Blog Archive

Monday, April 8, 2013

Michigan Farm to School News




Date set for 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference!
The National Farm to School Network is excited to announce that the 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will take place April 15 - 18, 2014 in Austin, TexasThe conference, held every-other year, brings together local food systems advocates, food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, representatives from government agencies and nonprofits, entrepreneurs, students and others who are breaking down barriers and expanding the impact of the Farm to Cafeteria movement across the country. Short courses and field trips will be offered April 15 and the general program will take place April 16-18. Information regarding the conference program, registration, lodging and more will be posted in the coming months on Explore the website now to learn more about last year's great speakers, workshops and special events.


NFSN is excited to announce new Policy and Strategic Partnership Director, Helen Dombalis! With Helen joining our team, we'll have a full time, DC-based staff person to lead the important policy activities of NFSN and strengthen our partnerships that are essential in successful policy advancement. Prior to joining NFSN, Helen served as the Policy Associate for Marketing, Food Systems, and Rural Development at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. In her role at NSAC, Helen was actively engaged in policy work affecting the role of local and regional food systems in bolstering community economic development and public health, including farm to school initiatives. You may reach Helen at: or (919) 247-2537. 


USDA Launches the Farm to School Census
USDA has officially launched the first ever nationwide Farm to School Census, which will survey more than 13,000 school districts to determine how many schools currently purchase local foods. Data from the Farm to School Census will be used by USDA’s Farm to School Program to develop a baseline assessment of the prevalence, geographic distribution, and characteristics of farm to school programs in order to set priorities for USDA outreach and technical support. If you are a school food service director from a public school district school food authority, please respond promptly when the survey appears in your inbox! Click here to learn more.


USDA announced the release of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) Evaluation Report. Key findings are below, and here are links to the press release, report summary, and full report. Key results include:

·         Children participating in FFVP ate 15 percent more fresh fruits and vegetables than their non-participating counterparts.

·         The program was an effective avenue for introducing children to new fruits and vegetables. Large majorities of children took and tried the snacks when offered. 

·         School principals and teachers, parents, and children were very positive about the program and wanted to see it continue in their schools.

·         FFVP schools offered nutrition education more frequently than nonparticipating schools.


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Outlines USDA Efforts to Raise a Healthier Generation of Americans; Highlights Benefits for Business and the Economy

Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed USDA efforts to improve access to healthy foods, and outlined the need for a renewed commitment to improve childhood nutrition, which includes empowering parents to provide healthy meals for their families. In remarks at a Hy-Vee, Inc. grocery store, Secretary Vilsack noted that increasing access to healthy foods is one of USDA's top priorities.


The NFSN webinars, "Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Time to start the conversation" and “Using School Garden Produce in School Food Service” were recorded. The webinar slides and recordings are now archived on the NFSN website:

Promoting Healthy Food Consumption: A Review of State-Level Policies to Improve Access to Fruits and Vegetables
This recently published article in the Wisconsin Medical Society reviews state-level policies to improve fruit and vegetable access, including through farm to school -




Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Specialty Crop Grant Opportunity proposals are due to MDARD by April 12, 2013. For program information, application form, or submission criteria, please visit or contact Nancy Nyquist at or 517-241-4381.


Grants Available to Support School Breakfast and Physical Activity

Action for Healthy Kids is pleased to partner with CSX Transportation, Kellogg Company, and the Walmart Foundation to offer School Grants for Healthy Kids for the 2013-2014 school year to support such initiatives. Awards will be given to over 400 schools ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Applications are due April 19, 2013! Find out if your school is eligible for these opportunities at


USDA 2013 Farm to School Grants
The Request for Applications (RFA) for the latest round of USDA's Farm to School grants is out. This year, three different kinds of grants will be available. Planning grants are intended for schools just getting started on farm to school activities, while implementation grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts. Additionally, eligible non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers may apply for support service grants in order to conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop supply chains, among other activities. Proposals are due at midnight EST, April 24, 2013. The Farm to School Team recently held a series of webinars about applying for a grant under the fiscal year 2014 request for applications for the Farm to School Grant Program. Visit the USDA website to download PDFs of the presentations; video recordings of the March 5, 6, and 7 webinars are now available.

Roadmaps to Health Price (RWJF)
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is starting a new round of the Roadmaps to Health Prize and is a great opportunity to show off the progress in your community: Winning communities receive a $25,000 cash prize. Applications are due by May 23, 2013. A look at last year's winners from all over the country are sure to inspire.

Tell your urban food story at the American Community Gardening Association's first-ever amateur video festival! Storytellers of all ages are invited to submit short (3-minute) videos that tell their personal tales about growing food in backyard gardens, community gardens, urban farms, and other community food projects. Selected participants will have their videos screened at the ACGA 2013 Conference in Seattle, WA. Submission deadline is July 8, 2013. Read more here or email with questions.


Ag Program Supervisor (Farm to School) – Wisconsin

This position will lead a dynamic team in developing and delivering a comprehensive package of local and regional agricultural programs focused on growing Wisconsin’s agricultural economy. Additionally, this position will develop, lead and manage the state’s Farm to School program.

Job Duties: The Agricultural Program Supervisor is a member of the management team of the Division of Agricultural Development.  The position leads and manages the state of Wisconsin’s Farm to School program, and will influence the long-term direction of Wisconsin’s local and regional agricultural development programs. Responsibilities include leading the strategic planning for services that will increase the production, sale and consumption of Wisconsin-grown and processed agricultural products focusing on local and regional markets. For a complete positions description click here: 


Program Manager – Wisconsin AmeriCorps Farm to School Program

This grant-funded position will serve as the program area liaison responsible for program development, coordination, implementation and overall management of the AmeriCorps Farm to School program. This includes building partnerships with partner site staff and leading the placement of at least fifteen AmeriCorps members in a minimum of eight partner sites in the State of Wisconsin. This position will also be responsible for the development of program structure and guidelines; directing service/training; and grant management, including handling the budget and compliance requirements of the project.  This position operates under general supervision and reports to the Bureau Director at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection-Division of Agricultural Development. Please see the two attached documents and e-mail Camilla Vargas with questions (





Lunch Bites Webinar - Locally Sourced Meat in Schools Meals: Strategies for Success

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 1pm EDT

For more information and to register, please visit the National Farm to School Network website.


Fresh from the Farm Trainings

Save the dates for the next Educator Training Workshops with Seven Generations Ahead.

May 8, 2013 - Wood River, IL

MAY 15, 16, 18 + JUNE 1, 2013 - Chicago, IL

Fresh from the Farm is an externally validated and nationally ranked experiential farm to school program featuring K-8 curricula that encourages healthy choices and environmental awareness among children. Fresh from the Farm curricula align with State and Common Core Learning Standards and support the Michigan Model for Health.

Find more info and register here.




Colleen Matts

Farm to Institution Specialist | Michigan Lead for National Farm to School Network

Center for Regional Food Systems | Michigan State University

480 Wilson Rd | Rm 303 Natural Resources Building | East Lansing, MI 48824

(p) 517.432.0310 |


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.