtain from respondents concerning agriculture. The Committee also prepares recommendations regarding the content of agriculture reports and presents the views and needs for data of major suppliers and users of agriculture statistics. The nomination period for interested candidates will close February 27, 2015. More information can be found here

3. Elementary Garden Educator, The Delta School 
The Delta School is a newly founded progressive prek-12 independent school in The Mississippi Delta, just 40 minutes from Memphis. The School will be opening for its first class of students in August 2015.The Garden Educator is a full-time position that offers critical support to teachers and students to ensure that a school can maximize the educational potential of the school garden. This position will work in collaboration with the staff at the Town of Wilson Garden to ensure maximum resource sharing for both organizations. Please email Jenifer Fox at for full position descriptions.
4. A New Network for Women in Agriculture, USDA
On February 19, USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden launched the Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network. This newly established network will support and engage women across all areas of agriculture and encourage professional networking between people with shared backgrounds, interests, and professional goals. You are invited to help grow this network so that the USDA can continue to support all women in agriculture as they look towards the future.  A new e-mail address has been created for those looking to get involved in the Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network:  Send in your email for more forthcoming information. 

Farm to school in the news
Farm to School efforts proving markets for farmers
Thanks to the efforts of the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Initiative and the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition, schools in northeast Iowa are embracing the farm-to-school connection. The coalition has now been working to provide local foods to school districts for six years. (via Iowa Food and Fitness)

Farm to School Bills Aim to Teach Students to Produce Own Food
In Hawaii, Senate Bill 376 would establish a Farm to School Program, which aims to educate students on how to produce food, as well as establish a network of local farmers to produce healthy public school meals. (via Honolulu Civil Beat)

Colorado may pay to get more local food in schools
A Colorado bill to spend about $5 million to put more local produce in school cafeterias passed its first test Wednesday at the Legislature.The bill sets up a grant program to make Colorado the 17th state to chip in grant money in addition to federal programs to help get more locally grown foods on cafeteria plates. (via Coloradoan)

Students grow their own hydroponic lettuce
Alachua County Public Schools (FL) are trying to move towards more local and sustainable food sources being served in their cafeteria. They are doing so by giving high school students hands on experience in a program called Farm to School Hub. (via WCJB-TV)

'Hands-in-the-Dirt' Learning
Garden-based learning in the hands of a skilled teacher adds up to a big impact on student learning. Yet truly integrated garden-based learning depends on not just a handful of teachers in some schools, but whole-school communities invested in making this a daily experience for students and easily accessible to teachers. (via Education Week)


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