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This week in farm to school: 7/28/2015

NFSN Staff Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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. Webinar: Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clearing Up Confusion about Sodium
July 29, 12-1 pm EDT
There is tremendous progress underway toward improving schools foods. One sticking point is sodium.  Some food companies, school food service organizations, and Members of Congress are trying to weaken or prevent steps toward continued improvement in school meals, particularly, helping kids to reduce their salt intake. Please join the Center for Science in the Public Interest for a webinar to hear the latest about what’s happening with school foods and the science behind the need for sodium reduction in school meals. Register here

2. Webinar: AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs
Pilot Project for the Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables (UFV Pilot)
August 13, 2pm EST
AMS’ Commodity Procurement Program is seeking additional vendors for our UFV Pilot; this webinar details how to become one!  Click here for the pilot’s website. The UFV Pilot helps schools in eight states (CA, WA, OR, MI, WI, CT, NY, VA) promote “local” purchases and farm-to-school initiatives. Register for the webinar here. AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs will host additional webinars on programs and services throughout the year.  To view previous webinars online, visit this Webinar Archive

Research & Resources
1. Traditional foods in school meals
American Indian communities have a rich history of eating native, local foods and a strong interest in serving these traditional foods through federal Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs). In a new memo, Child Nutrition Programs and Traditional Foods, USDA reinforces that many traditional foods can contribute towards reimbursable meals in CNPs. While USDA’s Food Buying Guide is an important tool for school food authorities, it doesn’t contain an exhaustive list of traditional foods; the new memo is an important supplement to help assist tribal communities. For additional guidance concerning this memo, please reach out to your regional USDA Farm to School Regional Lead or USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations.

2. Cultural and Linguistic Competence: Implications for the Healthy Places for Kids to Eat Project
Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence presented this webinar on cultural competence recently. This webinar provides definitions and conceptual frameworks for cultural competence and linguistic competence and delineate the implications of these frameworks for the HPKE Project. A recording of the webinar can be found here, on Advancing Health Through Leader’s website in the Resource section. NCCC will be presenting this webinar again on September 17, 2015 at 2pm EST.

3. Report: Community Food Projects Indicators of Success FY 2014
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project has recently released its Community Food Projects Indicators of Success FY 2014 report. This report illustrates the collective impact of Community Food Project grantees from FY 2014 based on the metrics from Whole Measures for Community Food Systems. It includes metrics from the 6 areas of impact from Whole Measures: Healthy People, Strong Communities, Thriving Local Economies, Sustainable Ecosystems, Vibrant Farms and Gardens and Fairness and Justice. Additionally, it includes two case studies of current grantees. Read the full report here

4. Improved financing options available for produce farmers
Whether selling to a regional wholesaler or trucking down to the weekend farmers’ market, the ability to safely wash, package, and store any commodity produced on-farm is a critical component of nearly every fruit and vegetable farm. That’s why NSAC is excited about a recent announcement made this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve federal financing options available for cold storage and handling facilities and equipment. Read more about this new opportunity for farmers on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog

Policy & Action
1. Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 
Tell Congress you support the Farm to School Act of 2015 by signing a letter of support as an individual or on behalf of your organization. The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. To learn more, download this fact sheet or visit farmtoschool.org/cnr2015

Jobs & Opportunities
1. FoodCorps, multiple positions open
FoodCorps is a fast-growing national nonprofit that provides a scalable response to the epidemics of childhood obesity and food insecurity, while training a new generation of leaders in the fields of food, health, education and sustainability. FoodCorps places motivated leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service transforming school food. Multiple administrative position are now open. Visit foodcorps.hiringthing.com for more information.  

2. Academic Specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems  
The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) is accepting applications for an Academic Specialist to support existing CRFS initiatives, including the Michigan Good Food Fund. This position will provide outreach and business assistance to Michigan food businesses to increase good food access in low-income communities. This is a full-time, annual year position.  Applications will be accepted until Monday, August 10, 2015, or until a suitable candidate is identified. Please read the full position description for more details about the position and information to submit an application on the MSU Jobs Website. 

3. Agricultural Marketing Specialists, Agricultural Marketing Services, USAJobs
There are up to 3 agricultural marketing specialist (research) vacancies with Agricultural Marketing Services. More about these positions can be found on USAJobs. Please note that this vacancy is limited to the first 40 applications received, and closes on Thursday, July 30. Find more information and application details here

Farm to school in the news
School garden becomes summer hub for lessons on farming, healthy foods
This acre-sized school garden in Oregon fuels a school's cafeteria and surrounding community, and acts as an outdoor classroom. This summer, the garden is a hub for camps teaching kids more about where food comes from. (via The Oregonian)

Local food is growing business in New York
Farm to school programs are helping grow local business in New York. In the state, there are over 2,944 schools spending more than $40 million on local food. These numbers show that not only is the local food movement alive and well, it is growing up and becoming an established part of the broader marketplace. (via Niagara Gazette)

Garden lessons
“Gardening is not just about planting the seed,” Alison Duncan says. “The students learn lots of other lessons. They learn to work as a team, and senior gardeners work with younger gardeners and learn leadership skills.” Read more about the lessons students in North Carolina are learning in their school garden. (via Winston-Salem Monthly)


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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