Check out the latest Farm to School news, opportunities, resources and events below!
Thanks to at the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College, the Farm to Preschool Website has been launched to showcase programs F2PK and resources from around the country!
Early Spring Warmth Causing Growers Sleepless Nights
Spring has arrived a few weeks earlier than usual for many Midwest and Eastern states, but these conditions tend to lead to problems for growers such as diseases, pests and lack of labor. Check out this Vegetable Growers News article to learn more.
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) released the 4th Annual School Food Service Leader Survey Results, showing that nearly 145 school districts serving 68% of Minnesota's K-12 students are now engaged in farm to school, but the purchase of local foods averaged only $2.32 per student per year. IATP also surveyed farmers (primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin) and released the Grower Perspectives on F2S results.
This new REAP Farm to School video showcases the Chef in the Classroom program at East High School in Madison, WI. Check it out here.
The Economic Impact of Michigan’s Food and Agriculture Sector
An updated MSU study shows that the food and agriculture industry contributes an estimated $91.4 billion to the state’s economy, an increase of more than 50% between 2004 and 2010. Learn more from the MSU Product Center here.
More Fresh Produce Being Served in Michigan School Meals
Michigan Department of Education recently reported that there are growing demands in Michigan to use more fresh produce in school meals. The Fresh Produce Program, funded through the Department of Defense (DoD) and USDA, offers schools in Michigan a wider variety of fresh produce than would normally be available through USDA purchases.
Michigan Good Food Charter 10 Cents a Meal Policy Recommendation
A goal of the Michigan Good Food Charter is for Michigan institutions to source 20% of their food products from Michigan growers, producers and processors. To help make that happen, the Charter recommends public-private partnerships to provide an extra 10 cents per meal reimbursement to schools serving locally grown fruits and vegetables in lunch programs to help reach that goal. A policy brief on the Michigan Good Food Charter’s “10 Solution” can be found here.
In early March, Governor Rick Snyder and Keith Creagh, Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, visited an elementary school in Traverse City to learn more about area farm to school efforts and how they could be strengthened through a regional grant-funded pilot of the 10 Cents a meal reimbursement. Read more from the Traverse City Record Eagle here and from the Michigan Land Use Institute (MLUI), one of the hosts of the Governor’s visit, here.
Could local farmers soon supply local schools? Meeting in Central Lake brings farmers, schools together
"Creating Farm to School Business Opportunities Workshop," presented by the Michigan Land Use Institute (MLUI), is stimulating discussion about the possibilities and challenges of farm to school programs. Read the full story here.
Farm to Childcare Recipes
The Washington State Department of Agriculture has announced the launch of their Farm to Table Recipe Bank at WSDA Farm to School website’s WA Grown Food Kit. Additional resources include Bridging the GAPs, which addresses Good Agricultural Practices and food safety on small and diversified farms, and the Farm Wisdom video series in which farmers demonstrate innovative and viable business and production practices to manage risk, and to build and maintain sustainable small-scale farms.
We’re now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 Michigan Farm to School Grant Program!
Food service directors must often work through numerous challenges to start or expand farm to school programs. The goal of the MI Farm to School Grant Program is to help overcome some of these challenges, and initiate and expand farm to school programs across the state. With funding from the WK Kellogg Foundation, the MI Farm to School Grant Program was able to award EIGHT Michigan K-12 schools/districts with funds to plan for or implement farm to school programs in 2011. The second grant program year is September 1, 2012 – June 1, 2013. Early childcare programs are eligible to apply for planning grants. Please review the application materials and sample grant applications attached for more information. Find application materials, eligibility information and more on the Michigan Farm to School website. Applications are due by Friday, May 4th.
Over 500 schools will be awarded $1,000 to $5,000 (average $2,000) with significant in-kind contributions from Action for Healthy Kids. Schools must participate in the National School Lunch Program and National School Breakfast Program, and must have a free/reduced priced meal eligibility greater than 50% to be eligible. The deadline to apply is May 5.
Afterschool Meals Matter: Nutrition Quality Webinar
Offered by FRAC (Food Research and Action Center)
Wednesday, April 18, 1:00 PM
Managing Food Safety When Handling Fresh Produce in Schools Webinar
Offered by the School Nutrition Foundation in partnership with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Office of Food Safety
Wednesday, April 18, 2:00 PM
SNF (School Nutrition Foundation) Peer2Peer Connect Webinar
Tuesday, May 1, 2:00 PM
School Gardening 101 Workshops
Offered by MSU Extension, $20 registration fee.
5-8 pm at each of three locations:
May 3rd in Novi
May 10th in Wayne
May 14th in Clinton Township
See flyer and registration form attached.
Michigan Good Food Summit
June 14, 2012
2012 National Value Added Agriculture Conference
June 24 – 26, 2012
Grand Traverse Resort
Traverse City, MI
6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
August 2 – 5, 2012
Scholarship information coming soon!
Farm to Institution Specialist
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, formerly the CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems