This Week in Farm to School
October 7, 2021

Farm to school connects local agriculture, schools, and partners to benefit students, educators, farmers, families, and communities.
Celebrate! - Governor Proclaims October 2021 as Farm to School Month

Governor Cooper has proclaimed October 2021 as Farm to School and Early Care and Education Month in North Carolina. The Governor encourages kids and adults to taste and learn about North Carolina grown produce for the N.C. Crunch and to recognize and thank all those who contribute to feeding our kids and communities – from farmers, farm workers, and food hub distributors, to school and early care nutrition professionals, educators, garden coordinators, bus drivers, and transportation professionals.
Webinars & Events
School Nutrition Programs and School Gardens
October 20, 2021 // 2pm EST
The School Garden Support Organization Network is hosting a conversation about School Nutrition Program service and school gardens. Listen to how school gardens can be intertwined with the work of School Nutrition programs, including case studies related to School Nutrition service program funding and staffing support of school gardens!

Voices of Sustainable Agriculture
October 22, 2021 // 11am - 12:30pm EST
The Voices of Sustainable Agriculture is hosted by Michigan State University. What does on-farm sustainability look like? How can farmers implement practices that support their personal, community, and environmental well-being? In this special virtual speaker series, farmers and other participants will learn from farmers, researchers, and educators about healthy soil and water, successful farming practices, seed sovereignty, resilience, and more.

Recorded Webinar: Racial Equity in Farm to School Curriculum/School Food Training Session
Farm to school practitioners joined the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and the Farm to School Coalition to discuss how we translate what we’ve learned about racial equity into opportunities for the classroom and/or for our School Nutrition programs. This two-hour workshop series was led by the team from we are.

Recorded Webinar: Slow Food Live - A Good, Clean, and Fair Plan for Child Nutrition
This panel, curated by Slow Food USA’s Food and Farm Policy team, gathered to navigate the ins and outs of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act (CNR), a bill expected to make it to congress in fall 2021. This fall, we all have an opportunity to demand better and more equitably distributed nutrition programs and school lunches for children in the U.S. Slow Food USA has advocated for an equitable CNR that will restore and build upon the provisions of the landmark Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 in meaningful ways. Once you learn more about the CNR, Slow Food shares some ways you can get involved and advocate for this dramatic shift in School Nutrition programs across the U.S.
Register for the N.C. Crunch 2021
October is National Farm to School Month! One way to celebrate is by participating in the N.C. Crunch, which is co-hosted by the Farm to School Coalition of North Carolina and N.C. Farm to Preschool Network. The N.C. Crunch is designed to celebrate agriculture, nutrition, and farm to school activities.

This year's N.C. Crunch is scheduled for Wednesday, October 20, 2021 but you can plan to participate any time during October that works for you in celebration of Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Month. Plan now for produce orders and educational activities and reach out to local partners who can help. Utilize this opportunity to recognize and thank our agriculture, education, and school and early care and education nutrition heroes who make farm to school activities possible!

Sign up now for the 2021 N.C. Crunch to receive a free guide with tips and resources so that you are ready to crunch this fall.

Policy News
National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program
Deadline: November 2
The School Meals Programs already requires schools to procure American grown and processed food. U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is seeking feedback from a broad range of stakeholders about how the Buy American provision and guidance are currently implemented, changes FNS should make to current regulations, and on how FNS can better support schools and School Nutrition authorities as they strive to purchase domestic foods and food products. The feedback FNS receives will help to inform future rule making and guidance on Buy American requirements in the school meals programs.

School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study II
Deadline: November 15
USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is seeking comments on its planned data collection on the cost, nutrition standards, and operations of school meals. The first study of this information (2014-2015) provided key insight into the implementation of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, and this new round of data will provide further info on the current successes and challenges of school meal programs. If you are involved with these activities, please note the opportunity to give "ground truth" feedback for USDA on who they will collect data from and how. Stakeholders have until November 15 to submit comments.

Reports Look at State Food Waste Policies in 12 States
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) surveyed food waste-related policies in 12 states across three regions and compiled an inventory and gap analysis of existing policies. The inventory provides a comprehensive overview of policies related to food waste reduction across 10 categories, and the gap analysis identifies policies that can be leveraged to further city food waste reduction goals, as well as opportunities where policies are weak or nonexistent.
Racial Equity Resources
An Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System
This resource was created by the Center of Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University. This annotated bibliography contains selected resources and publications focused on recent research and outreach on structural racism in the U.S. food system. The COVID-19 pandemic shed further light on existing racial disparities in the U.S. food system. Both the pandemic and the refocused attention on racism influenced the significant number of new contributions to the eighth edition of this annotated bibliography.

Additional Racial Equity Resources
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), one of our Farm to School Coalition of NC partners, has created a document of current webinars as well as resources to facilitate engagement and learning around Racial Equity, both in general and especially as it relates to food systems and education.
The National Farm to School Network
Shifting Towards the Next Generation: National Farm to School Network Movement Meeting
Join the National Farm to School Network for a virtual Movement Meeting on Thursday, October 14 from 1-2:30pm EST, featuring young leaders of color working to transform their community, for deep conversation and action-oriented reflection on how the next generation is working to intersect the food movement with racial justice, environmental justice, economic justice, and other key justice-centered movements. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to attend this free event.

Be Our Partner!
Announcing NFSN’s New Partnership Structure – Last year, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) issued a bold, new Call to Action for ourselves and for the wider food system: By 2025, 100% of communities will hold power in a racially just food system. We share this Call to Action as a pressing need that none of us can reach alone. It’s going to take all of us, and it’s achievable if we each offer our time, talents, and resources to make it happen. 

As part of our work to get us there, the National Farm to School Network is restructuring and broadening our network of partners to ensure that our organization reflects our commitment to shifting power and achieving a racially just food system. We seek Partner organizations from all 50 states, Washington D.C., the five U.S. territories, and Native nations to join us in moving on our Call to Action.
Grant Opportunities
Policy Campaign Grant
Deadline: October 15, 2021
The American Heart Association wants to help fund advocacy campaigns supporting Voices for Healthy Kids policy priorities with a focus on health equity. They seek to support and drive local, state, and tribal policy change efforts that will dramatically improve the health of children with a focus on those experiencing the greatest health disparities including Black, Brown, and Native children from low-income families. They are particularly interested in providing funds to tribal nations including ones located in North Carolina.

2022 Budding Botanist Grant
Deadline: October 29, 2021
The 2022 Budding Botanist grant is now open! In partnership with the @kloraneusa Botanical Foundation, Kids Gardening will award $1,000 to eighteen high schools across the United States to support their youth garden programs.

Pandemic Response and Safety Grants
Deadline: November 8, 2021
The Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program provides grants to food processors, distributors, farmers markets, and producers to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID-19.

EJ4Climate: Environmental Justice and Climate Resilience 
Deadline: November 14, 2021
The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is launching a $2 million grant program, EJ4Climate, to support environmental justice and climate resilience for underserved, vulnerable communities, and Indigenous communities across North America. This program will provide funding directly to Indigenous communities and community-based organizations to prepare for climate-related impacts.

2021 HFFI Funding
Deadline: December 7, 2021
Reinvestment Fund is inviting applications for the 2021 round of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants program. The 2021 HFFI round is offering at least $4 million in grant funds for food retail and food enterprises working to improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities. Funding for HFFI is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the Farm Bill and Reinvestment Fund, which serves as the national fund manager for the HFFI program at USDA. An informational webinar will be held Wednesday, October 13, 2021 from 2-3 pm EST.
Farm to School Resource Hub
This Is What Trauma-Informed Hunger Relief Looks Like
CUMAC’s New Jersey facility looks like a standard food bank, but their operation has a mission that goes much further than giving out food or even addressing the root causes of hunger. CUMAC hires from the community, gives employees the ability to co-create solutions, and builds a place where it’s safe to fail.

Thriving Schools Integrated Assessment
This resource is an ambitious new evidence-based tool to help schools and districts build learning environments that promote student achievement and support the well-being of kids, staff, and teachers. Schools and districts can use the Thriving Schools Integrated Assessment to quickly and easily identify strengths and areas of growth across a broad range of topics, like social-emotional health, food access, tobacco/vaping prevention, and staff well-being, so they can improve factors that impact health and learning such as attendance, discipline, and school climate. Hosted within the Healthier Generation Action Center, the assessment provides actionable steps and credible resources that center health equity and help to advance improvements in whole child health.