Nebraska Farm To School

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Nebraska Department of Education was awarded a Team Nutrition grant that will expand our Harvest of the Month program to include four new items: beef, bison, rhubarb, and aronia berries. The NDE will be rolling out *new* standardized recipes for school use that feature these local Nebraska items, as well as existing Harvest of the Month items like apples, turnips, and dry beans. Twenty schools will participate in a project that will provide:

  • Training to menu and promote these products and recipes
  • One-on-one support in offering taste tests with students
  • Technical assistance in sourcing the local featured products

Schools that are interested in participating in this project can learn more and indicate their interest in participating by accessing the Local and Indigenous Foods (LIFT) Training School document.

Producers that are interested in sourcing local product to Nebraska schools are encouraged to learn more by accessing the LIFT Producer document.

Photo Courtesy of 2021 Nebraska Farm to School Institute Team, Banner County Public Schools. Featured is Kelly Rundell, School Food Service Director and student winners of featured farm to school books.

WEBINARS AND EVENTS

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WEBINAR LINEUP

Registration for the Fall webinars available now!

 

This training is intended for tribal producers in Nebraska and neighboring states. Attendees will learn about selling local foods into school markets.

The Nebraska Department of Education and program partners (Center for Rural Affairs, Nebraska Extension, Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska, No More Empty Pots) are collaborating with the Winnebago Food Sovereignty Council to offer this training. Producers affiliated with a tribe or group of indigenous people are invited to register and attend this training. Scholarships are available and can also include mileage reimbursement and hotel costs for the night of October 18. Attendees that want to receive a scholarship will indicate their interest when completing the registration form.

Learn more about this training, register, or apply to scholarships by following this link: https://www.education.ne.gov/ns/farm-to-school/producer-training-bringing-the-farm-to-school/

In celebration of National Farm to School Month, Nebraska is participating in an eight-state Crunch Off competition during the month of October. Nebraska is competing against Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming to determine who will be crowned the Mountain Plains Region Crunch Off Champion by having the most crunches per capita into local apples or produce.

Crunch Off participants include students of all ages (preschool, school age, and higher education), teachers, farmers, families, community members, and local food enthusiasts. Crunch Off efforts encourage healthy eating, support local agriculture, and help students and community members gain a deeper understanding of the food system while celebrating Farm to School Month and child nutrition partners.

This year, Nebraska will Crunch Off by biting into local, crunchy fruits and vegetables on October 20, 2022. However, Crunch Off participants can celebrate any day in October.

Nebraska is the 2019, 2020 and the 2021 Mountain Plains Region Crunch Off champion and is looking to defend the title again. Help Nebraska retain the championship for the fourth year in a row by registering for the Mountains Plains Crunch off. 

More information, including Crunch Off resources, can be found on Nebraska’s Crunch Off website.

RESEARCH AND RESOURCES

USDA’s “Meals for Kids” interactive map directs people to local sites where kids can get free meals. The site finder currently lists more than 20,000 meal sites from 23 states, and more sites will be added as states submit data each week. The map is available in both English and Spanish at www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids.

  • This report examines the three interconnected components essential to taking farm to school to the next level statewide, both economically and educationally. It examines procurement in school meal programs, education within the school system as well as the community, and policy recommendations.

https://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/pdf/reports/committee/agriculture/LR337_2020.pdf

  • The Nebraska Department of Education Nutrition Services conducted a survey in fall of 2017 of early care and education providers across the state. The survey gathered baseline data about types and levels of farm to preschool activity in Nebraska, and identified the priorities required for growing farm to preschool activities at centers and family day care homes.
  • Access the results Nebraska Farm to Early Care and Education Survey.

The University of Nebraska Science Literacy Initiative, in collaboration with the Nebraska Department of Education Nutrition Services, the Center for Rural Affairs, and Nebraska’s 21st-Century Community Learning Centers, conducted a survey of Nebraska schools in fall of 2018 to gain an understanding of the status and features of school- or community-based growing spaces across the state and to identify programmatic and educational needs and opportunities.

https://www.education.ne.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Test-School-Garden-F2S-Report-.pdf

The National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems are proud to release a series of briefs detailing the findings from our 2021 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey and the resultant recommendations. The series of briefs will be released over a period of weeks and explores the background and methods of the survey, farm to ECE reach, participation and practices, motivations and barriers, local purchasing practices, and COVID-19. You can view the state-level data and the first two focusing on background and methods and farm to ECE reach here.

Student engagement is the degree of attention, interest, curiosity, and positive emotional connections students experience while learning. It is what we build from to understand instruction. Acknowledging the ways that your students engage in your classrooms and focusing on how to access student attention, interest, and curiosity sets you up with a strong base to build out your instructional practices. This workbook offers a collection of texts and activities to deepen your understanding of student engagement, as well as tools you can bring into your classroom. You will reflect on your own experiences, interact with texts on student engagement, practice recognizing student engagement, and develop a personalized plan to increase student engagement. Find the workbook here.

GRANTS AND FUNDING

The Salad Bars To Schools program is focused on donating salad bars to school districts so every child across our nation has daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Learn everything you need to know about salad bars to schools grants.

Kidsgardening.org Grant Opportunities

https://kidsgardening.org/grant-opportunities/

KidsGardening offers a variety of grants to new and existing youth garden programs across the nation. Each funding opportunity has its own timeline, defining features, eligibility requirements, and reporting expectations. Explore the open grant programs at this site and see which one might be the best fit for your particular situation. If something catches your eye, you can find more details on each grant’s homepage.

CELEBRATING Nebraska Thursdays 2019 Mini-Grants, awarded to these schools thanks to support and funds from the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.

Nebraska Beef in Schools

America’s cattle producers are committed to providing a highly nutritious protein to families across the world and their local communities. The Nebraska producers and the Nebraska Beef Council are working to put nutritious beef on school lunch trays.

NDE Good Newsletter

The Northeast Nebraska Cattlemen and the Wayne County Farm Bureau cooked up fresh hamburgers for students in Wayne Community Schools to kick off this year’s Nebraska Thursdays.

NEBRASKA FARM TO SCHOOL INFORMATION

Nebraska schools are getting involved in farm to school.

Benefits

Farm to school is a win across the board for students, school staff, parents, communities, farmers and food producers. Learn more about the many benefits of farm to school at farmtoschool.org; and additional economic benefits in the Economic Impacts of Farm to School report.

USDA Greenhouse

Photo courtesy of the USDA

Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education settings. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.

Contact us at:

NDE – Nutrition Services
NDE.F2S@nebraska.gov
(402) 471-2488

Updated September 6, 2022 1:27pm