Blog Archive

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Michigan Farm to School News



They’re here! The first ever USDA Farm to School Census results of public school districts were released last week! Thanks to you school food service directors who responded. The results from the census are now live and can be found at            


·         From a national perspective, USDA estimates that 43% of public school districts across the country have an existing Farm to School Program in place, while another 13% of school districts surveyed are committed to launching a Farm to School Program in the near future. Additionally, in School Year 2011-2012, schools purchased and served over $350 million in local food! Attached are two informative documents that detail much of the national success of the Farm to School Program.

·         Michigan had an overall response rate of 52%. Of those that responded, 40% of public school districts are currently participating in Farm to School activities. USDA estimates that local purchases in our state are valued at approximately $4,404,768. Please remember these statistics reflect only self-reported data. 

·         To be sure your school district has successfully completed the census, please visit To find your school district, start at our state & district section, click on the state of Michigan, and then click on the “Explore MI School Districts” button at either the top or bottom of the state summary page. If you did not have a chance to complete the census earlier this spring, USDA is accepting submissions until November 30. Please simply email Matt Benson at and let him know that you would like to complete it. Let’s use the next month to show off Farm to School in Michigan and boost that number a bit! 


As National Farm to School Month comes to a close, here are a few news items showing off Michigan projects featuring Michigan foods!

·         Kale Chips for 8000 and Other Farm-to-school Successes by the Numbers from the Huffington Post features Michigan’s own Dan Gorman, the Food Service Director at Montague & Whitehall Schools!

·         Leelanau County schools celebrate Farm to School Month from the Glen Arbor Sun

·         To celebrate Food Day on October 24th, Cherry Capital Foods distributor asked school kids and others to take a bite out of Michigan apples at the same time with the Michigan Apple Crunch! More than 74,000 people across the state participated! Here’s news coverage from the Traverse City Record Eagle and attached you’ll find a press release about a Michigan FoodCorps member’s efforts to help school kids in Flint and Detroit take a bite out of Michigan apples.  


Earlier this month, MLUI and the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District in northwest Lower Michigan launched a regional initiative to provide schools with more locally grown fruits and veggies. The  10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms program supports one of the agenda priorities of the Michigan Good Food Charter to provide additional reimbursements to schools to purchase more locally grown fruits and veggies for school meals programs.


On the heels of the release of the national food hubs survey report from the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and the Wallace Center at Winrock International comes this article from DBusiness about food hub development in southeast Michigan.




The USDA is hiring Regional Farm to School Coordinators! Positions will be based in San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, Boston and Robbinsville, New Jersey. Click here to learn more and apply. The application period closes November 1st.

Boyne Falls Public School, which is a MI Farm to School Grantee this year, is hiring an Assistant Cook. See the attached job posting for more information.

The 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Powering Up will convene more than 1,000 diverse stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement who are working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. The conference will take place April 15-18, 2014 in Austin, Texas. We need your ideas, expertise and energy to make this conference a success! Submit your proposal for a workshop, poster or lightning talk by November 8. For full details and information, download the official request for proposals.

North Central Region SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) Farmer Rancher Grant call for proposals is now available. Proposals must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. CST, November 14, 2013.  Word |  PDF |  Text

Food Safety Modernization Act Action
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has an informative website about FSMA (the Food Safety and Modernization Act) and how to submit a comment to the Act by November 15th. You can access the full proposed rule language here. If you can, take a few minutes RIGHT NOW to submit a comment to FDA either online or through the mail.

ING Unsung Heroes Award Program invites K-12 educators to apply for 2014 class project awards. Each year, 100 educators who are using new teaching methods and techniques to improve learning are selected to receive awards of $2,000 each to help fund innovative class projects. Applications are due by April 30th, 2014.




LunchBites Webinar: Farm to Food Bank to School: An Emerging Model in Communities Across the Country
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 at 1pm EST
Register Here for this webinar hosted by the National Farm to School Network

In many communities across the country, food banks are emerging as community food hubs, connecting local farms to other markets, including schools. Some food banks are engaged in other farm to school activities including experiential farm education. Join us for the November LunchBites webinar to hear from individuals who are leading this model at their local food banks.


Making It in Michigan: Michigan’s Premier Specialty Food Show

Hosted by the MSU Product Center

November 12th, 2013 at the Lansing Center

Register here


Women in Sustainable Ag Conference

Registration is now open for the 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture

Nov. 6 – 8th in Des Moines, IA


Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo

December 10 – 12th, 2013

DeVos Center, Grand Rapids, MI

Register and find more info here

This year, the conference program features a Farm to Institution Marketing Panel Discussion brought to you by the Ecology Center and MSU Extension on Wednesday, December 11th at 1 pm!


National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Powering Up

April 15 – 18th

Austin, TX




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 |