Blog Archive

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Introducing a new Specialist & new resources!



With a new Specialist and new resources, we’re gearing up for a great year for Michigan Farm to School here at the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS)!


First, I’d like to e-introduce you to our new Farm to School Specialist, Abby Harper. Many of you may have met Abby last summer when she was interning with CRFS and was out and about around Michigan. Now that she has completed her studies at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston, she returns to us as a full-time staff member! Among other things, Abby will serve as the lead for the MI Farm to School Grant program and will be developing our Farm to Early Childhood work further, both here in Michigan and nationally. I’m sure you’ll be hearing from Abby in the future, but for now she can be reached at Please join me in welcoming Abby. I’m sure she’ll be a valuable addition to the great Farm to School work happening in Michigan and beyond.


Second, at long last, I’d like to share that our Farm to Early Childhood Programs: A Step-By-Step Guide is now available! Freely downloadable, this new guide provides tools and resources to help early childhood program providers of all types and sizes purchase and use local foods in their meals and snacks. Jekeia Murphy and Julia Smith, both former Specialists here at CRFS with expertise in childhood education and early childhood development, respectively, led the development of this guide, which was funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We would like to thank our many partners, in Michigan and beyond, who provided their expertise and reviewed the guide or pieces of it. Please do feel free to be in touch with me and/or Abby with feedback or input on the usability of the guide, but I trust it will prove helpful as you plan to take advantage of the season’s harvest!


Finally, as you tend to your summer gardens, I want to remind you of our most recently released guide: Garden to Cafeteria: A Step-By-Step Guide. This guide provides an approach for school garden educators and stakeholders, both experienced and newcomer, to successfully source products from school gardens for use in the cafeteria or food program. This guide is also freely downloadable and was authored by Kaitlin Koch, now with MSU Extension’s Community Food Systems team and based in Macomb County, with a little help from yours truly. Check out this video spotlighting the Garden to Cafeteria program at Detroit Public Schools for some inspiration!


Happy summer,


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 |


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