Greetings Farm to School All-stars!
We're capping off an exciting two weeks of our 2016 Regional MI Farm to School Trainings! Thanks to all of those who attended – we had several great days celebrating all our efforts, learning more about local procurement, and seeing some farm to school programs up close. This year, we visited Baxter Children's Development Center in Grand Rapids, Boyne Falls Public Schools, and Detroit Public Schools and saw the many ways they are helping to get local food into school and early childhood program meals. I'm so excited for all the stories and connections that came out of this year's training, and thrilled to have had the opportunity to connect with new Farm to School champions!
This weekend is the official start of National Farm to School Month! I can't wait to see all the ways y'all are celebrating the small steps that are kicking off larger farm to school efforts. Follow the National Farm to School Network blog for examples of those small steps all month long.
I also want to make sure you all saw the press release (attached) for the 10 Cents a Meal Expanded Pilot Program, and see the video (in the news below) on this exciting pilot. Congratulations to the 16 school districts that will participate this school year!
Events – So many opportunities to connect!
· Michigan Apple Crunch – October 13 – statewide!
· Cultivate Michigan Carrot & Potato Tour – October 14 - Muskegon
o This tour will visit two farms and growing facilities growing two of the 2016 Cultivate Michigan featured foods: carrots and potatoes! The tour will depart from and return to Muskegon with stops in Hart and Grant. Register to attend by October 7.
· Michigan Farm to Institution Network Gathering – October 27 – East Lansing
o Join your fellow Michigan Farm to Institution Network members for an interactive gathering the day before the Michigan Good Food Summit. The morning will be a Cultivate Michigan member orientation followed by a full network gathering in the afternoon. Register to attend by October 21.
· Michigan Good Food Summit – October 28 - East Lansing
o Whether you're a food consumer, grower, buyer, advocate, educator, or policymaker, come to connect with others who want to further good food – food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable. Register before October 17 to receive the early bird discount!
· Making Michigan Menus Work – October – November
o This series of hands-on trainings offered throughout the state will help school nutrition professionals better utilize Michigan farm fresh produce. Register now.
· Meet the Buyers Workshop and Reception – December 6 - Grand Rapids
o An opportunity at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo that helps connect buyers to regional producers.
· October is farm to school month – MSU Extension
o There are lots of ways to celebrate National Farm to School Month. This article provides some great ideas for starting small.
· Culinary class hosted state wide for school nutrition professionals – MSU Extension
o A great overview of what you'll learn at the Making Michigan Menus Work workshop.
o MSU Extension's Kendra Wills makes the case for school lunches.
o Great short video highlighting the recent announcement of the 10 Cents a Meal Pilot Program in Northwest Michigan. Also check out the press release from the Michigan Department of Education about the expanded pilot program.
· Local foods in schools bring rural communities together – USDA FNS Office of Community Food Systems
o This article highlights the community food systems strategies in rural communities throughout the US, and how the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is supporting them.
· Farm to Preschool Toolkit – Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
o This is a really awesome toolkit that contains pre-K lesson plans, activity guides, sourcing guidance, tips for cooking with young children, and more, and can be freely downloaded.
· Fiscal Year 2017 USDA Farm to School Grant Program – USDA Food and Nutrition Service
o USDA is accepting applications for their annual Farm to School Grant Program. This program assists eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. See the website for more details. Deadline to apply is December 8, 2016.
Thanks for all you do to get Michigan food into Michigan bellies!