Blog Archive

Friday, August 28, 2015

MI Farm to School News

Hey there Michiganders!

We've had a brief taste of fall this week, and with it comes the reminder that school is just around the corner!  I am not sure how the summer passed so quickly, but am gearing up for a fall full of Farm to School fun.

Though most of us are gearing up for back to school, some of us are already in full swing!  This week, I had the pleasure of visiting two of our MI Farm to School Grantees: the Hart and New Era Migrant Head Start programs – they operate mostly from May through October. Hart is in its second year of our program, and I got to tag along on the preschool children's field trip to Country Dairy to get a look at the source of their milk, pet some baby cows, and taste some local cheese and chocolate milk.  Back at the center, the children were just finishing their lunch including fresh yellow beans they had grown in their garden.  New Era is in the planning stage of Farm to School, and their hallways were peppered with the Cultivate Michigan Milk posters (soon to be peppered with pepper posters, as well!).  Though I missed their field trip to pick blueberries earlier in the week, I spied a few classrooms gorging on the fruits of their labor over lunch!

Here's this week's farm to school news – a lot going on with back to school!.  And if you haven't yet, don't forget to share your farm to school news, updates, events, and stories with me!


Study: School fresh fruit, vegetable program cuts childhood obesity rates

In a state with some of the highest childhood obesity rates in the nation, a new study shows that a program bringing fresh fruits and vegetables into Arkansas schools not only lowers obesity rates, it can also save hundreds of dollars per child each year to prevent obesity. Read more about the study here

Health Affairs Blog:

Building a successful farm to school movement: One person, one plot, one policy at a time – Spotlight on Chaffee County, Colorado demonstrating the importance of collaboration between policymakers, businesses, community stakeholders, and school staff in supporting successful farm to school work.


Profitability workshop for farmers – Sept 2, Lansing, MI

The Profitability Boot Camp will focus on ways farmer veterans and beginning farmers are planning for success through improved financial readiness practices, including highlighting new available resources and tools.  RSVP by Friday, August 28 to Marty Gerencer 

Webinar: ""Why Local Food Matters" : 10am Central Time on Sept 10th.

Feel free to share the upcoming webinar announcement "Why Local Food Matters", co-sponsored by the four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC). No advance registration is required.  Simply click on the link on the day to join.  Enter as Guest with just your name.

 A clickable link is:

Kids Eat Real Food – Marketing and Lunchroom Education 

Thursday, September 24, 2-3pm EST

Join Curry Rosato, Farm to School and Events Coordinator and Chef Ann Cooper, Director of Boulder Valley School District, Boulder, CO to learn the techniques that have brought Boulder's kids back to the lunch program and raised participation every year since 2009.  Learn marketing best practices and turn your students into "real food" aficionados. Register here.

MHA Michigan Green Healthcare Conference – October 8 & 9, Traverse City, MI

Interested in promoting sustainability initiatives in the healthcare sector, including incorporating farm to institution work? Register now for the MHA Michigan Green Healthcare Conference! Participants will have the opportunity to connect with leaders in the sustainability field through networking events and in-depth general, breakout and panel sessions.


Cultivate Michigan's Pepper Guide
If you've signed up for Cultivate Michigan, you should be getting your pepper materials this week!  If you haven't signed up, you can still access the pepper resources online, but if you want hard copies of next season's featured food (Spoiler Alert: it's Squash!) you can sign up at 

Did you miss the National Farm to School Month, Food Day, Midwest Menu and Apple Crunch Webinar?

Visit these links to view the webinars, which are just full of great information about how to celebrate farm to school in October!


Revised USDA local procurement guide available

Just in time for the new school year, the USDA revised guide, Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs, is now available and can help you decide how to buy local for your program. The guide covers procurement basics, defining local, where to find local products, and the variety of ways schools can purchase locally in accordance with regulations. This revision incorporates information about micro-purchases, buying local foods for child care and summer meal programs and more real-world examples. Check out the new guide for sample solicitation language, detailed geographic preference examples and helpful resources. 

INUAg Innovators in Urban Agriculture Prize 

The International Network for Urban Agriculture (INUAg) is announcing the first global INUAg Innovators in Urban Agriculture Prize. INUAg is looking to recognize innovative urban agricultural projects contributing to their local communities in 3 different categories: Food Access, Educating Producers, Teaching Youth. Each category will have 1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners, $1250, $500, $250. INUAg is accepting nominations through August 28, 2015. Nominees can self-nominate or be nominated by others. Learn more and find instructions for nominating projects here

Enjoy the last few days of August!


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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