May 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. 

Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest Entries Now Accepted

The ninth annual Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest is sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture with funding provided by the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas. Applicants may be any school, early childhood education facility, or alternative learning environment that had a school garden during the 2021-2022 school year or is planning to start a garden in the 2022-2023 school year. Contest entries will be accepted through June 5, 2022. 

Learn More Here

Harvest of the Season Spring Resources Now Available


Spring has officially sprung at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture! Spring seasonal materials through the Harvest of the Season promotional program are now available. Put these new posters into action at your school, early childhood education center, or alternative learning environment this spring!

View Resources Here
Farm to School Opportunities

Webinar: Culturally Inclusive Garden-based Learning

May 10, 2022, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

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School gardens are great spaces to talk about and celebrate diversity and cultural traditions around food and agriculture. Join KidsGardening for a lively discussion with renowned garden educators and authors Dr. Dilafruz Williams, Amoreena Guerrero, and Lori Koenick to discuss what culturally inclusive garden-based learning looks like and how we can make it the norm across school garden programs. 

Register Here

Webinar Series: Outdoor Learning

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

The U.S. Department of Education is hosting a 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:

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

Food Education Fellowship

Applications due May 23, 2022

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Pilot Light, a nonprofit organization whose food education lessons have been delivered in classrooms across the country, is offering a paid fellowship to invest in Pre-K through 12th grade teachers who are committed to integrating food education into their regular classroom instruction. In addition to receiving a stipend and one-on-one coaching, Fellows are paired with partners in the food space to support student-led advocacy work within their classrooms. Applications for the 2022-2023 school year are open through May 23, 2022. 

Apply Here

AmeriCorps VISTA Service Member Opportunity

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Are you interested in learning more about food systems networks while supporting connections between local, regional, and national efforts? The Wallace Center at Winrock International is seeking applications for an AmeriCorps VISTA service member to support the Food Systems Leadership Network (FSLN), a national peer learning community that connects leaders, strengthens individual and collective leadership capacity, and fosters collaboration across communities. The goal of the network is to accelerate the realization of a just, equitable, and sustainable food system that generates good food, health, and opportunity for all. The member will support the FSLN with a focus on building connections between Arkansas leaders and the national network and bringing network services to Arkansan food systems leaders. The ideal candidate will be deeply committed to racial equity, have some experience in food systems work in Arkansas, and bring a network and learning mindset to the role. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

Apply Here

Nature-Based Early Learning Conference

July 27 - 30, 2022

The Natural Start Alliance's annual conference is the nation's largest professional event for teaching, administration, research, and advocacy in nature-based early learning. The conference includes featured speakers, workshops, concurrent sessions, field experiences, and site tours of nature-based programs. If you can't join in person in Cincinnati, Ohio, there is the option to attend the conference online as well. Conference registration includes year-long access to all on-demand conference sessions, live-streamed plenary sessions, and professional development certificates for every session attended. 

Register Here
Grants and Funding

Therapeutic Garden Grant

Amount: $1,000 - $3,000

Deadline: July 1, 2022

The National Garden Bureau promotes the health and healing powers of human interaction with plants through an annual grant program for therapeutic gardens. Three established therapeutic gardens will be selected to receive a grant to help expand or maintain the therapeutic garden. In addition to the grant funding, the selected gardens will also receive a set of Corona Gardening Tools. Schools, non-profits, hospitals, retirement centers, rehabilitation facilities, veteran’s facilities, community centers, day camps, treatment facilities, and inter-generational groups throughout the United States are eligible. Applicants must document that they have had a therapeutic garden program for at least one year at the time of application with at least a five-year commitment for the garden to remain on that property.

Learn More Here
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