It's been a while since the last update so there is plenty of new farm to school-related news to share!
At the national School Nutrition Association (SNA) convention earlier this month, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan spoke about the USDA's first Farm to School Report. The report is based on findings from 15 school site visits by the USDA Farm to School Team in 2010. Read the USDA press release here, and find the report here. You can also check out the USDA National Agricultural Library's new resource – Farm to School: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography, andread more about Merrigan's take on farm to school progress in an interview with Civil Eats.
Learn more about the USDA pilot, which was announced earlier this month, to help schools in Michigan and Florida purchase more local products with entitlement from The Packer and the Grand Rapids Press at MLive.
The USDA has selected Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee to participate in the "community eligibility option" to make universal meal service available without applications in high poverty areas. Learn more here.
Stay up to date on implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the Child Nutrition Reauthorization of 2010, at this USDA website. As part of the Reauthorization, the USDA issued a memorandum to provide information on new requirements for wellness policies that must be incorporated in 2011/2012 school year plans. You can read the memo here. Another new policy memo – Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2010: Guidance on Paid Lunch Equity and Revenue from Nonprogram Foods – is available as well.
To follow up on the Geographic Preference rule that was finalized earlier this year, the National Farm to School Network has released a rule summary and a document on how to apply geographic preference. The USDA has also released a Q & A document earlier this year to help schools food service directors procure local foods within the boundaries of the new rule.
Chef Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution website features several Farm to School heroes! Check them out here.
The Washington State Farm to Schools program released a new Washington Grown Food Kit to help school food service directors work with farmers to purchase and use local fruits and vegetables in school meals programs. The toolkit provides general information, recipes and nutrition analysis, menu examples and nutrition facts for a number of produce items that are available in Washington and in Michigan.
A FRAC webinar, Healthy Choices for School Children: Getting the Junk Foods Out, is now available online here.
If you haven't already, join the National Farm to School Network! You can do so for the first time at www.farmtoschool.org/login.php. So far, more than 220 members from Michigan have joined. Members receive the National Farm to School newsletter and are counted as part of the national farm to school activity.
Applications are open for USDA Value-Added Producer Grants. Review rules for eligibility and how to apply at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-06-28/html/2011-16121.htm. The deadline to submit applications is August 29, 2011.
In partnership with Pyramid Communications Company, the National Farm to School Network is creating a National Farm to School Month Toolkit with outreach and media tools. This toolkit, and strategies for creating a dynamic Farm to School Month, will be presented in the August Lunch Bites Webinar on Tuesday, August 9th at 12 pm CDT. August will be the official launch of the National Farm to School Month Campaign, so join the webinar to start planning your F2S Month partners and events. Sign up here for the webinar.
Locally-sourced Food Programs: A Step-By-Step Approach webinar will focus on farm to college programs with Mark LoParco, Director of University Dining Services, University of Montana
August 10, 2011 at 1-2:30 pm EDT
Register here to participate.
Register for the Michigan Farmers Market Association's (MIFMA) On-Farm Food Safety Field Days.
$20 for MIFMA members and $30 for non-members
The dates and locations are:
August 8, 2011 at Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs, MI
August 9, 2011 at Rock River Farm in Chatham, MI
August 15, 2011 at Uhlianuk Farm in North Branch, MI
Please see the attached flyer for more information, and call 517.432.3381 if you have questions.
Farm to Institution Specialist
CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
Michigan State University
303 Natural Resources Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1222