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National Farm to School Network

News

This Week in Farm to School: 2/27/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, February 27, 2018
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. 

National Farm to School Network News

1. NFSN Names 2018 National Partner of the Year: National Education Association
As a national organization uniquely situated at the intersection of numerous sectors, networking and partnership building are at the core of the National Farm to School Network’s efforts. To support this work, we’re expanding engagement in farm to school through the annual designation of a “National Partner of the Year.” In 2018, we are excited to announce the National Education Association (NEA) as NFSN’s National Partner of the Year. Through intentional programmatic collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to better connect NFSN and NEA members towards fostering a nation of healthy, well-nourished kids engaged in our food system. Learn more here.

2. Farm to School Act Update
Introduced last fall, the Farm to School Act of 2017 is gaining momentum. While the marker bill has yet to be attached to a legislative vehicle (a bill that will pass), there are 13 House members and 12 Senators signed on as co-sponsors. Please reach out to your Representatives and Senators to ensure they know you want them to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation. Please also thank the current cosponsors! Moreover, lend your support by adding your name to our citizen and organizational sign-on letters. Your voice is crucial for helping us continue to advocate for this important legislation. With questions or for support in contacting your representatives, contact Policy Director Maximilian Merrill at maximilian@farmtoschool.org.

3. NFSN submits comments on USDA's Requests for Information: Food Crediting in Child Nutrition Programs

The purpose of this Request for Information was to help FNS gather feedback from a wide variety of stakeholders on how FNS' crediting system can best address today's evolving food and nutrition environment, as well as to offer first-rate customer service to those operating and benefitting from the Child Nutrition Programs. National Farm to School Network stressed that it hopes, "FNS will begin to shift away from including manufactured and processed food items in the crediting system, with an aim to provide nutritious and naturally nutrient-dense foods from local farms."


Grants & Funding 
1. Request for Applications: Agriculture in the Classroom Program 
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture in the Classroom Program (AITC) serves nearly 5 million students and 60,000 teachers annually through workshops, conferences, field trips, farm tours, and other educational activities. Programs emphasized by the NIFA AITC office include: Agriculture and Science literacy; Agricultural careers; Nutrition; and, Pre-service and professional develop opportunities for teachers. Applications may be submitted by State agricultural experiment stations, State cooperative extension services, all colleges and universities, other research or educational institutions or organizations, Federal and private agencies and organization and individuals. View the Request for Applications here. Applications are due Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

2. Action for Healthy Kids Grants

Action for Healthy Kids is now accepting applications for school grants for the 2018-2019 school year. Schools may apply for School Breakfast grants to pilot or expand their school breakfast programs or Game On grants to fund physical activity and nutrition initiatives. Parents and parent groups can apply for Parents for Healthy Kids grants to bring health programs to their children’s schools through parent engagement. Visit ActionforHealthyKids.org/Grants for more information. The application deadline is April 6. 

3. Wallace Center Mini-Grants and Scholarships

The Food Systems Leadership Network, an initiative of the Wallace Center at Winrock International, is currently accepting application for Organizational Capacity Building Mini-Grants (up to $1,000 per organization) and Professional Development Scholarships (up to $500 per individual). The deadline to apply is Thursday, March 1. Learn more here


Webinars

1. Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities
February 28 // 5pm ET
USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition invite you to attend “Farm to School 101 & Funding Opportunities.” This webinar will cover what USDA means by “farm to school”, the different ways to incorporate farm to school programs into your business plan, and how working with schools can impact and bring value to your operation.  Funding, including grant opportunities, will be covered. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Engaging Farmers in Farm to School

March 1 // 2pm ET
One of the primary objectives of farm to school is to strengthen the connection that communities have with local food producers. Farmers and producers can also garner economic and social benefit through these strengthened relationships. Join this webinar to hear from farm to school practitioners and farmers about innovative yet practical approaches to engaging farmers in a wide variety of farm to school activities and learn how this engagement contributes to kids, communities, and farmers winning through farm to school. Register here.  

3. The Business of Farm to School
March 15 // 5pm ET
This webinar will cover the procurement (purchasing) rules that schools follow, describe questions and talking points to discuss when selling to and building relationships with schools, identify which products schools are looking for, and highlight the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP’s) that provide these opportunities- hint- it’s not just school lunch! This webinar is coordinated by USDA Office of Community Food Systems and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and is geared towards farmers and producers selling to schools as a new market. Register here

4. NFSN WEBINAR Trending Topics Webinar: Family Engagement Through Farm to Early Care and Education

April 5 // 2pm ET
Parent and family engagement in the early years of life is vital to healthy development and healthy relationships. Farm to early care and education (ECE) offers a unique opportunity to engage families in activities in the ECE setting while offering nutrition, culinary and gardening education that can impact food practices and health behaviors in the home. Join the National Farm to School Network,  the Farm to Family Project, and Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness to hear about innovative programs that are leveraging farm to ECE as a key to family engagement and, in doing so, increasing healthy food access, healthy behaviors, and healthy relationships for children, families and communities. Register here.

5. Food Systems Leadership Network: Non-Profit Boot Camp eLearning Series
Ongoing
The Food Systems Leadership Network, an initiative of the Wallce Center, is offering a free Non-Profit Boot Camp eLearning Series focused on strengthening the fundamentals of food-focused, non-profit, community based organizations: strategy, fundraising, HR, and finances. Each three-week course consists of three, 30-minute webinars immediately followed by a group office hours session on Zoom. Course participants are then eligible for free one-on-one coaching and consulting from the trainer. Course 1: Demystifying Strategic Planning continues this Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 3pm EST for its third and final lesson. Click here to register for the webinar. By joining the Food Systems Leadership Network site you can access the recordings of sessions 1 and 2, and course-related resources. The second course in Non-Profit Boot Camp series, Course 2: Fundraising Fundamentals with Diana Abellera and Aimee Retzler, will start Wednesday, March 7 at 3pm EST with “Thinking Through Your Development Plan.” Click here to register for all three sessions of Fundraising Fundamentals.


Take Action
1. 2019 USDA Farm to School Census
The time is finally here to prepare for the next USDA Farm to School Census! The Census will be distributed in the winter of 2019, but school districts and partners should begin tracking activities that are happening right now. Need help tracking local food purchases and farm to school activities?  Check out these evaluation resources and connect with your USDA Regional Farm to School Lead. A copy of the Census questionnaire will be made available to the public as soon as it is finalized.


Events

1. Early Bird Deadline Approaching for 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Early Bird registration is now open for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. This biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the top national training and networking event for farm to cafeteria professionals working to improve community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Get the best rates on all ticket options by registering before March 9. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at www.farmtocafeteriaconference.org

2. 6th Annual Every Kid Healthy Week
April 23-27, 2018
Every Kid Healthy is not just a sentiment; it’s an annual week-long recognition of wellness achievements in school communities across the country, launched by our partners at Action for Healthy Kids in 2013. Join us in celebrating the sixth annual Every Kid Healthy™ Week from April 23–27 by helping schools host fun and interactive health-promoting events. For more information on how to get involved and additional resources to help you plan an event, go to EveryKidHealthyWeek.org. #EveryKidHealthy

3. Resignation Open for 41st Annual National Food Policy Conference
Coordinated by the Consumer Federation of America, the National Food Policy Conference is a unique collaboration among consumer advocates, the food industry and government, and a key national gathering for anyone interested in agriculture, food and nutrition policy. View an updated agenda with confirmed speakers and register here.


Job Opportunities

1. Education and Training Specialist, Institute for Child Nutrition (ICN)
The University of Mississippi's Institute of Child Nutrition is seeking to hire a full-time Education and Training Specialist. Learn more and apply here.

2. Farm to School Educator, Corvallis Environmental Center
The Farm to School Educator will work as an integral part of the Corvallis Environmental Center team, and will be responsible for daily implementation of the Corvallis Farm to School program educational activities. Learn more here

3. Paid Internships, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is seeking a Grassroots Intern and a Policy Intern to join their team this spring and summer. Both internships are paid, full-time, and located at NSAC’s office in Washington, DC. Learn more here


Farm to School in the News

Farmers growing stronger on St. Croix, Virgin Islands
With the help of staff, former students who came to the island to help and other volunteers, the Farm to School program is being resurrected. Last week, Bibb lettuce was sent to the St. Croix schools and 90 cases were shipped to St. Thomas. (St. Thomas Source

Jack Johnson drops by for school lunch in Hawai'i
Mililani High School hosted musicians Jack Johnson, Paula Fuga and Kawika Kahiapo for lunch last week as it continued to develop its from-scratch lunch menu utilizing locally produced food as part of the state’s ‘Aina Pono Farm to School Program. (Star Advertiser)

California students are learning the farm-to-table chain behind their meal

“What we’re trying to do is give them an experience of the awareness, the sustainability, the business, the pleasure, the value of food and all these different aspects,” said Glory Johnson, one of the board members managing the program. “The value of what we’re teaching them will be a healthier way of eating and appreciating the food we have.” (Orange Country Register)

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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