Less than four weeks remain until the FY 2018 Farm to School Grant RFA closes!

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Volume 3, Issue 30, November 14, 2017

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
CHOP Student

C.H.O.P takes center stage for PBS Newshour feature

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment's Team Nutrition program, Cooking Up Healthy Options with Plants (CHOP) Farm to Preschool program exposes preschool students to agricultural education. PBS Newshour features the CHOP program and brings to life how preschoolers in a low-income area in Pueblo, Colorado benefit from learning their ABCs while preparing healthy meals.

Upcoming Webinars

Farm to Institution

Getting Down to Details: How to Use Velocity Reports to Up Your Game on Sourcing Local Food

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 15th from 2:00pm - 3:00pm ET

Looking to increase your local purchases but not sure where to start? Join Michael Webster, the general manager of dining at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, and Rachel Harb, the training coordinator at Massachusetts Farm to School, for a one-hour webinar focusing on velocity reports for campus dining service. Learn how to amplify your purchasing power and streamline the planning process with practical data gathering and velocity report analysis.


Montana Beef to School Webinar

Date: November 15, 2017 at 4:00pm ET

Learn about successful strategies for purchasing and serving local beef in Montana schools. This webinar will provide information about the Montana Beef to School Project’s findings and resources, as well as, give participants the first look at beef to school procurement templates! Jay Stagg, Foodservice Director of Whitefish Public Schools, will share his journey and recommendations for purchasing and serving Montana beef. Beef is the Montana Harvest of the Month for March! 

This webinar is part of Montana Office of Public Instruction’s Webinar Wednesday series. Registration is not required, join nowEach installment of Webinar Wednesday counts as 1 hour of continuing education for school nutrition professionals. 

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CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays

Join Team Nutrition for a monthly CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays training webinar! This new webinar series will focus on hot topics related to the CACFP Meal Pattern requirements.

Upcoming webinars:

Webinars will be held on the third Thursday of every month, in English from 2:00–2:30 PM ET and in Spanish from 3:00–3:30 PM ET.

Funding Opportunities

Farm to School buttons

Farm to School Grant Request for Applications Important Updates

It's hard to believe, but there are only five weeks until the FY 2018 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications closes! The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 tasked USDA with supporting farm to school efforts through grants, training, technical assistance, and research. 

Interested in applying? Complete applications must be submitted on grants.gov by 11:59pm ET on December 8, 2017. Check out our resources for applicants and see a list of awardees since the release of our first RFA in 2013! 

For those in the process of applying, please note:

  • The farm to school coversheet that was on grants.gov and linked in the RFA is out of date – please download the updated farm to school coversheet from grants.gov. The updated version was just posted late last week. The latest version of the form requests enrollment data for school year 2016-2017 (old version states school year 2013-2014 which is incorrect). 
  • The RFA has been updated. It is available on grants.gov. There were some questions around the State agency definition originally found on page 13 of the RFA. The State agency definition provided in the RFA was to dictate which State agency entities would receive “priority” designation not to define a “State agency.” This definition can now be found on page 11 of the RFA under the FY 2018 Priorities section.
  • If you haven’t, start your DUNs and SAM registration process which is required to submit a Farm to School Grant application. Don’t know what these things are? The FY 18 Farm to School RFA webinar has all of the details and is available on the Applicant resource page.
  • We have received a number of inquiries about the RFA that have now been included we will be including in our FAQ document. You should check on this document periodically for updates.

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Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program

In FY 2018, the National Institute for Food and Agriculture's (NIFA)  Community Food Project (CFP) intends to solicit applications and fund two types of grants:

  • Community Food Projects (CFP)
  • Planning Projects (PP)

The primary goals of the CFP are to:

  • Meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service;
  • Increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities;
  • Promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues; and,
  • Meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs.

Interested in applying? Check out the Request for Applications (RFA). Applications are due December 4, 2017!

New Resources

Food from Farms Toolkit

Food from Farms: Toolkit for Direct Purchasing of Local Food

The Food from Farms: Toolkit for Direct Purchasing of Local Food provides examples and templates to start community-based local food procurement directly from farmers. The toolkit was originally developed for a small school district in northern Minnesota, and was designed to comply with USDA guidelines.

The toolkit is adaptable and has been used for local food procurement by a hospital and a non-profit organization. The Aitkin County Public Health, Healthy Northland, and Minnesota's Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) sponsored the development of the toolkit and its associated materials. Compilation of the toolkit was sponsored by Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA). Valuable insight and feedback came from the Minnesota Farm to School Leadership Team. 

Students learning about food and nutrition

Qaqamiigux: Head Start Traditional Foods Preschool Curriculum

Qaqamiigux: Head Start Traditional Foods Preschool Curriculum, developed by Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc., provides a series of lessons and activities that preschool teachers can use to teach the nutritional value of the local, traditional foods in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands Region. The aim is to provide culturally-relevant nutrition curriculum specific to the foods in the region.