Welcome to the weekly update of resources and information from the National Farm to School Network—Iowa.
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October is Farm to School Month

October is almost here, and with it comes statewide and national celebrations of National Farm to School Month! Iowa Local Food Day is a coordinated, statewide celebration that takes places across Iowa all month. Is your school, early care site, or university/college registered to participate? Email with any questions.

The National Farm to School Network is hosting a virtual Movement Meeting on Wednesday, Oct.14 from noon to 2 p.m. CT, featuring food justice activist Karen Washington. This virtual meeting will offer deep conversation and action-oriented reflection on racial justice in the farm to school movement and wider food system. You’ll connect with fellow farm to school and food justice advocates from across the country, dig into conversations about what it means to shift power, and help shape the next steps of progress towards our vision of a just food system for all. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend this free event; no prior knowledge of farm to school needed.

Grants and Funding

1. Food 4 Families Initiative: Youth Funding Opportunity
The Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) in partnership with Farm-Aid, Indian Land Tenure Foundation, and First Nations Development Institute is proud to announce the “Food 4 Families” initiative. While funds last, IAC is awarding coupons to cover processing fees of eligible show animals. Are you a Tribal youth that is an active 4H/FFA member in Indian Country? Did you have a recent COVID-19 related cancellation of your local live auction prevent you from marketing your 2020 4H/FFA Livestock Animal? If you answered YES to both questions, you qualify to apply! Learn more and apply.

2. 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.

3.  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.

4. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 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

The Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Virtual Training on Sept. 18, 2020 is now available to view here, along with slides and other resources from the event. Sponsored by the Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition.

Three October events from Iowa Healthiest State Initiative

October is Healthiest State Month! Our Celebration Toolkits include resources for all sectors. The Education toolkit includes resources in the event of virtual learning and we’ve also added a Household toolkit this year!

October 7: Healthiest State 10th Annual Walk. Please consider registering a walk and help us celebrate 10 years of the Annual Walk! New this year: you can register as a “Household.”

October 15: 5-2-1-0 Virtual Summit. Those who register can attend on October 15 and/or have access to all of the recorded sessions following the live event. We’d love to “see” you there—and please encourage your partners to attend! Additionally, if your organization is interested in sponsoring or joining our virtual exhibit hall, there is information on the website.

Questions? Contact Lauren Kollauf at

1. Webinar: Elections 2020: What's Food & Agriculture Got to Do With It? a Teach-in on Electoral Strategy to Reshape Our Food & Farm Systems
September 29 // 2pm ET
Join HEAL Food Alliance in what’s sure to be an energizing session where we’ll learn about how elections shape our food and farm systems - and how people who care about food and farm systems can shape the election. Participants will learn to build their individual or organizational voter mobilization strategy. Organizations will also receive a brief explainer on the limits and possibilities around electoral organizing as a 501c(3). Register here.

2. Webinar: Farm to Food Bank Projects in California & Arizona: The Impact on Farmers and Hunger Relief
September 29 // 3pm ET
Since the start of the pandemic, many social entrepreneurs have focused on linking surplus food from farmers with hunger relief efforts. New programs have begun, and existing ones have been expanded.  In the second part of this webinar series, ECO Farm will host a panel to examine the practicalities and politics of these farm to food bank programs. Explore whether these are good markets for farmers, and ultimately whether they make for good nutrition assistance as well. Learn more and register.

3. Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Massachusetts' Virtual Seafood Throwdown
September 29 // 7pm ET

Join SBN for a virtual celebration of local seafood and ingredients! Joined by Chef Annabel Rabiyah of Awafi Kitchen and Chef Ricardo Monroy, the two chefs will face off against each other in a chef throwdown that will feature the use of fresh local seafood and local ingredients. Learn more and RSVP. 
4. Louisiana Farm to School Conference: Virtually Everywhere
September 30, October 1, 7, & 8 // 11am ET
The fifth annual Louisiana Farm to School Conference will be held entirely online, free of cost. The theme for the 2020 conference is “Virtually Everywhere,” and will occur in 2-hour sessions from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. CT on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 7 and 8. The event will emphasize the three main components of farm to school — education, school gardens and local food procurement. Hear from speakers, Helen Dombalis with the National Farm to School Network and Sunny Baker with the Mississippi Farm to School Network. Learn more and register. 
5. Virtual Listening Session for Illinois Farmers and Ranchers Selling to Local Food Markets
September 30 // 9pm ET
Are you a farmer, rancher, or urban farm in Illinois selling products to the local food market? Do you have concerns about crop insurance or ideas on how it should be reformed to meet your unique needs? Join USDA's Risk Management Agency's final listening session will focus on how existing crop insurance programs can be improved, as well as exploring the possibility of a new crop insurance program. The feedback received will help identify potential changes and/or additions to insurance options for producers supplying local markets. Learn more and access the Zoom link.

6. Webinar: Financing and Land Access Inequities
October 1 // 12pm ET
Join Penn State Extension for the third part of four-part webinar series: Exploring Racial Equity and Access in Our Food System. The series will cover the many ways that racism and injustice impact farming and food systems in the United States. In this webinar we will examine the history of agricultural land ownership disparities and historical lockouts of financing with private institutions and the USDA.  Panelists will speak on their own experiences with operating a farm project, funding, and financing a farm startup. Register here.

7. Webinar Training: Make Yourself Obsolete: Shifting Power from Non-Profit Leadership to Community Leadership
Oct. 1 & 8 // 3-4:30pm ET
Wondering what the right role for your community based nonprofit is? Or what it might look like to transfer power and ownership to the community you’re serving? Join the Wallace Center’s Food Systems Leadership Network and Kitchen Table Consulting, LLC for a two-part, interactive training on strategies that non-profit leaders can use to transfer decision making power and sovereignty to the communities in which they work. Register here.

8. Webinar: Get Out the Vote: Opportunities to Mobilize People
October 6 // 3pm ET
Join Coalition on Human Needs, Food Research & Action Center, National Low Income Housing Coalition, and NETWORK for a webinar focused on elevating ideas on how and why 501(c)(3) organizations can support -- in nonpartisan ways that are mission-aligned -- voter registration, voter mobilization, and voting. Identify strategies, tools, and resources that social justice organizations can use to support this vital work, especially in the time of COVID-19 when people and organizations are particularly stretched from responding to unprecedented needs. Register here.

9. Virtual 2020 Urban Food Systems Symposium
Every Wednesday in October
In response to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 Urban Food Systems Symposium: Nourishing Cities in a Changing Climate, hosted by the Kansas State University and K-State Research and Extension, has been modified to an online format scheduled for each Wednesday in October from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CDT. Live keynote speakers will be featured each Wednesday accompanied by breakout discussions and poster sessions. Cost for access to all live and recorded presentations is $100 for professionals and $50 for students (includes AmeriCorps and FoodCorps members), with a price increase after September 18. Recorded sessions will become available next week. Learn more and register. 

10. NFSN Food Justice is Racial Justice: National Farm to School Network Movement Meeting
October 14, 1-3pm ET (Virtual)
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? Join National Farm to School Network for a virtual Movement Meeting on Wednesday, Oct.14 from 1-3pm ET, featuring Karen Washington, food justice activist, for deep conversation and action-oriented reflection on racial justice in the farm to school movement and wider food system. You’ll connect with fellow farm to school and food justice advocates from across the country, dig into conversations about what it means to shift power, and help shape the next steps of progress towards our vision of a just food system for all. This free, virtual Movement Meeting is open to everyone - no prior knowledge of farm to school needed. Register here.
Resources and Research

Find Iowa-specific COVID-19 resources for farm to school and early care providers here.

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. COVID-19 Regenerative Agriculture and COVID-19 Capital Needs: Assessing Needs in the Regenerative Meat and Grain Sectors to Direct Capital Flows
To better understand and capture capital needs of current operators in the agricultural value chain during the pandemic, Croatan Institute conducted original research focused on the regenerative livestock and grain sectors. The latest Croatan Institute White Paper, Regenerative Agriculture and COVID-19 Capital Needs, presents an analysis of the survey results, combined with findings from in-depth interviews with individuals representing farming to processing to distributions interests. It highlights the greatest needs in the regenerative meat and grain sectors to direct the capital flows required to support the growth of these emerging sectors. Learn more.

3. COVID-19 Considerations for Outdoor Learning Gardens and Community Gardens
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges across the United States. Access to healthy food options and nutrition are an important part of health and well-being. Outdoor learning and community gardens help fill nutritional gaps in places where access to healthy food may be limited, provide recreation and stress reduction opportunities, and provide a safe outdoor learning environment, external icon especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Garden managers should consider the recommendations to help ensure a safe learning environment and access to healthy food, while helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

4. Documentary: Kiss the Ground
Recently released on Netflix, Kiss the Ground is an optimistic climate documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson that argues for the healing power of soil, which could offer a solution to the climate crisis. Read a review from The New York Times and view the trailer. You can view this recently released film on Netflix.

Across the globe, the shift has begun. Crops forgotten over the past half-century are being reawakened. Farmers are learning that many of these undervalued crops have the power to combat hunger, respond to climate change, promote biodiversity, provide women with livelihoods, and support healthier and more secure food systems. To share this story, the Lexicon formed the REAWAKENED FOOD INITIATIVE (RFI) with support from dozens of companies, government agencies and NGOs including Crop Trust, Crops for the Future, Food Forever, Bioversity International, GFAR, and Slow Food. 

6. 2021 Northeast Farm to Institution Summit Call for Proposals Now Open
Deadline: November 23
The biennial Farm to Institution Summit gathers hundreds of stakeholders working across the food chain to transform our regional food system. The Summit is a place to share innovative ideas, strengthen relationships, create collective action, brainstorm solutions, and nourish the network. Submit a proposal idea that brings the Northeast together to build a just and sustainable food system with the power of our institutions. All kinds of sessions are welcome: traditional workshops, roundtable conversations, lightning talks, stories, cooking demos, tours, recreational and healing activities (games, yoga, meditation!). Learn more.

7. Application open for 2020 REGENERATE Conference HERD Fellowship Program!
Deadline: September 30
The Quivira Coalition, Holistic Management International, and American Grassfed Association are pleased to announce a call for applications for the 2020 REGENERATE HERD Fellowship, which provides scholarships for beginning agrarians, land stewards, and students in related fields to attend the virtual 2020 REGENERATE Conference from October 26-November 20! Learn more and apply.

8. The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) Launches New Online Climate Change and Food System Innovation Hub
On this website, you’ll find information about how CEFS initiatives and research programs are working to address climate change, specific strategies to increase the resiliency of farms and food systems, and a list of other organizations working on climate change in the food system. Learn more.
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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