Farm to School Supports National School Lunch Week

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Volume 3, Issue 26, October 11, 2017

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
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Promote Your Farm to School Activities This Month!

Using social media to share your Farm to School Month activities? If so, use #farmtoschool and #F2SMonth. We want farm to school to trend this October!

Connecticut's HardCORE Apple Challenge Poster

Connecticut’s HardCORE Farm to School Month Promotion

Partners in Connecticut – including the State Department of Education, Cooperative Extension, and FoodCorps – are joining forces behind a statewide celebration of National Farm to School Month. The HardCORE CT Apple challenge encourages school districts to promote local foods and spread awareness about the importance of food education. All schools and districts in Connecticut are encouraged to participate by sourcing local apples during the month of October, placing signage so students and staff know where they came from, and asking students to:

1. Eat a #CTGrown apple down to its core;
2. Try 2 different types of #CTGrown apples; or,
3. Visit a local apple orchard. 

Schools are encouraged to share how they are taking the HardCORE CT Apple challenge by tagging @CTFarmToSchool on Facebook or Instagram and using the hashtags #CTAppleChallenge & #CTGrown! CT’s Farm to School Collaborative has made it easy for users with an Apple Challenge Toolbox, complete with promotional materials, recipes, procurement tips, and ready to go communications templates. Happy crunching, Connecticut!

Farm to School Supports National School Lunch Week

October 9 - 13, 2017 is National School Lunch Week and Columbia Public Schools is creating a buzz in the lunchroom! They have hydroponic towers in the classroom, garden bars in the cafeteria, and school gardens outside. With all of these growing spaces, they have a lot of options for lunch. Students can choose from watermelon, granny smith, Jonathon, red delicious, cameo, fuji, tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, yellow zucchini, yellow squash, green peppers, colored peppers, red onion, yellow onions, green beans, and winter, spaghetti, butternut and acorn squashes.

Check out their twitter feed @cpsLunch to get a glimpse of their farm to school activities!

Chef providing student's a taste test

Resources, Webinars, and Funding

Kids holding chard

2018 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications (RFA) Webinars

Last week, the USDA Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) released the FY 2018 Farm to School Grant RFA. These webinars will provide an overview of the Farm to School Grant RFA for schools and districts, State agencies, and Indian tribal organizations . Learn about the goal of this funding opportunity, eligibility requirements, the application process, and how to set you and your team up for grant application success!

  • FY 2018 Farm to School Grant RFA Webinar
    Date: Monday, October 16, 2017 at 3:00pm EDT Register now!

  • FY 2018 Farm to School Grant RFA Webinar – State Agencies
    Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 3:00pm EDT
    This webinar is tailored to state agencies who are interested in crafting a Farm to School Grant proposal. Register now!

  • FY 2018 Farm to School Grant Application Process: Engaging Tribal Communities & Producers
    Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 3:00pm EDT
    This webinar is tailored to applicants interested in crafting proposals that will serve Native communities. Register now!
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National Farm to School Month: Early Care Education (ECE) Webinar

Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 12:00pm EDT

The Society for  Nutrition Education and Behavior is hosting a live webinar to celebrate National Farm to School Month.

This webinar is a great opportunity to learn more about farm to ECE, a suite of activities and strategies that entails three core elements, including the use of local foods in meals and snacks, gardening opportunities, and food-based learning activities implemented in the ECE setting. Join speakers from the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) and Arizona State University to learn about opportunities to celebrate National Farm to School Month and the vast array of benefits of farm to ECE for children, families, and communities.

Webinar speakers include:

  • Rebecca E. Lee is a seasoned community psychologist and a professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University,
  • Anna Mullen, communication associate at the NFSN, has long held a passion for social justice and advocacy, with special interest in food access, community health and sustainability, and
  • Lacy Stephens, MS, RDN, is committed to supporting healthy kids, thriving communities, and sustainable food systems through her work as the Farm to Early Care and Education Associate with the NFSN.
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Farm to School Evaluation: Tips, Tools and Templates

Are you measuring progress and impact of your farm to school activities? Need a plan for collecting and disseminating data and stories that align with your program outcomes? Take a peek into NFSN's pioneering framework for evaluating farm to school "Evaluation for Transformation" to streamline your evaluation efforts, and hear about useful tips, tools and templates to support your farm to school evaluation efforts.

Apply for Technical Assistance to Create Healthy, Economically, Vibrant Communities 

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Local Foods, Local Places helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and revitalize downtowns through the development of local food systems. To date, nearly 80 communities have benefited from assistance with support from EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority. Apply now!

    Healthy Places for Healthy People helps community leaders and health care partners focus on health as an economic driver and catalyst for downtown and neighborhood revitalization. Health care partners include community health centers (including Federally Qualified Health Centers), nonprofit hospitals, and other health care facilities. To date, 10 communities have benefited from assistance with support from EPA and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Healthy Places for Healthy People provides assistance for communities that are economically challenged, including those in rural Appalachia. Apply now!

    National Farm to School Month Spotlight

    People attending Fullerton Farm

    Youth & Family Services Closes the Gap

    Youth & Family Services (YFS) is a non-profit organization based in Rapid City, South Dakota that works to help close the opportunity gap for thousands of disadvantaged children living in western South Dakota. One way YFS is working to address this gap is by introducing children and their families to the benefits of a nutritious, adequate diet and value of wellness. Education about the importance of good nutrition and wellness is provided through YFS’ eight comprehensive programs, including two Head Start programs (Center-Based Head Start and Home-Based Head Start) and YFS’ sponsorship of the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

    Boy riding bicycle

    In an effort to offer children and families a fun, hands-on way to learn about healthy foods and the importance of good nutrition, YFS opened the gates to its thriving outdoor education center known as Fullerton Farm. Located in Box Elder, South Dakota, Fullerton Farm offers its guests an opportunity to learn about growing, preparing, and preserving fresh produce. The farm has helped increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for children and families; given children opportunities to develop a taste for healthy foods while they’re young; and encourages children and families to grow some of their own food. “We believe that if children grow veggies and help prepare them, they are much more likely to eat them!” said Sharon Oney, YFS Grants Administrator.

    Together with South Dakota State University Extension, YFS hosted a community Harvest Festival on September 16. More than 340 adults and children attended this free, family-friendly event at Fullerton Farm in spite of the chilly weather. The Harvest Festival provided community members with a taste of YFS’s vision for family engagement and wellness. Darcie Decker, YFS Nutrition Director recalled, “the children had a fabulous time digging in the dirt pile, tasting honey, fruits, and vegetables, and pedaling a bicycle with a blender attached to make fruit smoothies.” With the momentum from the Harvest Festival, the team is ready to move forward. “We’re already making plans for next year!”