2018 Year End Review
National Farm to School Network News
Grants and Funding
1. Get Schools Cooking Grants
Deadline: October 28, 2019
A program of Chef Ann Foundation, Get Schools Cooking (previously known as the School Food Support Initiative) provides school districts with the operational foundation necessary to transition their Food & Nutrition Service Departments from a heat & serve or processed model to one that is rooted in scratch cooking using real ingredients. Through Get Schools Cooking, food service teams are guided through an intensive, three-year program. Applications for the 2019 Cohort are now open. An information webinar is scheduled for Sept. 12. Learn more here.
2. NCR-SARE Youth Educator Sustainable Agriculture Grants
Deadline: November 14, 2019
North Central Region-SARE recognizes that youth programs are a way to introduce new and exciting farming and ranching options to youth, parents, and community members. Youth Educator grants support projects by youth educators that encourage youth to try sustainable practices and explore sustainable agriculture as a viable career option. Applicants can request up to $4,000 for youth education projects. North Central Region-SARE includes: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Learn more here.
3. SeedMoney Grants for Garden Projects
Deadline: November 12, 2019
SeedMoney is offering 255 garden grants totaling $40,000 to diverse food garden projects through a 30-day crowdfunding challenge running from November 15 to December 15. The grants are open to all types of public food garden project, including youth gardens, community gardens, food bank gardens, etc., regardless of their location. Grant applications will be accepted until November 12. Learn more here.
4. Head Start Gro More Good Garden Grants
Deadline: October 11, 2019
In collaboration with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening, The National Head Start Association is honored to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to more children and families in the Head Start community. Schools, community action programs, non-profits, hospitals, community centers and inter-generational groups that hosts Head Start programs are eligible to apply. The grants awarded are in the amount of $5,000, plus a garden kit and materials and gardening educational resources. Learn more here.
Webinars and Events
1. NFSN WEBINAR Bring Farm to School to Life with Highbush Blueberries
October 3 // 1-2pm ET
October is National Farm to School Month, the perfect time to host a farm to school event to celebrate healthy, local food in the cafeteria, classroom and beyond! Resources like the Highbush Blueberry Farm to School Playbook can be a great tool for helping schools of any size find small and big ways to get kids excited about where their food comes from. On this webinar, three schools will share how they’ve used the Farm to School Playbook to put together successful nutrition celebrations with blueberries. Nutrition Consultant Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, will lead a panel discussion with three rockstar school nutrition professionals, who will share easy and practical inspiration for schools looking to kickstart their farm to school programs, tips for a successful promotion and increases in school breakfast/lunch participation, and inspiration for events your students will love. This webinar is hosted by the National Farm to School Network and sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Register here.
2. Webinar: SGSO Network Crowdfunding Webinar
Wednesday, August 28 // 3-4 PM EST
Time and time again, the ability to raise adequate financial support tops the list of challenges of school garden programs both at individual school and SGSO levels. In this webinar we will explore the concept of crowdfunding which is a term broadly used to describe fundraising efforts focused on raising smaller amounts of money from large numbers of people frequently through online and social media efforts. This webinar is a part of the School Garden Support Organization (SGSO) Network. Register here.
3. First Nations Food Sovereignty Summit
September 23-26, 2019 // Green Bay, Wisconsin
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin (Oneida) again are co-hosting the national Food Sovereignty Summit. It will be held September 23-26, 2019, at the Radisson Hotel in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The conference workshops are divided into three tracks: Sustaining Food Systems, Strengthening Tribal Sovereignty, and Caring for Our Lands. Learn more and register here.
4. 2019 Western Youth Food Sovereignty Summit - Application Now Open
October 18-20, 2019 // Camp Verde, AZ
The 2019 Western Region Native Youth Food Sovereignty Summit is organized by Intertribal Agriculture Council and hosted by the Yavapai Apache Nation. At this summit, Native American youth will explore different areas of agriculture ranging from traditional foods to land stewardship techniques. This year's event is open to high school and college aged youth from the ages 13-22 living in Arizona and Utah. Participants must be enrolled in a federally or state recognized tribe or be a tribal descendant. Apply here.
5. NFSN EVENT Save the Date: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
April 20-24, 2020 // Albuquerque, NM
The 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 20-24, 2020! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene a diverse group of food service professionals, farmers, educators, students, representatives from nonprofits and government agencies, public health professionals and more to learn, network, and strengthen this important movement. Do you have expertise to share? We’ll be seeking proposals for conference content (workshops, posters, etc.) from stakeholders interested in sharing their models and strategies for making farm to cafeteria initiatives a reality in their communities. The Request for Proposals will open mid-August. Visit farmtoschool.org/conference to learn more and start making plans to join us in Albuquerque!
Research and Resources
1. NFSN RESOURCE 2019 Vision and Key Strategies to Advance Farm to Early Care and Education
In this newly revised resource, the National Farm to School Network’s Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) Working Group outlines a vision for the future of farm to ECE and details key strategies at the local, state, tribal and national level to achieve this vision. The NFSN Farm to Early Care and Education Working Group is a cohort of experienced leaders and stakeholders in the field that work collaboratively in identifying and addressing barriers and strategic opportunities to further the national farm to ECE movement. This resource is intended to provide guidance and direction to NFSN and national, state, tribal and local partners in prioritizing and coordinating efforts to advance the farm to ECE movement across the country. Learn more here.
1. TAKE ACTION for Farm to School in the next CNR
National Farm to School Network is taking steps now to ensure that the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) strengthens farm to school opportunities across the country! Farm to school activities – including procurement of local food for school meals, school gardens, and food and agriculture education – have been proven to help students build healthy eating habits and support family farmers by expanding market opportunities. You can help! Endorse the Farm to School Act of 2019 (S. 2026, H.R. 3562) and Kids Eat Local Act (S.1817, H.R. 3220) to encourage members of Congress to provide the federal dollars needed by community-grown initiatives. Have another five minutes? Make a quick call to your members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor these bills! Learn more about farm to school opportunities in the next CNR here.
2. USDA Announces 2019 Farm to School Grant Awards
National Farm to School Network congratulations the record-breaking 126 awardees of the 2019 USDA Farm to School Grants, announced last week. This included 19 NFSN Core and Supporting Partner Organizations and the National Farm to School Network! Read more about the 2019 awards - and the importance of Congress continuing to support this highly impactful program - on our blog.
1. Farm to School Supply Chain Development Program Manager, CADE (Oneonta, NY)
Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE), whose vision it is to "build a vibrant food system in which locally owned agricultural businesses thrive and consumers are nourished by healthy, sustainably produced food," recently received a USDA grant that will enable us to support the important Farm to School incentives in place in New York by building infrastructure that connects regionally food producers to NY State school districts. CADE is currently seeking to fill a full time program manager position under that grant. Applications are due August 21. Learn more here.
2. University of Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Mentorship Program
The University of Minnesota seeks mentors to guide college students and post-docs exploring careers in your field! The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) matches industry professionals with CFANS students and post-docs who are seeking guidance and insight into a career path. The program runs November 2019-May 2020. The U of M asks that mentors and students check in, either in-person, by email, or by phone/Skype at least once a month for an hour, and there is a required half-day job-shadowing component. Local and long-distance mentors are welcome! Submit your application by September 23, and learn more about the program here. Contact email@example.com with any additional questions.
Farm to School in the News
When St. Mary’s School received a grant to build a few raised flower beds six years ago, it wasn’t much — and it wasn’t near the level it is now. Now, the garden has expanded, and serves as a basis for teaching students not only how to garden, but how to run a business as well. (Johnson City Press)
As kids get ready to head back to school, the staff at the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District Nutrition Services department are prepared to fuel students’ learning with healthy food. “We do a hot pack and a cold pack every day,” explained Nutrition Services supervisor Chris Johnson. “So what is manufactured today is what schools will be getting tomorrow.” (KTVA)
Sankofa Farms was originally supposed to be a school garden in which middle school students could get away from the pressures of the classroom and get their hands dirty in the soil. After the proposal was rejected by the school’s principal, middle-school science teacher Kamal Bell made a much bigger investment in the idea. (WUNC)
Farm Fare was created when the three co-founders approached the same problem, but through three different lenses. Laura Adiletta, a former chef and food writer, aimed to improve ability for restaurants and food service kitchens to order superior quality product from local growers. Cullen Naumoff, wanted to get off the road and move freight more efficiently. And, Dan Conway, co-founder of Great Lakes Brewing Company, knew there was an better way to be stewards of the land. These lenses revealed a need for a new way of doing business and utilizing existing and often underutilized resources in the regional food system. Farm Fare reimagines the local food supply chain by equipping economies of collaboration to compete with the economies of […]
An Ohio seminary is offering hands on training to its students on growing food. They are focused on being both a place of learning and a place to gather and celebrate fresh, local food. The Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO) near Delaware founded Seminary Hill Farm (SHF) in 2013. They began raising food for their dining service in the spring of 2014. Tadd Petersen the manager of Farm and Food at SHF said, “We have raised far too many different crops to list them all. This season we raised roughly 30 different crops at around 80 different varieties. Baby greens are our specialty (and our most profitable crop).” They provided $26,000 worth of produce to the school’s dining hall […]
Pictured: Kristin Peters, Franklin Co. Public Health, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, and Juli Carvi director of food services at Bexley City Schools “School food does not have to be great, it just needs to be good,” explained Juli Carvi, the director of food services at Bexley City Schools. She thinks she has the best job in the school, because it is rewarding for her to make kids happy (with lunch) and she does not have to worry about giving them grades. “I have found zero resistance while implementing a Farm to School program in my district. The hardest part is the leg work and going after the Ohio products. It takes extra work for me to go after the products, but […]
Is the question Yellowbird Foodshed promotes on their delivery trucks. Yellowbird Foodshed of Mount Vernon has connected local farmers and small food companies with its more than 900 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members in the Columbus area. They have also provided produce to central Ohio school and college cafeterias. Benji Ballmer founder of Yellowbird said, “The Ohio Days: My State, My Plate monthly Farm to School promotion taking place in central Ohio is a stepping stone to increasing local food sales. Many schools want to do more with local foods. However, it is a hassle for them to coordinate buying the food directly from the farmer therefore, we can step in. We are not trying to infringe upon that farmer […]
The Ohio State University dining services has set a goal of serving 40% local or sustainably grown foods by 2025. This is an admirable goal, when you consider they have 17,000 students on their meal plan. Their definition of local foods is providing items grown within the state, according to Lesa Holford, associate director of residence and dining food service. Due to volume of business, much of our produce arrives processed, however, with local produce, most of it comes to us whole and we have to process and sort. Kale may come in washed and chopped from our produce distributor, but will need cleaned and cut from our local partners. This takes time and planning, and we’ve become much better […]
During 2015, Springfield City School District Springfield received an USDA Farm to School planning grant for more than $44,000. Springfield City Schools (SCSD) is an urban district with 8,000 students, the Springfield Grows, Farm to School Initiative contributed to a more economically stable, academically strong, physically healthier, and food secure community. They had two overarching goals; to support the academic, social and career success of youth through project-based learning through agriculture, and to develop an integrated local food system that links local producers with the various SCSD food programs. The planning grant accelerated the success of the initiative by providing the initial support to retain a part-time project coordinator to ensure the development of a stakeholder team and a strategic […]
A Head Start in Cleveland has a children’s garden that has taken roots and helped to provide nutrition education and fresh produce for the students and their families. Their goals for having their garden is to encourage children and parents to eat more fruits and vegetables, as well as teaching families to have gardens at home. They encourage their families to consume a variety of foods and exercise more. Thelma Bizzell, site administrator at the CEOGC Louis Stokes Head Start, explained the interest in gardening began at their site in 2013 after one of the teachers read the children’s book Up Above and Down Below to their classroom. The students had expressed a curiosity about plants so the teachers began […]
Bauman Orchards of Rittman, OH began selling their fruit to schools, more than 25 years ago. “We started in our hometown of Rittman and branched out to Wadsworth schools,” said Jason Myers manager of business and growth development. Primarily they sell schools their apples and peaches, although they grow other produce. “Providing our apples to schools has been a wonderful addition to our operation. This has enabled us to grow our business. We are fortunate to have four generations of growers and an amazing team pulling together to deliver the best fruit to our customers. In the past, our operation has focused on growing larger apples. However, we have adjusted our production procedures to ensure that there is an adequate […]
When Columbus City Schools food service director Joe Brown and his team selected the first meal to serve for Ohio Days they wanted to start out with something really popular such as a turkey dinner. After some researching they then selected Bowman and Landes turkey raised near New Carlisle. Bowman & Landes Turkeys, Inc. raise their own turkey from day one to harvest and process them on the farm. Turkeys have been raised by the Bowman & Landes family farm since 1948 through a partnership that began with Dennis Landes and Kenneth Bowman. Their original mission to produce the highest quality free range turkeys using home grown grains has not changed and continues to drive their organization. They are committed to quality […]