Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Webinars of interest

Hi all,

Here are details for two up-coming webinars that may be of interest:



Michigan Food Hub Network Webinar featuring food hub efforts supplying institutional markets in Colorado and Iowa.

Information will also be shared about the emerging Michigan Farm to Institution Network.


Monday, December 2nd at 1 pm EST


Presenters will include:

·         Garrett Ziegler – MSU Extension

·         Julia Erlbaum – Real Food Colorado

·         Andrew Glendenning – Weld County, Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment

·         Nick McCann – Iowa State University Extension – Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Project


There is no rsvp required for the webinar.  On December 2, 1:00 pm EST go to:




Understanding Challenges and Opportunities in Minnesota's Local Meat Industry Webinar

Presented by Jan Joannides, co-founder and executive director of the non-profit Renewing the Countryside and former Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at University of Minnesota

Hosted by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems Livestock Work Group


Wednesday, December 5tth at 2:30 pm EST


There is no rsvp required for the webinar. On December 5th, 2:30 pm EST go to:



In both cases, if you have never attended an Adobe Connect webinar meeting before, please test your connection in advance by going to the link below. You may need to download a small, harmless plug-in and update your version of flash player.



Happy Thanksgiving!


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 |


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

FW: USDA Farm to School Grant Awards Announced!

Congratulations to the Eastern UP Intermediate School District which was awarded a USDA Farm to School Grant for this school year! See below for more information and a link to a list of all selected grantees and summaries of their proposals. Special thanks to all others who submitted proposals and represented Michigan well in this very competitive national grant opportunity.




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 |


From: USDA Food and Nutrition Service []
Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 1:09 PM
To: Matts, Colleen
Subject: USDA Farm to School Grant Awards Announced!


United States Department of Agriculture Farm to School Program E-letter

November 19, 2013 | Volume 2, Issue 26

USDA Announces Additional Support to Help Schools Buy Local

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced grants for 71 projects spanning 42 states and the District of Columbia that support the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to connect school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School Program. 

"In rural and urban communities across the country, farm to school programs teach students where food comes from, while providing healthy foods that are grown locally on farms and ranches across the nation," said Vilsack. "These programs also create new market opportunities for local farmers and ranchers interested in partnering with nearby school districts – and by helping to create an even more diverse and thriving agriculture sector, farm to school efforts hold potential to create new jobs in rural areas." 

Selected projects will serve more than 13,000 schools and 2.8 million students, nearly 45 percent of whom live in rural communities. Projects are diverse: 

  • Somerville Public Schools in Massachusetts will work to develop a district-wide farm to school program with community partners that focus on creating youth jobs and promoting healthy eating and physical education. 
  • Olympia School District in Washington state will partner with two local farms to help students apply biology, American history, and horticulture skills towards farm management. The farms will grow organic produce for the school district and serve as an outdoor educational space for students. 
  • Bayfield Regional Food Producers Cooperative in Wisconsin will overcome the obstacles of a short growing season by helping local school districts install and manage high tunnels to supplement school gardens. In addition to providing nutrient-dense hardy greens and other vegetables to the students in their lunches and snacks, the high tunnels will allow educators to implement experiential, projectbased learning in the spring and fall seasons. 
  • Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative and Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission in Iowa will work with local farmers and a newly established food hub to boost production to meet the needs of local schools. They have set a goal with four rural school districts to increase local purchases by 200 percent. 

These projects highlight the critical need for a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill now more than ever, said Vilsack. Producers need renewed and expanded access to Farm Bill programs to fuel the growing demand for local food in new markets, including school meals programs, and to increase economic opportunities for America's farmers and ranchers. 

USDA Farm to School grants help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, and distributors. Grants will also be used to support agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes. For a complete list of FY14 Farm to School grant recipients, please see:

USDA recently released the results of the first-ever Farm to School Census, which showed that in school year 2011-2012, school districts purchased and served over $350 million in local food, with more than half of participating schools planning to purchase more local foods in the future. School districts that missed the opportunity earlier in the year to respond can submit information regarding farm to school practices through November 30, 2013. 

USDA's Farm to School Program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which authorized USDA to provide grants and technical assistance to help schools gain better access to local foods. It is also a core element of the USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the department's work on local food systems.

USDA is focused on improving childhood nutrition and empowering families to make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and advice, while expanding the availability of healthy food.

  • America's students now have healthier and more nutritious school meals due to improved nutrition standards implemented as a result of the historic Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
  • USDA's MyPlate symbol and the resources at provide quick, easy reference tools for parents, teachers, healthcare professionals and communities.
  • USDA awarded $5.2 million in grants to provide training and technical assistance for child nutrition food service professionals and support stronger school nutrition education programs.

Collectively these policies and actions are helping to combat child hunger and obesity, while improving the health and nutrition of the nation's children. For more information on the Farm to School program, please visit

This email was sent to using GovDelivery, on behalf of: USDA Food and Nutrition Service · 3101 Park Center Drive · Alexandria, VA 22302 · 800-439-1420

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

FW: School and Youth Garden Grants - Upcoming Deadlines



School and Youth Garden Grants
A new posting from Julia Parker-Dickerson (Director of Youth Education Programs, National Gardening Association)

Hello!  I'm the Youth Education Programs Director at the National Gardening Association, a 501c3.  This year we have a number of open grant programs that can help to start or sustain an established garden.  We have 150 awards open to schools, youth groups, and community gardens at present and more expected to open as the year goes on!  We are offering 50 of our awards to any and all international garden programs as well as United States based youth gardens.  I have included links directly to applications below. You can also visit:


2013 Healthy Sprouts: Applications due November 15th, 2013

For the fifth year, the Subaru of America Foundation and National Gardening Association are proud to present the Subaru Healthy Sprouts Award. In 2013, 50 youth and school gardens will be awarded funding and supplies to begin or sustain programming. 47 programs will receive a $500 award package, 3 top winners will receive $1,500 awards.


2014 Youth Garden Grant Award: Applications due Due December 6th, 2013

National Gardening Association is proud to announce the 2014 Youth Garden Grant award. This year’s award is brought to you by supporters of the National Gardening Association and generous contributions from Ames True Temper, High Mowing Seeds, Rustic Cedar, and Bonnie Plants, who will be supplying materials to the award winners. Twenty award winners will receive $1,000 in supplies and funding.


2014 Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden Grant: Applications due January 17th, 2014

Now in its fourth year, the Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden Grant will provide 50 programs, in the United States and internationally, funding and supplies to begin or sustain garden programming for youth. To date, over 150 programs in 13 countries around the world have been awarded.


2014 Mantis Tiller Award: Applications Due March 7th, 2014

Mantis and proudly present the 2014 Mantis Tiller Awards! For the past 18 years, this program has provided 25 tillers to gardening programs across the United States. In the past, winners have included schools, churches, correctional facilities, parks departments, youth camps, community gardens, and many others.



Monday, November 4, 2013

MI Farm to School Training in the UP!

The MI Farm to School Training is going to the UP! This training is intended for K-12 school food service professionals and early care program directors and staff alike, whether you are just getting started with Farm to School or expanding your program. Training topics will include an overview of Michigan Farm to School, how and where to find and purchase Michigan products, developing a Farm to School team, food safety, expanding Farm to School beyond produce and beyond lunch, and more! Time will also be dedicated for attendees to learn about local food happenings and resources and to network with and learn from each to other.


WHEN: Tuesday, December 3rd from 10:00 am – 2:30 pm

WHERE: Peter White Library at 217 N Front St in Marquette, MI

Lunch will be provided.

Please RSVP to the Chippewa County MSU Extension Office at 906-635-6368 by Tuesday, November 26th.


This training is brought to you by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, MSU Extension, UP Food Exchange, Marquette Food Co-op, Western UP Health Department and the Sault Tribe Community Transformation Grant.



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 |