The Michigan Farm to School facilitators from the C.S Mott Group at MSU, FSEP in southeastern Michigan, and MLUI in northwest Michigan have put together a Farm to School Information Session for the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo next week at the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids.
This Farm to School Information session will be of particular interest to Michigan farmers that are interested in capitalizing on this expanding market opportunity! Also, if you are a food service director who is ready to begin a farm to school program and would like to meet local growers at this session, please respond directly to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, December 4th. Please see session details and a description below.
Farm to School Information Session
Wednesday, December 9th, 2010
Grand Gallery Room C (lower level)
Farm to school is growing in Michigan! With over 40 farm to school programs throughout the state and many more school food service directors interested in purchasing local foods, farm to school programs provide an expanding market opportunity for Michigan growers. Last December, Michigan lawmakers supported farm to school and local economic development by passing farm to school bills to reduce procurement barriers to expanding farm to school programs in our school cafeterias. But farm to school applies more than just the cafeteria; farm to school also includes school fundraisers that use local products and educational opportunities like school gardens, farmer visits to schools, and field trips to local farms.
The Michigan Farm to School Information Session will feature a panel discussion including farmers, school food service directors, and/or distributors involved in farm to school projects who can speak about their experiences including the benefits and challenges, and answer participants’ questions about this market opportunity. We also plan to allow time for informal discussion so that farmers can connect with local school food service directors and other farm to school resources.
This session will be of interest to fruit and vegetable farmers looking to diversify their markets, of any scale. Schools and school districts of varying sizes with different needs and different interests in Michigan produce (in terms of volume and crop type) are eager to connect with Michigan farmers so there are no one size fits all solutions and a wide range of farmers are needed to meet the demand. This session also applies to distributors of varying sizes who are working to supply local products to Michigan schools. Additionally, schools and local farm to school facilitators are looking for farmers who are willing and able to host school field trips and/or visit schools to share their experiences and educational lessons about their produce with students.
Please see the Great Lakes Expo website for more information about the schedule, education program, and exhibitors – www.glexpo.com.
Farm to School Specialist
CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
Michigan State University
303 Natural Resources Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1222