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National Farm to School Network

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This Week in farm to school: 9/20/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 20, 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. USDA Farm to School Grant RFA Open
USDA has announced  the release of the FY 2017 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications. Up to $5 million in grant funds is available to help schools create or strengthen farm to school programs this school year. Awards ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 will be distributed in four different grant categories: Planning, Implementation, Support Service, and Training.  Applications are due by December 8, 2016.  On Thursday, September 29, at 1pm EST, USDA will host a webinar to review the RFA and assist eligible entities in preparing proposals. Learn more here

2. Nature Conservancy Seeks Proposals for School Gardens
The Nature Conservancy is awarding grants to support projects that implement green infrastructure to address local environmental challenges. These include access to healthy food, air quality, heat island effect, climate change, or storm water collection. Young people will work as social innovators to help their communities through project design and implementation. A $2,000 grant will be awarded to 55 schools. Applications must be submitted online by 5 PM ET October 31, 2016. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Coming Soon: National Farm to School Month
October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between children and local food. From taste tests in the cafeteria and nutrition education activities in the classroom, to farm visits and school garden harvest parties, schools, early care and education sites, farms, communities and organizations in all 50 states and D.C. join in the celebrations. Start planning your Farm to School Month celebrations with resources available from the National Farm to School Network. Find celebrations happening in your community by visiting the Farm to School Month Events Calendar. If your organization would like to help celebrate National Farm to School Month on its communications channels (social media, newsletter, blog), sign up to be an Outreach Partner here

2. Webinar: Bringing Local to our Littlest Eaters: Local Procurement in Early Care and Education
October 12, 3:30-5pm ET
Serving local foods in meals, snacks, and taste tests is a core element of farm to early care and education and contributes to numerous benefits for kids, farmers, and communities. However, understanding where and how to purchase local foods as well as how to incorporate them into early care and education meal programs can be a challenge. In this informational webinar, speakers from the National Farm to School Network, US Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and the Baxter Child Development Center will share tips for getting started, strategies for success, and innovative models that are advancing and scaling local purchasing practices in early care and education settings across the country. This webinar is open to all, so please share with your networks. Register here

3. NESAWG It Take  Region Conference
November 10-12 // Hartford, CT
The NESAWG Conference, now in its 23rd year, brings together practitioners and professionals from across the Northeast to explore ideas that move us towards a more sustainable and just farm and food system. Included on the agenda is a session for Farm to ECE and Preschool practitioners: “A Full Harvest: How Farm to Preschool Improves Food Security and Farm Viability.” Lean how Farm to Preschool increases access to local foods by connecting farmers to preschools serving low-income populations and be delve deeper as you discuss how this model can be adapted to engage broader communities. Learn more here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Farm to School Regional Lead, USDA Food and Nutrition Services
USDA Food and Nutrition Services seeks a  Farm to School Regional Lead in the USDA Food and Nutrition Service's Western Regional Office in San Francisco, CA. This is an opportunity to help implement the USDA Farm to School Program; provide on the ground training, technical assistance, and support to a wide variety of farm to school stakeholders; and, be a resident expert on key local and regional procurement issues. Applications are due September 22. Learn more here

2. Food & Nutrition Community Engagement VISTAs, Texas
Texas Department of Agriculture is excited to announce a new partnership with AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to place Food & Nutrition Community Engagement VISTAs in select rural Texas communities. More information is available here


Farm to school in the news
35 Food Education Organizations
Many organizations around the globe are working to instill healthy eating habits, foster food literacy, teach culinary skills, and educate children about the environmental, social, and health consequences of their food choices. Food Tank has selected 35 particularly noteworthy programs to feature on their blog - including the National Farm to School Network! See the full list here.  

New Program Brings School Garden Produce to Cafeteria
Brooke Elementary in Austin, Texas has had a school garden for a several years, but for the first time, they're taking what they grow and serving it in the cafeteria. After several months of planning, AISD's new Garden to Café Program is finally launching this school year. Ninety-five of the district's schools have gardens on site, and they're working to get all of them to cook up their produce in the cafeteria. (via Spectrum News)

Boulder County school districts adding more local produce to school lunch menus
St. Vrain Valley and Boulder Valley school districts celebrate “Colorado Proud” Day, making lunches from only Colorado products. Farmers visited the schools to share their produce, and students learned where their food comes from. While school lunches generally don't have all local — or at least all Colorado — ingredients, both school districts are working with area farmers to include more local food. (via Daily Camera)

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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