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National Farm to School Network


This Week in Farm to School: 3/13/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 13, 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. 

Grants & Funding

1. USDA NIFA Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program
This grant is focused on improving formal, postsecondary-level agricultural sciences education - USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is seeking applications for this grant. Eligible applicants include "... public or private nonprofit colleges and universities offering a professional degree in at least one discipline of FANH sciences, land-grant colleges and universities, and colleges and universities having significant minority enrollments and a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food and agricultural sciences ..." Learn more here and read the request for applications here

2. USDA Announces Support Available for Specialty Crops, the Local Food Sector, and Agricultural Marketing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced nearly $89 million in available funding to support specialty crop growers, strengthen local and regional food systems, and explore new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. USDA helps fund projects that bolster rural economies across the country. Learn more here

3. 2018 United Fresh Start Foundation Community Grants Program

The program supports organizations that provide children with access to fresh fruit and vegetables after school, on weekends, and during summer, extending the impact of our Foundation beyond the school day. We are offering Community Grants of up to $2,500 to eligible non-profit organizations. Applications must be submitted through the online portal. You can learn more about the grant and access the online portal here. Applications are due by Friday, March 30, 2018.

Webinars & Events
1. CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursday
March 15 // 2pm for English version and 3pm for Spanish version EST
Presented as part of USDA Team Nutrition’s FREE monthly CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays webinar series, this webinar will focus on the option to serve meat and meat alternates in place of grains at breakfast in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Preschool meal patterns. For more information, including recordings of past webinars and registration for future webinars, visit the CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays webpage.

2. 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

3. USDA Summer Meals Webinar Series
Summer meals are critical to the health and well-being of our children. Register for these 2018 Summer Meals Webinars to learn more about this important program:
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 1:00 pm EST - Tribal and Rural Summer Meals
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 1:00 pm EST - What Cities Can Teach Us About Summer Meals
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 @ 1:00 pm EST - Boosting Your Budget – Summer Meals Financial Planning
Tuesday, June 14, 2018 @ 1:00 pm EST- Middle of Summer Strategies 

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. 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Early Bird Deadline March 9

April 25-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH
Last chance to save on Early Bird registration 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. Save when you register before the Early Bird deadline on March 9 at 11:59pm ET. Regular registration closes April 9. Learn more at

Take Action
1. 2018 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
Join Food Solutions New England (FSNE)  April 2-22nd for the 2018 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. This resource is built on the understanding that we cannot talk about and work for sustainability, food security, and economic prosperity in our food system without facing the realities of discrimination and social inequity in our food system and beyond. 

2. Celebrate School Lunch Hero Day 
School Lunch Hero Day, May 4, is only two short months away! Have you started planning your celebration? This event is the perfect opportunity to showcase the many ways that school nutrition professionals, at every level, make a difference in the lives of their student customers. For ideas and resources, visit

Resources & Research
1. Farm to school resources now available in Spanish
Three key National Farm to School Network fact sheets are now available in Spanish and ready for download in our online resources library: 
Los Beneficios De De La Finca A La Escuela (Benefits of Farm to School) 
Comenzar Con De La Finca A La Escuela (Getting Started with Farm to School)
Comenzar Y Mantener Un Huerto Escolar (Starting a School Garden) 
These are in addition to an existing Spanish version of our "Getting Started with Farm to Preschool" (Introducción A De La Granja Al Pre-Escolar) fact sheet. They're also exciting additions to the Non-English Resource section of our library.

2. Contribute to Farm to School Research for a Thesis Project
Students from Blekinge Institute of Technology, studying a Master in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability, are currently working on the thesis project "Opportunities and Barriers of the Farm to School Concept in the Swedish School Lunch System". They are researching about how to improve food education in schools through a program that involves school gardens, classroom education and collaboration with local farmers, both for farm visits and procurement for school lunches. They are looking for 3 US farmers and 3 US teachers willing to take part in the 20-30 min interviews via Skype to share their opinion about the Farm to School Program. If you agree to speak to these students or if you would like to contribute to their research by any other means, please e-mail

Job Opportunities
1.Southern CA Nutrition Policy Advocate, California Food Policy Advocates
California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) is now accepting applications for a Southern CA Nutrition Policy Advocate position. Learn more and apply here

2. Garden Coordinator, CitySprouts
CitySprouts is seeking a full-time, year round Garden Coordinator to join their Boston-area staff. Learn more and apply here

3. Executive Director, Wholesome Wave
Wholesome Wave Georgia is seeking an Executive Director to lead the nonprofit organization in its mission to increase accessibility and affordability of fresh, healthy, locally grown food for all Georgians. Learn more and apply here.

4. Field Education Manager, Duke Campus Farm
The Duke Campus Farm is seeking a field education manager: a good land steward with solid growing experience who can be the backbone of their one-acre production operation and who is passionate about educating and empowering college students to make change in the food system. Learn more and apply here.

5. FoodCorps Service Members
FoodCorps service member applications are open for the 2018-2019 school year. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2018 at 6pm PST. Learn more here.

Farm to School in the News
In Louisiana, Gardens Grow a ‘Culture of Health'
The garden at Lessie Moore Elementary School recently yielded a supply of collard greens. At the invitation of P.E. teacher and garden sponsor Christy Parker, the Good Food Project came to the school to host a cooking demonstration. (The Town Talk)

New Hampshire Students Growing in More Ways Than One

By building gardening, food planning and food preparation into the curriculum, LEAF is ensuring those kids get a nutritious meal at school, while also setting them up to be healthier, more capable individuals in the long run. (Sentinel Source)

Arkansas’ Carolyn Lewis Elementary Greets Guests

Arkansas farmers, educators, school nutrition staff, parents, distributors and value-chain coordinators attended the day to learn more about how Farm to School works, how to work with students during hands-on learning, serve the local food in the school cafeteria and how to sell their products to the schools. (

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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