March 16, 2023

This Week in Farm to School 

Farm to school connects local agriculture, schools, and partners to benefit students, educators, farmers, families, and communities.

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March 21st is National Agriculture Day!

Farmers and producers play an important role in many farm to school efforts! Thank you to our farmers and producers for providing local food for School Nutrition programs, hosting farm field trips for students, and feeding our communities every day! How are you all celebrating National Ag Day? Let us know on social media!

Learn more here.

Cultivating Resilience in Youth with Deep Nature Connection 

Today! March 16, 2023 // 7 pm ET

Join KidsGardening and JoAnn Yates as they explore specific activities that are fun and engaging as a way to cultivate resilience in ourselves and those we partner with. JoAnn Yates is a registered horticultural therapist and has served children of all abilities within the school system for the past 14 years. 

Register here. 

2023 Chatham County Spring Ag Fest

March 25, 2023 // 10 am - 2 pm ET

Chatham County invites everyone to join them for their 4th annual Spring Ag Fest at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center (CCACC). The Spring Ag Fest is a celebration of Chatham County’s agriculture, forestry, and natural resources. The event will offer something for everyone: livestock arena events, demonstrations, food, and more. 

Learn more here.

Small Farms Week

March 27 - 31, 2023

The 27th annual Small Farms Week 2023 runs from March 27 - March 31 in person on the campus of NC A&T State University and honors the small-scale growers who put food on our tables. There will be a kickoff event, educational forums, and a small farmers' appreciation luncheon. 

Register here.

Celebrating African American and Black Culture in the Garden

March 29, 2023 // 7 pm ET

KidsGardening is hosting educators Wanda Stewart and Reeba Daniel as they share their work and methods for celebrating and centering African American and Black culture in youth gardens. 

Register here.

Tell us about your event!

School Districts Face Rising Student Meal Debt, As Additional SNAP Benefits Expire

This ABC11 report focuses on school meal debt and featured Carolina Hunger Initiative’s Andrew Harrell and North Carolina Alliance for Health’s Morgan Wittman Gramann.

Learn more here.

Planting Methods Extension Article

Starting a garden through planting seeds and transplants allows youth to dig in the soil and observe seeds pushing through the surface, unfolding leaves, and eventually maturing to be harvested and eaten. NC Cooperative Extension has compiled a list of different planting methods that one might use with children. 

Learn more here.

Pocket Planter Activity

When gardening space is limited, sometimes it helps to look up instead of around. Vertical container gardens are a creative solution for challenging environments like urban areas. This activity, created by KidsGardening, offers an idea for an easy vertical planter created by repurposing a shoe organizer. 

Learn more here.

Visit our Resource Library!

Black Faces in Green Spaces

Project Learning Tree and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative have created Black Faces in Green Spaces: The Journeys of Black Professionals in Green Careers in hopes of providing youth with an awareness of the many jobs in the forest and conservation sector. They also hope to advance the conversation within the sector by sharing many inspiring stories from historical and current environmental heroes. 

Learn more here.

Protecting the Water Rights of Indigenous People

This Anti-Racism Daily article explores the water rights of Indigenous people. Water is one of the most vital natural resources, yet access to it is not guaranteed. Two billion people across the globe lack clean drinking water at home. In the United States, two million live without running water, with race being the “strongest predictor” of water access. For Indigenous people, the consequences of this disparity are dire. One of the biggest culprits behind this water crisis stems from vulnerable communities’ unprotected water rights. Water rights help to delineate who can and cannot use specific bodies of water. Sadly, water rights for communities of color get ignored and disregarded by the U.S. government and big corporations.

Learn more here.

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Led Gardening and Farming Resources

Soul Fire Farm has compiled a list of BIPOC-led gardening projects in the U.S., “how to” videos on land skills and growing our own food and medicine, and online educational resources. 

Learn more here.

Growing Justice: The Fund for Equitable Good Food Procurement

Today! Deadline: March 16, 2023

GROWING JUSTICE aims to invest in efforts to solidify leadership, dignity and power of Tribal, Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian, and immigrant people to identify and drive solutions that expand the market for good food from locally or regionally owned, and environmentally and economically sustainable farms, ranches, fisheries, and food businesses. Awards of $50,000 to $250,000 are available to support community-led efforts to advance the vision and values of GROWING JUSTICE.

Learn more here.

2023 USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP)

Deadline: March 27, 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NCRS), is soliciting applications from eligible entities for the UAIP Competitive Grants pilot project. The primary goal of the UAIP pilot project is to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production. The USDA is making available up to $7.5 million for grants through its Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of relevant projects that fit into two categories: Planning Projects and Implementation Projects.

Learn more here.

School Nutrition Foundation Equipment Grants

Deadline: March 31, 2023

The School Nutrition Foundation is teaming up with industry partners to provide new kitchen equipment to districts. Apply now for the 2023 SNF Equipment Grant Program, featuring applications for five grants! Eligible applicants have the opportunity to win equipment grants, each worth between $20,000 to $100,000 of equipment. Applications and photos must be submitted by a School Nutrition Director. There is a submission cap of 30 applications for each grant. 

Learn more here.

NC Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom Going Local Grant

Deadline: April 15, 2023

North Carolina Farm Bureau is happy to provide agricultural outreach grants to North Carolina teachers through their Ag in the Classroom Going Local program. These grants value up to $500. Going Local Grants help educators provide Pre-K through collegiate-level students with valuable, real-world education and experiences directly related to the agricultural industry and the NC Standard Course of Study. Teachers practicing in private and public North Carolina schools, colleges, and universities are encouraged to apply. 

Learn more here.

USDA NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program RFA

Deadline: April 27, 2023

The primary goal of the BFRDP is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States and its territories enter and/or improve their successes in farming, ranching, and management of nonindustrial private forest lands, through support for projects that provide education, mentoring, and technical assistance to give beginning farmers and ranchers the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions for their operations and enhance their sustainability. Applications from partnerships and collaborations that are led by or include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and school-based agricultural education organizations (SAEOs) with expertise in agricultural training and outreach for beginning producers will be given priority in funding. Awards may range from $49,000 - $750,000.

Learn more and apply here.

Take Action for School Meals in NC

The School Meals for All NC Campaign is working to ensure that every student in every public school in North Carolina has access to breakfast and lunch at school at no cost to their families. Help the campaign make a difference by contacting your legislators. You can personalize the email by including your own experiences with school meals.

Take action here.

Open Comment Period on School Meals Operation Study: Evaluation of the School-Based Child Nutrition Programs

The Food and Nutrition Service at USDA has made minor changes to their plans to survey a nationally representative sample of approximately 1,750 School Food Authority Directors and a census of 55 State Child Nutrition Directors. This revision includes questions about the impacts of COVID-19 Child Nutrition Waivers on Child Nutrition programs. The Food and Nutrition Service is seeking input on ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond. Written comments must be received on or before April 3, 2023. 

View the announcement here and view the full budget request here.

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