Blog Archive

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michigan Farm to School News



Here’s the latest farm to school related news….




Our friends at the Michigan Land Use Institute just released the newest edition of the Taste the Local Difference farm and food guide. Check it out, especially if you’re living, visiting, or eating in northwest Michigan!


Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch is hiring a Program Coordinator to oversee farm to school programming. This organization is one of our Great Lakes Regional Partners through the National Farm to School Network. Please see the attached job description to learn more.


The Michigan State University Extension Consumer Horticulture Team, led by Mary Wilson and Bridget Behe, have created a new Gardening in Michigan website loaded with practical information. Check it out here.




The Northwest Initiative’s Food System Project in Lansing is hosting a free summer garden camp at three locations! Check out the attached flier and registration form for more information, including contact info. The summer camps start June 15th!


The Food System Economic Partnership is hosting their annual conference on Thursday, June 18th at the Lenawee County Vocational Tech Center in Adrian, MI. FSEP works to build a better food system in 5 county area of southeastern Michigan, and farm to school has been a big part of that work. Click here for more info about the conference, including registration.


The FoodMed Conference, an international conference on healthy food in healthcare, is scheduled for June 30-July 1 at the MGM Grand in Detroit, MI. Register soon for this third international conference!


For students who are interested in “real food” on their campuses, check out this Midwest training opportunity offered through the Real Food Challenge on July 11-13th in Ames, IA.


Farmers and eaters, get ready for the July Select Michigan Capitol Lawn Farmers Market! The market will be held on Thursday, July 23rd 2009 from  10 am – 3 pm. Up to 50 vendors who produce and sell Michigan specialty crops can participate. Vendors interested in reserving booth space for the market must complete the application and biography form (attached). Be sure to indicate “none” if a question does not apply.  Please mail, fax, or email completed forms by June 12th to:

Erin Groeb

Michigan Department of Agriculture

P.O. Box 30017

Lansing, MI

FAX: (517)335-0628



Interested in learning more about the MSU Student Organic Farm? The SOF Outreach Coordinator, Adam Montri, is hosting informal tours of the fields, hoophouses, CSA distribution room, transplant greenhouse, and more! A number of tours are scheduled for the remainder of 2009. See the attached flier for more information and dates.




USDA Rural Development is seeking proposals for the 2009 Value Added Producer Grant Program. Click here for more information, including deadlines.



Enjoy the long holiday weekend!


Colleen Matts

Farm to School Specialist

CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems

Michigan State University

303 Natural Resources Building

East Lansing, MI 48824-1222



Friday, May 8, 2009

New info from MDE & MDA


Hi all,

I wanted to pass along some new information from MDA and MDE that should be of interest.


First, the school food authority equipment grant applications are now available to school food service directors through the Michigan Department of Education. Please click here for the memo from MDE about the grants, deadlines, and links for more information. As you’ll remember, these equipment grants are being offered by MDE through the federal economic stimulus package. For your reference, I’ve attached a list of equipment suggested for farm to school and preparation of fresh fruits and vegetables from our friends at Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch.


Also, Michigan Department of Agriculture recently released a “Buying Local – Approved Food Sources for Food Establishments” fact sheet. The fact sheet is attached and available at the Michigan Farm to School website.


Enjoy the weekend,


Colleen Matts

Farm to School Specialist

CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems

Michigan State University

303 Natural Resources Building

East Lansing, MI 48824-1222



Monday, May 4, 2009

FW: Michigan Junior Iron Chef: RECIPES DUE MAY 8th!




There are only 4 days left for high school student teams to submit recipes for the first Michigan Junior Iron Chef Competition! Please review the rules and be sure to download the recipe entry form from the website ( to submit your teams’ healthy school lunch meal for the recipe contest by this Friday, May 8th! Teams that win the recipe contest will be notified mid-month that they are eligible to compete in the cook-off competition at Michigan State University for the chance to win exciting prizes!


We look forward to a tasty competition!


The Michigan Junior Iron Chef Planning Team





Dear Michigan High School Student, School Employee, or Community Member:


We are excited to invite high school students to join the first Michigan Junior Iron Chef Competition! This competition gives students hands-on cooking experience and teaches them about local foods and healthy food choices. It starts with a recipe contest (entries due May 8th, 2009) and ends with a cook-off competition on September 19th, 2009. Michigan Junior Iron Chef is sponsored by the Michigan Nutrition Network – Michigan State University Extension and the C.S. Mott Chair of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University.


Here’s how it works:

Part 1. We challenge teams of 3-4 high school students to work with an adult coach to make one tasty, healthy school lunch meal featuring Michigan-grown and commodity foods. A list of these foods along with rules for participating are available on the Michigan Junior Iron Chef website listed below. Recipes should be easy and practical for school food service to use and meet nutrition guidelines for school lunch. (See rules on the website for more details.) To enter, teams submit an application and recipe for their meal by May 8th, 2009. Recipes will be judged by creativity, use of local foods, nutritional quality, and practical use for school food service. Winning recipes will be shared with schools throughout the state in a Michigan Junior Iron Chef Cookbook. To participate, student teams must be from Michigan schools which have at least 50% free and reduced-price meal participation. We ask that teams that enter the recipe contest be made up of 9th-11th graders so they may cook as a team at the competition in the fall of 2009.


Part 2: Teams that win the recipe contest will prepare and cook their meals on-site at the Michigan Junior Iron Chef Competition on September 19th, 2009. Teams will also create a nutrition education and marketing packet to present with their meals at the cook-off. Meals will be judged by an expert panel on taste, presentation, creativity, use of local foods, nutritional quality, and practical use for school food service. Prizes will be awarded to three winning teams for Best in Show (best overall), Best Use of Local Foods, and Best Nutrition Education and Marketing Packet. Prizes for the first place team, Best in Show, will be worth up to $150 per student team member and will include an award of $500 to the food service program of the team’s school! Reimbursements for travel for one vehicle per team and up to $100 for ingredients for practicing recipes will also be provided to teams that compete in the cook-off.


The event will also include a cooking demonstration and a healthy lunch along with tours of some of Michigan State University’s farming and food production facilities. Local farmers who provide ingredients for the event will also be invited to attend.


Spread the word! Help us recruit creative student teams for this exciting event! For more details and resources, go to our website at Thanks for your help in promoting healthy eating habits and celebrating Michigan foods!




Michigan Junior Iron Chef Planning Team

Michigan Nutrition Network, MSU Extension

2100 Anthony Hall

East Lansing, MI 48824

Text Box: