Good Greens Meeting Agenda 6/26, Grants, Jobs, Resources

June 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

You may or may not have heard of the Good Greens meeting held once a month at the FNS offices in the Loop. If you are a market manager, a farmer, a good food advocate, a non-profit focused on food, farms, farm to school, urban farms, food producer, an academic, a student or just interested in a better food system, the Good Greens meetings and newsletter is brim full of information. Their monthly email is just full of so much good stuff, we published it below.

The next GoodGreens meeting is on Thursday, June 26th from 10:00 to 12:00 Central Time in FNS’ offices on the 20th floor at 77 West Jackson Boulevard.

Future Agenda/Speakers & Discussions


1. USDA’s Value Added Producer Grant Program can help take farmers/food producers to the next level financially. Andrew Jermolowicz, Acting Deputy Administrator, Cooperative Programs, Rural Development, in Washington DC will share information on and answer questions about the program.
2. Vanessa Zajfen, USDA Farm to School Coordinator for the Midwest Region, will provide an update of the Farm to School Census and share information on recent visits she’s made around the region, including Detroit schools and the Eastern Market, Wisconsin schools and others. She’ll also provide an update on what’s happening with Farm to School in general.
3. The Illinois Senate unanimously approved legislation (HB 5657) that will result in smarter, streamlined and statewide rules for food sanitation at farmers markets. HB 5657 was unanimously approved by the Illinois House of Representatives earlier this year. Following the Senate’s approval the legislation will be sent to the Governor. Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s Wes King will share information on this legislation and will also discuss the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and local food opportunities.
4. Food Day Chicago call for volunteers, planners, partners.
5. Chicago Market is a new community food co-op focused on local, sustainable, organic foods. On June 15, Chicago Market launched #1000in100, its first ownership drive. Founder Gregory Berlowitz will speak about the co-op’s ownership campaign and about the co-op start-up scene in the Chicago area.
6. Mike Nowak, Chicago radio host, will discuss his new book, Attack of the Killer Asparagus, and his weekly radio show that covers all things green—gardening, urban agriculture, environment, etc.
7. Discussion: What can GoodGreens/participants do to get Americans to buy and cook food? This idea was suggested during the February meeting which included brainstorming. Please come prepared with your ideas and energy.


1. Minneapolis Public Schools is a leader in pursuing Farm to School. Hear about the work this pioneering school district has done from Culinary & Nutrition Services staff Bertrand Weber and Andrea Northup.

Grant Information

1. USDA Announces Availability of Loans and Grants to Support Rural Economic Development – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department is accepting applications for loans and grants to support community development projects, business expansion and job creation. Assistance is being provided through two USDA Rural Development programs: the Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized both programs through 2018. For Fiscal Year 2014, $18.9 million in IRP loans are available, and $25.4 million in RMAP loans and grants are available. Application forms may be obtained from any USDA Rural Development State Office.
2. Competitive Grant To Establish a USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research – ERS in partnership with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is inviting proposals to establish the USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research. The USDA Center will apply behavioral economics to food choice behaviors, including consumer, food industry, and retailer behaviors that are relevant to USDA policies, with special attention to the SNAP and WIC programs. Deadline for submission is June 30, 2014.
3. USDA Invites Applications for Loans and Grants to Support Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture is seeking applications from rural small businesses and agricultural producers for funding to make energy efficiency improvements or to install renewable energy systems. It helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption. For fiscal year (FY) 2014, USDA plans to award up to $12.3 million in grants and $57.8 million in loan guarantees. Additional REAP funds provided by the Farm Bill will be made available with a subsequent notice. USDA is accepting applications for:
o Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantee and grant combinations. July 7, 2014 is the deadline.
o Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants. July 7, 2014 is the deadline.
o Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantees. July 31, 2014 is the deadline.
4. Food:Land:Opportunity announces an open request for proposals to create viable pathways for urban farm enterprises on land made available in Englewood through the City of Chicago Green Healthy Neighborhoods Plan. Up to two grants will be made under this RFP at a total amount not to exceed $75,000 per grant. Click here to access the full RFP for the Urban Farm Enterprise Pathway Projects and visit the initiative website to download the application. Applications are due by midnight on June 20, 2014.
The Pollination Project is a nonprofit organization that provides $1,000 seed grants to individual change makers. The Project has granted numerous awards to various small agriculture related operations who want to bring change into a community. The Project has received repeated media reports on how the organization is impacting small agricultural practices. New grants are awarded daily and there is no deadline for when to apply. Please click here to navigate through the organizations website for detailed information. We hope to have someone from the Project speak at a future meeting. No deadline.
Check out USDA grants for farmers markets, local foods and SNAP:
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides funding for agriculturalists and others through various programs. Eligible agricultural producers, landowners and Tribes may apply for financial assistance to help implement conservation practices or establish conservation easements, and grants may be available for eligible groups and organizations to promote new conservation technologies.
For info on USDA’s Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative, including potential funding, click Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative. USDA offers financial assistance to qualified producers for construction of a high tunnel through the agency’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program. If you’re in Illinois and would like more information, please contact Randy Edwards (USDA/NRCS) at 815-462-3106,
USDA’s micro-loan program can be used by small farmers. The purpose of the RMAP program is to support the development and ongoing success of rural micro entrepreneurs and microenterprises. Direct loans and grants are made to select Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs). For more information on the program, please click here or read this USDA blog on it. No deadline.
Open Calls for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Grants Timelines for NCR-SARE’s grant programs can be found here. Sample calls for proposals and lists of recently funded projects can be found here. Deadlines: Rolling.
The Beginning with Badgerland Grant program is available to any beginning farmer living in Badgerland Financial territory in Wisconsin regardless of age. The farmer needs to have less than ten years of experience operating a farm and should be able to show that farming is a part-time or full-time vocation. To apply for a grant, the farmer simply needs to fill out a brief application. The Beginning with Badgerland Grant application is available at, in the lower right-hand corner of the front page. No deadline.
For more grants and other resources for beginning farmers, check out this list from
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation’s “Fruit Tree 101” program creates outdoor edible orchard classrooms at public schools of all levels, across the country, to provide generations of students with environmental education opportunities and a source of organic fruit for improved school lunch nutrition. Please contact The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation for more information and to apply for this funding: Deadline: Rolling
Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools offer grants for salad bars. To apply for a grant, please click here. No deadline.
NEW!!! USDA announced approximately $66 million in Specialty Crop Block Grants to state departments of agriculture for projects that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, through research, programs to increase demand, and more. The Program is designed to enhance the markets for specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Interested applicants should apply directly to their state department of agriculture. Several states have already published their requests for proposals, and the list of FY 2014 State Requests for Proposals is available on the AMS website. For more information visit the AMS Specialty Crop Block Grant Program webpage or contact Trista Etzig via phone at (202) 690-4942 or by e-mail:
16. NEW!!! HHS announces the availability of $300 Million in Affordable Care Act funds to expand services at the Nation’s community health centers – Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced the availability of up to $300 million under the Affordable Care Act to help the nation’s community health centers expand service hours, hire more medical providers, and add oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and vision services. For more information on this funding opportunity announcement, please visit

17. NEW!!! The American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have joined forces to launch Voices for Healthy Kids. Through this collaboration, and in partnership with a team of experts across the childhood obesity movement, the initiative aims to engage, organize and mobilize people to improve the health of their communities and reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. The goal of the grant opportunities within this initiative is to make effective strategic investments in ongoing state, local and tribal public policy issue campaigns in order to increase public policy impact on healthy weight and living among children. Voices for Healthy Kids is focusing efforts on six priority areas, and applicants should link their applications to these priorities.
Voices for Healthy Kids Grants/American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Deadline: Rolling)


1. NEW!!! Pembroke Family Farmers Association is conducting new farmer training through the Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant (SSDPG). PFF’s aim is to rebuild local food systems and to revitalize rural and urban economies. Their ideal candidates are graduates from the various new and beginning farmer training programs or current producers that want to move from hobby farmer status to full scale market producers. For more information visit
2. NEW!!! Attention ALL Farmers: the Westmont Street Fair and Westmont Open Market is looking for a farmer with fresh fruits and vegetables to participate in their market. Thursdays from 5-9pm in Downtown Westmont, western suburb of Chicago from June 5-August 28. The market invites any farmer to test the market for FREE for the 1st month! After that the fee is only $20 per week to participate. Please contact Westmont Special Events at 630-829-9378 or to sign up.
3. NEW!!! USDA: Rural Business Investment Program Deadline: July 29, 2014
A USDA press release on April 21st announced the “creation of a new investment fund that will help propel the growth of small businesses across rural America. The new Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) will now allow USDA to facilitate private equity investments in agriculture-related businesses. For more information about grant eligibility, check out the program’s website.
4. NEW!! USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program. On April 23, a NSAC blog post examined USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program. The post said, “The difficulty in accessing a loan necessary to take root – or to expand – can be a major barrier to [rural] businesses’ success and broader impact, especially for a newly evolving market like the local and regional food business. “To address this issue, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee (B&I) Program, which guarantees commercial loans for food enterprises based in or benefiting rural communities. Changes in the 2008 Farm Bill and reaffirmed in the 2014 Farm Bill ensure that a minimum of five percent of B&I funding goes to loans for local and regional food businesses.” You can find out more about the USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program on the program’s website.
5. Get your farmer’s market listed in the USDA Directory! Here’s an excerpt from a blog about USDA farmer’s market directory: “Located in Virginia’s horse country, just an hour outside of Washington, DC, is the historic town of Middleburg. Deeply embedded in the town’s roots is a vibrant agricultural sector that is the driving force behind this small community’s success. Each Saturday morning from the spring through the fall, you can find a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and baked goods at the Middleburg Community Farmers Market (MCFM). Raising the market’s visibility is vital to its continued success, so the MCFM recently updated its information in the USDA’s 2014 National Farmers Market Directory – connecting customers to fresh, quality items produced by its local farmers. The directory, maintained by the Agricultural Marketing Service, is designed to provide consumers with convenient access to information about your farmers market listing including: market locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, accepted forms of payment, and more. Thousands of farmers market managers around the country are taking a few minutes to update their market listing. – See more at:
6. A new AMS-CP procurement cycle will begin soon, with most of USDA’s fruit and vegetable products contracted in the Spring. You can view all the products that AMS is purchasing at AMS Purchase Summary Report. If you are interested in supplying domestic products to USDA, now is the perfect opportunity. Visit the AMS-CP website to view purchase schedule, product specifications, and purchase reports. You can also check out the most recent webinar for more information about USDA purchase programs and opportunities for businesses—especially small businesses—to become USDA Foods vendors.
7. FNS sends a Farm to School e-letter out every two weeks. To receive information and updates about USDA’s Farm to School Program, please sign up for the Farm to School E-letter. Questions? Email us at
8. Detroit Kitchen Connect provides reliable, accessible space for local entrepreneurs, community members and organizations to process high-quality food products in a diverse and collaborative learning environment. They are now accepting applications from entrepreneurs who want to use DKC kitchens and services. For more information, please visit
9. FNS Public Affairs launched a collaboration with Midwest farmers market coordinators to discuss challenges, successes, news, and events. This is a great opportunity for people to discuss and share their own personal experiences and potentially learn ways to make markets more numerous and successful during conference calls to be held every 3-4 months and via emails. Please email Alan Shannon at if you would like to be added to this contact list.
10. Through June 2014, the USDA Farm to School Program will host webinars on various aspects of local procurement. To register for the one or several of the sessions, please click here. All webinars will be recorded and available on USDA Farm to School website within 1-2 week of initial viewing. For more information about these webinars and other information from the USDA Farm to School Program, sign up for our e-letter here.
11. Check out USDA’s Alternative Farming Systems Information Center which provides resources and information for urban agriculture.
12. The Farm Commons Legal Issues in Farming webinar series covers issues from land tenure to food safety and more.
13. The University of Illinois Extension Small Farms webinar series addresses topics like composting, orchard management, and herd management.
14. USDA’s newly created Midwest Climate Hub will be able to provide information to support producers and farmers to make a decision regarding climate, weather, and methods of practice.
15. A New Way of Doing Business for a New Generation (USDA blog). Here’s some good news: As a result of a recent collaboration, diversified and smaller fruit and vegetable producers, including CSAs, can use an alternative method designed for them to determine storage needs or seek a waiver from the requirement that they carry crop insurance or Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage when they apply for a Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) loan if no appropriate products are available to them. And now, FSFL can be used to finance the equipment necessary to handle produce before it reaches cold storage, such as sorting bins and wash stations. This is exactly how the USDA of the future does business. The next generation of farmers and ranchers doesn’t need the same things that the last generation did when they walked through the doors of the Farm Service Agency. This new generation needs a USDA that is more responsive and adaptable to the types of agriculture that they are engaging in – from the smallest community farming arrangements to the largest, most technologically innovative farm businesses. For the complete story, see the USDA blog post:
See more at:


1. Final results from the USDA Farm to School Census are now available online at The total dollars invested in local communities during the 2011-2012 school year increased to more than $385 million and more than 23 million students are participating in farm to school programs as of the 2012-2013 school year. The Census website includes lots of new graphics and features. For example, a new data explorer tool allows users to run customizable searches. Want to know which school districts in New Jersey would like to buy more local beef? Now you can run a search for precisely the information you need. A new media kit page offers downloadable infographics for each state so you can include Census results in your presentations, brochures, or newsletters. We also hope you will help USDA promote the Census re-launch using Facebook and Twitter. Improved social media tools are located at the bottom of the national and state pages.
2. Healthy Vegetables Undermined by the Company They Keep (USDA Amber Waves feature) When ERS researchers examined the types of vegetables and vegetable-containing foods eaten by Americans, they found that instead of eating vegetables in their simple, unadorned state, Americans often eat vegetables prepared in ways that add calories and sodium and remove dietary fiber.
3. Illinois organic farms’ sales jump – May 07, 2014 (AP) — Sales from Illinois organic farms more than tripled during a five-year period, according to federal statistics. Annual organic sales from the state’s farms reached $26.2 million in 2012, the (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports. That’s up from $8.3 million in 2007. The U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show sales growth came despite the fact that the overall number of farms in the state fell during the same period. The tabulated figures include only farms with at least $5,000 in annual sales that sell USDA-certified organic products. The data doesn’t include figures from smaller growers who haven’t gone through the certification process, said Kendra Schilling, who manages the Illinois Products Farmers’ Market at the state fairgrounds. Illinois’ overall crop sales were $14.1 billion in 2012, while livestock sales reached about $3 billion
4. USDA Announces Fall Summit on Bee Nutrition and Forage; Launches “Bee Watch” Website to Broadcast Bee Activity and Increase Public Awareness of the Role of Pollinators in Crop Production. A yearly survey of beekeepers shows fewer colony losses occurred in the United States over the winter of 2013-2014 than in recent years, but beekeepers say losses remain higher than the level that they consider to be sustainable. According to survey results, total losses of managed honey bee colonies from all causes were 23.2 percent nationwide. That number is above the 18.9 percent level of loss that beekeepers say is acceptable for their economic sustainability, but is a marked improvement over the 30.5 percent loss reported for the winter of 2012-2013, and over the eight-year average loss of 29.6 percent. Read the full USDA release here.
5. Cheaper Food May Be Fueling U.S. Obesity Epidemic (HealthDay News) — Cheaper food could be a major cause of the obesity epidemic in the United States, according to a new study. The study also found that it’s an epidemic that is hitting all Americans, not just certain groups. “Not only has food been getting cheaper, but it is easier to acquire and easier to prepare,” Roland Sturm, lead author of the report and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, said in the group’s news release.
6. Legislative funding to provide more fresh produce to Minnesotans in need
The state legislative appropriation will grant $2 million to Second Harvest Heartland on behalf of the six Feeding America food banks that serve Minnesota. This “Farm to Food Shelf” bill will compensate agricultural producers and processors for their costs incurred to harvest and package surplus agricultural commodities, including fruits, vegetables and other items that would otherwise go unharvested or be discarded.
7. You can soon ‘buy local’ with Peapod, courtesy of Artizone deal (Crains Chicago Business) Skokie-based Peapod LLC, that elder statesman of the grocery delivery game, has partnered with Artizone, a website that delivers local meats, fish, pastries, cheeses and other artisanal products to Chicagoans. Beginning later this month, some 100 Artizone products will be available on, with more items to follow later in the year. It’s the latest move by Peapod to ramp up selection and improve technology in order to defend against emerging competition from the likes of Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
8. Elanor Starmer, USDA Senior Advisor, recently presented at GoodGreens on Farm Bill provisions that provide opportunities for local food. She wrote this recent USDA blog that provides highlights and examples of how USDA programs can support local food enterprises. Here’s an excerpt: “Last month, Secretary Vilsack announced a historic level of funding available for local and regional food: $78 million, including $48 million through USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and $30 million through the newly-expanded Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. The 2014 Farm Bill gave USDA these and other tools and resources, expanding our ability to connect rural and urban communities, increase access to healthy foods, and support rural economies through local food systems. What does this mean for rural economies? Consider Cellars of Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont. The Kehler brothers took their passion for dairy and founded a cheese making operation 10 years ago. Partnering with Vermont’s Community National Bank, USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program helped the company construct a 22,000-square-foot facility and expand its on-farm value-added cheese production. The project helped save 20 existing jobs and created 14 new ones in a town with fewer than 1,000 residents…”
9. Study finds school salad bars increase meal participation – More kids eat school meals when salad bars are added, according to a recent evaluation of a program that provides free salad bars to schools nationwide. The evaluation of the “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools” campaign found that 57 percent of schools reported an increase in school meal participation and 78 percent reported using the salad bars every day. Read more here.
10. Beginning Farmers and Ranchers and the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Amber Waves feature article) – Support for beginning farmers and ranchers can be found throughout the Agricultural Act of 2014. The Act provides increased funding for beginning farmer development, facilitates the transfer of farmland to the next generation of farmers, and improves outreach and communication to military veterans about farming and ranching opportunities.
11. More Over Bake Sale… Huffington Post (6/13) – This is a strange and inconsistent moment for school food in the U.S. At the same time that we are arguing for healthier meals in the cafeterias, we also have a long-standing tradition of turning our school kids into candy pushers in order to raise funds for their team uniforms or their band trips. We bemoan the national obesity rates, and then set up tables loaded with rice crispy treats, cupcakes, and brownies in the entrances of our schools. Read more here.
12. Food Loss – Questions About the Amount and Causes Still Remain (USDA Economic Research Service) – ERS estimates that 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of food available for consumption at the retail and consumer levels in the United States in 2010 went uneaten. Read more here.

NEW!!! Chicago Farmers Markets – Check out the local farmers markets this summer! For a schedule of local markets visit –

Additional Resources

1. NEW!!! The ERS State Fact Sheets provide information on population, income, poverty, food security, education, employment, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports. Updated items include 2012 Census of Agriculture data and unemployment for 2013. State Fact Sheets
2. NEW!!! Food Hub Financial and Operations Data: 2013 Food Hub Benchmarking Study
The results of the 2013 Benchmarking Study have been compiled and the report is now available on the NGFN website.
3. NEW!!!Farm Alliance Baltimore City Report 2012-2013The Farm Alliance of Baltimore City is a network of producers working to increase the viability of urban farming and improve access to urban-grown foods. In an effort to share some of their experiences working together during their first two seasons, they created a report with support from USDA SARE as a resource for other groups of growers wanting to work cooperatively. Read the report here. (We are hoping to have someone from the City present at a future GoodGreens meeting. Stay tuned.)
4. NEW!!! Farm to Table: Building Local and Regional Food Systems USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) has recently introduced an online resource created to provide information for farmers, ranchers, ag professionals, community organizers and others who are striving to reconfigure the nation’s food system so more value stays in food-producing communities. Check out the new access portal here.
5. For updates on the Farm Bill implementation, please click here:
6. Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs Guide. A new USDA guide on buying local products for the school meal programs is now available! The guide, Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs, covers procurement basics, defining local, where to find local products, and the variety of ways schools can purchase locally in accordance with regulations. Access the guide by clicking here.
7. Fact Sheets – USDA has published two fact sheets, which are now available from the USDA website. Selling Local Food to Schools: A Resource for Producers outlines four ways producers can help districts serve more local foods and get involved with students by introducing them to farming and agriculture. USDA Foods: A Resource for Buying Local is a great resource for districts looking to expand local purchasing efforts. This fact sheet also showcases a map that illustrates the dollar value of food that was purchased from each state for the USDA Foods program. Check out both fact sheets here on the USDA Farm to School website.
8. NEW!!! The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years and USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) spends that time planning, preparing, and executing the Census. But that’s only a part of the Census process. Once we gather and process the data, we have to make sure the results are easily accessible and understood by the public. Traditionally, we’ve published PDF files to the Internet, but as most of us know, it is not the optimal format for online data dissemination. If you want to analyze and mine data, you don’t want to retype them into a spreadsheet. And if you have hundreds or thousands of data points to analyze, as is the case with the Census, you need a more accessible data tool to ensure accuracy and efficiency in data sharing. That’s where the NASS Quick Stats tool comes to the rescue. We launched this tool with the 2007 Census of Agriculture data release and since then have honed it. Using Quick Stats, you can easily query the database to retrieve customized tables with Census data at the national, state, and county levels. The results are easily exportable for additional analysis. If you have never used this database, check out our new tutorial video, which will give you an easy-to-follow introduction to Quick Stats. And if you’re a developer who would like to work with our data, we have a convenient API available as well. See more at:
9. NEW!!! Let’s Move! created a garden guide/toolkit. Check out our Gardening Guide which has all the information you need to get started. Whether you’re interested in planting a kitchen garden in your own backyard, a school garden at your child’s school, or a community garden for all of your neighbors to enjoy, here are your checklists with everything you need to get planting:
· How to plant a kitchen garden
· How to plant a school garden
· How to plant a community garden
10. NEW!!! New Fact Sheet for Cooperative Extension Professionals!
Are you a Cooperative Extension Professional and curious how you can engage with farm to school programs in your area? Or, perhaps you operate a farm to school program and want to learn how to engage your local Cooperative Extension expert? Check out our new fact sheet, How Cooperative Extension Professionals Can Support Farm to School Programs, to learn more. Access all of our fact sheets here.
11. Where You Live Matters to Your Health. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings provide a health snapshot for nearly every county in all 50 states. See how well your county is doing on 29 factors that influence health, including smoking, high school graduation, employment, physical inactivity, access to healthy foods, and more. See where your county ranks >
12. Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America View the diversity of challenges and opportunities across America’s counties within different types of rural regions and communities. Get statistics on people, jobs, agriculture, and county indicators. Data have been updated to reflect the latest poverty and American Community Survey statistics. March 21, 2014
13. USDA Organics Resource page
14. New Western Lake Superior Local Food Purchasing Toolkit Report provides local food purchasing strategies for restaurants, hospitals and colleges (Duluth, MN) – The Institute for a Sustainable (ISF) released A 20% by 2020 Local Purchasing Toolkit – a Report to Support Local Food Purchasing (pdf) a new report which includes the first regional directory of producers currently supplying the largest institutions and restaurants in our region. The report includes strategies to help restaurants and institutions market their commitment to local foods, and to motivate food distributors to support regional producers and food businesses. Consumers are interested in making sure their values are accurately reflected in their food choices, driving adoption of transparent metrics and benchmarks by leading businesses. In a recent study by University of Minnesota- Duluth professor David Syring, 88% of respondents look at tables to see where a product is made or grown. In a report by the National Restaurant Association, the top restaurant menus trends for 2014 focus on local sourcing, hyper sourcing (restaurant gardens), and environmental sustainability.
15. Grow It, Try It, Like It! is a USDA garden-themed nutrition education kit that introduces new fruits and vegetables to preschool age children. Grow It, Try It, Like It! is an initiative to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity. The goal of Team Nutrition is to improve children’s lifelong eating and physical activity habits through nutrition education based on the principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate. To learn more about Team Nutrition and nutrition in child care go to the Team Nutrition Web site at and the Healthy Meals Resource System Web site at Here’s a link to the kit:
16. Dig In!, a standards-based nutrition education curriculum from USDA’s Team Nutrition, helps kids, teachers, and parents explore a world of possibilities in the garden and on the plate. Ten inquiry-based lessons engage 5th and 6th graders in growing, harvesting, tasting, and learning about fruits and vegetables Dig In! also includes a gardening guide, booklets for parents/caregivers, and six dynamic posters encouraging fruit and vegetable choices using themes that appeal to older elementary school children. Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program or other Child Nutrition program may request a free print copy of the curriculum.
17. Check out USDA’s The Great Garden Detective Adventure: A Standards-Based Gardening Nutrition Curriculum for Grades 3 and 4. Discover what fruits and vegetables are sweetest, crunchiest, and juiciest through a series of investigations and fun experiences connecting the school garden to the classroom, school cafeteria, and home. This eleven-lesson curriculum for 3rd and 4th grades includes bulletin board materials, veggie dice, fruit and vegetable flash cards, and ten issues of Garden Detective News for parents/caregivers. Here’s a link to the curriculum:

Employment Opportunities

1. NEW!!! Good Food Jobs –
2. NEW!!! Illinois Organic Growers Association (IOGA) has an opening for a part-time, 20 hours per month association coordinator position. The IOGA Coordinator is the lead staff person of the Illinois Organic Growers Association and will report to the IOGA Governing Board, Administrative Committee and the association’s fiscal sponsor Illinois Stewardship Alliance. The Coordinator oversees the activities of the organization, leveraging the help of the Governing Board, composed of IOGA members, and the Administrative Committee, composed of representatives from universities and University of Illinois Extension who are in the position to collaborate with IOGA in their work.
3. Writer & Content Coordinator at Healthy Schools Campaign Writer and Content Coordinator.
4. The Illinois Stewardship Alliance is seeking a new part time Outreach intern to fulfill the position. The role of the intern will require direct contact with the Program Director and Conservation Associate to carry out duties with ISA’s local food and sustainable agriculture programs. Please click here for a detailed job description.
5. EverThrive Illinois, formerly the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, is seeking a School Breakfast Coordinator. The position will be responsible for building awareness of childhood hunger and its effects on academic achievement. Please click here for additional details about the position.
6. Chicago Botanic Garden is seeking candidates for a number of year-round, seasonal, and intern positions. Details available on their website.
7. The Alliance for the Great Lakes organization currently has three job opportunities available. Job opportunities include: development associate, 2014 Chicago Adopt-a-Beach Assistant, 2014 Michigan Adopt-a-Beach Assistant, and 2014 Minnesota September Adopt-a-Beach Assistant. Interested applicants should click here for more description about the job requirements and qualifications.

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