Welcome to the weekly update of resources and information from the National Farm to School Network—Iowa.
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Grants and Funding

1. Iowa Local Produce and Protein Program
Deadline: September 7
$500,000 has been allocated from CARES Act funding to help Iowa schools purchase locally grown products from Iowa farmers impacted by COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions. The funding will be awarded through three grant programs administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Funds must be expended by December 1, 2020. Learn more and apply.

2. Voices for Healthy Kids' Policy Campaign Grant
Short Form Application Deadline: September 30
The Policy Campaign Grant is designed to support strategic issue advocacy campaigns supporting Voices for Healthy Kids policy priorities with a focus on health equity. Applications must be specific to an individual campaign for public policy change in one state, city, town or county, or tribal nation. Applications should focus on public policy changes to reduce health disparities for children in urban, suburban or rural settings who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, and Alaskan Native or from families who have low income. To learn more about the Voices for Healthy Kids policy areas - please review the descriptions in the policy lever agenda. Applications can be submitted for $50,000 - $200,000 for a duration of up to 18 months and can support non-lobbying and lobbying activities. Learn more and apply.

3. 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.
4. 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. Webinar: Opportunities for Supporting Voter Engagement as a 501(c)(3) Social Justice Organization
September 1 // 3pm ET
This webinar is hosted by the Coalition on Human Needs, Food Research & Action Center, National Low Income Housing Coalition, and NETWORK. It is the first in a series of webinars for 501(c)(3) organizations on permissible election-related activities. Register here.

2. COVID-19  Webinar: COVID-Friendly Outdoor Classroom Infrastructure and Design
September 2 // 2pm-3:15pm ET
There is an urgent need to reimagine PreK-12 schools in order to reopen safely and equitably. Repurposing outdoor spaces is a cost-effective way to reduce the burden on indoor classrooms while providing fresh air, hands-on learning opportunities, and the health benefits associated with increased access to nature. Join Sharon Danks, a leader of the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative, author of Asphalt to Ecosystems, and founder of Green Schoolyards America, to learn about her work supporting the creation of outdoor classrooms for reopening schools. This webinar is hosted by School Garden Support Organizations. Register here.

3. EQUITY Panel Discussion: Rooting out Structural Racism in American Agriculture
September 3 // 6pm-8pm ET
Join Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems for an upcoming virtual panel discussion to discuss Black land loss, the connection between agriculture and environmental justice, and the role of law and policy professionals in rooting out racism in the food system. Several lawyers fighting structural racism in agricultural law and policy will be featured. The event is free and no registration is required. 

4. COVID-19  Webinar: COVID's Hidden Toll: A Panel Discussion
September 4 // 7pm ET
University of California, MERCED, and Frontline present a panel discussion on the film "COVID's Hidden Toll" which examines how the COVID crisis has hit vulnerable immigrants and undocumented workers. The documentary follows the coronavirus pandemic's invisible victims including crucial farm and meat-packing workers who lack protections and have been getting sick. Please watch the film here and then register to join the panel discussion on September 4 via Zoom. 

5. Reclaiming Health Through Indigenous Food Systems: A Discussion on the Film “Gather”
September 8 // 10am ET
A unique opportunity to watch the new film, "Gather," prior to its public debut! With registration, you will have a 96 hour window to watch the film. Join Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) North America for a panel discussion with the film director and featured Indigenous figures from the film. Panelists will share their insights on the timely and critical nature of Indigenous peoples' knowledge, languages, cultures, innovation and leadership as Native communities build up their traditional food systems across North America. Learn more and register. 

6.COVID-19 Back to School 2020: Feeding Young Minds in Uncertain Times
Webinar Recording
Watch former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a panel of national school food experts discussing why no matter what schools look like – remote, in person, or hybrid – we have a responsibility to ensure every child gets the food they need. This discussion, sponsored by the National Press Club (NPC), was live streamed on August 17 and explored the important role school meal programs play in the overall health, education and wellbeing of students and will highlight current challenges schools are facing, proposed policy solutions, and the innovative approaches schools are taking during this time of crisis. Watch the recording here. 

7. EQUITY Black Farming: Beyond "40 Acres and a Mule."
September 11-12
People of African descent have a long agricultural tradition. In spite of their forced farm labor under chattel slavery in the Americas, in emancipation most African Americans returned to this tradition as independent farmers or sharecroppers. Co-sponsored with Antioch College and The National Afro American Museum and Cultural Center, this conference will be discussing the influential history of black farmers in Ohio with an emphasis on the strength of community, preparing the next generation of underrepresented farmers for the future, and cultivating the cooperative business model to promote healthy farming and sustainable businesses. There will be keynote addresses, breakout sessions, networking, a resource fair, and more! Learn more and register.

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 Launches A Resource Hub on Local Food System Response to COVID-19
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in partnership with 16 partner organizations, launched the Local Food System Response to COVID Resource Hub designed to assist local and regional food producers as USDA and its partners develop, share and assess resources on local and regional food system responses to COVID-19. This searchable database contains insights and educational material from the 16 partner organizations (including NFSN!) to help local and regional food producers and businesses adapt their market strategies in the current environment. Learn more.

3. COVID-19 Call for Local Food Impact Stories
As part of a Local Food Systems Response to COVID-19 Project, Farm to Institution New England (FINE) is looking to highlight examples of institutions (hospitals, campuses, schools, etc) utilizing CSAs and pop-up grocery stores to provide local, fresh food to institutional staff and constituents during the pandemic. If anyone has examples of successful models, FINE would like to hear from you! These stories will contribute to a series of innovation briefs that highlight local food strategies employed during COVID-19. Contact Hannah Leighton (pronouns: she/her), FINE's Research & Evaluation Manager, at with questions and/or your stories.
4. 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms Framework
10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms is designed to improve daily nutrition and eating habits for Michigan children and invest in Michigan’s agriculture and local food business economy. This resource shows how the 10 Cents program works and the impacts it can have:
• A framework, based on the 2018-2019 program design, depicts how the incentive program contributes to healthier kids and stronger local economies.
• A flow chart shows the businesses, groups, and organizations involved in providing food to schools or supporting the 10 Cents program.
View the framework here. 

5. Northeast Farm to School Institute Kicks Off with STAY IN-stitute!
In the Spring of 2020, USDA awarded a brand-new grant – the Regional Farm to School Institute Grants – to two grantees: Vermont FEED, a partnership of Shelburne Farms and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of VT, to provide schools and districts in the six New England States and New York with professional development to create robust farm to school programs. In June, Vermont FEED launched the tenth annual Northeast Farm to School Institute with a first ever virtual STAY IN-stitute retreat. The institute is a unique year-long professional learning opportunity for the selected school teams that include school nutrition directors or managers, classroom teachers, school administrators, school nurses, parents, school board, or community partners. Find more information about Vermont FEED’s action planning process in this new resource, Connecting Classrooms, Cafeterias, Communities: A Guide to Building Integrated Farm to School Programs.

6. National Farmers Market Managers Survey Data Published
The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service released the summary data of the 2019 National Farmers Market Managers Survey on August 17, 2020. This project was a joint venture of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). This summary data contains a wealth of information that can be used by policy makers, economic development professionals, chambers of commerce, and the U.S. farmers market sector.  AMS will release an in-depth analysis of the survey data in spring of 2021. The full data can be found on the NASS site.

7. Farm and Energy Initiative (FEI) Website
A collaboration between the Institute for Energy and the Environment and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School have created a  new open-access resource that helps farmers, researchers, and policymakers promote sustainable energy use in agriculture. It includes toolkits and information in three main sections: The Farmland Solar Policy Project, Biogas and Organic Waste Management Project, and the Healthy Soils Law Project. View the website.

8. 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.
In the News

The Iowa Derecho Put Refugee Food Workers at Even Greater Risk
The hurricane-force winds that leveled Cedar Rapids have impacted hundreds of refugees who were considered "essential workers" at meatpacking plants and supermarkets. (Civil Eats)
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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