Blog Archive

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Michigan Farm to School News


·         The USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. This guideline is revised every five years to provide "evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalance of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity."

·         The USDA has released the data that show state-by-state SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participation rates for the 2008 year. Click here to view rankings from "Reaching Those in Need: State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2008.” 

·         Check out this Farm to School Food Safety Q & A from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to get your questions answered. Please note that Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/Good Handling Practices (GHP) “certifications are only required when selling fruits and vegetables directly to the USDA.” While some schools or school districts may choose to adopt their own policies related to USDA GAP/GHP or other third-party food safety audits, it is not a USDA requirement at this time that schools source from suppliers and farmers that have these audits.

·         There’s a lot of talk about school food in the news these days about how and what is fed to kids at schools. Check out this Washington Post article on "Five Myths About School Food.”

·         FoodCorps seeks up to 80 young men and women with a passion for service and building healthy communities. Beginning in August 2011, service members will get their hands dirty in one ot ten states.Ten members are sought for FoodCorps in Michigan. Check out the recruitment video here and apply at

·         The 2011 Michigan Junior Iron Chef competition is underway with the first step - a recipe contest! Student teams of 3-4 students from 7th – 12th grade attending Michigan schools are eligible to submit recipes that feature local, seasonal foods that are fit for a healthy school lunch meal by March 14, 2011. Eight team finalists selected from the Recipe Contest will be eligible to bring their recipes to life in a cook-off competition at Michigan State University on May 11, 2011.Click here for rules and more information. See attachment for flyer.

·         The second and third of the five Michigan Good Food work group reports has been released. The Good Food Access Report offers great ways to improve access to good food, encourage healthy eating practices, and foster a culture based on good food.  The Food System Infrastructure Report shows the underlying support mechanisms needed to distribute food grown in Michigan through markets of all scales. These reports now available for download at

·         Fox 17 from Muskegon, MI covered a story about the Farm to School movement’s push for healthier and more local school lunches. Watch the full story here



Coastal Produce Distributor is looking to expand their Michigan produce offerings and is seeking farmers with USDA GAP certification that are utilizing hoop houses who are able to "extend the season." Coastal Produce is based in Detroit, and has trucks throughout most of Michigan so may be able to pick up directly from your farm. For more information about Coastal Produce, check out their website: or contact Cherie Weichel at (313) 849-3304 or

Michigan Department of Agriculture Announces Specialty Crop Grant Opportunity
Grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,
000 are available for Michigan businesses thanks to the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ag Marketing Services. The program is designed to enhance the competitiveness of Michigan’s specialty crops. Grant proposals must be received by MDA no later than April 1, 2011. Application and addition information can be found here. 



USDA Food and Nutrition Service 2011 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Webinar Series! 
Thursday, 2/24/11 - 5:00pm – 6:00pm EST
Tuesday, 3/8/11 - 6:00pm – 7:00pm EST

Webinars are free, however, you must register online here to participate.  

Greater Lansing Youth Gardening Coalition’s Youth Gardening Summit & Sampler
Saturday, February 26
9:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Foster Community Center, Lansing, MI
See attachment for registration information.




Colleen Matts

Farm to Institution Specialist

CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems

Michigan State University

303 Natural Resources Building

East Lansing, MI 48824-1222




Friday, February 11, 2011

2011 Michigan Junior Chef Competition

Announcing the 2011 Michigan Junior Chef Competition!

Fresh, local foods, creativity, and teamwork will give you an edge in this

fun-filled recipe contest and cooking competition!

First, student teams submit recipes that are fit for a healthy school lunch meal and

feature local, seasonal foods. Recipe contest submissions due by March 14, 2011.

Next, up to eight teams will be selected to bring their recipes to life in a

cook-off competition at Michigan State University on May 11, 2011.

Open to all 7th-12th grade students enrolled in Michigan schools. Teams must

consist of 3-4 students and at least one adult coach.

Visit for rules and more information.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

FoodCorps Recruiting First Class of Service Members


Debra Eschmeyer / Colleen Matts, w: 419.753.3412, c: 419.905.8612 /, 517.432.0310

FoodCorps Recruiting First Class of Service Members

C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University Seeking Ten FoodCorps Members

NEW YORK CITY – (February 10, 2011) — Earlier this week, FoodCorps, a brand new and much anticipated national service program, opened applications for its first class of service members. Those selected will dedicate one year of full-time public service in school food systems – sourcing healthful local food for school cafeterias, expanding nutrition education programs, and building and tending school gardens.

FoodCorps is a scalable solution to the national obesity epidemic. Since 1980, the percentage of American children who are overweight or obese has doubled. With one in four U.S. children struggling with hunger and one in three obese or overweight, FoodCorps addresses a major cause of both: access to healthy food.

“We’re on the lookout for hard-working young leaders who believe healthy food should be available to every child,” said Executive Director Curt Ellis. “Being part of FoodCorps is a chance to make that vision a reality for kids in this country—and to have fun in the process.”

FoodCorps seeks up to 80 young men and women with a passion for serving their country by building healthy communities. Beginning in August 2011, service members will get their hands dirty in one of 10 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina or Oregon.

Ten FoodCorps members will be placed in Michigan. “These service members will jumpstart shovel-ready farm to school, school garden and nutrition education projects at K-12 schools, and benefit from meaningful food systems work experience with vulnerable children in communities that are struggling economically,” said Colleen Matts of the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University.

“We’ve heard from young people around the country interested in developing knowledge and skills in farming, food systems and public health,” said Cecily Upton, FoodCorps Program Director for Sites and Service. “FoodCorps will connect these young leaders with hands-on experience and the opportunity to change our food system for the better.”

Applications and more information can be found at The FoodCorps recruitment video, created by Peabody-winning filmmaker Ian Cheney (King Corn) can be viewed and embedded from the site as well.


The C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University engages communities in applied research and outreach to promote sustainable food systems with a goal to improve the access and availability of locally-produced food.

FoodCorps is a new national service organization that seeks to reverse childhood obesity by increasing vulnerable children’s knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. Service members build and tend school gardens, conduct nutrition education, and facilitate Farm to School programming that brings healthy, affordable local food into public schools. The program also trains a cadre of leaders for careers in food and agriculture. FoodCorps was developed with funding from AmeriCorps and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in partnership with Occidental College, the National Farm to School Network, Slow Food USA, The National Center for Appropriate Technology and Wicked Delicate, as part of an open planning process that engaged thousands of stakeholders from around the country.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Farm to School and Farmer Meet and Greet

This Meet & Greet event will give Michigan farmers a chance to meet school food service directors from the Macomb County area who are interested in purchasing local foods for school meals.

Schools can provide new, stable steady markets for Michigan farmers.

Join us for this event to get your questions answered!

Participating school food service directors will discuss:

  • Products of interest for schools
  • Competitive bidding procedures
  • Delivery, packaging and payment arrangements
  • And much more!

Where: Chippewa Valley School Administration Bldg.

19120 Cass Ave

Clinton Township, MI 48038

When: Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

3:00 – 5:00 pm

Please RSVP to Kathy Hale at or 586-469-6088 by Monday, February 28th.

This Meet & Greet is free of charge

Refreshments will be provided

Friday, February 4, 2011

FW: Register for the Fourth Child Nutrition Reauthorization Webinar "What You Need to Know to Make the Most of the New School Nutrit



From: Food Research and Action Center []
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2011 3:20 PM
To: Matts, Colleen
Subject: Register for the Fourth Child Nutrition Reauthorization Webinar "What You Need to Know to Make the Most of the New School Nutrit



Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Putting the Act into Action

"What You Need to Know to Make the Most of the New School Nutrition and Wellness Improvements"

Thursday, February 10, 2011
1 – 2 p.m. EST

Click here to register

Join us for a webinar focused on the improvements the new law makes to the school nutrition environment including stronger competitive foods rules and wellness policies, USDA's proposed new school meals nutrition standards, the additional six cents incentive funding, nutrition environment report cards and farm to school resources. Speakers from FRAC, USDA and Action for Healthy Kids will provide details on the key new provisions, next steps, and implementation plans.

About "Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Putting the Act into Action"
FRAC is hosting a series of Webinars that examine the provisions of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act that the President recently signed and steps to make the provisions of the Act a success. Click here to see and hear the previous Webinars in our series.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Buyer and Seller Meet & Greet - Feb 17th in Lansing

Buyer and Seller Meet & Greet

Ever wonder who might be a future buyer of your food products?

Or who local growers of food you seek to buy for your institution?

You can connect names and faces of buyers and sellers in the Mid-Michigan area during a special event at the Growing Our Food Systems Conference in Lansing.

Bring your business cards!

WHEN: 4-6 pm on Thursday, February 17th, 2011

WHERE: South Washington Office Complex

2500 S Washington

Lansing, MI

This event is free for those who just attend the Meet & Greet.

Registration for the day-long conference is $10.

Go to for more information.