Blog Archive

Friday, July 24, 2015

MI Farm to School News

Happy Friday!


This week we announced the recipients of our MI Farm to School Grant Program!  Are any schools in your area participating?  If you missed the announcement, check out the full list of current and previous grantees here:


If your in the Capital City area this week, the first of three Farmers Market at the Capital events will take place this Thursday, July 30!  Shoppers can enjoy goods from more than 70 vendors from across the state selling Michigan-grown and produced products ranging from fresh fruit and vegetables to flowers, meat, cheese, baked goods, prepared foods and much more, and it's a great opportunity to get to know Michigan farmers from all across the state.



Op-ed: Don't reverse progress toward healthier school lunches

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged Congress not to roll back the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act healthier school meal standards in an opinion piece this week. The Salt Lake Tribune


Oregon to drastically change the way children get their school lunches

Oregon is taking its farm-to-schools statewide. As part of a spending bill, lawmakers agreed to pour $3.3 million of general fund money toward expanding the program, from the 19 school districts that currently enjoy farm-to-school benefits to every K-12 in the state. Portland Business Journal


Ige Signs Law Creating Farm-to-School Program in Hawaii

Last week, Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a bill that is intended to increase the amount of local food students eat in Hawaii's public school system. The bill creates a state-wide farm to school program, and funds a full-time farm to school coordinator position. Civil Beat


Washington County Public Schools workers prep and process produce

A school district in Maryland is working this summer to develop new systems for prepping and processing produce so that local food can be served year-round. Herald Mail Media




New USDA farm to preschool resource

USDA Farm to School team has published a new two-page fact sheet focused on preschool settings. Farm to Preschool: Local Food and Learning in Early Child Care and Education Settings presents basic information about farm to preschool efforts, including tips and resources. The fact sheet is available here


School Food Focus released a video of the culinary boot camp hosted by the in December.  This program brought school chefs from around the region, including from Detroit, MI, focusing on training participants and in incorporating fresh food items into school meals and providing a platform for collaboration amongst chefs.  


Advancing Farm to School: Lessons from the Field

This "Farm to School 2.0" resource is meant for those that are hoping to expand or fine-tune farm to school programming in their community. The contents reflect the experience of fourteen Wisconsin communities, as they worked to establish and strengthen farm to school efforts in their respective regions. Chapter topics range from designing a successful Harvest of the Month program to strategies for fostering farm to school program sustainability. Actionable tips and insight are provided through case studies, distilled 'lessons learned', and field-tested resource recommendations. View the resource here


Running a Food Hub

Food Hubs could be an important piece in tackling the supply chain challenges some schools face in expanding farm to school programs.  The USDA has launched a new report series, Running a Food Hub, offering food hubs "valuable information on how to plan for success, address challenges, and achieve viability.  Check out the first in the series: Lessons Learned from the Field.


Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

USDA has released a new newsletter in accordance with their Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, providing periodic updates on relevant resources and opportunities from the USDA.  You can read the inaugural edition here and make sure you get future editions by emailing and replying "YES."


Journal of School Health: School Gardens Enhance Academic Performance and Dietary Outcomes in Children

Schools face increasing demands to provide education on healthy living and improve core academic performance. Although these appear to be competing concerns, they may interact beneficially. This article focuses on school garden programs and their effects on students' academic and dietary outcomes. This small set of studies offers evidence that garden-based learning does not negatively impact academic performance or FV consumption and may favorably impact both. Additional studies with more robust experimental designs and outcome measures are necessary to understand the effects of experiential garden-based learning on children's academic and dietary outcomes. Read the article here




The All About Food conference committee is seeking proposals for the 2016 conference on March 15th hosted by the Macomb Food Collaborative. Representatives from all sectors of the food system are encouraged to submit a proposal for a 45 or 60-minute session. Please see the attached Call for Session Proposals for more information.  Proposals should be submitted to by close of business on August 21, 2015.  For more information, check out their website.


Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools

The Chef Ann Foundation has teamed up with Skoop, a superfoods company committed to bringing the health benefits of superfoods to every American. Together they have launched Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools. These $2,500 grants assist in expanding students' palates, and encouraging increased consumption of and exposure to fresh produce through engagement in lunchroom education activities that encourage students to taste new vegetables and fruits offered either in a dish, cooked, or raw. Learn more about the grant and find details to apply on The Lunch Box


CHS Classroom Grant

CHS and National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO) are offering five $1,500 classroom grants to teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade. The funds can be used for schoolyard or classroom gardens, animal science and other projects that educate K-12 students in general education classrooms about the source of their food, fiber and fuel. The deadline for applications is Sept. 15, 2015. Learn more and apply here


Captain Planet Foundation Grant

Captain Planet Foundation provides grants between $500 and $2,500 to school and community groups to support hands-on environmental projects. The objective of the foundation is to encourage innovative programs that empower children and youth around the world to work individually and collectively to solve environmental problems in their neighborhoods and communities. The next deadline is September 30, 2015. Learn more here



Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!


Abby Harper
Farm to School Specialist
Center for Regional Food Systems | Michigan State University
480 Wilson Rd | Rm 309 Natural Resources Building East Lansing, MI 48824
(p) 517.432.4525 (c) 857.600.6921

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