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National Farm to School Network


This week in farm to school: 9/1/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 01, 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. 

Grants & Funding
1. 2016 Culture of Health Prize
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2016 Culture of Health Prize "recognizes and celebrates communities that have placed a priority on health and are creating powerful partnerships and deep commitments to make change." A Call for Applications is currently underway.  "In this fourth round of the competition, up to 10 winning communities will each receive a $25,000 cash prize and the chance to share their accomplishments with the nation. Communities-urban and rural, tribal, large, small, and in between-are invited to apply."  Deadline for applications is November 12th.  An informational webinar is scheduled for Thursday, September 10th, 3-4pm EDT.

2. Local Foods, Local Places 2015-2016 Application
Communities are invited to apply for a new round of technical assistance from Local Foods, Local Places. Local Foods, Local Places helps communities create walkable, healthy, economically vibrant neighborhoods through the development of local food systems. A team of experts will help community members develop action plans that use local foods to support healthy families and communities and to drive downtown and neighborhood revitalization. The assistance process features a community workshop that brings people together to develop shared goals and steps to achieve them. This is not a grant program. Applications dues September 15, 2015. Learn more here.

Webinars & Events
1. Slow Food USA: Town Hall Call with Dan Barber and Alice Waters, September 2
Join Slow Food USA Executive Director Richard McCarthy for a national telephone conversation with Dan Barber and Alice Waters about the future of food on Wednesday, September 2 at 4pm ET. To join the call,  RSVP here. You'll receive an email with the call-in information. Space is limited. 

2. Webinar: South Dakota State University, iGrow Webinars
Fall Gardening with Children
Wednesday, September 3, 9:30-10am CSDT, repeated 3:30-4pm CDT
The program will feature planting information, season extension techniques and other garden learning activities for the fall. School teachers, afterschool and garden program leaders and helpers are all encouraged to participate. To participate in the webinar, visit the iGrow events page.

Putting Your School Garden to Bed for Winter
Thursday, September 24, 9:30-10am CSDT, repeated 3:30-4pm CDT
Visit the iGrow website for more information about this webinar and for registration details. 

3. Field to Tray, Mid-Atlantic Regional Farm to School Conference, Nov 4-5, MD
Field to Tray: Strengthening Farm to School Purchasing in the Mid-Atlantic will bring together farmers, food service directors, suppliers and other stakeholders from the region for a day of digging in to local food procurement strategies. The Mid-Atlantic region has experienced significant growth in farm to school practices over the past several years, and this conference will be a sharing, learning and networking opportunity for key farm to school players in the region. Register by September 5 to receive the early bird discount. Learn more about the conference and register here

4. Growing Minds Farm to School Conference, Nov 14, Asheville, NC
With more than 10 years of experience in farm to school training and programming, ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program offers a combination of creative ideas and practical applications for school environments. This year’s conference will feature workshops focused on four specialized tracks: Early Childhood, Health and Community, Cafeteria, and Classroom. Each track features content for folks new to farm to school as well as those that want to improve their existing programs. For more information please visit the Growing Minds website.

5. Transforming Food Access Summit: Accelerating Affordability with Nutrition Incentives
The Transforming Food Access summit will be hosted by Wholesome Wave in Atlanta, GA on January 11 - 13, 2016. The event is designed to bring together key stakeholders, from the national level to community-base organizations, to engage around building food system change through affordable access to healthy food. Submissions for presenters, sessions and workshops are due September 18. More information is available on the Wholesome Wave website

Research & Resources
1. Many Eligible Children Don’t Participate in School Nutrition Programs
This study uses data from the 2013 Current Population Survey’s Food Security Supplement to document levels of participation in two of the largest programs authorized by this act—the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program—by region and place type (rural, suburban, and city), to identify areas where expanding participation may be especially important. Key finding include: Only 64 percent of eligible households participate in the National School Lunch Program; 52 percent participate in the School Breakfast Program. Read the full brief 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

Farm to school in the news
Farm-to-School: Why We Need It and How to Get It 
With over 30 million students relying on school meals every day in the US, the quality of food we put on their plates is important — and can help us achieve a healthier, more sustainable society. Here’s why we need to step up and help local schools bring freshly farmed food to our children, and some ways to make it happen. (via EcoCentric)

5 Things to Know About the Congressional Battle over School Lunch
Kids are finally getting more whole grains and vegetables at school. But the healthier rules are at risk as Congress debates Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Read how the Farm to School Act of 2015 is expected to be one of the more bipartisan aspects of CNR. (via Civil Eats)

School Lunches Becoming Healthier, Statistics Indicate
A federal report released last Thursday that showed that the nutritional profile of school meals in the United States had improved substantially since higher government standards went into effect in 2012. “Literally, the way the school lunch line looks is different,” said Deb Bentzel, senior associate at the Food Trust. “It’s brighter, it’s healthier-looking, it’s fresher.” (via New York Times)

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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