The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health: Calling Maine’s Anti-Hunger Advocates

Join other educators and advocates to learn about the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health and review federally recognized innovations & data-driven solutions.  Then, join with local multidisciplinary teams to collaborate on opportunities specific to your region and make a commitment to eliminating disparities.

Date: September 28, 2022
Time: 3:30pm
Facilitator: Rebekah Sousa


  • You will be able to define food security
  • You will consider the 5 Pillars of the conference and apply them to the State of Maine, Counties, and/or Local Communities.
  • You will have models for strengthening food security within communities
  • You will network with like-minded individuals across sectors and specialties to create more holistic and thoughtful approaches for the specific challenges in Maine.

Audience: School staff, administration, and school stakeholders

Register here.

For further questions, reach out to Rebekah Sousa at

Bridging the Gap Between Rural Farms and School Nutrition: Maine Kicks Off First Farm and Sea to School Institute

The Maine Department of Education served alongside many state-wide partners in organizing Maine’s first Farm and Sea to School Institute which launched last month bringing together teams from 3 different school districts at the Ecology School in Saco.

The event is the kick-off of a year-long opportunity in which the 3 districts will develop a values-based, school-wide farm & sea to school action plan that integrates curriculum, local food sourcing, youth voice, equity and inclusion, and family and community connections, all unique to their school community. The 3 districts participating in the first institute are MSAD 17 (Oxford Hills), RSU 22 (Hampden), and RSU 89 (Katahdin). They applied for the opportunity in January 2022.

The institute was hosted as a collaborative effort among farm to school practitioners, advocates, and supporters throughout Maine who are all part of Maine’s Farm and Sea to School Network (MFSN).

The 3 teams are comprised of school nutrition staff, educators, and students who will be working to co-develop and implement agriculture, gardening, and/or nutrition related programming at their school. The student members on each team are UMaine college mentors trained in youth leadership via 4H STEM Ambassador Program – this component of the Institute is to both incorporate student voice and provide an extended learning opportunity for Maine students.

The 3-day kick-off event was a chance for the teams to come together for the first time and start planning, have the opportunity to meet the other teams, and begin work with state-wide partners and coaches. They participated in a wide array of activities including learning about planting specific crops that are easy to grow without maintenance. Given that schools are typically out of session during prime garden-growing season, this option allows for a “set it and forget it” style of growing vegetables.

Richard Hodges from ReTreeUS, a nonprofit that plants orchards and provides education and resources to schools specifically, showcases seed packets with pumpkin, Mexican sunflower, and popping corn seeds, among others, which he explained will help school staff grow enough food to be used in school cafeterias without a lot of maintenance. Hodges also showed participants how to plant a peach tree during his workshop and tour of the gardens.

Other workshops included learning about Incorporating Local Agriculture into Classroom Curricula, Building Sustainability through the district budget, finding local foods, how to promote school efforts, food security, and an institute-wide workshop with Racial Equity & Justice Organization, among many other workshops. The three-day event also provided lodging, locally sourced meals, and plenty of team time for participants to engage in conversation and work together to begin their action plans, all while enjoying the serene Ecology School campus.

Following the kick-off event, the districts teams will continue to engage in workshops designed around school specific roles throughout the year and continue work with an experienced coach from the Maine Farm to School Network to develop their school-wide farm & sea to school action plan.

Funded by a USDA Service-Learning Grant, the MFSN group is working to secure funding for future Institutes. Read more about it here. Pending more funding, the Farm and Sea to School Institute expects to open applications for year-two of the institute in January 2023. Read more about the application and selection process here.

WEBINAR: The Role of School Nutrition Directors in School Safety Efforts

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools and its Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center will host a Webinar on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET. This Webinar will highlight the role of school nutrition directors in school safety, security, emergency management, and preparedness activities, including emergency operations plan (EOP) development.

The objectives of this 60-minute Webinar are to

  • Demonstrate the importance of a collaborative planning team, as outlined in Step 1 of the six-step planning process detailed in the Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans.
  • Discuss the role that school nutrition directors play in implementing the National Preparedness System mission areas before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Reinforce how school nutrition directors can enhance EOP development and serve as key stewards in the efforts around food contamination outbreaks, continuity of operations, recovery, and more.
  • Share relevant resources to be used by school nutrition directors and core planning teams.

Register on the REMS TA Center Website to participate in the Webinar!


  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
    • Charlsia Fortner, Chief, Food Safety Branch
    • Brian McCall, Director, Office of Emergency Management
  • REMS TA Center
    • Alison Curtis, Director of Information and Product Management

Web Chat

Immediately following the Webinar, you are invited to participate in a Twitter Chat where presenters will continue to answer your questions. No Twitter account is necessary to view questions, only to pose questions and engage in tweets. Follow @remstacenter and tune in at 1:00 p.m. ET on September 13.


Contact the REMS TA Center Help Desk at 1-855-781-REMS [7367] or from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. Can’t make the live event? This Webinar will be archived on the REMS TA Center’s Website within 7 business days.

Want to Bring Local Food to Students in your Community this Summer?

Summer means fresh, local food and we are lucky to live in a state with so many wonderful farms to support in our communities! Bringing the farm to your school is easy with Harvest of the Month (HOM), and the Child Nutrition Program has FREE promotional and educational material to help make this happen! Beautiful posters, fact sheets with recipes, stickers and more will be mailed to you at no cost. Maybe your school has a garden bursting with summer squash and cucumbers (the HOM highlighted ingredients for July and August), or perhaps you have a family recipe using summer produce that you know kids in your community would love.

Sample promotional materials!

Reach out to your district’s School Nutrition Director to partner on this great opportunity to, whether it be through summer meal sites or summer school! For more information contact or visit

Media Release: Maine Child Nutrition Programs Continue Feeding Children Beyond School Year with Summer Food Service Program Hot Lunch Summer

As the school year comes to an end, Maine children can access nutritious meals through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, administered by the Maine Department of Education (DOE). These meals are available at hundreds of sites across Maine and will be listed on the Maine DOE’s Hot Lunch Summer website.

“No child should worry about going hungry when the school year ends,” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “Hot Lunch Summer ensures that Maine children continue to receive the healthy, nutritious meals they rely on during the school year and we thank the schools and organizations that have stepped up to make the distribution of these meals possible.”

The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program or where census track data supports the need. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

The Maine DOE launched a statewide ad campaign to raise awareness that the Summer Food Service Program exists and clearly explain the logistics of where, when, and how Maine children and adolescents can access complementary meals. The multi-media campaign includes a fun, original song entitled ‘Hot Lunch Summer’ for broadcast radio, an accompanying sing-along video in several lengths including a 30-second broadcast and streaming television ad, a series of colorful shareable graphics for social media, and a series of printed materials for distribution at schools and meal sites. The campaign, which will run through July, is expected to generate more than 5.25 million impressions.

To find nearby Summer Meal sites, please visit, or text “Summer Meals” to (914)342-7744.  Information will be available mid-June.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact, call 592-1722 or visit


In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English.  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible State or local Agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:
(1)       mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
(2)       fax:
(833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
(3)       email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, religion, ancestry or national origin.

Complaints of discrimination must be filed at the office of the Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051. If you wish to file a discrimination complaint electronically, visit the Human Rights Commission website at and complete an intake questionnaire. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.