Blog Archive

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Michigan dry beans

Greetings Michigan school food service directors,

Are you already purchasing and using Michigan dry beans? If so, please drop me a line if you’re willing to share some info. We’re hoping to learn more about these programs and schools’ uses of Michigan beans!




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 |


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kalamazoo Farm to School Info Session

Those of you in the southwest Michigan area may be interested in this up-coming Farm to School event:

Farmers, food service directors and buyers, food distributors, vendors and community members are invited to participate in this learning and networking opportunity.  Learn more about local food purchasing at schools with Colleen Matts, Farm to Institution Specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems.

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 
1:30 - 3:30pm 
Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency
(KRESA) West Campus Site,  Room 123 
4606 Croyden  Kalamazoo, MI 49006

There is no cost to attend.  Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP by Friday, May 24th to: 
Hether Frayer at or 269-598-6857

fresh food fairy

encouraging good nutrition by making fresh food fun!




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 |


Monday, May 13, 2013



With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is now accepting applications for the MI Farm to School Grant Program for the 2013 - 2014 school year.


The MI Farm to School Grant Program offers Planning and Implementation grants:


Planning Grants help schools/districts and early child care and education programs plan for integrating local foods into their meal programs ANDultimately develop a Farm to School Action Plan to begin a Farm to School program.


Implementation Grantshelp schools/districts and early child care and education programs put existing Farm to School plans into action AND ultimately develop a Farm to School Sustainability Plan to keep the program going and growing in future years.


Eligibility requirements:

  • Only food service/nutrition directors/providers of schools/districts or early child care and education programs are eligible to apply.
  • Schools/districts and early child care and education programs must have at least 50% free and reduced-price meal enrollment or equivalent.

(See application for more details on applicant eligibility)


The MI Farm to School Grant Program will award up to 20 Michigan K-12 schools/districts and early child care and education programs with funds ($2,000 maximum each) to plan for or implement Farm to School programs. The grant year is September 3, 2013 – June 6, 2014.


Applications are due by 5 pm on Friday, May 10th, 2013.  DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 17th 2013!!!

The link below is a recording of  an informational webinar for prospective applicants held April 25th 2013:

For applications and additional information, please see the attachments of this email or visit the Michigan Farm to School website, under the "Grants" tab. Feel free to contact the MI Farm to School Grant Program Coordinator, Anne Scott, at or 517-353-0751 with any questions.


Anne Scott, MPH
Center for Regional Food Systems 
480 Wilson Rd, Suite 303
East Lansing, MI  48824   517.353.0751

Monday, May 6, 2013

Michigan Farm to School News


Please find this month’s Farm to School-related news and opportunities below, including three very cool job openings in Michigan!



USDA Calls on Communities to Help Fill the Summer Meal Gap; Ensure Children Have Access to Healthy Food Year Round: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently called on communities across the country to partner with USDA's summer meals program to ensure that no child goes hungry when school is out. See the press release here. For more information on becoming a SFSP sponsor or site, visit To find a site in your community, call 1-866-3-Hungry or 1-877-8-Hambre.



Bean and Pulse Recipes for Schools: In case you haven’t seen it yet, attached is the Northern Pulse Growers Association (ND) recipe book for schools with dry bean recipes that meet the new meal guidelines: Power of Pulses.

Growing Nourishing Food Systems

The Healthy Eating Active Living Program at Washington State Department of Health is proud to introduce a new toolkit - Growing Nourishing Food Systems Guide - that describes the policies that promote the food systems that foster healthy eating. This guide groups strategies and examples in the following  categories: Food Production, Food Processing and Distribution, Food Access and Consumption, and Food Waste Management. Please feel free to contact <> with any questions you might have about this resource.




MI Farm to School Grant applications for planning and implementation grants will be accepted until 5 pm this Friday, May 10th. For more information, click here.

School districts in Manistee County, MI seek local foods for their school meals programs. If you’re interested in supplying local foods to one or more of these school districts, please see and complete the attached Farm to School Bid Packet for the 2013-2014 school year by noon on June 3rd, 2013.

Open Position: RFP for Detroit School Garden Collaborative Consulting Service
This position will oversee and run the Detroit School Garden Collaborative (DSGC), including the current DSGC staff and the hiring of new staff, as well as develop and implement organizational functions and services for the DSGC. The RFP is attached to this email, and the deadline to apply is May 20th. Please share with your networks.

Open Position: 5 Healthy Towns Dexter seeks a Farm to School Coordinator. See the attached job description to learn more. Applications are due by May 10th, 2013. Again, please share with your networks.

Open Position: Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) in northwestern Lower Michigan is taking applications for a new food service director for its approximately 10,000-student school system. TCAPS' job description includes making farm to school purchasing—purchasing and serving food grown by local farmers—a priority. All food service programming also must be financially sustainable. Please spread the word, or go to the following link for more information and to fill out the application:

First Lady Michelle Obama and Epicurious Host Second Recipe Challenge: With the success of the inaugural Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' “State Dinner” in 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama is again teaming up with Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture to host a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy eating among America’s youth. For more information and submission guidelines, please visit this website.

USDA Farm to School Grant Program Seeks Volunteer Grant Reviewers: USDA’s Farm to School Grant Program is designed to increase the availability of local foods in schools and help give children a sense of where their food comes from. Last year they received over 400 proposals; this year they expect at least that many, if not more. The success of this popular grant program is dependent on having a robust team of reviewers to help score and rank proposals. If you have farm to school experience and a little time to lend to our program, please consider serving as a volunteer reviewer. For more information and to request a volunteer application, please click here. 

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Invites Concept Papers for Research to Prevent Childhood Obesity: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is accepting concept papers for research on environmental and policy strategies with the potential to promote healthy eating and prevent childhood obesity, especially among lower-income and racial and ethnic populations at highest risk for obesity. Through its Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity program, the foundation will award grants in two categories, Round 8 grants and RWJF New Connections grants, with the aim of providing advocates, decision-makers, and policy makers with evidence needed to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.

Wholesale Success Training Workshops has announced a new round of Wholesale Success Training Workshops for small to midsize produce farmers! In the past few years they have partnered with organizations around the country to train over 5,000 farmers. If you are interested in partnering to put on a training in your area, or have any questions about the Wholesale Success Workshops or Wholesale Success Farmers' Manual, please contact James Pirovano at Please forward widely to get the word out!





Lunchbites Webinar: Local and State Governments: Key Partners in Farm to School

Tuesday, May 14, 1:00 PM - 1:20 PM EDT-Register here.

Join us to hear about two examples, one in Seattle and one in Boston, where local/state governments are key partners in supporting the growth of farm to school programs. Speakers will be Donna Oberg with the Healthy Eating and Active Living Program at the Washington Department of Health and Edith Murnane with the City of Boston's Office of Food Initiatives.


Economic analysis of local and regional food systems: Taking stock and looking ahead Webinar

Monday, May 20th – from 3:00 to 4:30 pm EST

To address the current state and future direction of economic analysis with regard to local and regional food systems, Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems and the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment Program convened a meeting of a group of economists and local food researchers on January 31 and February 1, 2013.  This webinar will provide a brief synopsis of the meeting outcomes, with a focus on questions one should consider when conducting or commissioning a study on the economic impacts of local and regional food systems. There will be opportunity for participants to weigh in with comments and questions to continue to inform the discussion on future economic impact studies of local and regional food commerce. To get on the webinar, go to the following link at the time listed above:


Fresh from the Farm Four-Day Educator Training Workshop

May 15, 16, 18 and June 1, 2013 in Chicago, IL

Fresh from the Farm is an externally validated and nationally ranked experiential Farm to School program featuring K-8 curricula that is aligned to learning standards and encourages healthy choices  and environmental awareness among children.

Click here to learn more and register.


Nourishing Michigan’s Future Conference

June 26-28, 2013 at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids

This three-day conference for food service directors/personnel is hosted by Michigan Department of Education’s School Nutrition Programs Unit.

Find more information here and a draft agenda 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 |