March 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. 
Harvest of the Season Program Announced
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the Harvest of the Season promotional program, a free educational campaign that includes materials for schools to feature locally grown products in their cafeterias.

The goal of the Harvest of the Season program is to teach children about Arkansas grown foods. The program makes available local and seasonal food posters, materials featuring Arkansas farmers and distributors, and social media resources highlighting local Arkansas fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, and dairy products. Program materials are offered at no cost to public and private K-12 schools, early childhood education facilities, and alternative learning environments. View the official press release here.
Farm to School Opportunities
Webinar: Hosting Taste Tests in School
March 31, 2022, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Join this webinar to learn more about how to host taste tests with your students! Shannon Newerth-Henson, State Local Procurement Manager on the Farm to School Team at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture will host a conversation with Stephanie Bolin, a FoodCorps Service Member. Stephanie will share her experience hosting taste tests at Linda Childers Knapp Elementary and JO Kelly Middle School and how students have been positively impacted by them!
Webinar: What Makes School Gardens Thrive
March 24, 2022, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Hosted by the School Garden Support Organization Network, this webinar will cover two key pieces of research on building successful school garden programs. Associate Professor Jaimie Davis of The University of Texas at Austin will share a summary of her research of over 110 school gardens and introduce viewers to a school garden sustainability survey and scorecard. Assistant Professor Kate Burt of Lehman College at the City University of New York will share an overview of the GREEN Tool, including its domains, as well as initial results and observations from her work identifying how school gardens build a resilient support community.
Webinar: Supply Chain Assistance Funds from USDA: An Overview for School Meal Program Operators
March 16, 2022, 2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
Join this webinar presented by Child Nutrition Program staff from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to learn more about how $1 billion in Supply Chain Assistance (SCA) funds will be distributed and what it means for your school nutrition program! This important and timely new source of financial relief for school meal program operators is intended to help address recent challenges stemming from supply chain disruptions and economic uncertainty. SCA funds may be used for the purchase of domestic, unprocessed and minimally processed food products to support the service of school meals to children.
Webinar: What Child Care Consultants Should Know About Federal Nutrition Programs
March 30, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
March is National Nutrition Month! In this webinar, guest speakers from No Kid Hungry will share information about federal nutrition programs available to support children and families. Go NAPSACC Implementation Advisor, Aviva Starr, will share suggestions on how to create environments in which child care programs can effectively share resources with families and make referrals to nutrition support programs.
Workshop: Produce Growers Remote Training
April 13 - 14, 2022, 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule is the first federally regulated standard for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding fresh produce. If you grow produce, join the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service's Produce Safety Team for a training with information on best practices, risk management, and regulatory requirements. Growers who attend all modules of the training will receive a certificate of completion. Registration costs $20 for Arkansas residents and will close April 6.
Resource: STEMsational Ag: The Virtual Farm
Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Health and Human Services, in partnership with the School of Agriculture’s Fermentation Department, presents “STEMsational Ag: The Virtual Farm,” a set of online learning tools designed to make agriculture real for everyone. Experts have developed 12 modules with 51 independent units covering a wide range of topics, including food preservation, farm animals, bees, and backyard produce cultivation. All content is free and available to students in any school setting.
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.