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Celebrating Native American Heritage Month with Farm to School

NFSN Staff Saturday, November 30, 2019
"To be a human being is an honor, and we offer thanksgiving for all the gifts of life. Mother Earth, we thank you for giving us everything we need."  - Chief Jake Swamp, Giving Thanks


November is Native American Heritage Month, and the National Farm to School Network is celebrating innovative farm to school initiatives taking root in Native communities from coast to coast. From incorporating traditional foods like blue corn and buffalo into school meals, to learning about traditional plants and growing methods, farm to school in Native communities can be an approach for building food sovereignty and reinvigorating traditional foodways. In a show of support for Native communities and the reality of the Thanksgiving holiday, additional educational resources are also shared below in the comments.

1. Blog Series: Native Farm to School Champion Stories
To celebrate and recognize farm to school activities happening across Indian Country, National Farm to School Network has partnered with the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) to share a series of blogs profiling Native Farm to School Champions. These stories were organized and collected by IAC's Regional Technical Assistance Specialists, and top programs will be recognized for the farm to school leadership at the 2019 IAC Annual Meeting in December. IAC is NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year. Explore the Native Farm to School Champion profiles here
 
2. Blog: Reflections from the Road: Conference on Native American Nutrition
Mackenize Martinez, IAC Partnership Communications Intern, shares her reflections on attending and presenting about farm to school at the Fourth Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition this past September. Read more here

3. Blog: Food Sovereignty, Youth Empowerment & Farm to School
This blog is dedicated to celebrating November as Native American Heritage Month. In April 2019, at National Farm to School Network’s Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL, individuals from various tribal nations around the country participated in a panel discussion. The conversation below highlights thoughts shared on farm to school in Native communities, food sovereignty, and youth leadership. Panel participants representing NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year, Intertribal Agriculture Council, include Keir Johnson-Reyes, Shelbi Fitzpatrick, and Megan Forcia. The panel was moderated by Alena Paisano, NFSN Program Manager. A video of the full session is available here

4. Resource: Illuminative Narrative Change Insights and Action Guide
This Insights and Action Guide provide distilled takeaways from the breakthrough research. Here you learn what narrative change is and how to deploy it with your messages. Breakthrough research is made accessible in this simple guide. Implement these user-friendly action tips to make a change in your community, organization, or company. Stand with Native peoples – amplify a new story and change the future! (Illuminative)

5. Article: Native American Heritage Month: Indigenous People Will Not be Erased
Despite this latest slight to Indian Country by the Trump Administration, Native and Indigenous movements for justice and visibility are mobilizing in unprecedented ways. Some may call the celebration of Native American Heritage Month merely a symbolic gesture, but symbols and the movements behind them matter. Read the powerful message voiced by co-authors Crystal Echo-Hawk and Nick Tilsen. (NDN Collective)

6. Article: What Does Thanksgiving Mean to Native Americans?
There are always two sides of a story. Unfortunately, when it comes to the history of Thanksgiving, generations of Americans have been taught a one-sided history in homes and schools. (Native Hope

7. Resource: American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving
Each November educators across the country teach their students about the First Thanksgiving, a quintessentially American holiday. They try to give students an accurate picture of what happened in Plymouth in 1621 and explain how that event fits into American history. Unfortunately, many teaching materials give an incomplete, if not inaccurate, portrayal of the first Thanksgiving, particularly of the event’s Native American participants. This poster incorporates some fundamental concepts about Native cultures, which have too often been obscured by stereotypes and misconceptions. (National Museum of the American Indian)

8. Article: 3 Ways to Expand Native American Curriculum Beyond Thanksgiving Myths
Generalizations tied to the holiday don't paint the whole picture of the numerous cultures that were spread across the Americas. Children's and young adult author Cynthia Leitich Smith sees room for educators to push beyond their lessons a bit when it comes to teaching these topics, suggesting curriculum can be integrated throughout the school year — and across any discipline — with just a bit more sleuthing on the part of teachers and students alike. (Education Drive)

9. Article: Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way
School Thanksgiving activities often mean dressing children in “Indian” headdresses and paper feathers or asking students to draw themselves as Native Americans from the past, complete with feather-adorned headbands and buckskin clothing. These activities might seem friendly and fun, unless you are aware of how damaging this imagery is to perceptions of contemporary Native peoples. This imagery contributes to the indoctrination of American youth into a false narrative that relegates Indigenous peoples to the past and turns real human beings into costumes for a few days a year. It’s not just bad pedagogy; it’s socially irresponsible. Teaching about Thanksgiving in a socially responsible way means that educators accept the ethical obligation to provide students with accurate information and to reject traditions that sustain harmful stereotypes about Indigenous peoples. Thankfully, there are excellent online resources that can help educators interested in disrupting the hegemonic Thanksgiving story. (Teaching Tolerance)

10. Resource: A Story of Survival: The Wampanoag and the English
This Thanksgiving Lesson plan booklet has emerged as a need expressed by our teachers to have something meaningful, tangible and easy to follow in their classrooms. The booklet also emerged because many parents were frustrated with their Native child coming home with make-shift feathers and inaccurate stories of Thanksgiving. This booklet provides a number of useful tools including quick facts for teachers to read to learn about the English and the Indigenous people of this land,  a list of “what not to do” in order to not offend or provide harmful and inaccurate images to ALL children, and lessons that are grade appropriate with photos to follow. (Oklahoma City Public Schools Native American Student Services)

11. Article: ‘I Was Teaching a Lot of Misconceptions.’ The Way American Kids Are Learning About the 'First Thanksgiving' Is Changing
On a recent Saturday morning in Washington, D.C., about two dozen secondary and elementary school teachers experienced a role reversal. This time, it was their turn to take a quiz: answer “true” or “false” for 14 statements about the famous meal known as the “First Thanksgiving.” (TIME)

Explore more resources for farm to school in Native communities on our website.

Native F2S Champions: Karuk Tribe

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 26, 2019
By Keir Reyes-Johnson, Intertribal Agriculture Council, Pacific Region


Photo credit: Karuk Tribe 
This blog is part of a series of profiles of Native Farm to School Champions, organized and collated by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). IAC is NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year, and we are excited to collaborate with IAC on this storytelling project to celebrate farm to school activities happening across Indian Country. These Champion profiles were written and submitted by IAC's Regional Technical Assistance Specialists, and these programs will be recognized for the farm to school leadership at the 2019 IAC Annual Meeting. Learn more about the IAC at www.indianag.org.

The Karuk Tribe is strongly committed to growing opportunities for Tribal and local youth to engage with their traditional food system. Lisa Hillman, the Director of the Píkyav Field Institute, has led a powerful effort to build integrative traditional and local foods curriculum into years of Farm 2 School (F2S) related initiatives. The Karuk Tribe initially received a F2S subaward in 2015 which enabled staff to hire Native food forager contractors who collected hundreds of pounds of acorns, grapes, huckleberries and more. The program organized field trips to foraging sites, conducted a baseline survey of traditional foods consumption at area schools, and built and implemented K-12 Native food system curriculum. Many schools throughout the Mid Klamath Region of California (Junction, Orleans, Happy Camp, and Forks of Salmon Elementary Schools, Yreka Tribal Headstart, and Happy Camp High School) partnered to implement this important programming.

In 2017, the Karuk Tribe received a $100,000 F2S grant to expand upon ongoing initiatives (developed under their initial sub-award) to further support their impressive traditional foodways educational initiatives. Under this grant, Lisa and her team were able to publish many articles and present findings and best practices at venues across the region and beyond. Continued emphasis was placed on honing and expanding K-12 curriculum as well. The true impact of the F2S based efforts over the years is immeasurable. Lisa and her team are cultivating meaningful change in their communities through food and nutrition-based curriculum that follows the unique practices of the Karuk people. 

Lisa has been very impressed by the process of working with both F2S grants and has recently shared that the “Farm 2 School grants have been the best grants I have ever worked with.” 

IAC has been a longstanding partner of the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources (which houses the Píkyav Field Institute among other programs), sharing resources and assisting with identifying funding for youth-led initiatives, highlighting the Karuk Tribe’s impressive community-based programming nationally, advocating for the protection of Tribal sovereignty and ancestral territory management, and outreaching to Karuk youth to involve them in IAC Pacific Region Native Youth Food Sovereignty Summits in 2018 and 2019.


Learn more about the Karuk Tribe Farm to School Grant here: http://www.karuk.us/index.php/press

This Week in Farm to School: 11/26/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 26, 2019
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. 

Action Opportunities
1. You Count! USDA Farm to School Census Closes Dec. 6
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems' third Farm to School Census closes on Dec. 6. Be sure your school district is counted! The Farm to School Census is the only national survey that examines school districts’ farm to school activities. It's imperative that all School Food Authorities (SFAs) - whether or not they currently participate in farm to school activities - complete the Census in order to have the most accurate picture of the scope, reach and impact of farm to school nationwide. The Census has been sent directly to SFAs. Please check with your SFAs to ask if they've submitted the Census, and make sure your efforts are counted! Learn more about the Census here.


Grants & Funding
1. USDA 2020 Farm to School Grant RFA Now Open
Deadline: December 13
The 2020 USDA Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. With additional funding made available through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $10 million in FY 2020 funding. Grants ranging in size from $20,000 to $100,000 will be available to schools, nonprofits, State and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to plan and implement farm to school activities. Applications are due Dec. 13, 2019. Learn more here.
 
2. NFSN Consultation Services to Support USDA Farm to School Grant Applicants
National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring this funding reaches the communities that need it most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance during the application process (thought partnership, preparing the grant application, evaluation) and during grant implementation (needs assessment, evaluation, action plan, virtual coaching). Learn more here.  

3. USDA Regional Farm to School Institutes RFA
Deadline: December 27
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems is pleased to announce the new Regional Farm to School Institute Grant Request for Applications (RFA). This new grant for fiscal year 2020 will support the creation and dissemination of information on farm to school program development, and provide practitioner education and training, and ongoing school year coaching and technical assistance. The Food and Nutrition Service anticipates awarding at least two grants with a combined total of $150,000, to eligible 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations working regionally to promote farm to school activities and support practitioners. Learn more here.

4. Food System Vision Prize
Early Deadline: Dec. 5 / Final Deadline: Jan. 31
With a total of $2 million in prize money and a global network of partners, the Food System Vision Prize is an invitation for organizations, companies, governments, and other entities around the world to develop inspirational, concrete Visions for the food system of the future. The Prize, launched by The Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with SecondMuse and OpenIDEO, is driven by a central question: “How might we envision regenerative and nourishing food futures for 2050?” The Prize seeks systems-focused proposals that encourage people worldwide to take action and think collaboratively about the future. Submitted Visions should also reflect the Prize’s core beliefs that include diversity, resilience, equity, and the power of food to connect people. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. EQUITY Webinar: Building Partnerships to Support Food Sovereignty in African American Communities
Dec. 3 // 3PM EST
This webinar is an opportunity to explore how and why African American communities are working together to enhance their food sovereignty. Following this introduction to the concept of food sovereignty and its role in African American communities, Malik Yakini with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and Lilly Fink Shapiro with the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative will discuss their partnership designing and co-leading the Food Literacy for All course. They will describe how the partnership was developed and its impact both in the community and on campus. The webinar also will introduce Kimberly Carr, a post-doctoral research associate in food sovereignty and racial equity at the Center for Regional Food Systems and Center for Interdisciplinarity at Michigan State University. The webinar is hosted by the Racial Equity in the Food System workgroup, coordinated by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Register here.

2. National Farmers Union’s Women’s Conference
January 19-21 // San Diego, California
Farming is never a one-woman job – it takes a village to run a successful operation. This conference will not only prepare attendees for success in agriculture, but it will also provide them with their own network of women farmers and ranchers they can reach out to throughout the year. Farmers, policy makers, educators, and specialists will present on a number of subjects, including financial management, farm labor, leadership, and more. Learn more and register here

3. 2020 Sustainable Food and Farm Conference
February 7-9 // Grass Valley, California
Join conference attendees for a tour through some of Nevada County’s innovators in regenerative agriculture. This year’s tour includes: For the People Seeds, Legacy Ranching, and Mountain Bounty Farm. The conference features a full day of national and international heroes from the sustainable food movement. This year the Conference will feature one of the world’s most dynamic and provocative thinkers on agriculture and ecology, Dr. Vandana. Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm will share their award-winning regenerative farming techniques that have proven to increase both ecological health and profits. Jim Gerrish, international consultant for restoring rangelands, will help farmers and ranchers get the most of their pastures through high intensity, ecological management. Local experts will take the stage offering 20 food and farm workshops for a wide scope of interests across farmers, ranchers, home gardeners, and foodies. Topics include Agri-Tourism models, Growing More Food with High-Tunnels, Grazing for Fire Safety, Creating Value-Added Meat Products and more. Learn more here

4. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 21-23, 2020 // Albuquerque, New Mexico
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Are you passionate about supporting local agriculture and fostering a culture of food literacy in your community? This event is for you. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Research & Resources
1. EQUITY Native Farm to School Champion Stories
November is Native American Heritage Month. To celebrate and recognize farm to school activities happening across Indian Country, National Farm to School Network has partnered with the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) to share a series of blogs profiling Native Farm to School Champions. These stories were organized and collected by IAC's Regional Technical Assistance Specialists, and top programs will be recognized for the farm to school leadership at the 2019 IAC Annual Meeting in December. IAC is NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year. Explore the Native Farm to School Champion profiles here

2. Cornell University publishes feature package about New York Farm to School 
NY Farm to School programs, which provide K-12 students with fresh, locally sourced foods and expand markets for farmers, are sprouting statewide thanks to efforts by Cornell Cooperative Extension to connect schools and growers. Specialists with CCE’s Harvest New York program apply findings by Cornell researchers in nutrition, agricultural economics and related fields to provide knowledge and expertise to launch or expand F2S projects; they also connect key players – growers, school food service directors, community organizers – around the table. CCE educators help K-12 teachers incorporate lessons on nutrition, food systems and related topics – much of it based upon curricula developed by Cornell’s NY Agriculture in the Classroom program. The Cornell Small Farms Program and the Farm to School Program Work Team bring together faculty, extension educators and community partners to ensure that the latest faculty and extension research informs these activities. Read more here.   


Jobs
1. Communications Intern, National Farm to School Network (Remote) 
National Farm to School Network seeks a Communications Intern to support content development and dissemination of information and resources to NFSN stakeholders. As a member of the Communications team, the Communications Intern will work closely with NFSN staff and partners, gaining hands-on experience in digital media and farm to school programming. This is a remote position, working approximately 10 hours per week for twelve months. The deadline to apply is Dec. 6, 2019. Learn more here.

2. Director of Institutional Impact, Center for Good Food Purchasing (Bay Area, CA)
The Center for Good Food Purchasing is hiring a Director of Institutional Impact. The Director of Institutional Impact is responsible for building the performance and capacity of institutions and their vendors to align their food purchases with the five core values of the Good Food Purchasing Program. The director will be responsible for building and leading the Impact team, offering enrolled institutions training, technical assistance, peer-learning opportunities, and a variety of tools to help translate data into action. The Center for Good Food Purchasing is seeking a highly motivated and adept leader with deep experience in food procurement at large institutions, and a commitment to harnessing the individual and collective purchasing power of major institutions to drive increased food system equity and improved conditions along the food supply chain. The deadline to apply is December 9, 2019. Learn more here.


Farm to School in the News
Pennsylvania school district embracing locally-sourced food options
Two food service programs new to cafeterias in the Uniontown Area School District this year are providing students with fuel for the classroom and beyond. In an effort to engage more students in healthy eating habits and prepare them to take on the day, the district introduced two programs at the start of the school year that include partnering with an area farm to offer fresh, locally-sourced foods. (Herald Standard)

Montana schools on the cutting edge with Big Sky Farm to Table Program
Missoula County Public School students have a unique opportunity for hands on learning in the MCPS Ag program at Big Sky High School. No other school in the country has a state inspected butchering shop where students can literally make their own lunch. (Tri-State Livestock News)

Arizona farm-to-school programs revitalize health in nutritionally underserved communities
The Mesa program is part of a larger national effort called farm to school, which promotes better health in children through school gardens, education related to agriculture and food, and encouraging the purchase of local foods for use in school cafeterias. Some 42,000 U.S. schools take part, including more than 500 in Arizona. Most of the gardens are in communities where more than 50% of students receive free or reduced-cost lunch. (Cronkite 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.

Native F2S Champions: Hardin School District

NFSN Staff Monday, November 25, 2019
By Kole Fitzpatrick, Intertribal Agriculture Council, Rocky Mountain Region


Photo credit: Hardin School District 
This blog is part of a series of profiles of Native Farm to School Champions, organized and collated by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). IAC is NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year, and we are excited to collaborate with IAC on this storytelling project to celebrate farm to school activities happening across Indian Country. These Champion profiles were written and submitted by IAC's Regional Technical Assistance Specialists, and these programs will be recognized for the farm to school leadership at the 2019 IAC Annual Meeting. Learn more about the IAC at www.indianag.org.

Hardin School District has had an enhanced focus on farm to school, specifically through community partnerships, increased access to healthy school meals, and expanded nutrition education. These farm to school initiatives have taken root through the funding and cooperation of our School Nutrition Department, under which the farm to school program functions. Our main focus has been connecting classroom, cafeteria, and community by growing relationships between students and the community to the land and food. 

One of the most exciting ways of furthering this connection is the native orchard planted by students at Crow Agency Public School. At the end of the 2018 school year, students K-5 planted chokecherries, service berries, plums, currants, and elderberries, which was possible through a grant as part of National Farm to School Network’s Seed Change in Native Communities. Our goal in this native orchard project is to empower students in learning about traditional foods, preparation, storage, and ceremony. These plants will serve as a gathering place for classes, a community resource, and most importantly, a native food source for students K-5 to harvest, cook, and learn. 

The variety of traditional berries and plums helps bring students together with elders and community leaders who can pass down and celebrate Crow traditions surrounding these foods. While waiting anxiously on the plants to establish and begin producing, students will continue hands-on cooking, gardening and nutrition lessons in their class. During this time, the farm to school coordinator will work with teachers from each grade level to create an orchard curriculum cookbook. Through this cookbook, teachers will be supported in incorporating the orchard into their classrooms, with lesson plans, community speakers, and recipes for each traditional plant. Each grade will be in charge of a different variety in the orchard, learning all about that variety, while looking forward to a new fruit each school year. For example, the fifth grade classes are in charge of the chokecherries, which community elders will be invited into the classroom to teach students how to make chokecherry jam. Fifth grade students will then harness their entrepreneurship skills by creating a label for the jam to be sold by students at the local farmers market throughout the year. 

Nationwide, farm to school has been an integral part of supporting localization and promoting healthier food access. Although that may look different in each region, school, and community, our farm to school program has grown each year through community partnerships and hands-on educational opportunities to incorporate traditional foods. In our schools, our District Wellness Policy ensures that students k-12 are gaining a much more rounded approach to nutrition by incorporating nutrition education from gym class and extracurriculars to the cafeteria. 

In the last four years, Hardin School Nutrition has also employed a FoodCorps member, who serves to create a positive school-wide culture of health, rooted in hands-on learning and healthy school meals. In this time, we have increased nutrition and garden education from 3 monthly classes to, on average, 30 bi-weekly lessons. Cooking, gardening, and tasting in the class allows students to grow their relationship with their food and the land it comes from. Expanding into the community, students throughout the district have had the opportunity to meet their farmer, take farm field trips, and harvest from the garden. Through this experiential learning, we hope to empower students in their food choices and commitment to community. 


Learn more about Hardin School District here: http://www.hardin.k12.mt.us/

Food Sovereignty, Youth Empowerment & Farm to School

NFSN Staff Friday, November 22, 2019

Keir Johnson-Reyes, Megan Forcia, Shelbi Fitzpatrick and Alena Paisano at the NFSN Annual Meeting. 
This blog is dedicated to celebrating November as Native American Heritage Month. In April 2019, at National Farm to School Network’s Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL, individuals from various tribal nations around the country participated in a panel discussion. The conversation below highlights thoughts shared on farm to school in Native communities, food sovereignty, and youth leadership. Panel participants representing NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year, Intertribal Agriculture Council, include Keir Johnson-Reyes, Shelbi Fitzpatrick, and Megan Forcia. The panel was moderated by Alena Paisano, NFSN Program Manager. A video of the full session is available here

Alena: There is a robust movement for food sovereignty occurring in this nation in all communities - native, rural, and urban alike. The connection between food sovereignty and farm to school ties directly to youth. Empowered youth are helping lead the way in transforming our food systems back to the original, healthy food systems they were. Can you define in your own language what food sovereignty means to you?

Shelbi: The textbook definition states, “the right of peoples to culturally appropriate in healthy foods and the ability to create their own kinds of food systems.” For me, I think you need to dive in deeper into yourself and as a people to understand what food sovereignty means. It's a matter of looking at our environment and land in an objective versus subjective kind of way. Society looks at land and the environment in a subjective way and looks at what we can take without understanding relationships. To me, food sovereignty means strengthening those relationships between humans and nonhumans (the environment), which would better enhance our relationship to our food.

Megan: To me, food sovereignty is everything. It is from the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, our relationships, and our identities as who we are. By being able to witness the amazing work happening around food sovereignty, particularly that our youth are doing, I am able to catch my breath and re-find a center in the midsts of all the environmental, water, and climate crises. In the area of food sovereignty, we need to start looking at things in terms of a bigger picture and larger scope. 

Alena: How do you see farm to school, large or small-scale, as a strategy for advancing food sovereignty in Native communities?

Keir: This is about planting seeds. Working with our young people is working with our communities. Allyship and stepping into uncomfortable situations to explore what you can bring to the table in an effort to co-develop solutions is critical in the process. It is important to understand that working with Native youth in our communities is sacred because they are the future of our people. We view things in different ways, so it is important to develop common languages in order to be able to work together innovatively as we each step forward in this space. That is one of the reasons I am so grateful for the partnership here.  

Shelbi: Food sovereignty is a political action for indigenous peoples. For an organization like NFSN to recognize the sovereignty of indigenous people is huge, especially the political credibility and support that accompanies it. It is amazing in itself that we have a seat at this table and taking part in collaborative actions and sharing common languages is a way to advance in the area of food sovereignty. One example that stuck out to me was partnering schools with elders in the community to work with the garden. Those are two groups that rely on each other for knowledge sharing and bringing each other life in terms of community building. It is something that seems realistic in my home community. 

Megan: It is important to give power back to communities in a way that enables them to have a voice in their own food systems. It is important to understand that we are talking about the type of sovereignty that is nation to nation and government to government. From my understanding, a lot of your farm to school work is heavily reliant upon policy and making sure that support for the work that is laid out within said policy. It is important to remember that for a long time, Native voices have been absent from the conversations surrounding the policies being made. Nationally, in the realms of agriculture, like with the Native Farm Bill Coalition, there has been success in creating a unified voice for Indian Country in that space. There is a need for voices to be heard on the state and local level. Opportunities to speak out are often missed due to a lack of understanding towards the meaning of sovereignty. I hope that the things we are discussing right now opens your eyes in a way that helps you to return home and have those conversations with your community in an effort to advance food sovereignty. 

Alena: In working with IAC, I have seen the fully funded and supported investment they are making in youth programming and the importance that is being placed on their youth. In my culture and traditions, we acknowledge that everything lies within our youth. They have the potential to carry on all the work we have done and all the sacrifices that our ancestors made so that we are able to sit here today. Why is youth leadership important in the farm to school/food sovereignty movement?

Keir: The average age of farmers and ranchers continues to increase from the current 59 years old. Engaging with youth in communities and making sure youth voices are present in the decisions being made about them are important. It is critical to support the localization of responses to issues that are present. Local, traditional food that ties us to our ancestors and to who we are is about ingesting healing. Food is the connection point for all the things that come together and promote wellness within communities. Engaging with youth in communities is not something that should be an afterthought. It is should be at the forefront of everything that we do. IAC has provided a modeling of what youth leadership can look like, and my hope is that others will take charge.

Shelbi: Allowing youth to be involved in these conversations at an earlier age inspires them to get involved earlier. Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance youth are so involved and invested in the conversations surrounding food sovereignty. When the time comes, we are prepared to step into leadership roles and start putting into action all the things we have been talking about. There is a lot to be said about the traditional knowledge of agricultural issues that is passed down from elders to youth. While it is important to go forward, you must also look back and reflect to see what has changed.

Megan: Instilling a sense of hope and empowerment in youth will help them cope with all of the negative feelings and stress surrounding the issues they are faced with, such as climate change. The health of our youth, both mentally and physically, directly translates into the health of our nation. Empowering youth with realistic support, not theoretical talk, gives them a sense of hope that will carry them through all of the difficulties that our communities are facing. We need to look at youth empowerment as the rebuilding of our nations with them as as the foundation of a stronger, healthier future. 

Alena: Something I learned while attending a conference is that just when you feel you have mastered something, it is then time to take that knowledge and teach it to someone else. These youth that are involved are ready to take that on - we just have to give them a platform to do so. 

This conversation was transcribed by Mackenize Martinez, Partnership Communications Intern. 

Native F2S Champions: Miami Public Schools / Modoc Nation of Oklahoma

NFSN Staff Thursday, November 21, 2019
By Electa Hare-RedCorn, Intertribal Agriculture Council, Eastern Oklahoma Region



This blog is part of a series of profiles of Native Farm to School Champions, organized and collated by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). IAC is NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year, and we are excited to collaborate with IAC on this storytelling project to celebrate farm to school activities happening across Indian Country. These Champion profiles were written and submitted by IAC's Regional Technical Assistance Specialists, and these programs will be recognized for the farm to school leadership at the 2019 IAC Annual Meeting. Learn more about the IAC at www.indianag.org.
  
Miami Public Schools and the Modoc Nation of Oklahoma have been awarded a USDA Farm to School Grant as of July 2019. IAC staff interviewed Modoc Bison Ranch and community development staff of the Modoc Nation in late September. The Modoc tribe are originally from homelands in Oregon and are eager to build a historical and cultural awareness of nutritious foods for their school community. This tribal nation farm operation has their own herd of bison, which they acquired through the National Park Service. The USDA award is an implementation grant. The Eastern OK region has taken strides in value-added agricultural production and are invested in educating their youth where their food comes from and how it makes its way to the table. Program grants are designed to increase the amount of healthy, local foods served in schools and create economic opportunities for nearby farmers. The bison products are currently sold through the Modoc Nation Administrative office and offers bison products such as jerky, summer sausage, bison steaks, roast, and bison liver at a fair and competitive price point. 

“We are excited about the opportunity that presents itself here,” said Miami Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Hogan. “We’re still in the infancy stages trying to figure out how it’s all going to work and how to best implement it.” IAC TA spoke with Annette Clark, Director of Education and Culture for the Modoc Nation after she had returned from a Farm to School Grantee meeting in Louisiana. Annette was excited to share that the Public Schools and the Modoc Nation will sponsor a taste of Bison sample in collaboration with the National Bison Day, held on November 2, 2019. 


Chief Bill Follis expressed that tribal nations in Oklahoma contribute significantly to the school communities and local economies. This partnership is an example of a community working collaboratively to share Indian agriculture successes with youth and cafeteria staff. When the cafeteria staff feels empowered with helpful knowledge and resources, the meal just tastes that much better for the kids. Intertribal Agriculture Council supports Modoc Nation in their Farm to School efforts.

Learn more about Miami Public Schools here: http://miami.k12.ok.us/
Learn more about Modoc National of Oklahoma here: https://modocnation.com/

Native F2S Champions: Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation Food Sovereignty Initiative

NFSN Staff Wednesday, November 20, 2019
By Tomie Peterson, Intertribal Agriculture Council, Great Plains Region


Photo Credit: Thunder Valley Community Development Corporations’ Food Sovereignty Initiative 
This blog is part of a series of profiles of Native Farm to School Champions, organized and collated by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). IAC is NFSN's 2019 National Partner of the Year, and we are excited to collaborate with IAC on this storytelling project to celebrate farm to school activities happening across Indian Country. These Champion profiles were written and submitted by IAC's Regional Technical Assistance Specialists, and these programs will be recognized for the farm to school leadership at the 2019 IAC Annual Meeting. Learn more about the IAC at www.indianag.org.

The goal of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporations’ Food Sovereignty Initiative is to create programs and partnerships that will promote a sustainable and viable food system on the Pine Ridge Reservation. 

The Food Sovereignty Coalition has five active members of community partner organizations that are working together to create a local food system. A part of this is trying to implement traditional foods into more of the communities. The coalition successfully introduced buffalo meat from Intertribal Buffalo Council into the nine Head Start Centers across the reservation.

They also completed a food sovereignty curriculum that was implemented in local classrooms. It focused on older elementary students, with topics including Oglala food histories, current local foods, nutrition, gardening, safe food handling, and food preservation. 

IAC Great Plains Technical Assistant recognizes the great strides that Thunder Valley’s Lakota Food Sovereignty has made and is a strong partner by providing any assistance needed to continue their goal of food sovereignty on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Learn more about Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation Food Sovereignty Initiative here: https://thundervalley.org/live-rez/our-programs/food

This Week in Farm to School: 11/19/19

NFSN Staff Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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. 

Action Opportunities
1. Get Counted! USDA Farm to School Census Still Open
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems' third Farm to School Census is currently open and will be wrapping up at the end of November. Be sure your school district is counted! The Farm to School Census is the only national survey that examines school districts’ farm to school activities. It's imperative that all School Food Authorities (SFAs) - whether or not they currently participate in farm to school activities - complete the Census in order to have the most accurate picture of the scope, reach and impact of farm to school nationwide. The Census has been sent directly to SFAs. Please check with your SFAs to ask if they've submitted the Census, and make sure your efforts are counted! Learn more about the Census here


Grants & Funding
1. USDA 2020 Farm to School Grant RFA Now Open
Deadline: December 13
The 2020 USDA Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open. With additional funding made available through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) seeks to award approximately $10 million in FY 2020 funding. Grants ranging in size from $20,000 to $100,000 will be available to schools, nonprofits, State and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to plan and implement farm to school activities. Applications are due Dec. 13, 2019. Learn more here.
 
2. NFSN Consultation Services to Support USDA Farm to School Grant Applicants
National Farm to School Network advocated for the establishment of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program and is committed to ensuring this funding reaches the communities that need it most. NFSN is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance during the application process (thought partnership, preparing the grant application, evaluation) and during grant implementation (needs assessment, evaluation, action plan, virtual coaching). Learn more here.  

3. USDA Regional Farm to School Institutes RFA
Deadline: December 27
The USDA Office of Community Food Systems is pleased to announce the new Regional Farm to School Institute Grant Request for Applications (RFA). This new grant for fiscal year 2020 will support the creation and dissemination of information on farm to school program development, and provide practitioner education and training, and ongoing school year coaching and technical assistance. The Food and Nutrition Service anticipates awarding at least two grants with a combined total of $150,000, to eligible 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations working regionally to promote farm to school activities and support practitioners. Learn more here.

4. 2020 Youth Gardening Grant
Deadline: December 16, 2019
Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States or US Territories planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. The selection of winners is based on demonstrated program impact and sustainability. Previous Youth Garden Grant winners who wish to reapply must wait one year after receiving the award and must prove that their garden programs have been significantly expanded. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Product Spotlight - Increasing Regionally Sourced Grains in Institutions
Nov. 19 // 2 PM EST
Join FINE and the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network (FSCN) for a one-hour webinar to learn more about regional grain production and how it can be a cost effective choice for your institution. Across the state of Maine, allies are working to transform the grain economy by increasing production and reducing procurement bottlenecks while serving and educating customers. Register here.

2. EQUITY Webinar: Building Partnerships to Support Food Sovereignty in African American Communities
Dec. 3 // 3PM EST
This webinar is an opportunity to explore how and why African American communities are working together to enhance their food sovereignty. Following this introduction to the concept of food sovereignty and its role in African American communities, Malik Yakini with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and Lilly Fink Shapiro with the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative will discuss their partnership designing and co-leading the Food Literacy for All course. They will describe how the partnership was developed and its impact both in the community and on campus. The webinar also will introduce Kimberly Carr, a post-doctoral research associate in food sovereignty and racial equity at the Center for Regional Food Systems and Center for Interdisciplinarity at Michigan State University. The webinar is hosted by the Racial Equity in the Food System workgroup, coordinated by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Register here.

3. Call for Proposals: National Children & Youth Garden Symposium
Deadline: January 8, 2020
The American Horticultural Society is pleased to announce its 28th annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS). The 2020 event will take place July 7-10 in Santa Cruz, California, hosted by Life Lab. At the core of the symposium are peer-led educational sessions that focus on relevant, thought-provoking topics, provide attendees with practical knowledge and skills, and appeal to attendees representing a variety of experience levels, educational settings, and youth audiences. Learn more here

4. Request for Proposals: The Test Kitchen
Deadline: January 10, 2020
No Kid Hungry's The Test Kitchen is a concept accelerator designed to help nonprofits, schools, faith organizations, and local governments turn their best ideas into validated strategies and promising practices. The focus of each cohort is different, as selected innovation teams work concurrently to develop and test new ideas that may help reduce childhood hunger. Now in its second year, this year’s focus is on ending childhood hunger in rural communities in the summer. Selected teams will receive grant funds and technical assistance to support a pilot to test their idea and have the opportunity to build relationships with other innovative organizations at an in-person planning retreat. Learn more here

5. Scholarship Application: 2020 National Child Nutrition Conference
Deadline: January 16, 2020
Scholarships are now available for the National Child Nutrition Conference. Apply today for the opportunity to join over 1,700 attendees at the premier training and networking event for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and Afterschool Meals community. The conference will be held April 14-16, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Atlanta, GA. Learn more here

6. National Farmers Union’s Women’s Conference
January 19-21 // San Diego, California
Farming is never a one-woman job – it takes a village to run a successful operation. This conference will not only prepare attendees for success in agriculture, but it will also provide them with their own network of women farmers and ranchers they can reach out to throughout the year. Farmers, policy makers, educators, and specialists will present on a number of subjects, including financial management, farm labor, leadership, and more. Learn more and register here

7. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 21-23, 2020 // Albuquerque, New Mexico
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 21-23, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Are you passionate about supporting local agriculture and fostering a culture of food literacy in your community? This event is for you. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!


Research & Resources
1. New Data on Child Poverty Rates
The number of children living in neighborhoods with high poverty and low opportunity is examined in a new data snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Living in High-Poverty, Low-Opportunity Neighborhoods. This snapshot shares the latest data — for the nation and each state — on children growing up in high-poverty areas. It also singles out two important factors, geographic location and race and ethnicity, that shape a child’s risk of living in concentrated poverty. The document ends by outlining recommended moves that leaders can take to help families in these communities thrive. Read here

2. EQUITY Food Sovereignty Stories
What is food sovereignty and what does it look like in the United States? Food sovereignty can take on unique meanings in different communities, but it always puts questions of power, control, and social justice at the heart of food and farming. Food Sovereignty Stories, created by the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, is a series of videos from social movements in the United States working towards a more just and sustainable food system. These films explore issues of farm justice, migrant rights, feminism, radical urban agriculture, fighting the extractive economy, Indigenous cosmovision and farm justice, amongst others critical issues. Watch here


Farm to School in the News
California students help bring small-scale urban farming to community
Students in the Greater Victoria school district participated in a small-scale urban agriculture project over the summer and were able to grow food, connect with the community and improve their mental health in the process. (Victoria News)

For DC students, lessons in growth, of the garden variety
When students returned to the District’s Capital City Public Charter School in September, they encountered old friends, new teachers and a one-of-a-kind classroom. Rather than walls and books, it bursts with plum and cherry trees, blueberry and aronia bushes, milkweeds and vegetables, and lots and lots of insects. (The Washington Post)

Arizona elementary school students use lunch leftovers to make compost
Elvira Elementary students in Tucson are turning their lunch leftovers into food for a future school garden. (Yahoo! 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.

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