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This Week in farm to school: 9/27/16

NFSN Staff Tuesday, September 27, 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. AgEnhancement Grants
Each year, Northeast agricultural credit associations and CoBank award grants ranging from $500-$8,000 to help organizations promote awareness and strengthen agriculture, commercial fishing and forest products in the six New England states, New York and New Jersey. Applications are due December 1. Learn more here

3. New York Farm Viability Institute Grants

NYFVI has issued a Request for Proposals that aims to create knowledge that will quickly and directly benefit farmers through work in one of the organization’s five priority areas: improve operational practices, foster industry-wide innovation, incubate new ideas, improve route to market and market practices, and develop people. In 2017, NYFVI will award grants of up to $150,000 for projects lasting between six months and two years. Applications are due November 10. Learn more here


Webinars & Events
1. Celebrate National Farm to School Month, Take the Pledge
October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between children and local food. Join the celebrations by taking the One Small Step Pledge. Pledge to take one small step to get informed, get involved and take action for farm to school in October and you'll be entered to win support for farm to school activities at the school or early care and education site of your choice! Take the pledge and find other opportunities to celebrate National Farm to School Month at farmtoschool.org

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. #RealSchooFood Campaign
Chef Ann Foundation is raising awareness about #realschoolfood, cooked with healthy, nourishing ingredients. Join their #RealSchoolFood campaign and help bring attention to the need to transition our nation’s schools from processed, heat-and-serve food to healthy scratched cooked meals. Learn more about the campaign and get involved here


Resources & Research
1. Growing Minds Farm to Preschool Toolkit 
ASAP's Growing Minds Farm to School program has been supporting and providing resources to schools and preschools throughout Western North Carolina, the Southern Appalachians, and as Southeast Regional Lead for National Farm to School Network, throughout the southeast since 2002. Their new Farm to Preschool Toolkit contains information about getting started with F2P, rules and regs, recommendations for local procurement, and monthly resources (sample recipe card and sticker, This Week in the Garden and Farm to School Goes Home resources, as well as food and farm based lesson plans). The Farm to Preschool Toolkit can be found here.

2. Gardening as a child may lead college students to eat more veggies

As researchers nationwide try to get college students to eat healthier foods, they’re finding that gardening may lead to a lasting habit of eating more fruits and vegetables. "This finding is particularly relevant, given the recent popularity of school gardens and farm-to-school projects," said Anne Mathews, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food science and human nutrition and lead author of the study. Read a summary of the research here


Jobs & Opportunities
1. Agriculture Development Coordinator at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
This Agriculture Development Coordinator position will focus on consumer access and producer marketing relationships with farmers’ markets, farmstands, and CSA (community supported agriculture) farms. Tasks will include collecting local food pricing data from farmers’ markets, farm to school programs, and farmstands, to guide consumers informed food purchasing choices and collect data for producers to competitively price their products for direct markets. Learn more here


Farm to school in the news
A week for 'homegrown' lunches
During the week of Sept. 19-23, schools across Maryland participated in Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week, during which students were offered local produce from area farms at lunch and edible school gardens were celebrated. (via The Baltimore Sun)

Schools Planning Festivities Surrounding Jersey Fresh Produce
This week, September 26-30, schools across New Jersey celebrate the 6th annual Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, lifting up partnerships being built between state farmers and schools which encourage schools to purchase produce from local farmers to incorporate into school meals. (via MercerMe)

A Colorado Farm Helps Refugee Kids Put Down Roots In A New Home

For refugee students in Colorado, the Growing Colorado Kids farm is a bridge between two worlds: a place to connect with the traditions their parents had to leave behind while also putting down new roots of their own. (via NPR)


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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