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National Farm to School Network


This Week in Farm to School: 5/16/17

NFSN Staff Tuesday, May 16, 2017
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. 

News From NFSN
1. School Nutrition Association Selected As 2017 NFSN National Partner of the Year
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. As such, we’ve launched a new initiative to expand engagement in farm to school through the annual designation of a “National Partner of the Year.”  In this inaugural year, we are excited to announce the School Nutrition Association (SNA) as our 2017 National Partner of the Year. Through intentional programmatic collaboration, resource sharing and cross-promotion, we aim to better connect our members and school nutrition professional towards fostering a nation of healthy, well-nourished kids engaged in our food systems. Learn more on our blog.

2. USDA Demotes Rural Development 
Last week, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a new restructuring plan for the USDA which downgrades the Office of Rural Development and eliminates its Under Secretary position, effectively demoting Rural Development from a core USDA Mission Area. Many of the programs within the Office of Rural Development have been integral to incubating and supporting rural business (many of which are farms) and have been key to building infrastructure that supports farm to school efforts in rural communities. Under the restructuring, these programs may now be on the chopping block. The Office of Rural development has been a champion for rural economies, and NSFN will continue to advocate that this restructuring plan does not impede the progress family farmers have gained in the last decade to supply nutritious food to schools. Learn more about the restructuring and its potential impacts in this blog post from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

1. Webinar: Garden to Cafeteria Toolkit Launch
May 18, 4pm EST
Slow Food USA has assembled a Garden to Cafeteria (GTC) toolkit to assist a school district in developing the necessary food safety protocols, training workshops, and partnerships to launch their own GTC program. Register here

2. Webinar: Economies of Local Food
May 25, 1pm EST
In recent years, a considerable effort has been made at improving data collection for local food systems, engaging and developing resources for practitioners to evaluate local food system activity, and to standardize the metrics used in reporting the impacts of local food grant and loan programs. The presenters will provide an overview of some of these initiatives. Register here.

3. Webinar: Tackling resilience through food policy councils
May 25, 1pm EST
The increasing prevalence and severity of environmental, political, and humanitarian emergencies are prompting governments and communities to think more about where their food will come from in such situations, and how their local food systems may contribute to (or lessen the impact of) them. Food policy councils can play an important role in assisting with these efforts. Register here.

Research & Resources
1. Study: How the quality of school lunch affects students' academic performance 
A new study from Brookings Institute looks at how school nutrition impacts educational achievement. Most researchers study this based on the quantity (calories) of food students receive but this one focuses on the quality of food. They found that in years when a school contracts with a healthy lunch company, students at the school score better on end-of-year academic tests (4% higher for all students and 40% for free and reduced lunch students).

2. Are your kids passionate about food? Here's how they can make a difference.
"Regardless of which side of the aisle you're on, kids' finding their voices about issues that matter to them is a splendid thing." For facts aimed at peaking students' interest in the food system along with 12 ideas for how kids can take action to make a difference through food activism, check out this Associated Press article

Action Opportunities
1. Help NFSN Compile State Policy Campaign Resources 
As the National Farm to School Network works to create a 2015-2017 addendum to our 2002-2014 state policy resource, we are collecting examples of state policy campaign resources, such as one-pagers, fact sheets, social media samples, graphics and other ways farm to school advocates have shared messaging in support of their efforts. Please send any such examples to Julia McCarthy,

2. Make Sure Your Farm or Ranch Counts - Census of Agriculture
Farmers and ranchers: make sure you are counted! If you are "any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017)," please sign up to take the 2017 Census of Agriculture

Job Opportunities 
1. Operations Manager and Membership Engagement & Training Lead, HEAL Food Alliance 
The HEAL Food Alliance is seeking to hire an Operations Manager and a Membership Engagement & Training Lead. HEAL works to uplift the power of communities mobilizing for a healthy, green, fair, and affordable food system. Learn more here.

2. School Garden Coordinator, Belle Chasse Academy 
Belle Chasse Academy (BCA) is a K-8 charter school located on the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, La. (New Orleans metro area). They are looking to hire a full time (with benefits) School Garden Coordinator. Learn more here

3. Communications Coordinator, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) 
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) is a nonprofit that provides education, resources, and practical advice to help farmers grow organically. MOSES seeks a Communication Coordinator to be a part of their Spring Valley, Wis. based team. Applications are due Friday, May 19. Learn more here.

4. Development & Communications Coordinator, Community Food & Agriculture Coalition
Montana's Community Food & Agriculture Coalition (CFAC) is seeking a Development & Communications Coordinator to lead their donor engagement, communications and community outreach efforts. Applications are due Wednesday, May 31. Learn more here.

Farm to School in the News
Alaska students run greenhouses, grow lunch year-round
“We're trying to teach our kids to be entrepreneurs, and so we have contracts now with a few of the grocery stores on the island. We have a restaurant that the school owns that we supply our produce for,” said superintendent Nick Higson. “We supply quite a bit of the produce for our school lunches.” (KTUU)

Mozart Meets Monet’ in Georgia school garden
Jefferson Parkway recently combined art and music with a “Mozart Meets Monet” cross-curricular lesson held in the school’s garden. Students learned about the life and accomplishments of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the history of Claude Monet and how his art was inspired by his love of his garden in Giverny, France. (The Newnan-Times Herald

Idaho: how does your garden grow?
Southside Elementary second-graders helped Elks Lodge members fill all the new, raised garden beds at their school. Now, every elementary school in the Lake Pend Oreille School District now has a garden, where kids can grow and eat their own vegetables. (Bonner County Daily Bee)

Farm to cafeteria: Massachusetts Food Hub receives new box truck

The new truck is added to a fleet of four that service the school system as part of the Food Hub program. “Working the food hub into our procurement system has given us additional access to a variety of fresh commodities such as apples direct from local farms.” (Worcester Magazine

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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