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National Farm to School Network

News

Results of the National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Farm to ECE Supports Healthy Futures for All Children 



By Lacy Stephens, Program Manager

The Results Are In

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (MSU CRFS), launched the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey in the spring of 2018. Early care and education (ECE) providers across the country were surveyed to learn about current farm to ECE initiatives, including motivations for participation and challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE practices. The survey also gathered information from sites not yet participating in farm to ECE to better understand barriers and needs for support. 

We heard from 2,030 respondents serving 255,257 children in 46 states. Of responding providers, 49% are already participating in farm to ECE and another 30% plan to start in the future. Farm to ECE participating providers see a wide range of farm to ECE benefits including increasing access to higher-quality foods, engaging parents and families, offering meaningful experiential learning, and at the same time, improving children’s health. Providers are not the only ones excited about farm to ECE. When asked about feedback that they receive about farm to ECE, 82% of respondents report positive or very positive feedback from children, 73% from parents, and 62% from staff. The benefits of and enthusiasm for farm to ECE are reaching diverse ECE settings and children of diverse racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. 


Despite potential barriers to farm to ECE, providers are successfully integrating all three core elements, including using local foods in meals and snacks (69%), gardening (75%), and educating children about where food comes from and how it grows (76%). Respondents are making great use of gardens, from taste testing (62%) and classroom lessons (61%) to producing food for program meals (38%). Local food use will likely continue to grow in ECE settings. Of all respondents (even those not participating in farm to ECE), 54% anticipate increasing their local purchases in the coming years, increasing markets for local farmers and further bolstering local food systems and economies.

Share the Results & Learn More
To lift up and celebrate these results and build awareness of farm to ECE, NFSN and MSU CRFS have developed an infographic and fact sheet that partners and supporters can use to start the conversation in their networks. These resources highlight the reach and scope of farm to ECE and the many reasons ECE providers choose to implement farm to ECE initiatives.  

To accompany these exciting new resources, NFSN and MSU CRFS also created this sharing toolkit to make it easy to share the survey results and the benefits of farm to ECE. In this toolkit, you’ll find suggested social media posts and graphics along with sample text for newsletters and blogs.  

NFSN and MSU CRFS will continue to offer ways to learn about and further explore this data. Join us for our upcoming October Trending Topics Webinar: Results of the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey on Oct. 11 (register here). Also, look for the release of our full report and state level data from the survey in late fall. Learn more about NFSN’s farm to ECE work, find partners in your state, and learn how to get involved with farm to ECE at farmtoschool.org/earlychildhood. Visit foodsystems.msu.edu to find resources and research on regional food systems from Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.

This Week in Farm to School: 9/11/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 11, 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. The Bee Grant
The Bee Cause Project empowers students, teachers, and community members to experience the wonder, ingenuity, beauty, and power of the honey bee. Join the network of passionate educators, beekeepers, and community leaders in building the buzz for integrating bees into STEAM education. Learn more and apply here.

2. Clif Bar Family Foundation Small Grants
The Clif Bar Family Foundation awards small grants for projects focused on one of five priority areas, including creating a robust, healthy food system, increasing opportunities for outdoor activity, and building stronger communities, a great fit for school garden projects. These grants are awarded for general organizational support as well as funding for specific projects. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR State Farm to School Month Proclamations
September 20, 2-3pm 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. NFSN WEBINAR Results from the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey
October 11, 2-3pm  ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, launched for the 2018 National Survey of Early Care and Education Providers in the spring of 2018. Over 2,000 ECE providers from across the country responded and shared information about current farm to ECE initiatives, motivations for participation, challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE, and more. Join the National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to hear about the survey finding and learn how you can use the results to promote farm to ECE in your state and community. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

3. Michigan Good Food Summit: Amplifying Voices for Equity
October 22 // East Lansing, MI
This October, the Michigan Good Food Summit will amplify underrepresented voices across the food system as we continue advancing the Good Food Charter's vision of equity, sustainability and a thriving economy for all of Michigan and its people. Whether you're a food consumer, grower or buyer; line cook, server or chef; advocate, educator or policymaker, connect with others advancing good food and equity in Michigan. Register here.


Resources & Research
1. Policy Brief: Supporting Local Foods in the 2018 Farm Bill
The Berkeley Food Institute is pleased to share a new policy brief for the 2018 Farm Bill, Supporting Local Foods in the 2018 Farm Bill, written by Ryan Smith, a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Growing consumer demand for local food has the potential to improve food access for communities and add to farmers’ bottom line. Programs like the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs, the Value Added Producer Grants Program, the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program, and the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program are described in this brief. As the Farm Bill conference committee meets in Washington, it is vital that they have access to research on programs like these that support local and regional food systems. Read the brief here

2. Sharing Success: A Step-by-Step Guide for Communicating School Health Achievements
The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors has released a new resource to assist school districts and schools in promoting their school health achievements. Sharing Success: A Step-by-Step Guide for Communicating School Health Achievements outlines principles for creating compelling messages and provides real-world examples, a communications planning worksheet, and multiple additional resources. The guide, which was developed with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aims to help busy school professionals build support for healthy schools by sharing accomplishments related to school nutrition, physical education and physical activity, and chronic condition management. Read the guide here


Job Opportunities
1. Strategic Planning Consultant, National Farm to School Network (Remote)
National Farm to School Network seeks a skilled and experienced professional to facilitate a strategic planning process for the organization that will set the direction of NFSN beyond 2020. The process aims to review gains made during the 2017-2019 phase, retool strategies as needed, create space for innovation to meet the emerging needs of the movement, and plan for organizational stability and sustainability. Read the full Request for Proposals here. Proposals are due no later than Oct. 1, 2018.

2. Farm to School and Education for Sustainability (EFS) Professional Learning Educator, Shelburne Farms (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 community of practice and network of educators. Learn more and apply here

3. Senior Manager, Federal Government Affairs, The American Diabetes Association (Arlington, VA)
The Senior Manager provides critical planning, support, outreach, and analysis on a variety of legislative activities and plays a key role in executing events and meetings designed to achieve the federal legislative goals of the Association and increase the Association’s presence on Capitol Hill. Learn more and apply here.

4. W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellowship, The Center for Creative Leadership
The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) is now accepting applications for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network. CCL is looking for diverse candidates who demonstrate high-potential to be a transformational leader and are at a pivotal moment in their careers to benefit from this type of fellowship program. Apply by September 30. Learn more and apply here.

5. Director of Child Nutrition, Project Bread (Boston, MA)
The Director of Child Nutrition will lead Project Bread’s Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP) team, support the Chefs in Schools program, and provide content area expertise in nutrition to the organization at-large. Learn more and apply here.

6. Farm-to-School AmeriCorps VISTA (Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i)
Mālama Kaua`i’s farm-to-school pilot, Māla‘ai Kula, is seeking the next AmeriCorps member to build the capacity of Kawaikini's food and garden programs to ensure that no student goes hungry and no parent must choose between their child receiving a culturally relevant education or getting fed at school. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
North Dakota district adopts farm to school program
Students in a North Dakota school district will have more access to fresh, locally produced foods through a farm to school program. Deb Egeland, assistant director of child nutrition at North Dakota’s Department of Public Instruction and NFSN North Dakota Core Partner, says the program will promote healthy eating and will offer educational benefits through field trips. (The Bismarck Tribune)

Maine schools celebrate success, relevance of gardens
The Maine School Garden Network is holding an event to celebrate the most successful school gardening programs in southern Maine. Called the Summer Success Garden Tour, the event will allow participants to meet and talk with local school garden educators, experience how these programs work first hand and learn about ways to enhance the school garden experience for students. (The Forecaster)

California students learn gardening in new farm to table class
Students at Rosedale Middle School are getting a firsthand understanding of the phrase “farm to table.” The school started its first farm to table class this year, which tasks around 20 students with growing trees, fruits, and vegetables in the school’s small orchard and garden. The students, mostly eighth graders, also get to pick the crops and use them in cooking. (Bakersfield.com)

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: 9/4/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 04, 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. Whole Kids Foundation - US Gardens Grant Program
Created in partnership with FoodCorps, the Garden Grant program provides a $2,000 monetary grant to support a new or existing edible garden at either a: K-12 school, 501(c)(3) Non-profit working in partnership with a K-12 school, or 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Applications close on Oct. 15. Learn more and apply here

2. Whole Kids Foundation - Bee Grant Program
The Bee Grant program allows for a K-12 school or non-profit organization to receive support for an educational bee hive. Four grant options are available, and all include remote consultation and assistance with Beekeeper partnership from The Bee Cause Project. Applications are doc Oct. 31. Learn more and apply here

3. Captain Planet Project Learning Garden
Schools can apply now to win a Captain Planet Foundation Project Learning Garden through partnerships with grocery retailers around the country. Grand Prize Winners will receive a one year supply of DOLE Fruit Bowls and a Project Learning Garden provided by Captain Planet Foundation, including: 5 garden beds or garden expansion (for schools with an existing garden),  mobile garden cooking cart, standards-based Learning Garden lessons and lesson supply kits, and online teacher training. Learn more and apply here.


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN Trending Topics Webinar: Results from the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey
October 11, 2pm - 3pm  ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, launched for the 2018 National Survey of Early Care and Education Providers in the spring of 2018. Over 2,000 ECE providers from across the country responded and shared information about current farm to ECE initiatives, motivations for participation, challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE, and more. Join the National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to hear about the survey finding and learn how you can use the results to promote farm to ECE in your state and community. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

2. #CommunityFood: Innovations in Leadership - Part 3: Collective Impact through Network and Systems Leadership
September 18, 12pm - 1:15pm PT
The third and final webinar in this series from the Food Systems Leadership Network will feature promising practices and success stories of alliances, networks, and collaboratives. These organizations embrace and operationalize the fact that together they can achieve much more than they can possibly do alone. Farm to Institution New England and the Center for Regional Food Systems will both share insights, best practices, and lessons learned from their extensive experience weaving food systems networks in the US. Register here.

3. Advancing Equity: Maximizing Learning in Diverse Classrooms
September 18, 4pm - 5pm ET
Join Tyrone Howard and Maurice Sykes for an hour of practical, classroom-focused strategies for teacher and child agency in the service of social and racial justice. If you are passionate about advancing equity, diversity, and eliminating barriers to high achievement. Register here.

4. NICK Kitchen Summit
Oct. 10 // Falcon Heights, MN
The first annual NICK Kitchen Summit is geared towards the nation's premier shared-use, incubator, and co-cooking kitchens owners and operators. This day-long Summit will bring together shared kitchen professionals to exchange learnings, forge new relationships, and play a part in the future of our industry. Learn more and register here


Research & Resources
1. Video Series - Michigan Farm to School: Kids in the Kitchen
Check out this new video series from MSU Center for Regional Food Systems - Michigan Farm to School: Kids in the Kitchen. Featuring Chef Sean Gartland of Flint Farmers' Market and Flint Kids Cook children, this series of three videos shows how easy it can be to incorporate local foods into ECE and K-12 menus! Each video shows how easy it is to integrate local, healthy, and affordable foods into early care and education and K-12 menus, and how children of different ages can help out in different ways in the kitchen. Recipes include a main dish with a protein and food safety and knife skill strategies with children, a side dish with natural flavoring, and an easy-to-prepare snack offering an alternative to ranch dressing kids will love. Watch here

2. National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Measures Registry Survey
The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) is seeking feedback from researchers, practitioners, and students engaged in assessment and research of factors related to childhood obesity (e.g., diet, physical exercise, environmental influences). NCCOR has contracted with Evaluation Design to conduct and external evaluation of NCCOR resources. Please contribute by taking a few minutes (5-10) to complete this survey. Your feedback is greatly needed to inform improvements and additions to NCCOR’s existing resources. Take the survey here.

3. USDA’s Farm to Child Nutrition Program Planning Guide
Back to school is the perfect time to tend to your farm to school program. Are you starting fresh with farm to school or cultivating new goals this school year? Either way, USDA’s Planning Guide can help you identify team members, map strategies, and set targets for the year ahead. Read more 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. Reporting directly to the Senior Director of Finance and Operations, 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. The Development Director will work closely with the NFSN Advisory Board, staff and Core Partners to develop outreach campaigns and to achieve NFSN’s financial goals. Read full position description here. Deadline to apply is September 7, 2018. 

2. Education Coordinator, Coastal Roots Farm (Encinitas, CA)
The Education Coordinator will support the planning and implementation of Jewish and Farm educational programming and events for Coastal Roots Farm. The Education Coordinator works closely with the Education Manager to design content and curricula, deliver a wide array of educational programming and community events, and support the administrative functions of the Education Department. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
New Jersey preschools and area farm produce a nutritious partnership
The FoodTrust’s “Ready Set Grow” farm to early care program is partnering with preschools across Salem County to support young children getting a healthy start in life, while also supporting local farmers and the local economy. The program allows students to grow their own school gardens while learning about healthy choices. And two area preschools this month brought the message home by setting up farm stands in the classrooms. (nj.com)

As school starts, Wisconsin’s REAP program heads back to class
REAP Food Group, a nonprofit organization based in Madison, has a mission to grow the local food system in southern Wisconsin. The organization’s Farm to School program, in its 11th year, brings fresh and local food to children; establishes reliable markets for local farms using sustainable agricultural practices; and provides hands-on education in Madison classrooms. (Madison Magazine)

Nebraska school takes recycling to the next level
A new lunchtime program at one Omaha elementary school is giving kids a real life lesson in environmental impact, and showing how smaller steps can really add up. A small change is making a big impact for students at Fontenelle Elementary School. A new composting program that was introduced just weeks ago is showing big promise. The idea is simple: after students have their lunch, they separate milk cartons and plastics into the trash. Then, leftover food and paper are thrown into green bins. Paper trays are stacked next to the bins. These items are all compostable. (WOWT)

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: 8/28/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 28, 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. Seeds for Education Grant Program
Teachers and students across the US are expanding learning opportunities by enhancing their schoolyards with butterfly gardens, nature trails, prairies, woodland wildflower preserves, and similar projects. These projects enrich the learning environment and provide aesthetic and environmental benefits. Wild Ones offers assistance for all aspects of such projects. Cash grants under $500 are available for plants and seeds, and in-kind donations from Nursery Partners can help stretch these dollars. Applications are due October 15. Learn more and apply here

2. Target Field Trip Grants
Some of the best learning opportunities happen outside the classroom. That's why Target is helping give students a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience through field trips (like visits to a local farm!). As part of the program, Target stores award Target Field Trip™ grants to K-12 schools nationwide. Each grant is valued at up to $700. Deadline to apply is Oct. 1. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR State Farm to School Month Proclamations
September 20, 2-3pm 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. NFSN WEBINAR Results from the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey
October 11, 2-3pm  ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, launched for the 2018 National Survey of Early Care and Education Providers in the spring of 2018. Over 2,000 ECE providers from across the country responded and shared information about current farm to ECE initiatives, motivations for participation, challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE, and more. Join the National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to hear about the survey finding and learn how you can use the results to promote farm to ECE in your state and community. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

3. Farm to School and 21st Century Food Service Programs
November 15, 7-8pm ET
In 2018, National Farm to School Network (NFSN) teamed up with National Education Association (NEA) as its National Partner of the Year to explore and promote opportunities for farm to school to align with and advance priorities of education settings, for all educators, including Education Support Professionals. Growing from this partnership is a movement to challenge schools to build 21st Century food programs. We want to enrich the connection between schools and fresh, healthy, and locally sourced food. In so doing, we will have healthier students with a better understanding of their relationship to food and nutrition. Additionally, we will build a new school nutrition workforce that will anchor this lofty project in our school communities. This webinar will explain it all and offer an opportunity to hear from participants in this new partnership that are already reaping the benefits. Register here

4. #CommunityFood: Innovations in Leadership - Part 2: Shifting Organizational Structures for Equity and Empowerment
September 4, 12-1:15pm PT
The second webinar in this three part series from the Food Systems Leadership Network will feature two organizations, La Semilla Food Center and Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance, who will share how and why they’ve adopted alternative organizational governance models that better reflect their social justice values. Register here.

5. Greening School Food Forum
October 1, 2018 // Los Angeles, CA
Kick off National Farm to School month with an exciting, interactive forum on healthy, climate-friendly food service: a cost-effective approach focused on plant-forward menus, reduced food waste, and innovative educational and promotional activities. Learn more and register here.


Resources
1. Start Planning for National Farm to School Month!
National Farm to School month is right around the corner! The National Farm to School Network has free resources, planning materials, activity ideas and a national calendar of events with ways you can get involved in October. Visit farmtoschool.org/month to start planning. 


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. Deadline to apply is September 7, 2018. Learn more and apply here

2. Executive Director, Urban School Food Alliance (New York, NY)
The Urban School Food Alliance is looking for a passionate, business-minded executive leader to accelerate impact and drive organizational development, improving the health and sustainability of school meals in many of the nation’s largest school districts. As the first Executive Director for the organization, this is a unique opportunity to build on early collaborative successes of the school district participants, while shaping the organization for years to come. Learn more and apply here.

3. Nutrition Education and Summer Camp Coordinator, Growing Gardens (Boulder, CO)
Growing Gardens’ Nutrition Education and Summer Camp Coordinator works to ensure high-quality education programs are delivered through two programs: Growing Gardens Food Project and the Children’s Peace Garden. The Coordinator is the lead educator in these programs and is responsible for training a diverse group of Youth Leaders, Interns and Volunteers to assist in managing programs. Learn more and apply here.

4. Farm to School Coordinator, Cornell Cooperative Extension (Bath, NY)
The Farm to School Coordinator will be responsible for assisting with program delivery, and evaluation along with administrative direction, management, and coordination for supporting the increase of volume and variety of local farm products procured by schools/districts for inclusion in school meals programs in a tri-county region (Steuben, Chemung, and Schuley). Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
How school food purchases are moving the needle for the local food movement
The School Nutrition Association recently released the results of its most recent national survey of school meal program directors, which found that nearly 60% of respondents serve locally grown fruits and vegetables in their cafeterias. Helen Dombalis, National Farm to School Network Senior Director, Programs & Policy, shares how policy change and program innovation help keep the momentum for farm to school growing. (Forbes)

Colorado students learn about local food in class at market
Colorado students enrolled in a culinary arts course recently visited a local farmers’ market, where they learned about the sources of the food they eat. Instructor Christina Horn said she wants students to recognize what is good quality produce. This class focuses on food preparations, and many of these students want to work in the food industry when they graduate from high school. (The Daily Sentinel
Massachusetts school plants community gardens with local Native American traditions
A bountiful garden tucked behind North Falmouth Elementary School bears the literal fruits of hard-working students, teachers, parents, and community members. Community members who have helped the students gardeners with questions about the fruits and vegetables say creating these gardens and bringing gardening into the community is important work, for both heritage and the ecosystem. (Cape Cod Times)

Read past editions of This Week for more funding opportunities, webinars and events, jobs, and ways to take action to support farm to school growth across the country.

This Week in Farm to School: 8/21/18

NFSN Staff Tuesday, August 21, 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. Call for Applications: 2019 RWJF Culture of Health Prize
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize recognizes communities that have come together around a commitment to health, opportunity, and equity through collaboration and inclusion. Through the RWJF Culture of Health Prize application process, a community comes together to tell their inspiring stories of collaboration, action, and results. Communities should understand they are applying for a prize and not a grant. The Prize recognizes work that has already been accomplished so there is no required workplan or budget. Phase 1 applications are due Nov. 1, 2018. Learn more here.

2. Farm Credit East Accepting Applications for AgEnhancement Grant Program
Farm Credit East is part of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide agricultural network that provides credit and affiliated services to those in agriculture and related industries across the United States. In support of that mission, the organization currently is accepting applications to the Farm Credit AgEnhancement Grant program. Through the program, grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to help organizations promote awareness of and strengthen agriculture, commercial fishing, and forest products in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Learn more here.

3. NCR-SARE Call for Research and Education Preproposals
The 2019 North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Research and Education Grant Program Call for Preproposals is now available. In addition to the open call funds, for the 2019 funding cycle of the Research and Education Grant Program, up to $400,000 (limit of $200,000 per project) of the Research and Education grant pool fund is available for projects focused on developing sustainable agriculture curriculum for youth in grades 4-12. The curriculum should address environmental, social and economic aspects of agricultural practices and systems, and should include a farmer/rancher component. SARE is looking for modular lesson plans that include experiential and discovery based learning as well as classroom instruction. The deadline for Research and Education Program preproposals is October 18, 2018. Learn more here

4. National Education Association Grants
Student Achievement Grants, offered by the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation, are for projects that help students learn how to think critically and solve problems in order to improve student learning. Learning & Leadership Grants, offered by the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation, are for professional development opportunities for individuals or groups. Grants are available to current members of the National Education Association who are educators in public schools or public institutions of higher education. Preference is given to proposals that incorporate STEM and/or global learning into projects, which can include farm to school activities. Two levels of funding are available: $2,000 and $5,000. The next deadline for applications is October 15. 


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. NFSN WEBINAR Results from the 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey
October 11, 2pm - 3pm  ET
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, launched for the 2018 National Survey of Early Care and Education Providers in the spring of 2018. Over 2,000 ECE providers from across the country responded and shared information about current farm to ECE initiatives, motivations for participation, challenges to starting or expanding farm to ECE, and more. Join the National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to hear about the survey finding and learn how you can use the results to promote farm to ECE in your state and community. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing. Register here.

3. Webinar Series: Build Your District’s Garden to Cafeteria Program
Slow Food USA and Whole Kids Foundation announce the webinar series Build You District’s Garden to Cafeteria Program. A four month series providing technical support for the for the Garden to Cafeteria toolkit, which leads a district through the design of food safety protocols to minimize risk in using school garden produce in the cafeteria, so that students can get the true garden to table educational experience. Each webinar will cover a portion of the toolkit and will feature special guests from school districts that have successfully launched their Garden to Cafeteria program using the toolkit. Register here.


Policy News
1. Sign-on Letter: The Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) 2018 Farm Bill
The farm bill conference committee – which is tasked with settling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the farm bill – has started informal meetings in August. Now is the time to speak up to signal to your Members of Congress that they should prioritize important programs, like SNAP and local foods programs. During closed-door meetings in August and September, Members and their staff will decide the fate of the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), a new program which incorporates the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs (FMLFPP) and the Value Added Producers Grant Program. LAMP is included and fully funded in the Senate bill, but the House bill effectively eliminates the programs by providing no mandatory funding. Sign this form to tell the leaders of the conference committee to prioritize regional food economies with LAMP by August 24. Learn more about LAMP here

2. New York to Invest $1.5M in ‘Farm to School’ Lunch Programs
New York state will invest $1.5 million in additional funds in efforts to bring fresh, locally grown farm products to public schools in the coming school year. School districts can apply for grants of up to $100,000 each that can support the hiring of a program coordinator, staff training, or the purchase of equipment to store, prepare or transport farm products. Since the state’s farm to school program began in 2015 the state has set aside more that $1.8 million to help programs in 164 school districts across the state. Read more here.


Research & Resources
1. Help Update NFSN's Benefits of Farm to School Fact Sheet
One of the National Farm to School Network's most popular resources for making the farm to school case to partners, funders, and policy makers, the Benefits of Farm to School fact sheet is an evolving document as new research comes out and the movement grows. Help us keep it updated - fill out this spreadsheet with new information. We're planning to update the full fact sheet again in 2019.

2. National Farm to School Network Programs and Policy Equity Assessment Tool 
The National Farm to School Network is pleased to share a new equity assessment tool, the Programs and Policy Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool, which aims to help NFSN staff and partner organizations assess the implications of specific programming and policy advocacy on advancing racial and social equity. The Equity Assessment Tool has two principal goals: (1) to help staff refine their racial and social equity priorities, and (2) to assess the implications of specific programming and policy advocacy on advancing racial and social equity, ensuring these opportunities are maximized. We aim for this tool to support our organization and our partners in making meaningful strides to advance racial and social equity in farm to school work across the country. Learn more here

3. New Study: Learning What Students Actually Eat In The Cafeteria May Be Easier Than Once Thought
A new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that a faster and simpler method of data collection can substitute for more involved methods of measuring what students choose and eat during lunch. What could this mean for future school food policies? Read more 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. Reporting directly to the Senior Director of Finance and Operations, 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. The Development Director will work closely with the NFSN Advisory Board, staff and Core Partners to develop outreach campaigns and to achieve NFSN’s financial goals. Read full position description here. Deadline to apply is September 7, 2018. 

2. Teacher-in-Residence, Slide Ranch (Muir Beach, CA)
Slide Ranch’s Teacher-in-Residence program fosters and inspires the next generation of leaders in education, sustainable farming, and environmental stewardship. Teachers-in-Residence customize and lead programs for Bay Area children and families from a wide range of backgrounds. Experiential education programs include both day and overnight visits, exploring the farm, cooking, trails, and tide pools. Learn more and apply here.


Farm to School in the News
First jobs for Massachusetts students help feed thousands
Framingham High School students in a youth program called PSW, the Partnership for Skilled Workforce, work 7 am- 11 am in the cafeteria and the high school Flyers Farm, a garden the size of half a football field in a quadrangle off the cafeteria. The produce is used to help make 1,000 meals per day for the Framingham Schools Food Service. (The MetroWest Daily News)

Florida group fights childhood food insecurity with $125,000 grant
In Miami-Dade County, one in five children go to bed hungry. Live Health Miami Gardens (LHMG) has been working to lower these numbers since 2014. It recently secured a $125,000 grant from the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) to expand its efforts, including continuing food forests at three Miami Gardens schools. (Miami Herald)

New York courses offer cafeteria crews farm to school training
As farm to school food initiatives grow in the states, schools are coordinating with agricultural institutions to bridge the gap between school cafeterias and fresh produce. The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County received funds from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop workshops in food preparation, which will train 110 school cafeteria workers from 37 districts. (The Daily 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.

NFSN launches Programs and Policy Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool

NFSN Staff Thursday, August 16, 2018

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is pleased to share a new equity assessment tool, the Programs and Policy Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool, which aims to help NFSN staff and partner organizations assess the implications of specific programming and policy advocacy on advancing racial and social equity.

The National Farm to School Network is committed to advancing racial and social equity in all aspects of our work, and our strategic plan highlights this commitment. NFSN’s strategic plan states, “advancing racial and social equity is at the core of the farm to school movement, and serving as an equity promoting organization is a core value of NFSN.”  NFSN has taken steps to integrate racial and social equity analysis into our programs and policies, including efforts to formulate the Farm to School Act asks to include support for farm to school in Native communities, creating a farm to early care and education cultural relevancy subgroup in the summer of 2016, and translating key fact sheets and resources into Spanish. Building on these efforts, this new Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool will allow the network to make significant strides in equitable policy advocacy and programming by assessing all policy and program developments through a racial and social equity lens. We aim to maximize our impact on breaking down inequities in the food system.  

The NFSN Policy and Programs Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool has two principal goals. The first section of the tool is intended to help NFSN staff refine their racial and social equity priorities through a set of questions that assess NFSN staff and stakeholder priorities as well as stakeholder engagement in formulating policy and programmatic proposals. The second and third sections in the guide assess the implications of specific programming and policy advocacy on advancing racial and social equity, ensuring these opportunities are being maximized. Specifically, the tool contains questions that assure that policies and programs are aligned with the NFSN equity priorities, that identify and address common shortcomings in developing racially and socially equitable policies, and that assure proposals are creating meaningful long-term change and are accountable to racially and socially disadvantaged communities.  

The Assessment Tool was developed collaboratively with NFSN staff and NFSN partners.  NFSN staff led the research and analysis to produce this toolkit, with feedback from Tes Thraves (Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina Core Partner) and Wendy Peters Moschetti (LiveWell, Colorado Core Partner).  

The National Farm to School Network is confident that the comprehensive approach to policy and programmatic assessment present in its Policy and Programs Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool will allow the organization and its partners to make meaningful strides to advance racial and social equity in farm to school work across the country. Though the tool was developed primarily for use by NFSN, NFSN Core and Supporting Partners and members are encouraged to adapt it to their own organizational needs, in a movement-wide effort to advance equity. 

New to considering how your work advances equity? Check out the Racial Equity Tools Glossary, the dictionary of equity terms NFSN uses; understanding terms is essential and foundational to then considering what it looks like in your programming and policy advocacy efforts. Learn more about NFSN’s commitment to equity and find more resources for advancing racial and social equity in your farm to school work here

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.

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