March 9, 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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School Meals Day of Action and Appreciation

School Meals for All NC will no longer be meeting in Raleigh on March 14 due to another rally being hosted that day. Instead, join from wherever you are on March 9 to support school meals for all and educate NC legislators and your community about the importance of school meals for all in one or more of the following ways:

  • Make a phone call to your legislators. Don’t know what to say? They’ll provide a script!
  • Email your legislators. Their action alert system will make it easy and convenient. 
  • Post to social media with posts from their toolkit.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
  • Share your school meals story.
  • Write a handwritten thank you note to the School Nutrition staff at your local school letting them know how much you appreciate them. They managed to keep serving meals on the front lines throughout the pandemic, and they are committed to providing healthy meals to our children no matter what.
  • Participate in another way – share your ideas with them and they can help!

Learn more here.

Non-Linear Garden Design as an Identity-Affirming Garden Practice

March 15, 2023 // 2 pm ET

Join the Academy for Global Citizenship in a conversation on exploring nonlinear garden designs as a way to re-center the practices of ancestral growers and invite conversations about identity and heritage into our garden programs. Get inspiration and concrete strategies for culturally affirming garden education to translate for any garden program.

Register here.

2023 Community Food Gathering - Forging Our Food Future

March 15 - 16, 2023 // Rocky Mount, NC

The Community Food Gathering is Community Food Strategies’ signature statewide event which brings together farm and food system leaders, public service and nonprofit leaders, local food councils, key partners, and community food advocates across the state. This gathering organizes various food system stakeholders to explore solutions, learn skills, and strategize around how to create a food system built by us and for us. 

Learn more here.

Cultivating Resilience in Youth with Deep Nature Connection 

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.

Tell us about your event!

Garbage to Gardens: Growing Composting Capacity and Waste Diversion in New Hanover County

The USDA has signed a cooperative agreement with New Hanover County to increase their composting capacity. This project will hire full-time personnel to expand upon its existing work to manage the Garbage to Gardens program in public school lunchroom food waste diversion, growing the program from two schools to sixteen. Data will be collected to perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine the savings realized from implementing food waste diversion strategies. 

Learn more here.

Garden Maintenance Timeline

For first-time gardeners (and even experienced gardeners) it can be a challenge to keep up with the tasks needed to care for the garden. Use this timeline, created by NC Cooperative Extension, to help keep your garden growing.

Learn more here.

Square-Foot Seeds

One student wants to plant radishes, another would like to grow potatoes. This activity from NC State's Plants for Human Health Institute uses math to figure out proper plant spacing.

Learn more here.

Register Your Garden with the NC School Garden Network (NCSGN)

NC School Garden Network aims to cultivate a community of support among school gardens in North Carolina. Connect with NCSGN and other school gardens by following them on Instagram and registering your school garden!

Register here.

Visit our Resource Library!

How Rising Food Costs Threaten Food Security

Anti-Racism Daily shares how grocery food prices are affecting families across America. Grocery food prices in the United States are up and will continue to grow gradually this year. Climate change, crop and livestock diseases, gas prices, and supply chain issues have contributed to these higher costs, depleting available supplies. Rising food costs on staple items have meant that people experiencing food insecurity are left to choose what to buy and meals to skip. 

Learn more here.

Does Regenerative Agriculture Have a Race Problem?

This Civil Eats article explores the regenerative agriculture movement's relationship to race. The struggle to make the US food system more racially just and equitable isn’t new. People of color have long sought to bring the conversation to the forefront, but their efforts have largely gone ignored. As such, alternative agriculture’s enduring whiteness, unacknowledged use of ancestral farming practices, and singular focus on the environment while eschewing social justice have long plagued its various movements. They also carried the legacy of early environmentalists who sought to erase Indigenous people’s imprint on the American landscape.

Learn more here.

In 2022, Black Farmers Were Persistently Left Behind from the USDA’s Loan System

An NPR analysis of USDA data found that Black farmers received a disproportionately low share of direct loans given to farmers leaving them behind in a program that is important to their livelihoods. 

Learn more here.

RAFI-USA Beginning Farmers Stipend

Deadline: March 13, 2023

RAFI-USA is accepting applications for the 2023 Beginning Farmers Stipend, a new granting program. Stipends support the success of beginning farmers by helping to reduce financial barriers and may be used to cover farming start-up and/or production costs. Individual applicants may request between $3,000 - $5,000 in funding. 

Learn more here.

Growing Justice: The Fund for Equitable Good Food Procurement

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 US 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.

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Benefits Students, Families, and Schools

No Kid Hungry has created a one-pager highlighting the many benefits of CEP to students, families, and schools.

Learn more here.

Starting 2023 Strong for School Meals: January/February Policy Updates

FoodCorps’ policy memo shares updates addressing food in schools, Child Nutrition, and more. The memo gives a brief overview of the last two months of policy and advocacy on behalf of kids’ health and well-being.

Learn more here.

Proposed Updates to the School Nutrition Standards

The USDA, Food and Nutrition Service recently issued a proposed rule regarding Child Nutrition Standards. USDA held a briefing on the proposed rule on February 6. The briefing recording, proposed rule, and other related resources are available on the USDA website. The proposed rule is available for public comment from February 7 - April 10, 2023.

Learn more here.

Dig In to School Breakfast

National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) celebrates the importance of a nutritious breakfast in fueling students for success. #NSBW23 is March 6 - 10. The national School Nutrition Association has a free toolkit available to help you with your celebration. Share your #NSBW celebration activities with us on social media!

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