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National Farm to School Network


This Week in Farm to School: 8/11/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 11, 2020
SIGN UP: National Farm to School Network has weekly e-newsletter to share a roundup of COVID-19 related resources and information with farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders - similar to what is shared weekly in these This Week in Farm to School blog posts. Sign up here to have this information delivered in your inbox weekly.

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 Agricultural Marketing Service Request for Proposals: Research on Agriculture and Local Food Activity in the Appalachian Region. 
Deadline: August 19
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) invites proposals from qualified researchers and consultants to examine agriculture and local food activity in the Appalachian Region (Region) using both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The main purposes of the research are to (1) provide a comprehensive quantitative overview of agricultural and local food activity throughout the Region, including changes over recent years, (2) identify best practices and promising models from across Appalachia, as well as elsewhere in the country, that support the development of local food systems and help farms increase revenues, and (3) identify emerging opportunities in agriculture ,including types of crops and products as well as strategic and technological innovations. The selected contractor will work closely with ARC to shape this effort over the course of a twelve-month period beginning October 1, 2020 and concluding September 30, 2021. Proposals will be evaluated on contractors’ qualifications, expertise, track record, work samples, and cost-effectiveness. Learn more and apply.

2. COVID-19 EQUITY Northeast BIPOC Farmer Relief Fund 
Deadline: August 20
Are you a BIPOC farmer or fisherperson that has been impacted by COVID-19? The Northeast BIPOC Farmer Relief Fund is now accepting applications from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color) producers with priority for those who use sustainable, regenerative or environmentally sound practices and who contribute to their community in some way. Funded by Farm Aid, this fund will provide $500 relief payments for up to 200 applicants. Learn more and apply.

3. USDA RFA: Innovating Formal and Non-Formal Educational Experiences in Food and Agricultural Sciences During the Time of Social Distancing
Deadline: August 20 
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Education and Workforce Development RFA now includes a new program area priority to address the need to develop and deploy rapid, reliable, and readily-adoptable strategies in workforce preparation through formal K-14 education, as well as in youth development through non-formal education to cultivate interest and competencies in STEM and agriculture during this challenging time. This program area accepts new applications only. Learn more and apply. Interested applicants are invited to register for an informational webinar on July 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time.

4. USDA's Office of Partnership and Public Engagement RFA: Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
 Deadline to apply: August 26
Via section 2501 funding, these grants support community-based and non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities to conduct programming to assist producers. The deadline to apply is August 26th (please note, the announcement in the Federal Register incorrectly states the deadline as September 11!) OPPE will host a call for potential applicants on July 28, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EST (Telephone Number: (877) 692-8955, Passcode: 6433267). No registration needed. Learn more and apply.

5. Cigna Foundation's Healthier Kids For Our Future Grant Program
Deadline: September 30 
Cigna Foundation is looking to partner with school systems and surrounding communities — including clinicians, local and national nonprofits — to supplement existing mental health programming and help close gaps both within and outside the school environment to address loneliness, anxiety, depression, and suicide prevention. To that end, it will fund programs that foster collaboration between various stakeholders, including school administrators and teachers, clinicians, and local and national nonprofits. The grants are up to $65,000 grants per year for two years. Learn more and apply.

6. USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Foundational and Applied Science Program RFA
Deadlines: Vary based on program, view RFA for details
The AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program supports grants in six AFRI priority areas to advance knowledge in both fundamental and applied sciences important to agriculture. The six priority areas are: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health; Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Agriculture Systems and Technology; and Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities. Research-only, extension-only, and integrated research, education and/or extension projects are solicited in this Request for Applications (RFA). See Foundational and Applied Science RFA for specific details.

Webinars & Events
1. Produce Summer University (PSU) Summer Series: Writing Produce Specifications
August 11 // 3pm ET
At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:
- Use and interpret US grade standards when writing fresh produce specifications
- Describe the consequences of poorly written specifications.
- Identify resources for writing produce specifications including USDA Commercial Item Descriptions (CIDs).
Register here.

2. Healthy Schools Campaign: Change For Good Town Hall
August 13 // 1pm ET
The crises facing our nation have revealed how much children and families depend on schools for more than just a quality education. Schools serve as essential community anchors that provide daily meals, outdoor space and critical mental and physical health services. With so much at stake in the upcoming election and the coming school year, Healthy Schools Campaign is hosting a virtual town hall to hear from national and local leaders, education and health experts, and you. A networking session will follow the virtual event at 2 PM ET. Register here.

3. Webinar: Connecting Children With Local Foods and Farmers Through Summer Meal Programs
August 20 // 11am ET
In this webinar hosted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), join summer meal experts who will share best practices and lessons learned from their experience piloting their own “Farm to Summer” initiatives during the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and learn about IATP’s report documenting the opportunities and challenges of Farm to Summer!  Register here.

4. EQUITY Webinar: Delivering More Than Food: Understanding and Operationalizing Racial Equity in Food Hubs
August 24 // 2:30pm ET
The webinar, sponsored by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems in association with the Racial Equity in the Food Systems Workgroup, will share results from a qualitative study led by a diverse group of food system practitioners as to how U.S. based food hubs understand and operationalize engagement in racial equity work. You will hear examples of how food hubs operationalize equity within their business, and with their partners, and with the community they serve.  Authors and food hub leader discussants will also offer perspectives on the deeper questions that must be addressed to meaningfully support equity across the food system. Register here.

5. Webinar: Cooperatives 101
August 26 //  6:30pm - 8:30pm ET
Join this free webinar with Center for Cooperatives in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State. and GDUCCI will present this Cooperative 101 webinar course where we welcome farmers, organizations, and folks in the food industry to learn about what a cooperative is, and how cooperatives work. Learn more and register.

6. Virtual Listening Sessions: Feasibility of Insuring Local Food Production
August 17-20, 24-28, 31, and September 1-3
As part of the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress required USDA's Risk Management Agency to solicit feedback about improved crop insurance coverage options for farmers and ranchers selling through local food markets. This includes discussing how existing crop insurance programs can be improved, as well as exploring the possibility of a new crop insurance program. There are several scheduled Zoom listening sessions, which will be held from mid-August through early September with the sessions for farmers and ranchers divided by region, commodity, and market channel. Please contact Andre Williamson (240-432-0308 OR email:, President of Agralytica, with any questions. If you email, please include “Local foods insurance” as your subject line.

7. EQUITY Black Farming: Beyond "40 Acres and a Mule."
September 11-12
People of African descent have a long agricultural tradition. In spite of their forced farm labor under chattel slavery in the Americas, in emancipation most African Americans returned to this tradition as independent farmers or sharecroppers. Co-sponsored with Antioch College and The National Afro American Museum and Cultural Center, this conference will be discussing the influential history of black farmers in Ohio with an emphasis on the strength of community, preparing the next generation of underrepresented farmers for the future, and cultivating the cooperative business model to promote healthy farming and sustainable businesses. There will be keynote addresses, breakout sessions, networking, a resource fair, and more! Learn more and register. 

Research & Resources 
1. NFSN COVID-19 National Farm to School Network  (NFSN) COVID Support Survey
More than 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, NFSN remains committed to supporting you, the farm to school & ECE community, through this crisis. As a new school year approaches, we're pausing to ask - what kinds of support can National Farm to School Network provide to help you do your work in the coming months? Please take our short, 8 question survey to share your feedback!

2. COVID-19 NFSN National Farm to School Network - 2020 Back to School: Farm to School/ECE and COVID-19 Resource List
National Farm to School Network is compiling back-to-school resources that will be relevant to farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. See the resource list. Have resources to suggest? Please email us at

3. COVID-19 How Is COVID-19 Impacting Your Community? The Federal Reserve Wants to Hear From You
Deadline: August 12
In April and June, the Federal Reserve System conducted surveys to understand better the range of challenges facing under-resourced and low-income communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings are available in Perspectives from Main Street: The Impact of COVID-19 on Communities and the Entities Serving Them. The insights gained from previous survey rounds helped understand how this crisis is affecting organizations, like yours, supporting community needs, and directly informed policymaking deliberations within the Federal Reserve. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. Take the survey here.

4. Seeking 2020 Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HHFI) Application Reviewers
Deadline: August 31
Reinvestment Fund is looking for food systems and food access experts to serve as application reviewers for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program.The 2020 HFFI Targeted Small Grants Program is making $3 million available for grants to innovative fresh food retail and food system enterprises that seek to improve access to healthy food in underserved areas. We are seeking reviewers with personal and professional experience with improving access to affordable, nutritious food through food retail. Reviewers will be required to participate in a training session, which will be done by a video or conference call, prior to reviewing the applications. No travel is required. Reviewers will receive a stipend. Apply here.

5. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB): Call for Papers on Sustainable Management of Food
Deadline: September 15
While the greatest impact on sustainability of food systems is related to food production, this is outside the scope of JNEB. However, an important aspect of the sustainable management of food that is within JNEB’s scope is investigation of reductions in food loss and waste that involve behavioral changes. For those studies involving an intervention, authors do not need to make a clear connection between their intervention and increasing sustainability, but acknowledgement of this link should be evident in the Introduction and Implications section, with caution not to overstate results. Examples of papers that would fall with this topic include: Food Waste in a School Nutrition Program After Implementation of New Lunch Program Guidelines and A Plate Waste Evaluation of the Farm to School Program. Learn more.

6. North American Food Systems Network's (NAFSN) Sourcebook
Online training in food systems work is growing due to its safety, convenience, and cost-effectiveness in these times. The North American Food Systems Network (NAFSN) would like to help promote online training opportunities through its free Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook. Listings include certificates, webinar series, workshops, and the like related to the production, marketing, and consumption of good food. Online training programs can be for-fee or for-free, but should be available to everyone in North America. If you are directly involved with or know of a remote learning opportunity or online training program focused on food systems work, email Javier Ramirez at with a brief description of the program or opportunity and your contact information.

7. COVID-19 Georgia Organics' Seed Sharing Toolkit
As many school districts return to school virtually, there is a demand for hands-on learning opportunities. In an effort to support active, experiential learning while strengthening community Farm to School connections, Georgia Organics has created the Seed Sharing Toolkit. This guide includes advice on the sourcing and distribution of seeds and educational resources in partnership with school or community meal providers. View the toolkit here.

Policy News
1. COVID-19 NFSN Sign-On To Endorse NFSN's COVID-19 Federal Policy Platform
As Congress works to finalize its next COVID-19 response bill, NOW is that time to make our voices heard. National Farm to School Network's federal policy platform calls on Congress to strengthen its support for school meal and child nutrition programs, farmers and those who feed us, Native communities, essential workers, children and families, and others who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. Please add your voice by endorsing our federal COVID-19 policy platform, and help us advocate for key food systems priorities on Capitol Hill. Sign on here.
2. COVID-19 Issue Brief: COVID-19 School Reopening: Supporting School Meals and Students' Health in School Year 2020-2021 
View this brief co-authored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Michigan, and the Center for Ecoliteracy on policy recommendations for supporting school nutrition programs as they reopen for the next school year. View the brief and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics statement on the Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act here

3. New Massachusetts Law Will Require High-Poverty Schools to Provide Breakfast After the Bell
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed what supporters called the Breakfast After the Bell bill Tuesday. Starting in 2022, schools with 60 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced meals must offer breakfast after the bell, which could mean the food can be eaten in class or picked up to eat later in the morning or day. Read more.

In The News
Since March, U.S. Schools Have Been Able to Feed Anyone Under 18. Now, They’ll Have to Turn Some Kids Away.
At the same time they’re facing new populations of food-insecure students, school nutrition directors are preparing to scale down their food distribution efforts, gearing up to charge for meals again, and bracing to say they can’t provide for every child in a family. (The Counter)

New Indigenous Food Lab Looks to Mend a Broken System
Plans to open the very first Indigenous Food Lab in Minnesota is underway. The space will include a restaurant, a training kitchen and education center, and aims to be a hub for Indigenous food education. Owners hope the lab and others like it will allow Indigenous people to reclaim cultural food traditions that have been absent for multiple generations. (Modern Farmer)

A Portland Farm Seeks to Restore Black People to the Land
The Black Futures Farm is part of a coalition of Black and African-identifying food producers that, along with educators, community builders and advocates, are working towards a goal of Black food sovereignty. The Black Food Sovereignty Coalition aims to provide healthy, culturally relevant food to people in the Black community through stewardship of the land and to deconstruct barriers to wealth through the creation of food. (Oregon Public Broadcast)

Georgia Preschool Farm Stand Clears Final Hurdle to Sell Produce
The Forest Park, Georgia City Council on Monday granted a conditional use permit to Little Ones Early Learning Center to sell produce they grow in their own garden along with organic produce from area farms. City code enforcement had ordered the stand to close last year because the school is located in a residential area that previously was not zoned for commercial activity. (The Atlanta-Journal Constitution)
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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