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National Farm to School Network


This Week in Farm to School: 8/18/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 18, 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

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. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Call for Proposals: Community Solutions for Health Equity
LOI deadline: October 7
With Community Solutions for Health Equity , RWJF seeks to make local health care systems more responsive to the needs of the community by elevating the voices, stories, priorities, and knowledge of people of color, and others who are left out of policy decisions. The Foundation's funding will provide community organizations with grant support to help increase their ability to organize members, build partnerships with other constituencies, and develop effective communication-all of which are critical to shared decisionmaking. Nine organizations will be given $300,000 each over the course of three years as part of the program. The Foundation is interested in engaging diverse groups and organizations, including those that have limited experience receiving grants of this size. Learn more and apply.

Webinars & Events
1. Food Research & Action Center's Elections Webinar Series Today! 
August 18 // 3pm ET
Join a panel of specialists for a webinar series focused on elevating ideas on how and why 501(c)(3) organizations can support -- in nonpartisan ways that are mission-aligned -- voter registration, voter mobilization, and voting. Identify strategies, tools, and resources that social justice organizations can use to support this vital work, especially in the time of COVID-19 when people and organizations are particularly stretched from responding to unprecedented needs. Register for the first webinar in the series: Why Social Justice Organizations Can and Should Prioritize Voter Registration and Get-Out-the-Vote Efforts.

2. Webinar Training: Best Practices for Building Relationships with Policymakers
August 19 // 9:30-11:00 am
Join the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy and DOHMH Bureau of Harlem for this Equity Advocates training on running successful meetings with policymakers. Register here.

3. COVID-19 Webinar: School Garden Care and Management During COVID-19
August 19 // 2pm ET
Join the School Garden Support Organization Network to discuss garden care and management (Fall 2020 version). During this virtual gathering School Garden Support Organizations will share how they are supporting their staff, teachers and the community to care for school gardens this fall. The webinar will allow for about 45 minutes of structured share outs followed by ample time for discussion and Q & A. Learn more and register. 

4. 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.

5. Webinar: Reuniones Interactivas Gratuitas de Zoom en Español Para Emprendedores de Alimentos en Wisconsin
August 24 // 10am ET
El lunes 24 de agosto, Barbara Ingham, Especialista en la Seguridad con los Alimentos de Division of Extension de University of Wisconsin-Madison, responderá preguntas básicas sobre tipos de licencias que puede necesitar un negocio de alimentos y normas para una instalación de producción de alimentos, dará consejos sobre el desarrollo de planes de seguridad con los alimentos y ofrecerá sugerencias para localizar recursos y apoyos, de tal manera que pequeños emprendedores de alimentos puedan recibir licencia para sus empresas en Wisconsin. Está reunión interactiva por Zoom está diseñada para pequeñas empresas de alimentos en Wisconsin y para instalaciones y programas que apoyen a estos emprendedores. Los educadores de Extension son bienvenidos si desean asistir. Regístrese aquí. 

6. Webinar: Discussion with Alive Goodman of the NYC Office of School Wellness/Department of Education
August 24 //  2:15pm ET
Join the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy and the Bronx Health Reach for this special event on how New York City schools will tackle student health & wellness this fall. Register here.

7. 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.

8. 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.  

9. Back-to-School Meal Service: Feeding Kids During the 2020-2021 School Year Part I
Webinar Recording
This is the first in a series of back-to-school webinars by No Kid Hungry focused on feeding kids during the 2020-2021 school year, as communities continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic. This webinar focuses on understanding the nationwide waivers— the waivers available, the waivers not available, possible meal service models, and limitations and challenges. We also explore options for financial recovery including FEMA Public Assistance Grants, CARES Act funds and the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).

10. Iowa State University Extension Online Food Systems Training and Certifications
Iowa State University Extension's Food Systems Team has transitioned the Local Food Leader and Community Food Systems trainings and certifications to a virtual format. Beginning in September, four popular professional development opportunities for food systems practitioners will be available online. Some scholarships are available for each course. Applications for scholarships are due August 21. Learn more and apply.

Research & Resources
1. 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

2. USDA's Tools for School Nutrition Professionals
USDA FNS's Team Nutrition has a variety of distance learning opportunities to meet annual training requirements for the new school year. The Professional Standards Training Database allows school nutrition professionals to search for training that meets their learning needs in one easy-to-use website. Trainings are available in a variety of formats and most trainings are free.
Use the Professional Standards Training Tracker Tool (PSTTT) to keep track of and record your training hours. 

3. Reset the Table: Meeting the Moment to Transform the U.S. Food System
View this report by the Rockefeller Foundation that lays out a framework for change toward an equitable, nourishing, and sustainable U.S. food system.

4. Meal Service Options For School Year 2020-2021 Guide
Confused about the waivers for SY20-21? Not sure what your options are for meal service during distance learning or four day school weeks? Check out this resource from No Kid Hungry for guidance.

5. New Community Eligibility Provision Grouping Optimizer: Meals Count
Meals Count is a free interactive, customizable tool to help districts optimize their CEP groupings and maximize federal reimbursement. Meals Count is powered by sophisticated algorithms developed by data scientists across the country to eliminate the guesswork of grouping. Just by using Meals Count, districts have been able to optimize CEP groupings and increase expected annual reimbursement by 13% on average. For districts with 11 schools or fewer, the tool actually runs through every possible grouping scenario (of thousands possible combinations) to give the optimal scenario for maximizing expected annual reimbursement. For a quick demo on how to use Meals Count, watch this step-by-step tutorial.

6. Farmers Market Scrip Model for Food Distribution Program
The Hana Farmers Market in Hawai‘i has shared a write-up of an innovative and very effective way to manage free food distributions and support our farmers market. Rather than purchasing, aggregating and distributing food boxes, they used county funding to offer scrips to customers to use directly to purchase produce at the farmers market. Hana Farmers Market has found that this is a great program to create incentives in all the right places, with relatively little overhead. For more information contact Scott ( View the resource.

7. No Kid Hungry's Summary Of Current COVID-19 Child Nutrition Program Response Nationwide Waivers
This document conveniently details all of the nationwide waivers and guidance issued to date by the USDA in response to the coronavirus. View the summary.

8. The Food, Agrobiodiversity, Clarity and Transparency's (FACT) 10 Principles for Agrobiodiversity
FACT has worked with food systems experts from across the globe to develop 10 Principles for Agrobiodiversity. These principles show how we all benefit from practices carried out across the value chain that support greater agricultural biodiversity. To go deeper,  FACT is now gathering examples of what success looks like across the globe. View the principles 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 NFSN Action Alert: Senate Must Do More For Kids, Farmers & Schools
Last week, Senate leadership released their latest set of COVID-19 relief bills, a $1 trillion bundle of legislation covering business aid, money for schools and agricultural aid funding. While National Farm to School Network is glad that Senators have recognized that our schools and farmers are in urgent need of critical funding support, this proposed legislation from the Senate falls far short of targeting the actual needs of our kids, farmers, educators and school nutrition professionals. Congress should be taking bolder action to respond to this emergency, support those most impacted and help advance us towards a more equitable future for all. Read more on our blog, and take 5 minutes to call your senators using our easy call script. 

Job Opportunities
1. Communications Consultant, The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (Remote) 
Deadline: August 21
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG), convenes farm and food systems leaders, practitioners, and advocates across 12 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. NESAWG is currently seeking a Communications Consultant to support us in updating and implementing our communications strategy to help us meet our communications goals for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, and in developing key communications materials. This is a remote position. Candidates can reside anywhere in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic region.To learn more, view the position announcement.

2. Education Director, Gallatin Valley Farm to School (Bozeman, Montana)
Deadline: August 21
Gallatin Valley Farm to School is hiring an Education Director to oversee all aspects of Gallatin Valley Farm to School’s education and community programs. Programs include school & garden-based education, the Bozone Ozone Bus (BOB), family cooking nights, summer camps, cafeteria procurement of local produce, farm field trips, and teacher support. Learn more and apply here.

In The News
Changes to School Meals Have Made Low-Income Kids Healthier. Will They Last?
New research shows that adding more fresh vegetables and whole grains to school lunches helped curb childhood obesity for vulnerable children, prompting questions about recent USDA rollbacks. (Civil Eats)

The Future Reset: Global Food Systems
"So, what is the problem? We have a food system that is, in the United States and globally, efficient, but not agile. And what COVID did was unbare the challenges of the lack of agility in the food system." (Washington Post)

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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