October is Farm to School Month
October is Farm to School Month, an annual campaign to recognize, appreciate and celebrate the connections happening across the country between kids, families and their community food systems. In Iowa we celebrate each year by holding an Iowa Local Food Day on the 2nd Wednesday of October. This year the official event was celebrated on October 14, but sites can participate anytime in October. Sign up to participate today! Looking for local foods? Check out the Iowa Farm to School Producer Directory.
You can see what Iowa schools and early care sites are up to this month on the Iowa Farm to School facebook page and by searching #iowalocalfoodday on Facebook!
From NFSN—Spread the Word! Shout out about farm to school and share what you’re doing for National Farm to School Month with the hashtags #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool on social media. Follow the National Farm to School Network on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Download our Sharing Toolkit for sample messages and graphics to share with your community. Find more action ideas, resources and printable National Farm to School Month materials here.
Iowa Reports Available: Learn more about what's happening in Iowa with farm to school and early care in two new reports from the Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition! Take a look.
Webinars and Events
1. NFSN October is National Farm to School Month! It Takes a Community to Feed a Community
Feeding our nation’s children through school meals has always been a community effort, from farmers and distributors to teachers and school nutritionists. During this pandemic, it’s been made clear that workers who keep our kids and families fed - many of whom are Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and other people of color - are often unseen, underpaid, and undervalued for the contributions they make in our communities. That’s why this October, National Farm to School Network is focusing its annual National Farm to School Month campaign on expressing appreciation and amplifying underrepresented voices in order to shift power to essential workers and create a more just food system. Join us throughout October to celebrate those who feed us and our children. Join our Twitter Chat (#LunchChat) with FoodCorps on Oct. 28 at 12pm ET, and learn more to get involved at farmtoschool.org/month.
2. NFSN Recording: 2020 Movement Meeting: Food Justice is Racial Justice
How can we shift power in our communities to create a more just food system? What community capital and resources can help us create systemic change in the ways we grow, prepare and eat food? National Farm to School Network hosted a virtual Movement Meeting on Wednesday, Oct.14 featuring Karen Washington, food justice activist, with deep conversation and action-oriented reflection on racial justice in the farm to school movement and wider food system. Watch the recording here.
3. EQUITY Webinar: How Black Farmers Reclaimed Economic Power with Cooperatives
October 27 // 2pm ET
During this webinar, panelists will talk about the history of Black farmer cooperatives, the role they have played in food and economic sovereignty, the challenges they face in the modern economy, and opportunities for growth. There will be time for audience Q&A at the end of the conversation. Register here.
4. NFSN Twitter Chat: It Takes a Community to Feed a Community
October 28 // 12-1pm ET
National Farm to School Network and FoodCorps are co-hosting a special Twitter Chat for National Farm to School Month to celebrate and recognize the essential school food heroes who keep our kids and communities fed. Join us to share your insights on how school meals are going this new school year, to celebrate the people making it happen, and to discuss what ongoing support is needed to ensure a just school food system for everyone – from kids to the farmers and school nutrition professionals who fed them. No RSVP required - join us on Twitter at @farmtoschool and @foodcorps on Oct. 28 at 12pm ET using that hashtag #LunchChat!
5. Tilth Virtual Conference for Farmers (Washington State)
Deadline to register: November 1
Every year the Tilth Conference brings together hundreds of farmers, producers, researchers, and food system professionals for the opportunity to network and learn. This year's conference will be held virtually November 9-10. The theme is "Challenging the Status Quo - Together!" All keynote speeches, sessions, networking activities and trade show booths will be held online. Register here.
6. Virtual Conference: Food in Uncertain Times
Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT) at Chatham University and the Chatham University Eden Hall Fellows will host a 2-day, virtual event will focus on the present day challenges within our food system, including racial inequity, the colonization of food, and lack of representation and access, and will highlight many efforts of resilience throughout a global pandemic. Learn more and register.
7. Paid Working Groups for SGSO Leadership Institute
Deadline: November 6
The School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute provides an opportunity for school garden professionals from across the country to collaborate, learn from one another, and develop resources to share with a national audience. The 2021 School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute will be entirely virtual (surprise!). In this new format, we will gather Four Key Activity Working Groups of 6-8 SGSO Leaders virtually from across the country. To learn more and apply to be a paid working group member visit: lifelab.org/sgso. Applications are due November 6, 2020.
8. 5th Semi-Annual (Virtual!) Alaska Food Festival & Conference
November 6-7, 2020
The Alaska Food Policy Council and Alaska Village Initiatives, Fresh, and Alaska Pacific University are partnering for the 5th Semi-Annual Alaska Food Festival & Conference. The goals of the conference and festival are to increase awareness of Alaska food issues among the general population; provide resources to increase involvement in local food issues by community members and decision makers; and increase connections and build community between the public, Alaska food businesses, NGOs, governmental entities, Tribal entities, and others to support local economic development and innovative solutions. Learn more and register here.
1. New Shared Metrics for Farm to Institution Tracking of Farm Impact
The National Farm to Institution Metrics Collaborative is a group of farm to institution organizations across the U.S. seeking to increase the measurement and evaluation of Farm to Institution programming. In 2019, the Collaborative set out to develop a set of shared measures to identify key farm impact metrics that can be used by farm to institution practitioners across the country. Funded by USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the project resulted in a set of six metrics, and an accompanying set of tools and resources, to help practitioners track the impact of their local purchasing. Learn more about the National Farm to Institution Metrics Collaborative, the farm impact metrics, and how you can get involved.
2. COVID-19 Baltimore Restaurant Collaborative Fights Food Insecurity, Health Disparities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
An innovative program in Baltimore called ‘Food That Connects Us All’ demonstrates the feasibility of providing healthy, sustainable meals to populations at high risk for poor health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new paper from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) based within the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A survey of people who received meals through the program showed a high level of satisfaction with the taste, appearance, and healthfulness of the meals. Read more.
3. COVID-19 The Pandemic Tears a Hole in a Vital Child Nutrition Safety Net
Many school districts in the U.S. are distributing far fewer meals than they used to, adding to the pandemic’s strain on families and posing risks to children’s health. Read more.
4. FoodCorps Voter Guide
FoodCorps has created the Voter Guide to support voters and community members who care deeply about healthy schools, healthy kids, and healthy communities. The information in the guide is meant to empower voters to learn about the policies that affect kids’ health and lift up our shared vision: a world where all children, regardless of race, place, or class, know what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day. Visit foodcorps.org/PolicyVision to learn more about how we envision policy and advocacy shaping the future of food in school.
Grants and Funding
1. 2021 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications is Now Open!
Deadline: January 8
The fiscal year (FY) 2021 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications is now available! FNS seeks to award up to $10 million this fiscal year. New for FY 2021, institutions operating the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program at non-school based sites are included in the definition of eligible schools and may apply for funding. The solicitation will remain open until January 8, 2021. Register for the informational November 10 and November 13 webinars. Learn more and apply here.
2. Schools as Nutrition Hubs Grant Opportunity
Deadline: October 28
No Kid Hungry is partnering with the School Nutrition Foundation to support the efforts of school nutrition departments that are working with community organizations, i.e. non-profits and out-of-school time providers, or building new partnerships to ensure kids get the food they need. Grants of up to $50,000 will be given to facilitate partnerships with community organizations to support joint efforts to ensure kids in their community have access to the federal meals programs, backpack programs and food pantries. This grant will also support the needs of school nutrition departments to run these programs. Learn more here.
3. Local Food, Local Places 2020-2021 Application
Deadline: October 30
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture invite communities to apply for technical assistance to help revitalize their economy, promote local foods, improve health, and protect the environment. Local Foods, Local Places helps communities revitalize neighborhoods through development of local food systems. Eligible applicants include local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit institutions and organizations proposing to work in a neighborhood, town, or city of any size anywhere in the United States. Special consideration will be given to communities with Opportunity Zone designations. Learn more and apply.
4. 6th Annual SeedMoney Challenge
Deadline: November 12
SeedMoney is a Maine-based 501c3 nonprofit. Their mission is to help more individuals and communities, especially disadvantaged ones, to grow more of their own healthy food. All types of public food garden projects - community gardens, school gardens, food bank gardens, etc. - are eligible to apply with no geographic restrictions. SeedMoney is awarding at least 315 grants this year ($100-$700). No previous grant-writing or crowdfunding experience is required. Learn more about how the Challenge works here.
5. Food Animal Concerns Trust Fund-A-Farmer Grant
Deadline: December 1
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is accepting grant applications for livestock and poultry farmers who wish to expand animal welfare, build capacity, and/or improve pasture for their animals. Grants of up to $2,500 are available for projects such as building mobile housing, constructing fences, laying water lines on pasture, and much more. Farmers located in the U.S. who raise beef cattle, bison, broiler chickens, dairy cows, goats, laying hens, pigs, turkeys, and/or sheep may be eligible to apply. Learn more and apply.
6. 2020 Carton to Garden Contest
Deadline: December 1
Evergreen Packaging and KidsGardening.org are proud to present our sixth annual national Carton 2 Garden Contest! Open to public and private schools, contest winners will be selected based on their implementation of an innovative garden creation featuring creative and sustainable uses for repurposed milk and juice cartons. Your school can get started by collecting at least 100 empty cartons from your home, community, or cafeteria. After gathering cartons, it’s time to design and construct purposeful garden items and structures using them. Learn more.
7. COVID-19 USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Direct Aid to Producer Affected by COVID-19
Deadline: December 11
This fall, USDA announced a second round of direct payments to producers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, with a deadline of December 11 to apply. Producers whose agricultural operation has been impacted by the pandemic since April 2020 are encouraged to apply for CFAP 2. This new round contains a number of changes to make it more accessible and useful for a wider variety of producers. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has published a useful guide for producers to understand the program and gauge whether it's worthwhile for them to apply. Payments will be made for three categories of commodities: Price Trigger Commodities, Flat-rate Crops and Sales Commodities. View the full announcement here.
8. COVID-19 GEN YOUth COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Funding
GENYOUth is providing grants of up to $3,000 per school to supply much-needed resources for meal distribution and delivery efforts to get food to students during COVID-19. From soft-sided coolers, bags and containers for individual servings, to protective gear for food service sanitation and safety, this equipment will help ensure our children continue to receive the nutritious meals they need. Applications will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis. Apply 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Weekly e-letter of the USDA's Community Food Systems program.
Know of other resources to share? Email us!