JULY 2012: News from the National Farm to School Network!
Last chance: Conference registration closes July 13!
Hurry! There are less than two weeks left to register for the 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Digging In! Representatives from all sectors of Farm to Cafeteria work will convene in beautiful Burlington, Vermont August 2-5 for four days of education, conversations and fun. There will be skill-building short courses, field trips to innovative Vermont farms and institutions, a diverse workshop program, and plenty of opportunities to network with inspiring individuals from across the country.
- Conference space is limited, and lodging options are filling up fast, so if you want to be among the 900-plus movers and shakers to attend the nations' largest Farm to Cafeteria conference, reserve your space now! Here's an insiders' tip: Consider the dorms. Champlain College offers rooms in a turn-of-the-century mansion while the University of Vermont's new dorms are in a new, LEED certified building.
- Several field trips are already full, but there is still space in both of our short courses: "The Protein Puzzle: Institutional Procurement of Local Meat and Seafood" and "Growing Food Leaders: Empowering the Next Generation."
- Looking to raise funds to cover the cost of your registration? Check out the Farm to Cafeteria Fundraising Packet located on the bottom of the scholarship page.
- Stay up to date, find a ride to the conference and connect with conference organizers and attendees on Crowdvine, our very own social networking site! You'll receive an invitation to join shortly after you complete your registration.
- Are your kids coming with you to Vermont? Consider enrolling them in a Burlington summer camp! July 30 - August 3, the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center offers ECHO Adventurers, a camp combining hands-on science with behind-the-scenes animal encounters. If Superheroes, dancing or crafts are more your style, look into the Flynn Center for Performing Arts camps.
- We are collecting photos of Farm to Cafeteria projects from across the country to help tell the story of the movement -- YOUR story -- at the conference. The pictures will be used in a slideshow during the conference. If you have photos to share, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name and the location where the photo was taken.
This conference takes place every-other year, so reserve your space, spread the word, and prepare to Dig In to all things Farm to Cafeteria August 2-5 in Burlington, Vermont!
Are you ready for Farm to School Month this October?
In 2010, Congress approved a resolution to officially designate October as National Farm to School Month. The passage of House Resolution 1655 demonstrated the growing importance of Farm to School programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food.
This year we're asking schools across the country to participate in "Farm to School Counts" by pledging to serve local food and participate in Farm to School activities. More details and other resources will be available on farmtoschoolmonth.org early next week. In the meantime, the previous link will take you to last year's Farm to School Month website where you can get a taste of last year's celebration and learn more about the month.
For more information about resources and activities the National Farm to School Network is developing for Farm to School Month 2012, sign up for our webinar "Making the Most of Farm to School Month" on July 10 at 12 CDT.
Farm Bill update: Senate version of bill passes
The Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (ARFJA), a five-year, almost trillion-dollar farm bill, in a bipartisan 64-35 vote. The Senate's bill includes funding for the following programs, among others:
- Community Food Projects Program - Doubling mandatory funding for this program to $10 million per year.
- Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program - Expanding the Farmers Market Promotion Program to include developing food hubs and doubling funding to $20 million per year.
- Specialty Crop Block Grants - Funding increased to $70 million per year from the current level of $55 million.
- Introduction of a five-state Farm-to-School pilot project allowing for locally sourced food in place of USDA commodities.
- Maintains funding for rural development programs, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and allocates modest funding to the Outreach and Technical Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (Section 2501).
- Provides better crop insurance coverage for organic farmers and whole farm revenue insurance for highly diversified farms.
The bill does not include a higher level of mandatory funding for the 2501 Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers program, and includes $4.5B in cuts to the SNAP program over the next ten years.
The House of Representatives could begin debate on their version of the bill as early as July 11.
Spotlight on: Summer feeding programs
During the school year, more than 21 million children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. But when school is out, many low-income kids relying on these school meals, go hungry. To close that gap, USDA's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps children get the nutritious meals they need during the summer months so they're ready to learn when they return to school in the fall. Help raise awareness of this program and connect children and families to summer meal sites in their community! Here are some ways you can help:
- Help promote the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-HAMBRE. The Hotline staff can provide families, parents and children with information on where summer meal sites are in their community in addition to other food help resources. It's a free call, available in both English and Spanish.
- Get your local radio station to run a SFSP Public Service Announcement (PSA). Download the PSAs and provide them to your local radio station to play for free. They are available in English and Spanish.
- Conduct outreach and distribute outreach materials to children and families. Free customizable and downloadable materials are included in the USDA SFSP Outreach Toolkit, including doorhangers, fliers with site information, brochures, letters to parents to send home from school and much more.
Will you donate today to help us expand our reach? Your contribution will help us increase access to local, healthy foods and education opportunities that connect children to healthy, locally grown foods in schools throughout the nation. Together we are creating Farm to School programs that are an essential component of strong and just local and regional food systems, and we are ensuring the health of school children, farms, communities, the environment and the economy.
|Making the most of farm to school month|
July 10, 12 CDT
Ideas and resources for celebrating National Farm to School Month in October.
|Food, farm and nutrition Curriculum connections: Developing educational experiences that meet teacher needs|
Sept. 11, 12 - 1 CDT
Join members of the Farm Based Education and Farm to School Communities across the country to discuss how to develop educational experiences on farms and in gardens that reflect classroom curricula goals. We'll discuss strategies for developing lessons and activities that reflect classroom curriculum and meet standards. You'll learn how to frame educational experiences as a part of a curriculum framework and we will walk through some sample activities. The webinar will also include information about the new Common Core Standards and recommended resources for you to take next steps!
The Greater Washington, D.C., area is the setting for the American Horticultural Society's 2012 National Children & Youth Garden Symposium. The theme for our 20th annual symposium is "Celebrating 20 Years of Promoting Garden-Based Teaching and Learning."
APha annual meeting and exposition
The APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition is the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world, attracting more than 13,000 national and international physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists, and related health specialists.
Given the newness of the Farm to School grant program, and the great benefits associated with stakeholder engagement, feedback regarding the preliminary grant program design, as well as ideas and comments regarding training and technical assistance, are encouraged and expected. Please submit feedback by July 15, 2012 to email@example.com with the subject header: F2S Feedback.
USDA Requests comments on Farm to school census
The Farm to School Census will be used to establish a baseline measure of local food purchases in schools and set priorities for USDA programming related to local school food sourcing. Comments due August 6, 2012. More information and submission instructions can be found here.
|In the News|
NYC, automats create lunch as we know it
In a new exhibit, the New York Public Library tracks the evolution of lunch over the past 150 years.
|Schools play increasingly important role in students' health|
With the rate of childhood obesity climbing nationwide, schools are on the front lines in promoting physical fitness and nutrition in an effort to reverse the trend. "People tell me, 'My child asked for asparagus because he had it at school," said Helen Phillips, president of the School Nutrition Association.
|FoodCorps is one of several efforts to give children healthy foods|
Debra Eschmeyer, co-founder of FoodCorps, writes about the mission of the nonprofit, which is to help curb childhood obesity by teaching students about healthy eating. She describes FoodCorps as the "Peace Corps for school food," saying members are tasked with helping schools improve access to healthy foods, plant gardens and educate students about nutrition.