March 30, 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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How to Communicate the Benefits of Values-Aligned Universal School Meals to Win Hearts, Minds, and Policy: Tested Narratives and Messages from the National Farm to School Network’s “Who’s at the Table?” Campaign 

April 4, 2023 // 2:00 pm ET

We need a system of school meals that serves all kids and values the people who get it to the table. But what are the best ways to communicate how our shared values can create healthy school meals for all kids and advocate for the policies to do that? The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) answered these questions by conducting a series of messaging and narrative testing with various audiences—during this briefing, they’re excited to share the key highlights from their message testing results. They hope that these learnings will be useful for others engaging in communications and campaigns promoting universal school meals!

Register here.

Strength-Based Approach and Centering Community Agency in Grant Writing 

April 11, 2023 // 2 pm - 4 pm ET

Please join the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) for a webinar with Dr. Anne Phibbs, Founder and President of Strategic Diversity Initiatives. Even with the best intentions to impact positive change, public health professionals often fail to recognize the ways in which their biases prevent them from acting as allies to the communities they serve. If we only see the problems and deficiencies within communities, we perpetuate constructs like saviorism, classism, and racism, while hindering our ability to partner and promote health and wellbeing. In this workshop, we address the shortcomings of a ‘deficit approach,’ explore allyship through strength-based communications, and how to center community agency in grant writing.

Learn more here.

Recorded Webinar: Decolonizing Garden Education

This live webinar was a part of the six-month Growing School Garden Summit Webinar Series hosted by the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation in partnership with Life Lab and the School Garden Support Organization Network. Hear how Grow Portland, one small school garden nonprofit, explores new initiatives to center equity and inclusion by facilitating BIPOC farm partnerships, incorporating Indigenous knowledge frameworks, diversifying staffing, and prioritizing professional development focused on uprooting white supremacy constructs. 

Watch here.

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A Coalition for Those Who Care About School Meals

This article, written by Mebane Rash for EdNC, shares more information about the School Meals for All Campaign. School Meals for All is a coalition that believes “no child should go hungry and every child in every public school in North Carolina should have access to breakfast and lunch at school at no cost to their families.”

Read more here.

Spring Is for Strawberries

Katherine Pryor’s lyrical celebration of seasonal local foods is brought to life by Polina Gortman’s portrait of a growing friendship between two children from seemingly different worlds. Spring is for Strawberries reminds us to seek pleasure in the changing harvests around us and that all things – even friendships – have seasons worth waiting for. 

Learn more here.

Farm to School in Pajaro Valley Unified School District

The Center for Ecoliteracy’s bilingual short film showcases the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and the power of youth leadership in the farm to school movement. The short film, Farm to School, premiered at the 2023 Watsonville Film Festival. It was co-produced with Esperanza Community Farms and directed by Inspira Studios. Through the California Food for California Kids® initiative, the Center for Ecoliteracy supports school districts like Pajaro Valley Unified in serving fresh, locally-grown school meals. 

Watch here.

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21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge

Food Solutions New England will host the 9th version of its food system-oriented 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge from April 3, 2023 to April 23, 2023. Each year, thousands of individuals and hundreds of officially participating organizations join in a shared journey of learning and charting a course of action to dismantle racism in our food system and our world. 

Learn more here.

Black-led Food Co-ops Restore Justice, Hope, and Power

The United States has seen the opening of more than 167 food cooperatives since 2006, according to the Food Co-op Initiative (FCI). Within this movement, Black-led co-ops are tackling food access and racial justice, which can help fulfill a community’s needs while addressing systemic inequities to restore power to the people.

Learn more here.

School Nutrition Foundation Equipment Grants

Tomorrow! 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.

North Carolina House Bill 398

A section of NC House Bill 398 proposes providing lunches at no cost to public school students in the state. This bill was filed on March 15, 2023. 

Learn more here.

Federal Government Actions to Support Local Processing

The Strengthening Local Processing Act of 2023 (US HR 945) was introduced in February 2023 to support small meat and poultry processing establishments. The National Farm to School Network shares more information about this Act, other federal support for local processing, and how these actions bolster farm to school activities in their new blog post.

Learn more here.

‘Too hungry to learn’: NC Advocates Rally Lawmakers for Free School Lunches Statewide

This ABC11 article shares more about the School Meals for All advocacy day on March 9th.

Watch here.

Child Nutrition Programs: Revision to Meal Patterns Consistent with the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Food and Nutrition Service at USDA has extended the deadline to submit comments to May 10, 2023. USDA is proposing a gradual multi-year approach to implementing revised nutrition standards. The proposed rule indicates that USDA expects to issue a final rule in time for schools to plan for the school year (SY) 2024 - 2025.

Learn more here.

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