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National Farm to School Network

News

Getting school gardens ready for back to school

NFSN Staff Wednesday, August 15, 2018


By Elizabeth Esparza, Communications Intern


Back to school: a season of crisp new notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, and often, overgrown, untended school gardens, wilting from the summer heat. Whether you’re trying to get your garden in shape before school starts or want to plan your first few class garden days to get ready for the year ahead, here are some simple reminders to get you growing in the right direction.


Make a plan. It’s hard to plan ahead, but it’s even harder to plan while juggling everything else that the school year brings. Try to put aside a little time to set some goals for your garden this year: What do you want to plant? When? Where? What can you improve upon from years past? What is a dream you have for your garden this year? Don’t feel pressured to stick rigidly to your plan, but put it somewhere you will see it often and use it as an inspiration and a guiding post when the year gets hectic.


Pull some weeds! I have a love/hate relationship with weeds. I have been known to say of my school gardens: “Who cares what the garden looks like, as long as we’re learning!” Having said this, I have to admit that pulling weeds does make a garden look nice and fresh, and there’s something about getting things in order that just feels right at the beginning of the school year. Start or end each time you’re in the garden with a few minutes of rigorous weed pulling and slowly chip away at any summer weeds that may have taken over your garden. Or better yet, if you don’t get to those weeds before the school year starts, implement some weed pulling contests in each garden class or at recess time until your problem is gone (or at least temporarily managed).


Plant something new. Once your weeds are pulled and your gardens are looking fresh, decide which of the remaining plants you want to keep and which are ready to go. Then, use your plan to get something new growing. Depending on where in the country you live, planting at the beginning of the school year may not yield your best harvests, but just like pulling those weeds, getting something planted sets a good intention for the year ahead.


Include your gardens in Back-to-School Night. Back-to-School Nights are a great time to show off your gardens and engage with families. If you work better with a deadline, the pressure of Back-to-School Night might be just the kick you need to get your garden looking spiffy in a timely manner! And if the garden isn’t looking its prettiest by then, that just might help your case in recruiting volunteers.


Relax! Most importantly, remember that your school garden does not have to look perfect when the school year starts (or ever)! Perfect is rarely fun or interesting. Gardens are living things, and as such, they are constantly growing and changing. Even though you may have a long list of garden tasks you want to complete before your garden is “ready” for students, take comfort in knowing that those tasks you feel piling up are fun and interesting learning opportunities.


Looking for more ideas to keep your school garden growing strong? Find garden lesson plans, garden to cafeteria guides, garden assessment tools and more by searching the “School Garden” topic in our Resource Library.

This Week in Farm to School: 8/14/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 14, 2018
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. 

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR State Farm to School Month Proclamations
September 20, 2pm ET
In addition to the federal Congressional resolution NFSN championed in 2010 to establish October as National Farm to School Month, many states have passed resolutions declaring a Farm to School Week or Month. Similar language can usually be used in your state legislature or for a proclamation by your governor. Join us to learn from NFSN Core and Supporting Partners how they: 1) advocated and obtained these proclamations, 2) used these farm to school weeks/months to celebrate farm to school, and 3) used these celebrations as a springboard for more farm to school policies. Guest speakers will include NFSN Arkansas Core Partner, Emily English, of Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, and NFSN Hawaii Core Partner, Natalie McKinney, of Kokua Hawaii Foundation. This webinar will be recorded and available for future viewing. Register here.

2. Food Systems Leadership Retreat
October 28-31 // Kansas City, MO
Hosed by the Wallace Center’s Food Systems Leadership Network, this 2.5 day facilitated convening will dive into the tools of systems leadership and systems thinking for social change/ Join 25 of your fellow food systems leaders in Kansas City, MO for hands-on experiential workshops to learn and practice tools for seeing the whole system and skills for effective facilitation. Applications close August 22 (12 pm EST). Learn more and apply here

3. Food Systems Leadership Network: Innovations in Leadership - Part 1: Cultivating Emergent Leadership from Within
August 21, 3pm EST
The first webinar in this three part series will feature two organizations committed to empowering staff and training up new leadership within their organizations. Red Tomato’s and Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation will share their values and practices around continuous improvement, building an ecosystem of opportunity in their community and internally, and more. Learn more and register here.


Research & Resources
1. Chart of the Week: Michigan's 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids and Farms program promises to boost health equity   
Last month, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that expands the 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids and Farms program. The program, which began in 2016, provides participating school districts with up to 10 cents in match funding per meal to purchase and serve locally produced fruits, vegetables, and legumes. A 2016-2017 report on the program’s pilot found that it promoted both health and gave a boost to the local economy. Read more here.

2. Food System Leadership Network: Visionary Voices podcast
In this episode of the Food Systems Leadership Network’s Visionary Voices podcast, NFSN Executive Director and Co-Founder, Anupama Joshi discusses her progression into the food movement, recounts how mentorship and peer support have helped her balance the ups and downs of food systems work, and what her vision for the future of the F2S Network is. Listen to the podcast here.


Job Opportunities
1. Development Director, National Farm to School Network (Remote)
National Farm to School Network seeks a Development Director to lead the organization in strategic growth and diversification of its funding base. The Development Director manages all development tasks; he or she will 1) expand public contributions, explore social investment donors and implement earned income strategies, 2) develop, leverage and support fundraising partnerships, and 3) create, track and evaluate a development plan. Deadline to apply is September 7, 2018. Learn more and apply here.

2. Farm to School and EFS Professional Learning Educator (Shelburne, VT)
This position is responsible for supporting K-12 educators in Shelburne Farms’ EFS, Farm to School, and place-based professional learning programs, working collaboratively with the Director of Professional Learning to create high quality professional learning experiences for educators to transform their practice and connect them to a growing network of educators. This position is also a core staff for Vermont FEED, a farm to school project of Shelburne Farms and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. Learn more and apply here.

3. Director of Online Programs, Chef Ann Foundation (Boulder, CO)
Chef Ann Foundation is seeking a skilled program operator with experience in managing and growing online initiatives. The Director of Online Programs will be responsible for managing the operations, strategic growth and evaluation of the School Food Institute and The Lunch Box. Learn more and apply here.

4. AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator (Newport, VT)
The primary responsibilities of the AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator will be to develop, grow, present, and evaluate Green Mountain Farm to School’s farm to school programs. This is a full-time, year-long AmeriCorps position. The Farm to School Coordinator reports to the Farm to School Program Manager. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
Washington, D.C. student co-op works to improve food desert
A youth-led cooperative in Washington D.C., is working to expand access to fresh, healthy foods. High school students who are part of Mighty Greens help educate the community about healthy eating  and last year produced 1,200 piinds of fresh food, which is sold or donated. (PBS)

Alabama family adopts “live-off-the land” lifestyle
With the number of young farming families steadily decreasing, fewer children are experiencing life on the farm.
Jesse and Jessica Murphy own and operate a small family farm in Danville where they and their children have adopted a live-off-the-land lifestyle where their children get a taste of the hard work that goes into farming. (Decatur Daily)

Wisconsin garden interns are key seasonal presence at Cambridge’s school farm
Two former Cambridge High School students are this summer’s interns at the Severson Learning Center, Cambridge’s 82-acre school farm. In its third summer, the internship program has proven a valuable seasonal effort to keep the farm running from year to year. (Cambridge News and Deerfield Independent)

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.

Policy Review: Farm to School and the 2018 Farm Bill

NFSN Staff Wednesday, August 08, 2018
In the first half of 2018, the National Farm to School Network, as the leading policy voice for farm to school, advocated to advance three important federal farm to school priorities:   

  • Adopting the Farm to School Act of 2017 to increase mandatory funding.  The Act expand access for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program to fully incorporate 1) beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, 2) early care and education sites, summer food service program sites, and after school programs, and 3) native and tribal schools.
  • Amending the Geographic Preference provision in the existing farm bill to allow the use of “location” as a product specification when procuring school food. Current law does not allow schools to explicitly require “local” or “regional” as a product specification in a food procurement request. 
  • Continuing and expanding to more states the Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables and allow participating states more flexibility in procuring fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. 
Given the benefits farm to school has on farming communities and economies, NFSN looked to the farm bill as the best legislative vehicle this year for moving these priorities forward. In fact, two of the priorities - geographic preference and the pilot program - had been taken up in previous farm bills. 

Over the the past year, NFSN and its partners worked tirelessly to recruit cosponsors for the Farm to School Act of 2017, and also highlight the other two priorities aforementioned. Many of our Core and Supporting Partners helped NFSN make connections with their respective federal “decision makers” and their staff. Through these efforts, we were successful in gaining 13 bipartisan House cosponsors and 13 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, and we educated many more policymakers on the benefits and opportunities of farm to school in their respective districts and states. 

Although the House bill did not include farm to school priorities, NFSN recognized opportunities remained with the Senate. The Senate Agriculture Committee version of the farm bill also did not include any of NFSN’s three farm to school priorities when it passed out of committee. However, the farm to school message was received on Capitol Hill when two of these priorities were filed as amendments to be considered by the full Senate in its final vote on the bill: 

Amendment #3179 - Geographic Preference Provision
Co-Sponsored by Senator Brown (D-OH), Senator Collins (R-ME), Senator Tillis (R-NC) & Senator Hassan (D-NH)

Amendment #3129 - Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables
Sponsored by Senator Wyden (D-OR)

The inclusion of these two priorities as amendments was a major step forward for farm to school being part of the federal policy making dialogue, and it was a direct result of tireless advocacy efforts from farm to school champions across the country. There were over 150 amendments scheduled to be considered by the full Senate, however, ultimately, Senate leadership only allowed a handful to be voted on before closing the amendment process. This meant that many amendments, including these two farm to school amendments, were not voted on and thus not included in the final version on the Senate farm bill, which passed with a 86-11 vote.  

Despite not crossing the farm bill finish line, there are reasons to be proud of our farm bill advocacy efforts: 

  • NFSN and the farm to school movement gained new, bipartisan Congressional champions for farm to school - most notably the amendment champions listed above.
  • Together, we increased exposure to farm to school with Senators on both sides of the aisle, thanks to advocates calling, emailing, and using social media to contact  your representatives, asking for their support of farm to school in the farm bill.
  • NFSN forged new coalitions with national organizations, such as the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
As the farm bill process concludes, we now turn our attention towards other federal legislative opportunities to advance farm to school. While the National Farm to School Network continues advocacy at the federal level, it’s important to remember that federal policy is just one policy approach to advancing farm to school. State farm to school policy can be equally - if not more - important in fostering and growing farm to school programs in your communities. Our State Farm to School Legislative Survey: 2002-2017 shows that state and territory legislatures are proposing farm to school policies in record numbers. So even as things slow down on the federal level, there are still ample opportunities to keep up our advocacy work in state, local, and school policies. Don’t forget the significant of your voice in helping creating change at every level of government! 

To learn more about the National Farm to School Network’s policy advocacy and to find resources to help you shape farm to school policy in your community, visit our policy webpage

This Week in Farm to School: 8/7/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 07, 2018
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. Annie’s Grant for Edible School Gardens
Want a school garden? Annie’s believes that showing future generations how sustainable food is grown changes their lives. Connecting kids to gardens helps them to start thinking more holistically about their food, their communities, and the planet. Applications are due Nov. 1, 2018. Learn more and apply here.

2. Lowe’s Toolbox for Education® Grants
Each year, the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grants program contributes more than $5 million to fund improvements at public schools in the United States. Projects should fall into one of the following categories: technology upgrades, tools for STEM programs, facility renovations and safety improvements. Toolbox grant requests can range from $2,000 to $5,000. The Fall Grant Cycle is open through September 28, 2018. Learn more and apply here


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR State Farm to School Month Proclamations
September 20, 2pm ET - note date change
In addition to the federal Congressional resolution NFSN championed in 2010 to establish October as National Farm to School Month, many states have passed resolutions declaring a Farm to School Week or Month. Similar language can usually be used in your state legislature or for a proclamation by your governor. Join us to learn from NFSN Core and Supporting Partners how they: 1) advocated and obtained these proclamations, 2) used these farm to school weeks/months to celebrate farm to school, and 3) used these celebrations as a springboard for more farm to school policies. Guest speakers will include NFSN Arkansas Core Partner, Emily English, of Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, and NFSN Hawaii Core Partner, Natalie McKinney, of Kokua Hawaii Foundation. This webinar will be recorded and available for future viewing. Register here.

2. It's National Farmer's Market Week!
August 5-11
National Farmers Market Week is a great opportunity to show the nation how much value markets bring to their communities. With fun events, specials, contests, and activities, the week helps to boost market attendance and visibility – while at the same time being loads of fun! Farmers Market Coalition has resources, tools, and fun activities for market managers, vendors, and attendees alike to use for planning and participating in national Farmers Market Week. Learn more here.


Research & Resources
1. Albuquerque Public Schools School Garden Video
Albuquerque Public Schools has created a new video highlighting their school garden program. This multi-lingual video profiles the depth and breadth of the district’s school gardens, and shares interviews with students about why gardens are important to them and the community. Watch here.

2. Got examples? Local Wellness Policies and Farm to School

Have you successfully made the case that Local Wellness Policy can be an impactful tool to promote farm to school within districts and schools? If so, the Tisch Food Center would love to know. They are looking for model policy language, case studies, or informal anecdotes about how state, district, or school-level wellness policies have increased support for Farm to School. If so, send your information along to Helen Dombalis, National Farm to School Network Senior Director, Programs & Policy, at helen@farmtoschool.org.  


Job & Leadership Opportunities
1. Farm to School Liaison, School District of Sarasota County (Sarasota, FL)
The Farm to School Liaison will: promote and maximize the use of locally grown foods, especially food grown on school grounds, in the National School Lunch program and National School Breakfast program; develop and maintain day-to-day operations of sustainable school farm programs in partnership with school sites and community groups; and, write and maintain Standard Operating Procedures for school farm projects and educate and train students and adults on small farm best practices. Learn more here.

2.  Associate Director Culinary Education and Training, Institute of Child Nutrition (Oxford, MS)
This position provides leadership and direction for the culinary education and trainings for child nutrition programs for the Institute of Child Nutrition. The incumbent manages and directs the development of culinary curriculum and training materials, implements the culinary training and professional development program, and provides guidance and leadership to the staff. Learn more and apply here

3. Community Food Systems Mentorship Program, Food Systems Leadership Network
The Food Systems Leadership Network is now accepting applications for the second round of the Community Food Systems Mentorship Program. This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a leading food systems professional on a range of food systems topics, chart out a plan for professional development, and get expert feedback and guidance on your programs and organizations. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
New York children become one with nature in nursery’s garden
At the Riverdale Presbyterian Church Nursery School, it’s the season for Explorations in Nature, an eight-week program geared for children between 2 and 5. The children not only work in the garden, but also learn about animals and insects, play in the water, and eat food from their surroundings. (Riverdale Press)

Georgia schools bringing nutrition into the classroom
Hosted by the Baldwin County School District’s nutrition department, professionals based in a range of related fields came together for a Farm to School symposium to discuss ways to expand school nutrition out of the cafeteria and into the classroom. The symposium was attended by school nutrition employees, teachers, and some current as well as prospective community partners that can assist in the nutrition-to-classroom integration. (Union Recorder)

California students to soon get long-awaited new district farm
In just a few short months, Santa Paula students of a all ages will be able to care for livestock, traipse through an orchard, study soil and water samples, and much more at the school district’s all new farm. District officials say it will offer students an opportunity to get out of the classroom and apply different science, math, and business lessons in the real world. (VC Star)

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.

This Week in Farm to School: 7/31/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 31, 2018
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. Deutsche Bank’s Native Community Capital Access Program: Request for Proposals
Deutsche Bank is issuing an RFP for their Native Community Capital Access Program last. Any mission-driven financial institution that is primarily serving underserved or low-income Native communities (half or more of activities must be focused on this population) are welcome to apply. This can include CDFIs, banks, credit unions, social enterprises, or other organizations. Submissions are due by August 31st. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to ECE: Indigenous Foods in Early Care and Education Settings
This Week! August 2, 2pm ET
Incorporating indigenous foods into education and meals in early care and education (ECE) settings offers many benefits, including increasing children’s knowledge of tribal history and food ways and strengthening cultural, spiritual, and social connections in the community. However, ensuring indigenous foods are procured, prepared, and served in ways that align with state licensing and Child and Adult Care Food Program regulations can be challenging. Join this webinar to hear from speakers from the National Farm to School Network, the Institute for Agriculture Trade and Policy, and the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association and to learn about innovative practices and resources that help overcome these challenges and support the inclusion of indigenous foods in ECE settings and in CACFP. Register here.

2. NFSN WEBINAR State Farm to School Month Proclamations
September 6, 2pm ET
In addition to the federal Congressional resolution NFSN championed in 2010 to establish October as National Farm to School Month, many states have passed resolutions declaring a Farm to School Week or Month. Similar language can usually be used in your state legislature or for a proclamation by your governor. Join us to learn from NFSN Core and Supporting Partners how they: 1) advocated and obtained these proclamations, 2) used these farm to school weeks/months to celebrate farm to school, and 3) used these celebrations as a springboard for more farm to school policies. Guest speakers will include NFSN Arkansas Core Partner, Emily English, of Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, and NFSN Hawaii Core Partner, Natalie McKinney, of Kokua Hawaii Foundation. This webinar will be recorded and available for future viewing. Register here.

3. 2018 SC Farm to Institution Summit: Planting Seeds of Innovation
August 28-29 // Greenville, SC
South Carolina Farm to Institution, in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control’s Division of Diabetes, Heart Disease, and School Health, will be hosting the second annual SC Farm to Institution Summit. This year’s theme is Planting Seeds of Innovation. Learn more and register here.


Research & Resources
1. Farm to School in Indiana: The local politics of feeding children
Focusing on farm-to-school policies, this article from the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition uses interviews with 10 school district foodservice directors in Indiana to identify what influences their decisions about where to purchase vegetables and fruits. Read the full article here.

2. Process evaluation of a farm to school preschool program in New York City
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene piloted a farm-to-preschool program for low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-eligible children and their families at 9 childcare centers in New York City. The program made local produce available for purchase at the preschools, offered nutrition education to parents and childcare center staff, and offered children’s gardening activities in participating classrooms. This article in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition describes the program model, shares process evaluation data, and summarizes lessons learned from this program. Read the full article here.


Job & Leadership Opportunities
1. Montana Local Foods Specialist, National Center for Appropriate Technology (Butte, MT)
NCAT Farm to Cafeteria Network is hiring a Montana Local Foods Program Specialist. Put your education and experience to work to lead the growth of the farm to institution movement in Montana. NCAT is looking for a motivated, enthusiastic individual to work with the Farm to Cafeteria Network, an NCAT statewide initiative involving foodservice professionals, farmers and ranchers, and leaders in Montana’s local food movement who are working together to increase the amount of healthy, locally-sourced foods served in Montana’s institutions. Learn more and apply here.

2. Farm Coordinator, Feeding the Gulf Coast (Theodore, AL) 
Feeding the Gulf Coast is hiring a part time Farm Coordinator to support its Farm to Summer and Farm to CACFP programs. This position will grow food for its in-house Child Nutrition Programs that daily serve 900 kids in the school year and 1500 in the summer. Learn more and apply here. 

3. Community Food Systems Mentorship Program, Food Systems Leadership Network
The Food Systems Leadership Network is now accepting applications for the second round of the Community Food Systems Mentorship Program. This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a leading food systems professional on a range of food systems topics, chart out a plan for professional development, and get expert feedback and guidance on your programs and organizations. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
Laura Edwards-Orr Named Member of Inaugural 40 Under 40
Laura Edwards-Orr, Executive Director of Red Tomato and NFSN Advisory Board Member, has been named a member of the Fruit and Vegetable's inaugural 40 Under 40, a new, national, industry-wide honor, recognizing the next generation of agriculture industry leadership. The award celebrates professionals under the age of 40 demonstrating strong leadership qualities, innovative thinking and commitment to industry advancement. Read more here. Congratulations, Laura!

Pennsylvania high school offers a summer chef class for kids
Middle and high school students in a Pennsylvania community recently attended a weeklong culinary camp. During the camp, students worked in teams to complete cooking-related challenges and recently prepared a four-course meal for administrators from the district. (WFMZ-TV)

New York schools to improve lunches with local farm produce
With added taste and local farmers, Queensbury school lunches will have enhanced flavor in the upcoming school year. Along with a new food provider, the district will also use a state-reimbursement deal that comes when schools receive food from local farmers in New York. (The Post Star)

Virginia elementary school offers fresh produce from its vegetable garden to community
A local school is giving back to the environment and the community by getting its students outside for a hands-on experience. Fishburn Park Elementary has, for the first time in its eight years of having a school garden, launched its own produce stand. Any funds earned go to support the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) program. (WSLS 10 News)

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.

This Week in Farm to School: 7/24/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 24, 2018
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. GreenWorks! Grants
Project Learning Tree offers GreenWorks! grants of up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. Students implement an action project they help design to green their school or to improve an aspect of their neighborhood’s environment. Applications are due Sept. 30. Learn more here.  

2. Samull Classroom Herb Garden Grant
The Herb Society of America will select ten (10) schools/classrooms serving grades 3 through 6 to receive $200 "Seed Money" to establish an indoor or outdoor herb garden. The funds may be used for supplies such as soil, plant trays, containers, child or youth sized tools, etc. The application deadline is October 1, 2018. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to ECE: Indigenous Foods in Early Care and Education Settings
August 2, 2pm ET
Incorporating indigenous foods into education and meals in early care and education (ECE) settings offers many benefits, including increasing children’s knowledge of tribal history and food ways and strengthening cultural, spiritual, and social connections in the community. However, ensuring indigenous foods are procured, prepared, and served in ways that align with state licensing and Child and Adult Care Food Program regulations can be challenging. Join this webinar to hear from speakers from the National Farm to School Network, the Institute for Agriculture Trade and Policy, and the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association and to learn about innovative practices and resources that help overcome these challenges and support the inclusion of indigenous foods in ECE settings and in CACFP. Register here.

2. Healthy Eating in Practice Conference: Special offer for National Farm to School Network
August 26-29 // Asheville, NC
Healthy Eating in Practice is a hands-on conference for healthcare professionals and advocates to better support healthy eating. Grounded in experiential learning, this national conference will equip attendees with practical skills and approaches that work in the day-to-day reality of healthcare. In addition to presentations by leading practitioners, researchers, and policy experts, attendees will visit area farms and participate in cooking workshops. NFSN Executive Director and Co-Founder, Anupama Joshi, will be a speaker. Use code NFSN0826 to save $200 off the registration rate through July 25. Register here. 


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to School Outreach Extension Assistant, Center for Environmental Farming Systems (Raleigh, NC)
The primary purpose of this Outreach Extension Assistant position is to provide broad support of the outreach efforts of the farm to school initiatives of CEFS and the Farm to School Coalition of NC. Learn more and apply here.

2. Farm to Early Childcare and Education Program Coordinator, Center for Environmental Farming Systems (Raleigh, NC)
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems is hiring a Program Coordinator for its Farm to Early Care and Education Initiative. The Program Coordinator will lead its training team and help develop and deliver trainings to stakeholders throughout the state. Learn more and apply here.

3. Outreach Coordinator, The Common Market Mid-Atlantic (Washington, DC or Jessup, MD)
The Common Market Mid-Atlantic, a mission-driven distributor of local foods to the Mid-Atlantic region, seeks a Customer Outreach Coordinator. The Outreach Coordinator will support the organization’s mission to strengthen regional farms while making the local bounty accessible to communities and the schools, universities, hospitals, restaurants, and retailers that serve them. Learn more and apply here.

4. Community Outreach Coordinator, Georgia Organics (Atlanta, GA)
Georgia Organics seeks a highly motivated project coordinator with a passion for community engagement to serve as the full-time Community Outreach Coordinator. This position is based in Georgia Organic’s office in Atlanta with regular travel, and is responsible for day-to-day coordination support of the Georgia Food Oasis (GFO) program. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
Missouri students learn food business and form friendships in Project Salsa
High school students in a Missouri school district have been involved with Project Salsa - working in teams to prepare and sell salsa at a local farmers market. Students also grow some of the ingredients they use in their salsa. (Columbia Tribune)

Georgia graduate student brings farm to preschool
Despite an abundance of health food, many children grow up struggling with poor eating habits and food insecurity. Nutrition graduate student Diana Myers brings fun, creative ways to change these poor habits to preschoolers enrolled in the Little Ones Learning Center in Forest Park as part of her practical community nutrition hours. (Georgia State University News Hub)

New York sixth graders renovate school garden
This spring, the sixth grade at Spencer-Van Etten Middle School undertook a rigorous service project as part of their character education curriculum. A key component of the curriculum is to choose a service project and carry it out. The students decided to renovate a school garden put in about 15 years ago that had fallen into weedy disrepair due to lack of funding for maintenance. (Ithaca Journal)


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.

Farm to Summer

NFSN Staff Wednesday, July 18, 2018



By Elizabeth Esparza, Communications Intern


The summer months can be a vulnerable time for many students and their families who rely on school meals. At the same time, summer’s plentiful produce offers an opportunity to make sure that these students don’t have to worry about missing meals.

Farm to summer brings the core elements of farm to school into the USDA Summer Food Service Program to ensure that students receive nutritious meals when school is out of session. This summer, the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) anticipates providing over 200 million free meals to students across the country. SFSP’s flexibility offers a great chance to use seasonal produce, to maintain and enjoy harvests from school gardens, and to engage students and their families in education and enrichment opportunities in addition to summer meals.

Farm to summer programs are a natural extension of farm to school. For USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems, the two main opportunities of farm to summer are local sourcing and garden and agriculture education. Whether meals are sourced directly from farms and farmers markets, an intermediary source, or from school and community gardens, summer meal sites can enhance their summer meals with educational opportunities to attract more children, to engage community partners, and to ensure the sustainability of the program. The goals are to serve healthy, fresh food to children while school is out, to support the local economy throughout the peak growing season, and to provide food and agriculture related opportunities to children during the summer.

Massachusetts Farm to School is taking advantage of bountiful farms and longer days to serve summer meals at local farmers markets. Offering meals at the markets has been a beneficial  supplement to other meal programs offered throughout the week. Markets are often hosted at different times than other meals, such as evenings and weekends, and they offer even more chances to raise awareness about what is in season and introduce new avenues for families to access local food. 

One way Massachusetts Farm to School is encouraging participation in meals at the market is through their Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). With HIP, families can earn extra money for SNAP/EBT by buying at participating farmers markets, mobile markets, farm stands or community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.This can allow families to access more locally grown fruits and vegetables while simultaneously helping local farmers.

In Kentucky, the Kentucky-Grown Vegetable Incentive Program (K-VIP) is making sure that hungry students get fresh, nutritious, and locally grown fruits and vegetables throughout the summer by offering a financial incentive for summer meal sites to include Kentucky-grown produce. School food program sponsors can be reimbursed for a third of all fruits and vegetables purchased from Kentucky farmers, giving schools the chance to engage with farmers they might not have before. Almost half of all K-VIP sponsors had never worked with local farmers or producers before. By providing funding for summer food program sponsors that purchase produce directly from Kentucky farmers, K-VIP helps increase participation in summer meal programs and connect local farmers with schools. 

Whether they are connecting with families at a variety of sites, offering enrichment opportunities alongside their summer meals, or providing opportunities to connect schools and farms during the most abundant growing season, farm to summer programs throughout the country are working hard to ensure that students receive fresh and nutritious meals while school is out. 

To learn more about the opportunities and benefits of farm to school in the summer months, watch a recording of our July 2018 Trending Topics Webinar: Farm to Summer.  

This Week in Farm to School: 7/17/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 17, 2018
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. 

Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Farm to ECE: Indigenous Foods in Early Care and Education Settings
August 2, 2pm ET
Incorporating indigenous foods into education and meals in early care and education (ECE) settings offers many benefits, including increasing children’s knowledge of tribal history and food ways and strengthening cultural, spiritual, and social connections in the community. However, ensuring indigenous foods are procured, prepared, and served in ways that align with state licensing and Child and Adult Care Food Program regulations can be challenging. Join this webinar to hear from speakers from the National Farm to School Network, the Institute for Agriculture Trade and Policy, and the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association and to learn about innovative practices and resources that help overcome these challenges and support the inclusion of indigenous foods in ECE settings and in CACFP. Register here. 

2. The Food Project’s Summer Institute
August 1-3 // Boston, Lynn, and Lincoln, MA
The Food Project’s three-day Summer Institute is packed with activities on our farms, workshops, and engaging conversation that will teach you about youth development, sustainable urban and suburban agricultural models, food and social justice initiatives, and how to build more food secure communities. Register here.

3. Healthy Eating in Practice Conference: Special offer for National Farm to School Network
August 26-29 // Asheville, NC
Healthy Eating in Practice is a hands-on conference for healthcare professionals and advocates to better support healthy eating. Grounded in experiential learning, this national conference will equip attendees with practical skills and approaches that work in the day-to-day reality of healthcare. In addition to presentations by leading practitioners, researchers, and policy experts, attendees will visit area farms and participate in cooking workshops. NFSN Executive Director and Co-Founder, Anupama Joshi, will be a speaker. Use code NFSN0826 to save $200 off the registration rate through July 25. Register here.

4. Farm to Cafeteria Canada Conference
May 16-17, 2019 // Victoria, British Columbia
This conference will gather over 450 expected participants from across the continent for an opportunity to learn, celebrate, share, and inspire the movement to bring healthy, local, and sustainable foods to the minds and plates of students in Canada and beyond. Details about the conference (and May 15 pre-conference activities) should be out by September 1 and can be found here.


Research & Resources
1. Call for Abstracts: Food Access Among Low-Income Populations
A special issues of the Translational Behavioral Medicine (TBM) is soliciting papers focusing on the intersect of diet/obesity and poverty. Papers should examine some aspect of each of these areas from a behavioral science perspective. Within these topic areas, TBM is also interested in papers that include results demonstrating the role that various social determinants of health play in food access among low-income populations. Learn more here.


Job Opportunities
1. Farm to Early Childcare and Education Program Coordinator, Center for Environmental Farming Systems (Raleigh, NC)
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems is hiring a Program Coordinator for its Farm to Early Care and Education Initiative. The Program Coordinator will lead its training team and help develop and deliver trainings to stakeholders throughout the state. Learn more and apply here.

2. Senior Economist, Food Systems - Food & Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists (Washington, DC)
Union of Concerned Scientists has a position open in its Food & Environment Program as a Sr. Economist in its DC location. This person will conduct applied economic research on the market failures and externalities across a broad range of food and agricultural production, value chains, natural environment, food security, nutrition, public health, and more. Learn more and apply here.

3. Nutrition Services Director, Berkeley Unified School District (Berkeley, CA)
An exciting opportunity to shape the school food system of Berkeley is available. The Nutrition Services Director plays a key role in the district’s ability to innovate and provide students high quality and delicious school means. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
Gardens grow sense of community for Illinois neighborhood
Arlington Heights Elementary School District 25 is leading an effort to integrate students from low-income families into their community through a batch of new programs and amenities, including community gardens and summer meals. Called the Dryden Place Project and launched last year, the program’s resources are proving helpful for the students. (Daily Herald)

California school district combines math, nutrition lessons at junior farmers markets
The Manteca Unified School District Nutrition Education department is hosting six junior farmers markets this month at various public parks to give children additional access to healthy foods, with an educational twist.. Each student who attends will be given a bag with three “nutrition education dollars” inside. After listening to a 15-minute presentation on the importance of eating fresh fruit and vegetables, the young shoppers can use the “dollars” on produce items marked with different prices. (Recordnet)

Massachusetts school nutritionist looks to bring orchard to Medford High
A school nutrition professional at a Massachusetts high school has proposed installing an outdoor learning space and fruit orchard on campus. The orchard would include blueberries, apples and peaches, among other fruits that would be available for students to eat. (Medford Wicked Local)


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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