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National Farm to School Network

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This Week in farm to school: 5/25/16

NFSN Staff Wednesday, May 25, 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. Rural Community Grant Program, Northwest Farm Credit Service
Northwest Farm Credit Service is looking for creative and collaborative approaches to addressing challenges and opportunities in rural communities. Its rural community grant program provides grants for community projects that improve rural communities within Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. This includes efforts such as building or improving facilities; purchasing necessary equipment to facilitate a program; and funding capital improvements which enhance a community’s infrastructure, viability and/or prosperity. Applications are due June 1. Learn more here.


Webinars & Events
1. Webinar: Election-Related Lobbying & Advocacy
Friday, June 10, 2-3pm ET
Join National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Alliance for Justice, and Food Policy Action for a webinar on election-related lobbying and advocacy. The webinar will cover the basic rules for 501(c)(3)s and the various types of activities (candidate forums, questionnaires, get out the vote efforts, etc.) that (c)(3)s can engage in during an election season.  You'll also hear from Claire Benjamin of Food Policy Action about FPA's work to hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming. Register here.  

2. Registration Open: Southeast Regional Farm to School Conference
September 23-24 // Greenville, SC
The Southeast is having a farm to school gathering and you are invited! On September 23-24, 2016 in Greenville, SC, join teachers, early childhood educators, parents, community health professionals, and child nutrition staff from across the southeast to strengthen existing programs and jump start new farm to school efforts. State networking sessions will be provided for states within USDA's SE region:  NC, SC, FL, KY, TN, GA, AL, and MS. Full information including the workshop schedule and field trip details is available on the Growing Minds website

3. 6th Farm-Based Education Network National Gathering 
November 4-6 // Concord, MA
Save the date! Educators, farmers, nonprofit organization staff, parents, nutrition practitioners, policy makers, students, and more will come together to share skills and resources, build relationships, and celebrate the vibrant field of farm-based education. Workshops will focus on program development, marketing, fundraising, the balance of production and education, nonprofit board management, and much more. Peer educators will showcase their sites during field trips and workshops, a keynote address will spark discussion, and group meals will allow for ample networking time. Learn more here


Research & Resources
1. New CACFP Meal Pattern and Best Practices Promote Local and Seasonal
In April, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service released the final Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern rules along with best practice recommendations. Several of these changes and best practices create great opportunity to increase awareness and implementation of farm to school activities in CACFP programs. See a summary of the final rule and details about opportunities for farm to early care and education on the National Farm to School Network blog.    

2. Report: The Michigan Farm to School Grant Program - The First Three Years
The story of the Michigan Farm to School Grant Program, established in 2011 and continuing today, is now available in one comprehensive report from the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Read how MI Farm to School Grant Program has helped food program providers overcome challenges and stimulate or sustain local food purchasing programs at K-12 schools and early childhood programs in Michigan. Read the report here

3. Film: Lunch Love Community
Lunch Love Community tells the story of how a diverse group of pioneering parents and food advocates came together to tackle food reform and food justice in the schools and neighborhoods of Berkeley, California, and features Ann Cooper among others. The film can be useful in community settings to inspire engagement, and well as in education settings. It is composed of twelve interconnecting short documentaries, and comes with study guides, which is perfect for introducing topics while allowing time for discussion and teaching. Learn more here


Policy
1. House committee passes CNR amidst advocate and lawmaker concerns
Last week, the House Education and Workforce Committee approved H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016, marking another step forward in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) process, but potentially a step backward for our nation’s children. While there are considerable issues with the bill’s potential impact on the quality and access to school meals, one of the very few bright spots of bipartisanship was farm to school.  A full CNR update is available on our blog


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Farm to School Program Coordinator, Minneapolis Public Schools
This position coordinates the Minneapolis Public Schools Farm to School Program, including program development, financial oversight, staff support, community development, and public relations; liaison with internal and external partners including local procurement and food educational efforts. Application closes June 2. Learn more here


Farm to school in the news
Chefs in Schools program to benefit Clark County students, food service staff
With support from the National Farm to School Network’s Seed Change initiative, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program has launched the Chefs in Schools collaborative. The program uses chefs to educate school food service personnel about incorporating fresh local foods in their menus, knife skills and proper handling of fresh local foods. (via The Winchester Sun)

Manatee schools plan garden expansions
The Manatee County School District (Florida) is expanding its school gardens and working with area farmers to get more local food in schools. In the upcoming year, the district wants to increase the food products coming from local farmers and more prominently promote the products from those local farmers in the cafeterias. (via Bradenton Herald)

Schools dishing out local food

More than 130 school districts in New York are participating in a federal pilot program in which schools use funds from the US Department of Agriculture to purchase local produce for school meals. Officials say the program expands access to local food and helps cut costs. (via The Daily 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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