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National Farm to School Network


This week in farm to school: 7/21/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 21, 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. Captain Planet Foundation Grant
The Captain Planet Foundation provides grants between $500 and $2,500 to school and community groups to support hands-on environmental projects. The objective of the foundation is to encourage innovative programs that empower children and youth around the world to work individually and collectively to solve environmental problems in their neighborhoods and communities. The next deadline is September 30, 2015. Learn more here

2. CHS Classroom Grant
CHS and National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO) are offering five $1,500 classroom grants to teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade. The funds can be used for schoolyard or classroom gardens, animal science and other projects that educate K-12 students in general education classrooms about the source of their food, fiber and fuel. The deadline for applications is Sept. 15, 2015. Learn more and apply here

Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, July 23, 1pm EST
Whole Measures for Community Food Projects
This webinar will introduce Whole Measure for Community Food Systems (WM CFS), a values-based, community-oriented tool for planning and evaluation of Community Food Projects. It will discuss how CFP grantees can utilize the Whole Measures CFS frame for their annual Indicators of Success reporting, a collective impact report for all CFPs, as well as a tool for community organizing. The presenter will be Jeanette Abi-Nader of the City Schoolyard Garden and formerly of the Community Food Security Coalition. Register here

2. Food Day Green Meal initiative
Green Meal is a national initiative created by Food Day, The Humane Society of the United States, Health Care Without Harm, and Meatless Monday to raise awareness about the critical importance of eating less meat and enjoying more whole plant-based foods as a way to become healthier and to help animals and the environment. During Food Day on October 24, millions of meals will be served to celebrate a green and healthy plant-strong diet. You’re invited to join the Food Day Green Meal initiative! Learn more and sign up to participate here.

Research & Resources
1. New USDA newsletter
To better serve its stakeholders in the growing area of local and regional food systems, USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative has launched a new newsletter. If you do not currently receive the newsletter, you are welcome to sign up to receive it by emailing and replying “YES.” You can view the inaugural edition here

2. Advancing Farm to School: Lessons from the Field
This "Farm to School 2.0" resource is meant for those that are hoping to expand or fine-tune farm to school programming in their community. The contents reflect the experience of fourteen Wisconsin communities, as they worked to establish and strengthen farm to school efforts in their respective regions. Chapter topics range from designing a successful Harvest of the Month program to strategies for fostering farm to school program sustainability. Actionable tips and insight are provided through case studies, distilled 'lessons learned', and field-tested resource recommendations. View the resource here

3. AGree: Food and Agriculture Education in the United States
Food and agriculture education in the U.S. has changed dramatically over our nation’s history. Topics to study and careers to pursue go beyond production agriculture and include food and nutrition, natural resources, and information technology. The education system must be strengthened to address the challenges and opportunities facing our global food system and support the young people who will define it. A new AGree paper examines the evolution of U.S. food and ag education, its current structure, and how it must adapt to meet emerging challenges. Read the full paper here

4. Small Farmers Can Make Food Safety Work: The GroupGAP Pilot in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
This case study provides an overview of the processes, challenges, benefits, and lessons learned from the Group Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) pilot project in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The project goal was to test how a group-based farm-based food safety certification process could benefit small farmers. This pilot study confirms that good agricultural practices (GAP) certification can meet group needs at an affordable cost working with small and very small farms. Read the case study here

5. Journal of School Health: School Gardens Enhance Academic Performance and Dietary Outcomes in Children
Schools face increasing demands to provide education on healthy living and improve core academic performance. Although these appear to be competing concerns, they may interact beneficially. This article focuses on school garden programs and their effects on students' academic and dietary outcomes. This small set of studies offers evidence that garden-based learning does not negatively impact academic performance or FV consumption and may favorably impact both. Additional studies with more robust experimental designs and outcome measures are necessary to understand the effects of experiential garden-based learning on children's academic and dietary outcomes. Read the article here

Policy & Action
1. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit

2. Give us your feedback on "Lunch Bites" webinars 
NFSN’s monthly 20-minute “Lunch Bites” webinars have been on a short hiatus, and we’re gearing up to bring them back later this summer. Please take 5 minutes to answer 8 short questions, provide your feedback and help us continue to make this webinar series informative and engaging. Take the survey and you’ll be automatically entered to win one of three NFSN aprons or t-shirts! The survey closes this Friday, July 24, 2015. Your feedback is greatly appreciated! 

Farm to school in the news
Heart group uses 'Parks and Rec' star in satirical video on school lunch regs
The American Heart Association (AHA) is using satire to fight back against special interest groups and lawmakers over regulations that force schools to serve healthier lunches. Watch the video here. Read an article about the video on The Hill

Washington County Public Schools workers prep and process produce
A school district in Maryland is working this summer to develop new systems for prepping and processing produce so that local food can be served year-round. (via Herald Mail Media)

Twist on 'Foodapalooza' takes educators on a field trip
"Everyone involved in the local food chain" came together last Tuesday in Louisiana to show educators how to get local, fresh produce into their schools and communities. (via The Town Talk)

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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