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National Farm to School Network


This Week in Farm to School: 8/25/20

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 25, 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'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.

2. 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.

3. 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. COVID-19 Webinar: Lessons Learned from Serving Summer Meals During Pandemic & Transitioning Back to School
August 26 // 10am ET
Presenters representing the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, schools, and non-profits will talk about their experiences on serving meals to kids and teens during the pandemic and resources to help when school starts back up this year. The goal of the webinar is to give attendees a variety of examples and ideas so they can be ready and adaptable if their situation changes. Register here.

2. Webinar: Fundraising Strategies for Food Ed Organizations
August 26 //11am ET
The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education, and Policy, New York State Health Foundation, and Wellness in the Schools are partnering to host a webinar on how food ed organizations can identify and apply for funding opportunities. New York State Health Foundation will highlight best practices when applying for funding, while Wellness in the Schools will share different funding approaches that their organization has used. Register here.  

3. COVID-19 Virtual Gathering: Garden Educator Distance Teaching and Learning 
August 26 // 2pm ET
Many months of distance teaching and learning have led to the development of a treasure trove of innovative teaching tools and the launching of new educational program models. This Virtual Gathering, hosted by School Garden Support Organizations, will offer everyone an opportunity to introduce programs that have been developed/adapted to meet the unique educational needs presented by COVID-19 along with other support resources that have been created to share with educators and families. Register here. 

4. Webinar: Garden Educator Distance Teaching and Learning Virtual Gathering
August 26// 2pm ET
For this Virtual Gathering School Garden Support Organization Network (SGSO) will offer everyone an opportunity to introduce programs that have been developed/adapted to meet the unique educational needs presented by COVID-19 along with other support resources that have been created to share with educators and families. SGSO would also like to hear about ideas for evaluating the impact of distance teaching efforts. We hope to focus on:
- Online lesson plans and other resources for educators and families;
- Non-digital tools and methods being used to continue learning from a distance; and
- Ideas for evaluating the impact of your distance teaching efforts.
Learn more and register.

5. COVID-19 Virtual Youth Townhall on the Return to School
August 26 // 2pm ET
Hosted by America’s Promise Alliance in Partnership with The 74, this virtual youth townhall will highlight the perspectives and experiences of young people to inform school, district, and community leaders’ approach to the return to school and to give them ideas for engaging the viewpoints of students throughout this year and beyond. Please note that this is the registration page for school leaders and other youth-supporting adults.

6. COVID-19 For Youth: Virtual Youth Townhall on the Return to School
August 26 // 2pm ET
Would you like to share your perspective about the return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic? As schools think about reopening, do you have advice on how issues of race and racism should be discussed once school is back in session? America’s Promise Alliance and The 74 invite you to participate in a youth townhall to share your thoughts about the logistics of school reopening, as well as how school leaders can engage young people in decision-making once school is back in session. Additionally, given the growing national conversations about racial justice, you will also be invited to share insights and advice for school leaders on how schools should provide opportunities to talk and learn about race and racism. If you are a middle or high school student and would like to participate in the townhall, please use this link to register.

7. What’s Next for Food Incentives and the Grocery Industry?
August 26 // 2pm ET
Since the beginning of the year, the grocery industry has had to adapt to new safety requirements, customer demands and supply chain interruptions, prompting innovations that help grocers buffer their already thin margins. Food incentives at retail locations have been a way for the grocery industry to supplement their EBT sales and increase overall revenue. Come hear from National Grocers Association, Arteaga's Food Center, Fair Food Network, and SPRU on how the approach to offering incentives has changed as a result of the pandemic. Learn more and register.  

8. Webinar: Stories & Strategies for Arts-Infused Food Systems Change: Community Leaders Seed the Way
August 26 // 3pm ET
How does both food and art bring us together to dream, design, and actualize change towards more equitable food systems? In this interactive webinar co-hosted by DAISA Enterprises and the Wallace Center, participants will engage with community leaders and artists, like Oscar Ly from ArtCrop and Brandi Turner from SippCulture from across the country whose work inspires place-based, creative food systems transformation. Within our new reality of the COVID-19 crisis and struggles for racial justice, you and your peers will have a chance to exchange ideas and experiences around how artistic and cultural practices are more critical than ever in envisioning and realizing resilient food systems. Join the conversation to learn real strategies to drive arts-infused food systems change in your own community.  

9. 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.

10. COVID-19 Webinar: Farmworkers in the Pandemic: Essentially Disposable
August 27 // 12pm ET
Arguably the most essential people--those who grow and harvest the country’s food--are being brutalized by the coronavirus, discrimination and scapegoating. Called ‘essential’ yet treated like they are ‘disposable’, three farmworker leaders will present during the webinar. Panelists include Kathia Ramirez from the Farmworker Support Committee-CATA, Antonio Tovar, from the Farmworkers Association of Florida, and Erik Nicholson, National V.P. of the United Farm Workers. Register here to learn about the situation, their organizing, and how communities can support them.

11. NFSN Farm to School Producer-Support Community Roundtable II
August 27 // 3:30-5pm ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) are hosting a Producer-Support Community Roundtable to offer a unique space for producer-focused dialogue related to farm to school and COVID-19. These conversations will help provide additional framing for the Bringing the Farm to School training program for agricultural producers by highlighting strategies for managing risk while staying committed to farm to school, innovative procurement approaches, and partnerships while informing our training implementation strategies to ensure they adequately meet the needs of producers, particularly those new to farm to school. Join us on Thursday, August 27 at 3:30-5:00 pm EST to hear from the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Minneapolis Public Schools about how stakeholders have been incorporating innovations into their farm to school efforts during COVID-19 as well as promising practices to carry into the upcoming school year. Discussion will include models to celebrate the resilience of our communities through farm to school events during COVID-19, strategies for maintaining the demand for local foods in school meals,  connecting producers with market opportunities in emergency feeding programs, engaging small/diversified farms and producers of color, and maintaining standards, values and commitments to local producers throughout the fall and beyond. Register here. 

12. Webinar: Reuniones Interactivas Gratuitas de Zoom en Español Para Emprendedores de Alimentos en Wisconsin
August 31 // 10am ET
El lunes 31 de agosto, Amalia Beary, MS, Consultora sobre Seguridad con los alimentos y Abby Snyder, Especialista en seguridad con los alimentos de Cornell University, comentarán los requisitos básicos para las Buenas prácticas de fabricación (GMP por sus siglas en inglés) y la manera de preparar su negocio para que ayude a prevenir la propagación de COVID-19. Los productores de alimentos de pequeña escala deben completar los documentos requeridos para cumplir con la Ley de modernización de seguridad alimentaria (FSMA). Esto incluye documentos de la exención de su tamaño como “instalaciones calificadas” y diversos programas de seguridad con los alimentos. Esta reunión interactiva por Zoom está diseñada para pequeños emprendedores de alimentos (menos de $1 millón de ventas al año) pequeñas empresas de alimentos, gerentes de mercados agrícolas y directores de cocinas de uso compartido. Los educadores de Extension que apoyen estos negocios son bienvenidos, si desean asistir. El curso es ofrecido por Cornell University, y se ha realizado gracias a una subvención respaldada por la USDA. Enlace para el registro.

13. COVID-19 Webinar: SNAP and Food Assistance in a Time of Covid-19
August 31 // 12pm ET
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act in March gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture the authority to ease state requirements for reporting and proving need. It provided for extra food benefits (by electronic transfer) called “Pandemic EBT” for households with school-aged children who would have received free or reduced-price meals at school. Has the federal response been timely and adequate, and what economic hurdles and challenges remain? The Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE) will host a free webinar to consider SNAP and food assistance at a time of Covid-19. C-FARE board member Sean Cash will be joined by three expert panelists — Dr. Parke Wilde (Tufts University), Dr. George Davis of Virginia Tech, and Nutrition Outreach Coordinator Shewana Hairston McSwain (North Carolina A&T State University). Register here.  

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. COVID-19 Back-to-School: We'll Keep Feeding Those Kids! Factsheet
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Nutrition Policy Institute, Stanford Medicine Department of Pediatrics, and School Nutrition Association created this fact sheet in August 2020 to provide basic information to clarify school meal operations as districts return to operating the National School Lunch Program, but serving outside of the cafeteria, and tools and information to support best practices. View the resource.   

3. USDA Launches A Resource Hub on Local Food System Response to COVID-19
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in partnership with 16 partner organizations, launched the Local Food System Response to COVID Resource Hub designed to assist local and regional food producers as USDA and its partners develop, share and assess resources on local and regional food system responses to COVID-19. This searchable database contains insights and educational material from the 16 partner organizations (including NFSN!) to help local and regional food producers and businesses adapt their market strategies in the current environment. Learn more.

4. COVID-19 Call for Local Food Impact Stories
As part of a Local Food Systems Response to COVID-19 Project, Farm to Institution New England (FINE) is looking to highlight examples of institutions (hospitals, campuses, schools, etc) utilizing CSAs and pop-up grocery stores to provide local, fresh food to institutional staff and constituents during the pandemic. If anyone has examples of successful models, FINE would like to hear from you! These stories will contribute to a series of innovation briefs that highlight local food strategies employed during COVID-19. Contact Hannah Leighton (pronouns: she/her), FINE's Research & Evaluation Manager, at with questions and/or your stories.

5. EQUITY 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.

6. 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.

7.  COVID-19 Green Schoolyard Americas COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Resources and Guidance
Schools across the United States are facing an uphill battle as they figure out how to navigate COVID-19 physical distancing requirements that will allow students to return to campus. Repurposing outdoor spaces is a cost-effective way to reduce the burden on indoor classrooms while providing fresh air, hands-on learning opportunities, and the health benefits associated with increased access to nature. This webpage shares information for the new National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative. Learn more.

8. Help Michigan State University Extension Learn More About Farm to Institution Produce Safety
Deadline: August 31
Do you purchase fresh produce for an institution or know someone that does? Participate in a national survey about institutional food safety programs to inform educational initiatives for fresh produce buyers. The aim of this survey is to gather data on accepted food safety verification programs for fresh produce, awareness of the program’s requirements for farms, and confidence in these verification programs. Please consider taking and/or sharing a survey by the Michigan State University Extension about food safety requirements for suppliers. All of the questions are in multiple choice format and the survey will take an estimated time of 7 minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous and participation is completely voluntary. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the survey, feel free to contact Mariel Borgman from MSU Extension at Learn more.

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. 

3. USDA Extends Waivers to Fill Gap for Schools Starting in September
On August 20, the USDA announced the extension of four waivers through September 30, 2020 to support continued summer meals program operations in areas where the school year begins in September. These are:
1) The non-congregate waiver for SFSP;
2) The parent or guardian meal pick-up waiver for SFSP;
3) The meal pattern waiver for SFSP; and
4) The area eligibility waiver for open summer meals site.Previously, these critical waivers expired on August 31st, which created a gap for communities where schools are starting after that date. These waivers do not change the options available to schools and non-profit operators in communities where schools have already started. The USDA has reiterated that the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option are no longer available once the school year begins, whether in person or virtually. View No Kid Hungry's updated waiver summary that also includes the waivers available to support operations during the school year.

Job Opportunities
1. Communications Coordinator, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (Massachusetts/Remote)
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) is a nonprofit that works with hundreds of local farms and the community to get more local food onto people’s plates. The Communications Coordinator supports the Communications Manager in implementing communications and educational activities that support the mission of the organization. This includes: supporting CISA’s online presence (website and social media); writing and creative development; creation and management of community event(s); and maintaining communications systems. The Communications Coordinator manages the day-to-day activities for this work and collaborates with the Communications Manager to set strategic goals and develop new program strategies and activities. Learn more and apply.

2. Food Access Program Director, Farm Fresh Rhode Island (Providence, Rhode Island)
Deadline: September 6
 Farm Fresh Rhode Island is seeking a Food Access Program Director who is responsible for the oversight of all Farm Fresh RI Farmers Market and Food Access programs. Currently Farm Fresh RI manages 9 seasonal farmers markets and supports a network of over 20 partners in facilitating Food Access programs at farmers markets, farm stands, and CSAs statewide. Farm Fresh Food Access programming includes efforts to increase the affordability and availability of fresh, local foods for all residents of Rhode Island. The Food Access Program Director will bridge the gap between agriculture and public health by developing and maintaining key partnerships and programs, seeking new connections, and ensuring Food Access programs are meeting community needs. Learn more and apply.

3. Program Assistant, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (Massachusetts/Remote)
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) is a nonprofit that works with hundreds of local farms and the community to get more local food onto people’s plates. The Program Associate works with the Technical Assistance and Local Hero teams in implementing programmatic activities that support CISA’s mission; this includes: Local Hero membership enrollment, promotion, and maintenance and logistical support for: technical assistance workshops, one-on-one technical assistance, and evaluation. The Program Associate manages the day-to-day activities for this work. Learn more and apply.

In The News
Opinion: Rebuild it and they will come: reviving Iowa's local food system
Published by Iowa farm to ECE champions, including Aaron Lehman of Iowa Farmers Union; Krista Smith of Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children; and Haleisa Johnson of Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness, this op-ed piece elevates the importance of local food opportunities including farm to school and farm to ECE in the (Iowa Globe Gazette). 

"This is our, “If you build it, they will come” moment. Iowa policymakers should support this effort and provide the leadership needed for success. We must capitalize on the opportunity to grow our local farm economy while improving the health and well-being of all Iowans with healthy locally produced food." 

Schools Seeking Alternative to Remote Learning Try an Experiment: Outdoor Classrooms
While some educators remain skeptical, others see outdoor classrooms as a way to make in-person learning safer during the pandemic. (NBC News)

'It’s a Little Nerve-Wracking': Lunchtime for Students Looks Different Amid COVID-19
Schools that opened early in central Indiana provide a hint of what others across the country can expect as they enact various lunchtime safety measures, including prepackaging meals and frequently cleaning the lunchroom. (USA Today)

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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