Gardening programs get kids to eat their veggies!

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Volume 4, Issue 7, April 3, 2018

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

USDA Announces $8.4 Million to Support Veterans and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement (OPPE) announced up to $8.4 million in available funding for training and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). Applications are due by May 15, 2018. See the request for applications for full details.

Read Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture to get a glimpse at how one veteran in West Virginia supports farm to school!

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Kids eating school lunch

Gardening Programs Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies!

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends school-based gardening interventions in combination with nutrition education to increase children’s vegetable consumption. After conducting a systematic review of 14 studies that examined gardening interventions with children ages 2 - 18 years between January 2005 - October 2015, CPSTF found sufficient evidence that gardening and nutrition education has a positive effect on kids.

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Dylan Nitzkorski Farm to School Coordinator

South Carolina Shakes Up School Lunch

Four school districts in South Carolina are shaking up the lunchroom and transforming school meals by using innovative techniques. From developing a unique distribution process, to running the cafeteria like a restaurant, creating "worm food", and harvesting rooftop garden produce, South Carolina is putting farm to school on the map. Check out their story and read how one Farm School Grantee, Spartanburg District 6, makes it all look easy!

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Upcoming Webinars

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Trending Topics Webinar: Family Engagement Through Farm to Early Care and Education

Date: April 5, 2018 @ 2:00pm ET

Parent and family engagement in the early years of life is vital to healthy development and healthy relationships. Farm to early care and education (ECE) offers a unique opportunity to engage families in activities in the ECE setting while offering nutrition, culinary, and gardening education that can impact food practices and health behaviors in the home. Join the National Farm to School Network, the Farm to Family Project, and Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness to hear about innovative programs that are leveraging farm to ECE as a key to family engagement and, in doing so, increasing healthy food access, healthy behaviors, and healthy relationships for children, families and communities. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing

NFSN Trending Topics Webinar: State Farm to School Networks

Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018 @ 2:00pm ET

State farm to school networks are vital to the growth and institutionalization of farm to school through their state-level leadership and coordination and contributions to a nationwide movement. While each state network is unique, many share a set of key strategies that contribute to a successful network. Join this webinar to learn about a new resource from the National Farm to School Network that highlights these network best practices and to hear from NFSN Core Partners who are leading the way in state network development. This webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing

Food Safety Webinar

Food Safety Webinars

This two-part webinar series, co-sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Local Food Distribution Work Group and the Chesapeake Farm to Institution Work Group (a partnership of Health Care Without Harm and the Chesapeake Foodshed Network), will feature expert panelists and time for discussion. 

Part 1 will explore the basics of food safety laws impacting fruit and vegetable farmers, food hubs, and distributors – what are the new rules, when will they go into effect, and what changes they require for farms and facilities to come into compliance. Date: Monday, April 9, 2018 @ 12:00pm ET

Part 2 will explore the wholesale marketplace with respect to the rules and how local government, extension services, food hubs, and nonprofits have been working with farmers to help them obtain required certification. Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2018, @12:00pm ET

These webinars are designed for institutional and wholesale buyers, Mid-Atlantic food hubs and distributors, producer representatives, and local food and agriculture professionals and advocates.