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




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