Ring in the New Year with Farm to School

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Volume 4, Issue 1, January 9, 2018

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
OCFS Team photo

Happy New Year from the Office of Community Food Systems!

The Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) wishes all of our readers a Happy New Year! Our long-term vision is for every child, in every Child Nutrition Program, to have access to local food, every day. 

It is a popular practice to make resolutions at the start of a new year. What are your resolutions or goals for 2018? How will you increase local foods in your school meals program, summer meal program, or Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP)? What methods will you use to engage more agricultural producers and establish partnerships within your community? How will you enhance your local economy by supporting your local producers?

Share your goals, visions, and ideas to increase the use of American agriculture goods -- you may be featured in an upcoming E-letter! We want to hear from you!

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Leveraging State Farm to School Networks to Affect Legislation

Date: January 18, 2018 at 2:00pm ET

Learn how state farm to school networks and stakeholders can have an impact on local and state legislation that supports farm to school efforts. Guest speakers will include Natalie McKinney, Executive Director of the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation and NFSN Hawai’i Core Partner, discussing lessons learned from organizing, advocating and keeping the pressure on to successfully pass state farm to school policy. Attendees will take away tips and tools for jumpstarting advocacy efforts in their own communities.

Lettuce growing in a green house

Study links gardening to eating more fruits, vegetables

Researchers reported in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that young gardeners eat more greens during their first year of college. A recent study that included more than 1,100 freshmen at eight US universities found those with recent or childhood gardening experience ate 20 percent more servings of fruits and vegetables, compared with those who had never gardened. Among the more than 5,000 students considered for participation in the study, 85 percent did not get the recommended daily servings for fruits and vegetables.

Fiskars Logo

2018 Project Orange Thumb
Grant Application

The Fiskars Project Orange Thumb Grant Program will grant 30 recipients $3,500 in gift cards and tools to help support their goals of neighborhood beautification and horticulture education.

The garden initiative must be for a not-for-profit or 501(c)(3) organization within North America that has not received a Project Orange Thumb grant in the past. The Project Orange Thumb team looks for organizations committed to the long-term success of gardens that will promote healthy and sustainable food sources, community collaboration and neighborhood beautification.

Examples of new garden initiatives and garden expansion initiatives Project Orange Thumb has supported in the past include:

  • Gardens that grow produce for school meal programs;
  • Gardens created to increase environmental and agricultural education in the community;
  • Gardens donating produce to hunger relief programs;
  • Gardens for nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and related facilities; and,
  • Gardens created to aid in healthy eating and lifestyle educational programs.

Applications are due by 11:59pm CST on February 2, 2018. Please review the terms and conditions before proceeding.