April 2022

The Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program is committed to providing equitable and just programming, resources, funding, and technical assistance to schools, farmers, and partners in the local food system. 

Taste Test Resources Now Available

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The Arkansas Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with FoodCorps Arkansas, is pleased to share new resources related to conducting taste tests with students! Taste tests are an exciting opportunity for students to try new foods and share their opinions. The Taste Test Guide handout walks schools through planning considerations for how to host a successful taste test. In addition, our webinar recording, Hosting Taste Tests in Schools, is now available. The webinar features a FoodCorps service member who shares her tips and experiences hosting taste tests with students.

View Resources Here
Farm to School Opportunities

Webinar Series: Outdoor Learning

April 6, April 27, May 11, and May 25, 2022, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Education is hosting a four-part webinar series that will offer guidance for why and how your school district can better invest in quality outdoor education infrastructure, training, staff, and other resources. In each session a panel of expert speakers and school, district, and state level practitioners will present data and experiences to support you in building out the supports needed to get students learning outside. The webinar schedule is as follows:

April 6: Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Outdoor Learning hosted by Big Green

April 27: Teaching and Learning Outside hosted by Out Teach

May 11: Creating Outdoor Spaces: The Infrastructure of Living Schoolyards hosted by Green Schoolyards America

May 25: Equity in Outdoor Education & Environmental Justice hosted by EcoRise

Register Here

Webinar: Troubleshooting Challenges of School Gardens

April 6, 2022, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Join this webinar hosted by the New Hampshire Farm to School Network. Webinar speakers Ted Kendziora, School Garden Grant Coordinator with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Ruth Smith, Master Gardener Program Manager with University of New Hampshire Extension, will lead a discussion about overcoming school garden obstacles, how to plan for success, and turn challenges into opportunities. 

Register Here

Webinar: Ecological Gardening

April 7, 2022, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Cost: Sliding scale $5 - $20

Join KidsGardening.org as they talk with garden expert and author, Charlie Nardozzi, about how using an ecosystem-based approach in the garden, including techniques like companion planting and no-dig gardening, can help you grow a successful and sustainable youth garden program. The webinar will also explore how the garden can teach kids about the intricate and vital relationships of plants, animals, fungi, and other microorganisms in our world and the benefits of environmental diversity. All registrants will be entered to win a Tubtrug full of garden goodies and a copy of Charlie’s book The Complete Guide to No-Dig Gardening!

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Register Here

Webinar: How to Create Engaging Lessons in the School Garden and Kitchen Classroom

April 25, 2022, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Join Edible Schoolyard NYC as they share strategies they have developed over the past 12 years for making gardening and cooking lessons hands-on and engaging for all students. Participants are encouraged to come with their own ideas and questions.

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Register Here

AmeriCorps VISTA Service Member

Applications due April 9, 2022

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest is seeking applications for an AmeriCorps VISTA service member. The VISTA will support Farm to Institution research and activities in Arkansas to improve the state’s capacity and access to local food and farm products for Arkansas institutions, including schools, universities, libraries, correctional facilities, and other state agencies. The service member will grow relationships with Arkansas institutions, food distributors, local growers and producers, foodservice professionals, support service providers, and food systems leaders in the state. This member will build knowledge on how to develop a more unified and expansive local food system, centering equity, justice, and sustainability. The year long service term begins in May 2022.

Apply Here

Resource: USDA Farm to School Fact Sheets

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Farm to School Program has updated and released four fact sheets:

  • USDA DoD Fresh Program: A Source for Locally Grown Produce
  • USDA Foods: A Resource for Maximizing Food Budgets to Buy Local
  • Local Meat in Schools
  • Selling Local Food to Schools: A Resource for Producers.

These fact sheets, geared towards farm to school stakeholders, provide updated guidance and resources, examples from Farm to School grantees, and more. Check them out today!

View Resources Here

Resource: Design an Accessible Garden

Accessibility is an important consideration in the school garden! KidsGardening.org recently created a handful of great resources that can guide you in creating an accessible garden space, including a lesson plan for high school students! The lesson will engage students in the process of designing an accessible garden space to better understand the garden features that help meet the needs of all students.

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View Resources Here
Grants and Funding
Outdoor Classroom Challenge
Amount: $10,000
Deadline: April 8, 2022
Project Green Schools is challenging schools across the country to develop and implement a meaningful outdoor classroom and learning space. The Outdoor Classroom Challenge will award one Grand Prize of $10,000 to further enhance an existing space or build a new space. Any Pre-K – 12 schools based in the United States are eligible to apply. Schools will submit a formal write-up, proposed budget, and design of their outdoor learning classroom/space. Project Green Schools will invite the top five designs to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in Spring 2022 to determine the $10,000 winner.
Learn More Here
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