Welcome to the weekly update of resources and information from the National Farm to School Network—Iowa.
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Online food systems certifications begin in September; scholarship applications due Friday

The Community Food Systems team at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers timely support with its Local Food Leader and Community Food Systems trainings and certifications, now available in virtual format. Each certification includes cohort workshops hosted through Zoom and online curricula through Moodle.

Beginning in September, these four popular professional development opportunities for food systems practitioners will be available online. Limited scholarships are available for each course. Applications for scholarships are due THIS FRIDAY, August 21.

Grants and Funding

1. COVID-19 EQUITY Northeast BIPOC Farmer Relief Fund 

Deadline: August 20
Are you a BIPOC farmer or fisherperson that has been impacted by COVID-19? The Northeast BIPOC Farmer Relief Fund is now accepting applications from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color) producers with priority for those who use sustainable, regenerative or environmentally sound practices and who contribute to their community in some way. Funded by Farm Aid, this fund will provide $500 relief payments for up to 200 applicants. Learn more and apply.
2. USDA RFA: Innovating Formal and Non-Formal Educational Experiences in Food and Agricultural Sciences During the Time of Social Distancing
Deadline: August 20 
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Education and Workforce Development RFA now includes a new program area priority to address the need to develop and deploy rapid, reliable, and readily-adoptable strategies in workforce preparation through formal K-14 education, as well as in youth development through non-formal education to cultivate interest and competencies in STEM and agriculture during this challenging time. This program area accepts new applications only. Learn more and apply
3. USDA's Office of Partnership and Public Engagement RFA: Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
 Deadline to apply: August 26
Via section 2501 funding, these grants support community-based and non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities to conduct programming to assist producers. The deadline to apply is August 26th (please note, the announcement in the Federal Register incorrectly states the deadline as September 11!) OPPE will host a call for potential applicants on July 28, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EST (Telephone Number: (877) 692-8955, Passcode: 6433267). No registration needed. Learn more and apply.
4. Cigna Foundation's Healthier Kids For Our Future Grant Program
Deadline: September 30 
Cigna Foundation is looking to partner with school systems and surrounding communities — including clinicians, local and national nonprofits — to supplement existing mental health programming and help close gaps both within and outside the school environment to address loneliness, anxiety, depression, and suicide prevention. To that end, it will fund programs that foster collaboration between various stakeholders, including school administrators and teachers, clinicians, and local and national nonprofits. The grants are up to $65,000 grants per year for two years. Learn more and apply.
5. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Call for Proposals: Community Solutions for Health Equity
LOI deadline: October 7
With Community Solutions for Health Equity , RWJF seeks to make local health care systems more responsive to the needs of the community by elevating the voices, stories, priorities, and knowledge of people of color, and others who are left out of policy decisions. The Foundation's funding will provide community organizations with grant support to help increase their ability to organize members, build partnerships with other constituencies, and develop effective communication-all of which are critical to shared decisionmaking. Nine organizations will be given $300,000 each over the course of three years as part of the program. The Foundation is interested in engaging diverse groups and organizations, including those that have limited experience receiving grants of this size. Learn more and apply.

Webinars and Events

1. COVID-19 Webinar: School Garden Care and Management During COVID-19
August 19 // 2pm ET
Join the School Garden Support Organization Network to discuss garden care and management (Fall 2020 version). During this virtual gathering School Garden Support Organizations will share how they are supporting their staff, teachers and the community to care for school gardens this fall. The webinar will allow for about 45 minutes of structured share outs followed by ample time for discussion and Q & A. Learn more and register. 

2. Webinar: Connecting Children With Local Foods and Farmers Through Summer Meal Programs
August 20 // 11am ET
In this webinar hosted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), join summer meal experts who will share best practices and lessons learned from their experience piloting their own “Farm to Summer” initiatives during the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and learn about IATP’s report documenting the opportunities and challenges of Farm to Summer!  Register here.

3. Webinar: Reuniones Interactivas Gratuitas de Zoom en Español Para Emprendedores de Alimentos en Wisconsin
August 24 // 10am ET
El lunes 24 de agosto, Barbara Ingham, Especialista en la Seguridad con los Alimentos de Division of Extension de University of Wisconsin-Madison, responderá preguntas básicas sobre tipos de licencias que puede necesitar un negocio de alimentos y normas para una instalación de producción de alimentos, dará consejos sobre el desarrollo de planes de seguridad con los alimentos y ofrecerá sugerencias para localizar recursos y apoyos, de tal manera que pequeños emprendedores de alimentos puedan recibir licencia para sus empresas en Wisconsin. Está reunión interactiva por Zoom está diseñada para pequeñas empresas de alimentos en Wisconsin y para instalaciones y programas que apoyen a estos emprendedores. Los educadores de Extension son bienvenidos si desean asistir. Regístrese aquí. 

4. Webinar: Discussion with Alive Goodman of the NYC Office of School Wellness/Department of Education
August 24 //  2:15pm ET
Join the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy and the Bronx Health Reach for this special event on how New York City schools will tackle student health & wellness this fall. Register here.

5. EQUITY Webinar: Delivering More Than Food: Understanding and Operationalizing Racial Equity in Food Hubs
August 24 // 2:30pm ET
The webinar, sponsored by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems in association with the Racial Equity in the Food Systems Workgroup, will share results from a qualitative study led by a diverse group of food system practitioners as to how U.S. based food hubs understand and operationalize engagement in racial equity work. You will hear examples of how food hubs operationalize equity within their business, and with their partners, and with the community they serve.  Authors and food hub leader discussants will also offer perspectives on the deeper questions that must be addressed to meaningfully support equity across the food system. Register here.

6. Virtual Listening Sessions: Feasibility of Insuring Local Food Production
August 17-20, 24-28, 31, and September 1-3
As part of the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress required USDA's Risk Management Agency to solicit feedback about improved crop insurance coverage options for farmers and ranchers selling through local food markets. This includes discussing how existing crop insurance programs can be improved, as well as exploring the possibility of a new crop insurance program. There are several scheduled Zoom listening sessions, which will be held from mid-August through early September with the sessions for farmers and ranchers divided by region, commodity, and market channel.  

7. Back-to-School Meal Service: Feeding Kids During the 2020-2021 School Year Part I
Webinar Recording
This is the first in a series of back-to-school webinars by No Kid Hungry focused on feeding kids during the 2020-2021 school year, as communities continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic. This webinar focuses on understanding the nationwide waivers— the waivers available, the waivers not available, possible meal service models, and limitations and challenges. We also explore options for financial recovery including FEMA Public Assistance Grants, CARES Act funds and the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).

Resources and Research
1. COVID-19 NFSN National Farm to School Network - 2020 Back to School: Farm to School/ECE and COVID-19 Resource List
National Farm to School Network is compiling back-to-school resources that will be relevant to farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. See the resource list. Have resources to suggest? Please email us at

2. USDA's Tools for School Nutrition Professionals
USDA FNS's Team Nutrition has a variety of distance learning opportunities to meet annual training requirements for the new school year. The Professional Standards Training Database allows school nutrition professionals to search for training that meets their learning needs in one easy-to-use website. Trainings are available in a variety of formats and most trainings are free.
Use the Professional Standards Training Tracker Tool (PSTTT) to keep track of and record your training hours. 

3. Reset the Table: Meeting the Moment to Transform the U.S. Food System
View this report by the Rockefeller Foundation that lays out a framework for change toward an equitable, nourishing, and sustainable U.S. food system.

4. Meal Service Options For School Year 2020-2021 Guide
Confused about the waivers for SY20-21? Not sure what your options are for meal service during distance learning or four day school weeks? Check out this resource from No Kid Hungry for guidance.

5. New Community Eligibility Provision Grouping Optimizer: Meals Count
Meals Count is a free interactive, customizable tool to help districts optimize their CEP groupings and maximize federal reimbursement. Meals Count is powered by sophisticated algorithms developed by data scientists across the country to eliminate the guesswork of grouping. Just by using Meals Count, districts have been able to optimize CEP groupings and increase expected annual reimbursement by 13% on average. For districts with 11 schools or fewer, the tool actually runs through every possible grouping scenario (of thousands possible combinations) to give the optimal scenario for maximizing expected annual reimbursement. For a quick demo on how to use Meals Count, watch this step-by-step tutorial.

6. Farmers Market Scrip Model for Food Distribution Program
The Hana Farmers Market in Hawai‘i has shared a write-up of an innovative and very effective way to manage free food distributions and support our farmers market. Rather than purchasing, aggregating and distributing food boxes, they used county funding to offer scrips to customers to use directly to purchase produce at the farmers market. Hana Farmers Market has found that this is a great program to create incentives in all the right places, with relatively little overhead. For more information contact Scott ( View the resource.

7. No Kid Hungry's Summary Of Current COVID-19 Child Nutrition Program Response Nationwide Waivers
This document conveniently details all of the nationwide waivers and guidance issued to date by the USDA in response to the coronavirus. View the summary.

8. The Food, Agrobiodiversity, Clarity and Transparency's (FACT) 10 Principles for Agrobiodiversity
FACT has worked with food systems experts from across the globe to develop 10 Principles for Agrobiodiversity. These principles show how we all benefit from practices carried out across the value chain that support greater agricultural biodiversity. To go deeper,  FACT is now gathering examples of what success looks like across the globe. View the principles here.
Iowa and National Resources

Eat Fresh Southeast Iowa
Regional network for local food producers and consumers, facilitated by ISU Extension and Outreach.

Eat Greater Des Moines

Central Iowa-based non-profit organization that facilitates and builds connections to strengthen the area's food system.

Flavors of Northwest Iowa
Regional network for local food producers and consumers, facilitated by ISU Extension and Outreach.

Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children
Iowa AEYC strives to encourage advocacy, build leadership, and promote professionalism. Find out how Iowa AEYC can help you as an early childhood professional! 

Iowa Farm to School Network
Find resources to support your farm to school efforts on the website of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Program.

Iowa Local Food Day
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship initiated Iowa Local Food Day in 2018 to bring together all sectors of farm to school to celebrate Iowa-grown food.

Iowa Nutrition Network
Coordinated by the Iowa Department of Public Health, the network provides opportunities to meet in person with other leaders in the field. Participants also benefit from email announcements and information sharing Contact Suzy Wilson at to join the email list.

Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative
WK Kellogg-supported regional health and wellness project in Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties.

Regional Food System Working Group (RFSWG)
The RFSWG network works to maximize the potential for community-based, economically sustainable, and environmentally and socially responsible food enterprises by supporting education, conducting research and facilitating partnerships.

National Farm to School Network

Sign up to receive monthly e-mail newsletters and stay up-to-date on the latest stories, best practices, learning opportunities and policy actions to help farm to school grow nationwide. 

The Dirt
Weekly e-letter of the USDA's Community Food Systems program.

Know of other resources to share? Email us!
This newsletter is adapted from the weekly newsletter of the National Farm to School Network,
This Week. It is published and distributed to this list with permission of NFSN.

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