Please see below for the latest Farm to School news bites!
Enjoy the weekend,
Farm to Institution Specialist
CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
Michigan State University
Senate Saves the Potato on School Lunch Menus
Proposed nutrition standards would limit the amount of potatoes and other starchy vegetables that can be served in school lunches and eliminating them from school breakfasts, but the Senate defended the potato by approving an amendment that would prohibit the USDA from setting “any maximum limits on the serving of vegetables in school meal programs.” Read last month’s story from the New York Times here.
School Lunch Proposals Set Off A Dispute
Attempts to make the federally financed school lunch program more nutritious by cutting back on potatoes and adding more fresh fruits and vegetables are being disputed by some food companies. Read the full New York Times story here.
Direct and Intermediated Marketing of Local Foods in the United States, a report released earlier this month from the USDA Economic Research Service found that marketing local foods grossed $4.8 billion in 2008. Check out the report here.
Michigan Farmers Deliver Fresh Vegetables and Fruit for Students’ Lunches
With the help of Michigan State University’s Farm to School Extension Program, local farmers and school service directors are connecting to serve more local, farm fresh produce in school meals. See the press release attached about how Plum Market Food Service is working to get more farm fresh produce into Detroit Country Day Schools.
FoodCorps and Farm to School Month in Local Schools
· Macomb County celebrated the first ever National Farm to School Month in October. See attachment for press release.
· One Michigan FoodCorps member, Daniel Marbury, is working with students at Platte River Elementary School in Honor, MI to help them learn about local and nutritious foods. Watch a video here. Learn more about Platte River Elementary’s new hoophouse and Farm to School Month in Michigan in “A Growing Idea” from Morning Star Publishing Company.
· More recently, another Michigan FoodCorps member, Robyn Wardell, taught students at Freeman Elementary in Flint Community Schools about their new hoophouse. See the news video here.
Chicago Public Schools Lunch Buzz:
· Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality Expands Farm-to-School Program to $2.5 Million in Local Produce: Chicago Public Schools, through Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality has spent more than $2.5 million in fresh fruits and vegetables purchased from regional producers and growers. To celebrate National Farm to School Month, students visited Riveridge Produce in Sparta, MI. Read more here from Market Watch.
- School Food FOCUS Learning Lab district Chicago Public Schools (CPS) rolled out an exciting new menu item: Rachael Ray's Windy City Chicken with whole-muscle, bone-in chicken leg quarters from USDA Foods! To watch a report from the local Chicago NBC affiliate, click here.
· Chicago Schools Make Big Antibiotic-free Poultry Purchase from a nearby Amish farm. Read the full story on Food Safety News.
- Read US Senator Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) op-ed in the Chicago Tribune about CPS’s substantial changes to its school meals program.
- An anonymous "Mrs. Q" has been blogging about her experience eating school lunch for the past year on her blog Fed Up With Lunch, and has finally unveiled her true identity last week via the Chicago Tribune, Good Morning America, and USA Today, in announcements timed with the launch of her new book.
Check out the On-Farm Food Safety For Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Growers Tool developed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture that is designed to assist fresh fruit and vegetable growers with tools and resources to meet on-farm food safety demands. Click here to access this tool.
Access the Healthy Food, Healthy Farms webinar: “School Food Revolution?" webinar recording and presentation slides from Oct 6 on the Healthy Food Action website.
View the archived "School Nutrition Foundation/USDA GAP in Farm to School and School Gardens Webinar" here.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Announces the Fourth Annual Growing Green Awards to Honor Extraordinary Contributions in Sustainable Food. A Growing Green Award will be given to an outstanding individual in each of four categories including Food Producer, Business Leader, Food Justice Leader, and Young Food Leader. Cash prizes range from $2,500 - $10,000. See attachment for more details.
USDA’s Rural Development Community Facilities (CF) Grant
This is an opportunity for public entities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population to develop essential community facilities including those for food systems infrastructure. Click here to learn more.
Get Farming! Fall Workshops offered by the Michigan Land Use Institute
Contact Jim Sluyter at the Michigan Land Use Institute at 231-941-6584, ext. 15 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
· Michigan’s Safe Food Risk Assessment Program offered by the Michigan Land Use Institute and the Grand Traverse Conservation District
Wednesday, November 16, 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Rd., Traverse City
· Good Agricultural Practices - the GAP Audit offered by Michigan Food & Farming Systems and the Michigan Land Use Institute
Thursday, November 17, 9:00 a.m. - 3 p.m.
NW Michigan Horticultural Research Center, 6686 S. Center Hwy (County Rd 633)
Attendance is limited to the first 50 registrants.
Farm to Institution Meet & Greet Event for West/Southwest Michigan
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Lake Michigan College, South Haven Campus, Rm 141
125 Veterans Dr
South Haven, MI 49090
See flyer attached for more information.
This event is free. Please RSVP to Kendra Wills with MSU Extension at 616.336.2028 or email@example.com by November 21, 2011.
Great Lakes Fresh Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo
December 6-8 at the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids, MI
Find more information and register at www.glexpo.com.
Check out the Farm to Institution session on Wednesday, December 7th from 2-4 pm!
Michigan Family Farms Conference
Saturday, January 14th , 2012
Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, MI
Click here for more information.
Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference
Saturday, January 28th, 2012
Grayling High School in Grayling, MI
Click here for more information.
2nd Annual Beginning Farmer and Rancher Conference
February 18-20, 2012
Grand Rapids, MI
Click here to learn more.