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Farm to School of NC Awards

Application Description

The Farm to School (f2s) Awards of NC will be given to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in North Carolina who are doing impactful work in farm to school. The Award is presented by the Farm to School Coalition of NC and its steering committee members—NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, NC Department of Health and Human Services, NC Cooperative Extension, FoodCorps NC, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems—as well as a number of other f2s partners.

Honored LEAs will be recognized by the Farm to School Coalition of NC every fall.

LEAs are recognized at five levels denoting varying levels of engagement in farm to school:
LEAs that satisfy all eleven criteria are awarded a Platinum award; nine criteria meets the Gold level; seven criteria meets the Silver level; five criteria (at least one each in all 3 categories) meets the Bronze level, and two criteria meets the Honorary level. An additional award, the Outstanding Award, will be given to the school/district/LEA with the outstanding farm to school program.

  • Platinum, 
  • Gold, 
  • Silver, and 
  • Bronze Awards.
  • Honorary awards also distinguish programs that are just getting started.

Application Opens

Aiming to release on October 31,2019 or Mid-November 2019

Application Deadline



We aim for the Farm to School of NC AWARDS to be designed by those who will apply and who daily engage in this work, and be designed such that the awards are equitable, truly honoring all impactful work being done in farm to school.

Desired Outcomes

  • honor f2s work being done;
  • increase f2s visibility;
  • encourage more and stronger farm to school programs (more schools, counties, LEAs);
  • collect data as advocacy tool; and,
  • strengthen visibility of racial equity efforts in f2s


HUB Awards Criteria
  • increased School Nutrition and other stakeholder capacity in f2s,
  • increased consumption of fruits and vegetables by children,
  • increased food system, food, and agriculture literacy,
  • increased future agriculture and food systems leaders
  • strengthened healthy food school environments,
  • more f2s supportive policies on all levels,
  • increase market opportunities for small, medium and large farmer support, and,
  • more f2s dedicated funding.

Awards Criteria

The explanations below seek to clarify how various farm to school events and activities qualify for each NC F2S Awards criterion. We divide the Criteria into three subgroups: PROCUREMENT, EDUCATION, AND SUSTAINABLE ENGAGEMENT.

Awards will be given to LEAs satisfying criteria at each level:

Gold Awards - satisfy at least 9 of the 11 Gold level criteria;

Silver Awards - satisfy at least 7 of the 11 Silver level criteria;

Bronze Awards - satisfy at least 5 of the 11 Bronze level criteria;

*​LEAs that satisfy at least 2 criterion within the Bronze level or higher will receive an Honorary Award.*

*LEAs that satisfy all 11 criterion within the Gold level will receive a Platinum Award.*

Criteria Bronze Silver Gold Platinum
Local Food Purchasing

School Nutrition purchases local food for school nutrition programs (meals or snacks).

At least 8 times per year in the LEA. At least 30 times per year in the LEA. At least 50 times per year in the LEA Satisfy Gold Level
Local Food Recipes and Taste Tests

Local food recipes are used in school nutrition programs and taste tests expose students to local foods.

At least 8 times per year in the LEA. At least 16 times per year in the LEA. At least 30 times per year in the LEA. Satisfy Gold Level
Farmer and Food Partners

Students interact with a farmer or other food business partner through field trips to farms, farmer visits to

schools, and/or farmer support of school gardens and/or educational activities.

At least 6 interactions in the LEA. At least 12 interactions in the LEA. At least 20 interactions in the LEA. Satisfy Gold Level
Classroom Curriculum

Lessons offered in local food systems; agriculture; food, nutrition, health, and wellbeing education.

At least 16 times per year in the LEA. At least 30 times per year in the LEA. At least 50 times per year in the LEA. Satisfy Gold Level
Hands-on Cooking

Students are connected to hands-on cooking of local foods through safe food preparation.

At least 16 times per year in the LEA. At least 30 times per year in the LEA. At least 50 times per year in the LEA. Satisfy Gold Level
Hands-on Gardening

Edible gardens located on school grounds or nearby are used by classes. These may include school gardens or nearby community gardens or farms.

Gardens in at least 10 percent of schools. Gardens in at least 25 percent of schools. Gardens in at least 75 percent of schools. Satisfy Gold Level
Healthy, Local Food Environment

Schools engage in promotions and programs for healthy school and community environments. Schools have a built-environment and visible promotions, such as visual displays of local food and farms, murals or art work celebrating local food culture, food waste reduction programs; schools? LEAs participate in programs such as food waste reduction, NC Crunch, F&V program, good food procurement program and/or USDA census data collection.

At least 10 times per year in the district. At least 20 times per year in the district. At least 30 times per year in the district. Satisfy Gold Level

Farm to school trainings are offered, attended, and supported. School staff (i.e.: teachers, school nutrition staff, administration, etc.) participate in professional development trainings, conferences, webinars on farm to school related topics (Examples of topics that address how local food systems impact a school include trainings such as gardening workshops, cooking with local foods, and how to do farm to school activities, but also skill building in racial equity, how climate change impacts local farms and local communities and ways to mitigate, and how local and federal policies work and impact local schools and local farmers).

At least 2 trainings in the LEA or 2 teams sent to trainings. At least 8 trainings in the LEA or 2 teams sent to trainings. At least 12 trainings in the LEA or 2 teams sent to trainings. Satisfy Gold Level
Community Engagement

Schools and/or LEAs engage community partners in farm to school activities. Parents and/or community members are involved in the farm to school program and/or the school is connected to local community efforts involving farm to school, such as members of a local food council are on the school wellness committee, school staff involved in farm to school are part of a local food council, PTA or PTO is engaged in farm to school efforts, schools have mixed use policies for garden and/or kitchen facilities allowing community members and groups to benefit from a schools farm to school efforts, etc.

Participation in at least 10 farm to school activities in the LEA. Participation in at least 20 farm to school activities in the LEA. Participation in at least 30 farm to school activities in the LEA. Satisfy Gold Level

Farm to school is explicitly included in school and LEA level written policies and practices. Language specifying farm to school is adopted into an LEA-wide policy ogprocedure (i.e.: wellness policy/SHAC), including specific naming of farm to school engagement efforts, mixed use policies for gardens, food waste reduction or collection practices and policies, recycling or reusable trays policies, school partnership in community emergency plans, headstart or pre-K programs incorporating farm to school, etc.

Includes farm to school language in one area of the school environment. Includes farm to school language in two areas of the school environment. Includes specific language for implementing f2s throughout the school environment. Satisfy Gold Level
Racial Equity

Visibility of equity principles related to farm to school are incorporated across criteria: racial equity addressed in policies, educational practices, and school environment.

Racial Equity incorporated into 2 criteria. Racial Equity incorporated into 5 criteria. Racial Equity incorporated into 7 criteria. Satisfy Gold Level

Frequently Asked Questions

Plus (click or tap to expand) + What if something seems off, left guide panel not showing, etc?

If in doubt, refresh or return to site, as all should save in process. 😊

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Do I have to enter info for every single criteria?

You do NOT need to enter something for each criteria. If, however, you do enter info for a given criteria, you will also be required to upload documentation for that criteria in order to complete the tasks and submit the application. After you mark a criteria info section complete, the corresponding criteria upload section will appear and allow you access to upload.

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Who can apply on behalf of the LEA? Are there specific signatures that are required?

A team approach is best to make the collection of info and support materials both complete and easiest. We expect a School Nutrition professional from the LEA to take the lead and the superintendent or other admin to also sign off, however, you can have multiple “collaborators” and who you have driving the collection of info and completing the actual application is up to you. Beyond making sure that school nutrition and admin are fully involved, what/who works best for you is what you should do.

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Will it be possible to see the entire application before applying to the entire application?

Yes, when you register you can download a copy of the application and we hope to have a pdf of a blank application on the Coalition website the week prior to the application site opening. You can also download a partially completed application at any point during the process.

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Akk! I marked a section complete and have more to enter or more to upload. What do I do?

No worries, you can easily reopen any section and continue editing. However, once you Review and Submit, you cannot edit your application without contacting the administrator and requesting special access or requesting the site administrator make a change for you— .

Plus (click or tap to expand) + What if I’m done but don’t receive a confirmation of my application?

Don’t forget at the very end, you still have to review and submit! 😊 The “tasks” bar on the left will tell you how many things you still have to complete. Once you have marked all the tasks you initiated “complete” you’ll get a button to “review and submit.” Once you review and submit, you’ll get a confirmation email and, additionally from the site, you’ll be able to download your completed application at any time.

Plus (click or tap to expand) + How long does it take to complete the application?

Even at the honorary level will require you to register and confirm your email, so 5 minutes for that. The basic information page which is required before you can begin choosing and entering data related to the criteria, should take 10-15 minutes depending on your length of answers and access to information about the LEA (School Nutrition folks should have all this data available to them.) The final section of terms and agreements is a one minute section, assuming you have approval. Then each criteria where you choose to enter data and upload documentation to support will depend on how much or little you have to enter. Likely, collecting the information and support materials or making sure folks who already have that info are the ones completing those sections will make the process most efficient. The more time you spend, the more complete your answers, and because we are just piloting this we don’t yet have averages. We ask this question on the follow-up survey so will have that info to share at the Summit in September.

Plus (click or tap to expand) + How does the F2S of NC Awards application relate to the USDA F2S Census coming out this fall?

Completing the application can help compile all the info a school nutrition director will need to more fully complete the USDA F2S Census this fall. Also remember that, for next year, completing the USDA F2S Census will be an activity that counts towards the Healthy, Local Foods Environment Criteria.

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Would the people listed on the application be the ones honored at the summit? What if teams change from application to the awarding?

The Awards will be given to LEAs (Local Education Authorities) so will honor all those in the LEA contributing to Farm to School. The leaders that drive farm to school in the LEA and/or who actually completed the application should be honored especially, both by the award but also by others in their LEA doing farm to school work. Who an LEA chooses to send to the F2S Summit can be whoever the team feels will be most suited: it may be those most deserving recognition, those most wanting opportunities to learn and engage with others around farm to school practices, or others. We will provide two free registrations to each LEA who applies, but anyone is free to register and attend the summit.

Plus (click or tap to expand) + How can I find out about upcoming trainings and workshops?

Join the Coalition listserv if you haven’t already—write and request to be added, as we send out a “weekly” newsletter with info about trainings, grants, events—AND check out and enter your information on the Farm to School Coalition of NC website, where we post lots of related events and opportunities— .