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This Week in farm to school: 3/29/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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. Action for Healthy Kids: Breakfast and Game On Grants
Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) is now accepting School Grants for Healthy Kids applications for the 2016-2017 school year. Up to 550 schools will receive School Breakfast grant awards ranging from $500 to $5,000 to support increased breakfast participation. 500 schools will be awarded Game On grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 for physical activity and nutrition initiatives. Applications are due April 1, 2016. Learn more and apply here

2. Aetna Foundation: 2016 Cultivating Healthy Communities Grant Program
The Aetna Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its 2016 Cultivating Healthy Communities grant program. Aetna Foundation recognize that health is local: it begins in our homes, schools, jobs, and neighborhoods. By creating more chances to make healthy choices in these places, we can empower whole communities to lead healthier lives. With this RFP, they seek to fund programs that will increase opportunities for health in underserved, low-income communities. The five target areas are: Healthy Behaviors; Community Safety; Built Environment; Social/Economic Factors; and, Environmental Exposures. This will be a highly competitive, multi-staged funding opportunity and application process.  All Stage 1 applications must be received by April 15 at 3pm ET. Learn more here

3. Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools
The Chef Ann Foundation has $250,000 available to support school lunchroom learning programs. Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools is a grant program designed to help increase kids’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables and create experiential nutrition education when and where students make their food choices: in the cafeteria. The $2,500 one-year grants support food costs to incorporate school-wide fruit and vegetable tastings into the school's nutrition program. Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is eligible to apply. Grants will be determined on an ongoing basis depending on available funding; there is no application deadline. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Early Bird Discount Ends March 31
Don’t miss the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016. This event is the only national gathering of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement, making it a crucial leadership development opportunity to advance community health, build economic opportunities for farmers and producers, and ensure long-term sustainability for local food efforts nationwide. Early bird registration is open now, including pre-conference short courses and field trips. Event organizers expect more than 1,500 attendees, and the last event sold out before the registration deadline, so don’t wait. The early bird discount ends March 31. Learn more at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.

2. Vermont FEED Training: A Dairy for Every Classroom, July 2016
A Dairy for Every Classroom is a professional development course intended for middle, high school, and career and technical education teachers who are looking to deepen or expand their personal knowledge, curricular connections, and project-based learning opportunities related to dairy agriculture and the contributions the industry makes to the health of people and their communities. This course has been developed with the needs of teachers in mind and will provide teachers the time and ability to focus on projects of their choice, as well as opportunities to learn from colleagues and experts from the field.  Utilizing a unique learning format, the course includes a three-day residential intensive at Vermont Technical College in July; an independent work project period; and a two-day curriculum retreat at Shelburne Farms in late September. Learn more and apply here

3. 2016 Sustainable Agriculture Education Association National Conference
July 29–31, 2016 // Santa Cruz, California
When it comes to food and agriculture education that is experiential, interdisciplinary, and systems-based, the SAEA conference strives to walk the talk. The SAEA champions innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture through the development, application, and research of teaching and learning practices. The goal of the conference is to connect educators, teachers, students, apprentices, staff, and administrators who focus on teaching and learning at the adult level. Presentation proposal submissions are accepted through April 17. Learn more here

4. Webinars: USDA Traditional Foods in Native Communities Webinar Series
This spring, USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems will host a four-part webinar series focused on integrating farm to school strategies in native communities. Each webinar will feature a guest speaker who will share tips, stories and best practices for keeping local food traditions alive in child nutrition programs that serve tribal populations. The first webinar will be: What Does Farm to School Look Like in Native American Communities? on April 6 at 3pm EST. Learn more and register here


Research & Resources
1. Toolkit: The Economics of Local Food Systems
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has realized a new resource created by the USDA and Colorado State University that will help communities and businesses evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local food systems. The Local Food System Toolkit provides detailed guidance in seven modules to measure and assess the expected economic impacts of local food investments. Using real-world projects, experiences, and applied research, it provides grounded, credible, and useable assessment methods. The Local Food System Toolkit can be used by policy makers, community leaders, private businesses or foundations to offer specific estimates that will help them decide whether to invest in initiatives that increase local food activity. Download the toolkit here.  

2. How to Track State Legislation: A Guide to Understanding the Process
This guide explains generally how a bill makes its way through the legislative process and how to track a bill though this process. It also provides links to every state legislature website and their session dates for 2016. Please note: this resource was created by CQ Roll Call, a for-profit entity, and is an advertisement for their StateTrack legislation tracking system. Even so, it is a helpful and concise resource if you are looking to start working on state policy. Download the resource here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Agricultural Marketing Specialist II (Farm to School Coordinator), State of South Carolina Department of Agriculture
The Farm to School Coordinator will plan, develop  and  implement the SC Farm to School Program. Responsibilities include working with grants, providing training and technical assistance for the program, identifying training and technical assistance voids in the Farm to School community and filling these needs by modifying existing resources and/or creating new program offerings. Learn more and apply at www.jobs.sc.gov. Application closes April 7.

2. FoodCorps Service Member Application Closes March 31
Are you a leader passionate about healthy food, farms and kids? Become a FoodCorps service member! FoodCorps recruits talented leaders for a year of paid public service building healthy school food environments in limited-resource communities. Applications are due by March 31, 2016 at 6pm PT. Learn more and apply here

3. Farm to ECE Professional Development Opportunities
The Penn State Extension Better Kid Care (BKC) Program provides professional development opportunities for early learning and care professionals who are caring for children, ages 0-8. All modules are also accepted for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential and CEUs are available for completed lessons (10 hours = 1 CEU) and are approved for professional development credit in 40 states and the District of Columbia. There are several modules available that address the goals of the Farm to Early Care and Education program. These include Fresh Harvest: Children Grow in the Garden, Children Can Cook!, Healthy and Hunger Free Children: Resources for Families: Let’s Move Child Care Obesity Prevention Series and Get Outdoors, Explore! Content for each two-hour module is available free of charge. There is a $5.00 fee for a certificate of completion. Visit http://extension.psu.edu/youth/betterkidcare for more information. 

4. Help Update The Real Food Standards
The national student-led Real Food Standards Council is undertaking the project of updating the Real Food Criteria—the standards by which we define ‘real food’ for hundreds of universities. Everyone is invited to participate in the revision process. The public comment forum will be open  until April 1, 2016. Your feedback and commentary will be considered by the student-led National Real Food Standards Council. This council is guided by a growing team of  industry and movement veterans generously serving as advisors to the project. Submit your feedback here
 

Farm to school in the news
A Local Apple a Day... Benefits Kids, Farmers and the Environment
The New York State legislature is reviewing a proposal that would reward school districts for sourcing locally grown ingredients in school lunches. The proposal, which is the first of its kind, would reimburse schools an extra five to twenty-five cents per meal for dedicating more of their purchasing budgets to local food. (via Huffington Post Blog)

Farm to School efforts growing in Nebraska
Preschoolers at five grade schools in Lincoln, Neb. will get their hands dirty this spring, thanks to a USDA Farm to School Grant. In addition to gardening, Lincoln Public Schools will use the grant to expand local food purchases and take students on farm field trips. (via Lincoln Journal Star)

School gardens becoming more popular
Prairie View Elementary in Eden Prairie, Minn., built its first edible with several garden beds in 2012. Within the last year, the school has also added three indoor tower gardens and four cold frame gardens that extend the growing season. It’s an example of a large number of school gardens sprouting up and expanding around the country. (via Eden Prairie 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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