Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beginning Farmer Webinar Series: Getting Started With Selling to Schools and Hospitals Feb. 10th

Hello All,


I wanted to let you all know about an upcoming educational opportunity for new and beginning farmers called “ Getting Started with Selling to Schools and Hospitals”.  This webinar is part of an ongoing MSU Extension Beginning Farmer Webinar Series.  The series is designed for beginning farmers, but we encourage any growers who are interested in selling to institutions to attend this webinar.  More information below, also see attached flyer.


Monday February 10th MSU Extension educators Kendra Wills and Garrett Ziegler will present on the most effective ways to begin selling to local hospitals and schools. Topics will include: food safety requirements for institutional markets, wholesale pricing, strategies for communicating with food service directors, selling through a distributor or food hub, and available resources to help get you started.  


Questions and discussion will take place through the webinar 'chat' function. Supporting written materials will be available for download during and after the webinar.  Participants will receive the webinar URL after their registration and payment is received. A recording of the webinar will be made available to registered (and paid) participants within 10 days of the session.


Fee: $10.00 per person.


Register at


Payment must be received by Feb. 7 for participants to receive the link to connect to the webinar




Garrett Ziegler


Garrett Ziegler

Extension Educator, Community Food Systems

MSU Extension Greening Michigan Institute


MSU Extension at the Downtown Market

109 Logan SW

Suite B102

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Office: 616.608.7436

Cell: 814.777.3562


Michigan State University Extension programs and

materials are open to all withought regard to race,

color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion,

age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual

orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Michigan Farm to School News

Happy New Year! Here's the latest Farm to School-related news, resources, opportunities and events!



MDCH Releases Healthy Equity Report Focused on Infant Mortality

Discusses the importance of infant health as part of Michigan's goal to improve the overall health of the state.


This study from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service highlights the importance of effective nutrition education programs for children, parents and caregivers to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and improve overall health.


USDA Allowing Schools to Serve Larger Portions of Meat and Grains at Schools, Farm and Dairy

The USDA "is making permanent the current flexibility that allows schools to server larger portions of lean protein and grains at mealtime."


Serving Healthy School Meals: Kitchen Equipment resources

This report from the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts) demonstrates that upgraded equipment and infrastructure is essential to serve appealing school meals more efficiently, outlines districts' infrastructure and equipment challenges, and provides recommendations to meet schools' needs.


Improving Early Care Obesity Prevention Through the Child and Adult Care Food Program

From the Nemours Foundation, this report showcases different strategies being implemented to improve the nutritional quality of meals and snacks in varying populations served through CACFP.




Funding and Resources Now Available for Farm Value-Added Projects

The updated NSAC Value Added-Producer Grant Guide provides helpful hints to improve a producer's chances of obtaining funding from the highly competitive program and provides a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes. The Guide is available for free on the NSAC website: You can find information about this USDA grant opportunity here.


American Honda Foundation Invites Applications for Youth Education Programs

The foundation is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations and schools for programs or projects that support the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Deadline: February 1, 2014 (grants are given out quarterly throughout the year)


Nominate a school, class or teacher for Project Localize  (for all networks)

The Lexicon of Sustainability is looking for exemplary teachers and schools to participate in Project Localize. Selected schools will receive a Lexicon of Sustainability curriculum, taxonomy, video tutorials for creating information artworks, a regional food mapping system blueprint, a public event planner and the chance to win the Lexicon of Sustainability Excellence in Education prize in 2014.


Earth Day Network Seeking Entries for Healthy and Sustainable School Food Journalism Prize

The Earth Day Network competition is designed to highlight school food in the words of students who eat it. For more information and to enter, visit and submit your publication online.  The contest is open until February 28, 2014 and the winners will be announced on Earth Day – April 22, 2014!


Scholarship for 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

A scholarship that covers the cost of the conference will be available to apply for and must be submitted by January 31, 2014. Award notifications will be announces February 28, 2014.




Extension + Farm to School Webinar Recordings from USDA Now Online

This fall, USDA hosted three webinars to feature various ways Cooperative Extension professionals from different states and programs are supporting Farm to School. These recordings are now available online.


ASAP's New Education Project for Dietetic Interns

This recently launched program from the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) institutionalizes local food and F2S experiences and training into undergraduate and graduate curricula for education and nutrition and dietetics students and Dietetic Interns (DIs).



Finding, Buying and Serving Local Food

From January 2014 through July 2014, the USDA Farm to School Program will host two webinars each month to showcase the variety of ways school districts can purchase local foods. The webinars will be held at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Topics will include everything from procurement basics to using geographic preference, finding local producers, and buying local through DoD Fresh. Check out the lineup and register at the link above.


Produce for Better Health Foundation Free Webcast: Food Safety Efforts in Produce Production Webcast

Friday, January 10, 2014 2:00-3:00 pm ET

This webcast reviews the produce industry and their efforts to reduce microbial contamination of fruits and vegetables. REGISTER HERE.


New USDA Recipes for Healthy Kids and CACFP Crediting Guide: Supporting Healthy Eating in Child Care Webinar

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 2:00-3:00pm EST

Find out what the best ways to promote nutritious food are while still complying with CACFP requirements! You can REGISTER HERE.


Registration is open for the 2014 Michigan Family Farms Conference

Saturday, January 18th at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The focus of this year's conference is exploring new trends in growing food while still applying traditional methods. A full list of sessions and speakers, as well as a detailed agenda can be found HERE.


Cover Crops And Crop Insurance - What's the Connection? Webinar

January 23rd, 2014, 2:00pm - 3:30pm EST (Register here)

The webinar will be hosted by The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and will address this important question: when and how can you terminate your cover crops and not risk losing crop insurance coverage of cash crops that follow?




Hub Camp: The Nuts & Bolts of Local Food Distribution

January 29-31, 2014 in Grand Rapids, MI

This training program offers practical approaches and advice for those who wish to start their own local food system. Click the link above for more information and/ or to apply!


MSU Integrated Pest Management Academy 2014

February 18-19 Okemos Conference Center in Okemos, MI

Hosted by MSU extension, this educational event will focus on topics ranging from soil health to hops to pest management. The BROCHURE outlines more information and the detailed agenda can be found HERE.


The National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference

March 2-4, 2014 Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington, D.C.

Co-sponsored by Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and Feeding America, this conference allows participants to share information about and expand their knowledge on ways to strengthen nutrition programs from all different backgrounds. You can REGISTER HERE.


The 10th Annual Good Food Festival & Conference

March 13-15, 2014 at University of Illinois Chicago Forum in Chicago, IL

From artisan food tasting to getting your food business funded, the 3-day event offers something for all individuals who appreciate good food. The BROCHURE highlights the keynote speakers and events and you can purchase tickets in advance HERE.



March 27-28, 2014, The Dearborn Inn, Dearborn, MI

This conference will focus on the various aspects of delivering health and wellness information to Michigan residents of all ages and includes a broad array of topics ranging from farm markets to data analysis. Check out the link for keynote speakers and more information.



Stay warm,


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 |