Blog Archive

Friday, April 13, 2018

3+ OPENINGS on Farm to School Team in Traverse City: DEADLINE APRIL 19

Are you passionate about healthy food, farms, and kids? The Traverse Bay Intermediate School District is hiring a two part-time Farm to School Support Staff members and 1-2 full-time AmeriCorps VISTA Service Members to advance farm to school initiatives and activities across elementary schools in northwest lower Michigan. The position is based in Traverse City, Michigan.

These positions are aimed at helping local schools teach the importance of eating healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle. The goal is to support and encourage teachers by providing them with classroom tools that use cooking, gardening, nutrition, and farming as a lens through which to have a deeper and richer learning experience. It's a great job for those that love food, kids, education, local farming, and community enrichment.

Projects that the support staff and VISTAs will help coordinate may include cooking demonstrations in partnership with local chefs, coordinating pop-up farmer's markets, and facilitating school garden development. The VISTA will also be in charge of maintaining and updating a resource website as needed with new content and material. There will be many opportunities to brainstorm and initiate other projects that demonstrate the value of farm to school to community stakeholders.

Strong applicants should be great communicators, and able to work well both collaboratively and independently with varying amounts of given structure. Applicants should have an interest in education, local food, and/or creating an equitable community of health.

Applications for the TBAISD Farm to School Support Staff Position can be accessed here.

VISTA position can be accessed here.

The deadline to apply is April 19, 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact Ranae McCauley (, Steve Urbanski, (, or Meghan McDermott (

Meghan McDermott | Food & Farming Program Director

T   @grndwk

 148 E Front St, Suite 301  |  Traverse City, MI 49684

The Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities is a Traverse City based non-profit. Our work is member-funded and community-driven. Protect what you love. Become a member of Groundwork today.

Supporting Partner for National Farm to School Network
Service Site Supervisor for FoodCorps. Read more about our program on the FoodCorps Northern Michigan Blog!
Healthful Food for All Task Force Leader for Northwest Michigan Food & Farming Network
Groundwork Center Fellowship Program Founder
Join us at & Farm to School Northwest Michigan &
MIFARMTOSCHOOL is a listserv that links farm-to-school stakeholders and practitioners in Michigan, from school food service directors and school administrators to growers and distributors. Content posted to MIFARMTOSCHOOL does not necessarily reflect the views of Michigan State University or the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Rethinking Procurement: The Complexity of Advancing Local and Regional ECE and K-12 Procurement Systems Webinar: April 3, 11 am-12:30 pm

Upcoming Webinar that may be of interest:


Rethinking Procurement: The Complexity of Advancing Local and Regional ECE and K-12 Procurement Systems

April 3 // 11am-12:30pm ET

Join KHA Inc. for the Rethinking Procurement: The Complexity of Advancing Local and Regional ECE and K-12 Procurement Systems webinar, featuring leaders and experts in ECE settings and K-12 schools, who will provide context and grounding in food procurement policies, implementation, model successes and critical solutions to barriers. The Rethinking Procurement webinar will explore the complexity of ECE and K-12 procurement systems and nuances in the process of obtaining healthy, local, and sustainably grown food. Register here



Meagan K. Shedd, PhD
Assistant Professor, Farm to Early Care and K-12 Education
Center for Regional Food Systems
Department of Community Sustainability
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Michigan State University
Natural Resources Building
480 Wilson Rd, Room 309
East Lansing, MI 48824-1039



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Playbook for Building Healthier Food Systems

Hello Farm and Food community,
I'm thrilled to share an exciting new resource. Health Care Without harm has just released our new Healthy Food Playbook, which offers inspiration and tools to address food- and diet-related community health needs throughout the community health engagement process. Check it out and learn more below!

Stay tuned for more information about local and online events to help you make the most of it! Let me know if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Lindsey Scalera | Sustainable Food Program Director

Sustainable Food, Healthy Communities Program  | Ecology Center

Michigan Regional Organizer | Health Care Without Harm

Ambassador  |  Michigan Farm to Institution Network & Cultivate Michigan

339 E. Liberty St., Suite 300 | Ann Arbor, MI 48104

O: 734-369-9273  | C: 734-646-2428  |

Healthy people and a healthy planet starts with YOU: 

 - - - - 

Hospital-community collaborations tackle food insecurity and food-related disease while promoting healthy food systems.

According to Feeding America, 41 million people in the United States struggle with food insecurity, including 13 million children and 9.8 million senior citizens, resulting in widespread effects on physical and mental health.

In Michigan and across the country, hospitals are recognizing the vital link between healthy food access and population health outcomes and are putting their community benefit resources to work on solutions. Hospitals have been working within their communities to implement innovative, solutions-oriented programming such as:

  • Helping to establish fruit & vegetable prescription programs

  • Partnering with food banks and food pantries

  • Supporting farmers markets, mobile markets, CSAs

  • Cultivating community gardens and farms

  • Growing farm to school and farm to hospital programs

  • And more!

Healthy Food Playbook

Created with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Health Care Without Harm's "Delivering community benefit: Healthy food playbook" supports hospital community benefit professionals and community partners in developing initiatives to promote healthy food access and healthy, local and sustainable food systems.

The playbook offers inspiration and tools to address food- and diet-related community health needs throughout the community health engagement process.

Explore the new playbook!

MIFARMTOSCHOOL is a listserv that links farm-to-school stakeholders and practitioners in Michigan, from school food service directors and school administrators to growers and distributors. Content posted to MIFARMTOSCHOOL does not necessarily reflect the views of Michigan State University or the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.

Michigan Joins National Leaders and Local Food Advocates at 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference this April--learn more and register!

On April 25-27, 2018, more than 1,000 people will converge on Cincinnati, Ohio, for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference. The biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the only national gathering of farm to cafeteria professionals working to break down barriers to sourcing healthy, local food for institutional cafeterias and connect communities and children to where their food comes from.


Cafeterias in schools and early care sites, colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons and other institutional settings serve tens of millions of Americans every day, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems. 


Some of the Michigan presentations include:

poster presentations

  • Hoophouses for Health: An Innovative Program Taking on User-friendly Approaches to Measuring Impact
  • Making Michigan Recipes Work: Culinary Skills & Menu Planning for School Nutrition Professionals

breakout presentations including

  • 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms
  • Growing the Future: Farm to School Through Student Empowerment
  • It's Not as Hard as You Think: Tips and Tools for Engaging Statewide Networks in Policy Advocacy and Education
  • More Than an Afterthought: Evaluating Farm to School Activities for Effectiveness and Program Improvement
  • Curriculum Considerations: Guiding Intentional Integration of Farm to Early Childhood Education.


Attendees of the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will learn best practices, network with likeminded communities and bring home creative solutions that will help to nourish people and the economy. Registration is open until April 9. Register today! Learn more at


Hope to see you there!



Thursday, March 22, 2018

Seeking examples of schools tackling food waste

Greeting, MI Farm to School Network!


I’m reaching out to see if there are any schools or districts out there that are tackling food waste. Last night, the Our Table series at MSU focused on food waste, and there were many folks interested in exploring the role of educators in teaching children the value of food and the need to reduce food waste.


I would love to talk to anyone using local food and/or smarter lunchroom principles to help reduce food waste and highlight the roll schools are already playing in addressing this issue!


Please email me at





Abigail Harper

Community Food Systems Educator

MSU Extension

121 E. Maple St

Mason, MI 48854


(p) 517-676-7207

(c) 857-600-6921


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

FW: MDE Press Release: 10 Cents a Meal Program a Success in Providing Locally-Grown Produce to Michigan Schools


Here's more from the Michigan Department of Education about the 10 Cents a Meal Program and the new legislative report that was shared yesterday.




Colleen Matts

Farm to Institution Specialist | Core Partner, National Farm to School Network

Center for Regional Food Systems | Michigan State University

480 Wilson Rd | Rm 302B Natural Resources Building | East Lansing, MI 48824

(p) 517.432.0310 |



From: Martin Ackley []
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 4:01 PM
Subject: Michigan Department of Education Press Release




DE Logo     News Release



Contact:    Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs, 517-241-4395

                  Bill DiSessa, Spokesperson, 517-335-6649


  Ten Cents A Meal Program a Success in Providing

Locally-Grown Produce to Michigan Schools


March 21, 2018


LANSING – School districts in three regions of the state served students 65 new kinds of locally-grown fruits, vegetables, and dry beans under Michigan's incentive pilot grant program called 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms.


The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) shared today the results of the pilot program in its 2017-2018 Legislative Report.


"Bringing healthy, locally-grown food into Michigan schools helps our economy and fuels our students' learning," said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. "Healthy kids are eager to learn and achieve, driving Michigan to become a Top 10 education state in 10 years."


Grant-winning food service directors from the three regions where schools can apply for the funding – Prosperity Regions 2, 4, and 9 – also have been coordinating taste tests and nutrition education in the cafeteria and classroom. They used promotional materials from Cultivate Michigan, a statewide campaign of the Michigan Farm-to-Institution Network to help Farm-to-Institution programs grow, along with farmer posters and Harvest of the Month menus.


"The local food that I am able to get – it looks a lot better; I'm getting longer shelf life out of it; it tastes better; and students are definitely grabbing it on the lunch line," said Meaghan Eckler, food service director in Bedford Public Schools in Prosperity Region 9 in southern Michigan.


The program provides up to 10 cents a meal in matching funds for schools to purchase Michigan grown fruits, vegetables, and dry beans. It expanded from Prosperity Regions 2 and 4 in northwest and west Michigan in the 2016-2017 school year to also include Region 9 in 2017-2018. The number of districts that received grants, and the students they serve, roughly doubled – from 16 school districts and 48,000 students last year to 32 districts and 95,000 students this year.


The Michigan Department of Education also has worked to streamline the program to make it easier for school districts to receive their reimbursements and provide receipts required for local purchasing verification. MDE integrated the 10 Cents reimbursements within its Michigan Nutrition Data system, which food service directors use for other existing programs, and utilized FarmLogix, an online technology system that streamlines invoice tracking.


Overall, the invoices showed that schools purchased 80 different fruits, vegetables, and dry beans grown by 112 farms in 34 Michigan counties, plus 19 businesses such as processors, distributors, and food hubs.


"Farm-to-School is consistent business with consistent pricing," said Mike Gavin, of Gavin Orchards, a 220-acre farm in Ottawa County. "When I started with schools, I was told student consumption had doubled and tripled in apples. It's nice to hear you are making a difference."


Jessica Endres, the food service director for the Thornapple-Kellogg School District in Prosperity Region 4 in west Michigan, said the program changed her purchasing habits.


"The grant has inspired me to drill down into the community as much as I can," she said. "Before, I would have considered 'local' as states surrounding Michigan."


The program also is catalyzing educational activities.


"I'm looking into building a garden now, to grow peas and green beans – little things students would want to try because they grew them," said Sherry Sedore, the food service director at Pellston Public Schools in Prosperity Region 2 in northern Michigan – a new grantee. "Before we had 10 Cents, students weren't interested in the idea of a garden, but now there's interest."


Traci Jackson, a teacher with the Holland City School District in Prosperity Region 4, also saw students become interested in new foods, as a result of the program.


"Some students had thirds!" she said of parsnips in her report to Holland Food Service Director Patty Wall, who coordinates taste tests with local produce in 43 classes every Friday. "I was excited to be able to share that I used to live next to the farm. This connection made my kids more excited to try the parsnips."


Beth Kavanaugh, the food service director for Public Schools of Petoskey in Region 2 in northwest Michigan, said she's seen reduced food waste and an increase in student consumption of fruits and vegetables as a result of the grant.


"This is noticed not only by the lunchroom aides and cooks, but by the custodial staff," she said. "They literally grab my arm, walk me to the trash, and show me how much food is not wasted anymore."


10 Cents a Meal is a state-funded competitive grant pilot reimbursement program for schools to improve daily nutrition and eating habits for children, allowing schools to purchase local fruit, vegetables, and beans, and invest in Michigan's agriculture.


In all, 78 districts applied for the 2017-2018 school year and there was enough funding for 32 districts.


MDE is assisted in the program by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which provides expertise on Michigan-grown products and participates in food service director trainings; the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, which conducts monthly food service director surveys with MDE; Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, which conducts stakeholder interviews and provides communications support; and Northwest Prosperity Region 2, West Michigan Prosperity Alliance (Prosperity Region 4), and Greater Ann Arbor Region Prosperity Initiative (Prosperity Region 9), which have taken on roles that tap into regional strengths, such as communications and evaluation.


More information, including the full Legislative Report, is available at



Program Contacts:

Diane Golzynski, Michigan Department of Education,

Diane Conners, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities,

Colleen Matts, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems,




This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: Michigan Department of Education · 608 W. Allegan Street, P.O. Box 30008 · Lansing, MI 48909

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

10 Cents a Meal: New Michigan Department of Education Legislative Report

Greetings friends,

Hot off the press!  Please find attached the new Michigan Department of Education 2017-2018 Legislative Report on the 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms pilot program, which provides grant- winning school districts with up to 10 Cents a Meal in matching funds to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables and dry beans.
  • This report is also availble for download at on the home page and on its Tools for Communities page. 
  • The same content, slightly re-designed for use as five stand-alone hand-outs, will also soon be available on the Tools for Communities page.
  • To print the full page (and not clip off a tiny portion of the map on the bottom) select "print to fit" for in-house printers.
Please share widely! Lots of fun quotes and data. Our schools, Michigan growers, and other local businesses are making a difference for our kids and our economy.

Also, please like, share and follow the 10 Cents Facebook page — and if you post about 10 Cents or Michigan farm to school, don't forget to tag @TenCentsMichigan.