Fall 2014 Resources & Announcements

Fall gourds at a farmers market


Below is a collection of resources and announcements from September to December, 2014


USDA Awards $328M For Ag Conservation

In September, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $328 million in funding for 380 conservation easement projects as part of the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).  The projects will protect and restore 129,000 acres of farmland, grasslands, and wetlands across all 50 states.

USDA Awards $52M for Organic and Local

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of over $52 million in support of the growing organic industry and local and regional food systems through five U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant programs. The Secretary made the announcement during an event with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and local farmers at the Virginia State Fair.

New FINI Grant Program Releases RFA

The first request for applications for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) program was announced in September.  $31.5M was made available to improve the health of low-income communities while boosting economic opportunities for farmers by creating an incentive for SNAP participants to purchase fruits and vegetables. Deadline December 15th, 2014.

Governor Malloy Announces Fund for CT Urban Gardens

As part of a larger announcement of funds to preserve open space in Connecticut, Governor Malloy announced grants for community gardens in New Haven and Norwalk.  These grants are designed to create green spaces in city neighborhoods, open up urban lands for outdoor recreation, and help improve community health by encouraging the growing of local fruits and vegetables.


The NYC Alliance for Child Nutrition Reauthorization has reconvened as the Child Nutrition Act is again up for consideration next year.  NYC For CNR is establishing goals and a consensus statement of priorities.  They will then seek support for those priorities.  Become a partner today.

Local Food, Local Places Initiative

The White House Rural Council and six federal agencies have selected 26 communities to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative providing direct technical support and expertise to community partners integrating local food systems into regional economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of federal agricultural, transportation, environmental, public health, and regional economic experts will work directly with communities to develop specific local food projects. These efforts will make a significant impact in the communities participating in the Local Foods, Local Places initiative.

Newman’s Own Foundation Announces $10 Million in Grants to Aid Nutrition

Newman’s Own Foundation announced that it is committing more than $10 million in grants over three years to support initiatives that increase fresh food access and nutrition education in underserved communities. The grants will be awarded to 36 nonprofit organizations around the country that provide programs and services to improve nutrition.

Online Tools

New USDA Tools Help Locate Local Food

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) unveiled new and updated tools to help consumers, producers, and community leaders find local food sources in their region.  AMS presented new directories for three different types of local food sources and an updated version of its popular farmers market directory.

Ag Census On Organic Farming

This new release of data clearly shows that there is great diversity and innovation within the organic sector.  It is also clear that organic producers are younger, are exploring diverse marketing channels, and are utilizing innovative sustainable farming practices at a higher rate when compared with all farmers.

SAFSF Food Waste Webinar

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders hosted a webinar on Food Waste in October.  The full audio recording, powerpoint presentations, and reports mentioned are now available online.

Food Policy Database

The Growing Food Connections Policy Database is a searchable collection of local public policies that explicitly support community food systems. This database provides policymakers, government staff, and others interested in food policy with concrete examples of local public policies that have been adopted to address a range of food systems issue

2014 National Food Policy Scorecard

Food Policy Action released its 2014 National Food Policy Scorecard.  The National Food Policy Scorecard, launched in 2012, rates members of Congress based on their positions on food and farm policy votes.  The purpose of the scorecard is to highlight the importance of food policy, educate voters, and bring transparency and accountability to the national food policy discussion.  Read more about the scorecard on NSAC’s website.

Inside School Food

Inside School Food is a production of the listener-supported Heritage Radio Network. This series by Heritage Radio Network has 21 episodes related to school food. Join expert guests from all over the nation to explore topics across a spectrum of concerns: coping with regulation, relieving hunger, meeting sustainability goals, and creating kid-friendly menus that are fresh, healthy, delicious, and affordable.

Food Scores Database

The Food Scores Database, led by the Environmental Working Group, is an easy to use database that will house ratings and a vast array of other information for more than 80,000 foods from more than 1,500 brands in a simple, searchable, online format. This new tool is the most comprehensive food-rating database available to consumers and its scoring system factors in not only nutrition but also concerns about ingredients, such as food additives, and harmful contaminants. It also estimates the degree to which foods have been processed.


The Harmful Effect Of Pesticides On Farmworkers

In a recent video released by CATA – The Farmworker Support Committee, farmworkers explain the dangers of being exposed to pesticides and the resources they have for protecting themselves.

Farmworker Stories

This fall, Rural Migrant Ministries released a series of videos entitled Farmworker Stories: An Oral History of the Farmworkers of New York.  In the summer of 2014, two college interns traveled from Long Island to the Finger Lakes to collect stories from a diversity of farmworkers in New York State.  On their blog, you can watch Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Tossed Out: Food Waste In America

NET Nebraska and Harvest Public Media teamed out to produce a TV special and online resources exploring the issue of food waste in America.  Food waste is the single-largest source of waste in municipal landfills and some estimates say as much as 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten.

Real Food Media Contest And Library

The Real Food Media Project launched its annual short films contest and announced its new film library. Produced by award-winning author Anna Lappé, the film library will be the largest repository of short films about food, farming, and sustainability in the country. The contest, now in its second year, will bring together leading food luminaries as judges, advisors, and media partners, including the Jamie Oliver Foundation, the James Beard Foundation, and celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio and Alice Waters, and hopes to receive hundreds of entries from around the world.

Food Forward TV Series

Food Forward goes way beyond celebrity chefs, cooking competitions, and recipes to reveal the compelling stories and inspired solutions envisioned by food rebels across America who are striving to create a more just, sustainable and delicious alternative to what we eat and how we produce it. Food Forward explores new ideas of food in America as told by the people who are living them. Each episode will focus on a different theme–school lunch reform, urban agriculture, sustainable fishing, grass-fed beef, soil science–and spotlight the real people who are creating viable alternatives to how we grow food and feed ourselves.


NYC Food Policy Center Journal Watch

Every month, the NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College produces a fabulous and informative newsletter complete with original articles, policy briefs, event recaps, news picks, and a roundup of recent food policy publications.  Now, those compilations of journal articles are conveniently located in one place online.

NYC Food Forum Shared Learning Resource List

On October 10th, the NYC Food Forum held a workshop titled, “Why Equity Matters to NYC and Our Food System.”  150 individuals from 100+ organizations came together to create a shared understanding of equity and explore ways to advance equity that will provide opportunity and benefits to all New York City residents.  Workshop organizers pulled together a document of Shared Learning: a selection of resources to understand and advance equity in food systems work, and are currently developing next steps. The document compiles resources used and referenced at the workshop, as well as useful glossaries, reading materials, infographics, video and multimedia, and tools and training resources.

The Unkindest Cuts: 2014 Annual Hunger Report

The NYC Coalition Against Hunger released it’s 2014 Annual Hunger Report, The Unkindest Cuts. Cuts in federal nutrition assistance are overwhelming New York City’s food pantries and soup kitchens as food insecurity in the city remains high, despite the soaring stock market.

The Hunger Cliff One Year Later

A new report from Food Bank For New York City, The Hunger Cliff One Year Later: 56 million meals lost and the need for emergency food remains high,  finds that the need for emergency food remains staggeringly high in the wake of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that took place on November 1, 2013.  These cuts have resulted in an 11-month loss of more than 56 million meals in New York City alone

Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs

This guide does as its title suggests: it walks you through dozens of the federal programs and policies most important to sustainable agriculture and how they can be used by farmers, ranchers, and grassroots organizations nationwide.

Safety Net Becomes Farm Policy Disaster

Land Stewardship Project released the second of three white papers on the federal crop insurance program, entitled, Crop Insurance Ensures the Big Get Bigger.  In recent years, subsidized crop insurance has expanded dramatically to become the country’s biggest federal farm program. The federal government has increased funding for the program and more farmers than ever are participating. But instead of functioning as common sense risk management for all farmers, the current form of crop insurance funnels public dollars to the largest crop operations, enabling them to outcompete family farmers for land and other resources.

Healthy Food in Your Community: A Toolkit for Policy Change

A new resource published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Healthy Food In Your Community, offers tools that will help you participate in the policy decisions that shape your community’s access to healthy food.  This toolkit will demystify the often overwhelming world of food policy and provide practical tips and resources for getting involved.

The Great Service Divide

Put out by ROC United and regional affiliates, The Great Service Divide: Occupational Segregation and Inequality in the US Restaurant Industry is am in-depth study of occupational segregation and discrimination on the basis of race and gender, which analyzed the hiring practices and promotional policies of 273 fine-dining establishments located throughout Detroit, Chicago, and New Orleans.

Controlling Junk Food and The Bottom Line

In October, the Illinois Public Health Institute released five tip sheets to help schools implement Smart Snacks in School while minimizing negative financial impact. Strategies are shared from eight school districts across the country that improved nutrition standards for their snack and à la carte food and beverages, and maintained food service revenue.

Food Sovereignty For The Right To Food

Over the summer the Co-operative And Policy Alternative Center (COPAC) of South Africa released a new report, Food Sovereignty For The Right To Food: A Guide For Grassroots Activism.  The guide is an educational training tool for grassroots activists, communities and organizations to unite in the interests of building and defending Food Sovereignty.

Common Sense For A Post Wall Street World

Slow Money’s answer to Thomas Paine’s famous pamphlet, Commons nth: Common Sense for a Post Wall Street World, presents a bold new vision for conscientious investing.  With all of our technological, industrial, and agricultural advances, it asks, are we becoming more secure, more prudent and more understanding?

Slow Money State Of The Sector Report

Since 2009, the Slow Money network has been catalyzing investments into local, sustainable, and organic food, farming, and ranching enterprises. More than $38 million has been invested into over 350 deals.  This State Of The Sector Report 2014: Investing In Small Food Enterprises analyzes the first five years of Slow Money investing from 2009-2013 by surveying dozens of individuals and organizations that are supporting local food systems and sustainable agriculture.

Preliminary Report On Seeds And Seed Practices In US

The US Food Sovereignty Alliance recently unveiled A Preliminary Report on Seeds and Seeds Practices across the US.  The report is based on surveys of seed savers and seed advocates from around the United States. It documents who saves seeds, as well as why, where and which ones. Responses reveal that many growers save and share seeds to produce healthy food, preserve their cultural heritage, and to defy efforts by transnational agribusinesses to privately patent and monopolize control of seeds.

Food Chain Avengers Comic Book

20 million people work in the food system in the U.S. making it the largest employer in the country, and the majority of frontline food workers earn poverty wages.  In the U.S., a third of food workers suffer from food insecurity and hunger. The Food Chain Avengers comic book uses examples drawn from real experiences by workers in their respective industries.  The five main characters of the story walk us through each of five sectors of the food chain: production, processing, distribution, retail, and food service. The comic book exposes the exploitative nature of the industry vis-à-vis its workers, communities, and the environment, and tells the story of struggle to victory.

Food Tank’s Fall Reading List – 20 Great Books About Food

Food Tank has selected 20 books that entertain, inform, and reaffirm the importance of food and agriculture. From sustainable seafood to ethical eating to field guides for food activists, these books highlight innovative and creative methods that are creating a better, more sustainable food system while educating and informing eaters and consumers.

Expanding Nutrition Education Programs In NYC Elementary Schools

A new report released by the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, Teachers College Columbia University, explores the landscape of nutrition education programs (NEPs) in schools in three New York City boroughs. The report, Expanding Nutrition Education Programs in New York City Elementary Schools: Understanding Practice to Inform Policy, describes the kinds of NEPs available, their distribution, and if they are reaching the schools that need them the most. The report also details what is going well, and makes recommendations about how accessibility to NEPs can be improved. A resource guide at the end of the report details many of the NEPs available to schools in New York City.

News On Regional Food Security

Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast, a USDA-funded project at Penn State, offers their latest project news and updates, including an analysis of urban agriculture and its contributions, and supply chain impacts of increased vegetable demand.

Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities

This guide, Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities: A Guide to Federal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Entrepreneurship, Conservation, Food Systems, and Community Development lists funding opportunities offered by federal programs, and is indispensable for anyone seeking government help to foster their innovative enterprise in forestry and agriculture. Specifically, it addresses program resources in community development; sustainable land management; and value-added and diversified agriculture and forestry.

Textbook: Introduction To The US Food System

Introduction to the US Food System: Public Health, Environment, and Equity is a comprehensive and engaging textbook that offers students an overview of today’s US food system, with particular focus on the food system’s interrelationships with public health, the environment, equity, and society.

Food, Farms, And Community: Exploring Food Systems

Throughout the United States, people are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from, how it is produced, and how its production affects individuals and their communities. The answers to these questions reveal a complex web of interactions. Food, Farms, and Community: Exploring Food Systems takes an in-depth look at critical issues, successful programs, and challenges for improving food systems spanning a few miles to a few thousand miles. Case studies that delve into the values that drive farmers, food advocates, and food entrepreneurs are interwoven with analysis supported by the latest research.

Posted in Films & Video, Food Systems Education, Literature, Resources, Useful Websites