Blog Archive

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 2017 School Garden newsletter


July 2017


Happy Summer School Gardeners!


Hope you are getting enough sunshine & fresh fruits & veggies.  Enjoy!




MSU Extension selected as a National Farm to School Network Michigan partner

Community Food Systems team members will continue to support capacity building and expansion of farm to school and farm to early care in a new role as Supporting Partner.


by Kaitlin Wojciak

Michigan State University Extension is excited to announce our selection as a 2017-2019 National Farm to School Network Michigan Supporting Partner. This new role recognizes MSU Extension's leadership in the farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) movement, and will provide new opportunities for us to continue building capacity and support for farm to school and ECE activities in Michigan.

From school gardens and farm field trips to local food on lunch trays, farm to school and ECE practices help children learn about where food comes from and make healthier choices, while also creating new markets for local and regional farmers and food producers.

In Michigan, the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) has provided leadership in farm to school and farm to ECE for more than 10 years and will now serve as Michigan's Core Partner. MSU CRFS has founded and organized several farm to school initiatives, including the Michigan farm to school mini-grant program, statewide trainings, technical assistance and networking opportunities. More recently, MSU CRFS provided leadership on two statewide initiatives: the Michigan Farm to Institution Network and the 10 Cents a Meal program. The Michigan Farm to Institution Network promotes local foods for schools and other institutions through the local purchasing campaign, Cultivate Michigan. The 10 Cents a Meal program is providing matching reimbursement for local food purchased for school meal programs in two prosperity regions, and may be expanding to another region in the next state budget year.

MSU Extension Community Food Systems team has partnered with MSU CRFS to support the growing farm to school movement by providing regional, on-the-ground support for statewide initiatives and statewide leadership to the Michigan Farm to Institution Network and the 10 Cents a Meal program. MSU Extension Community Food Systems and MSU CRGS have also established local and statewide trainings to boost farm to school knowledge and practices and organized meet the buyer events and networking spaces to benefit farm to school stakeholders. In alignment with the Michigan Good Food Charter, the Community Food Systems team is working towards the goal of all Michigan institutions sourcing 20 percent of their food locally by the year 2020, with Michigan farmers profitably supplying their products.

The National Farm to School Network has selected core partner and supporting partner organizations in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Territories to collaborate on efforts to strengthen the farm to school and ECE movement nationwide and ensure its benefits are available to all children and communities. Together, we'll support the development of new information and resources, grow awareness of the movement and its benefits and provide vision for the growth and evolution of the farm to school and ECE movement.

The other supporting partners for Michigan are: Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. To learn more about our partnership with the National Farm to School Network, visit

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).


School Garden Fund Raising Ideas

Tours, plant sales and produce sales can raise school garden operating funds while providing educational experiences for your students.


by Kristine Hahn

Its mid-summer and we are in the thick of prime garden tour time!  Garden tours can be wonderfully educational, inspirational and a fun way to raise funds.  Typically, fund raising is my least favorite activity associated with school gardens.  However, I enjoy working to organize school garden tours, plant sales and produce sales to raise funds and provide meaningful educational experiences for students. 


Summer is a popular tour time as gardens are often at their zenith in terms of flowering and fruiting.  Fall Garden Tours have their own high points, such as fall crops, crisp air and autumn colors.  Summertime can be a less than optimal time for a school garden tour, as school is out for summer vacation, and it can be difficult to get either teachers, students or parents to participate.  Additionally, some schools do not have active gardens in the summer due to the absence of students and teachers. 


Notable exceptions include schools with summer programming, and those schools that have mastered summer garden maintenance.  A summer school garden tour can be a great way to get school staff and students back together to touch base during the summer hiatus. 


Regardless of when you choose to hold a school garden tour, it is an excellent way to showcase all the cool things going on in the garden to people who may not normally have a chance to experience it.    Tours are also a great opportunity for students to lead tours, talk about something they are knowledgeable (and hopefully passionate) about and practice public speaking skills.  This is also a great time to emphasize any academic work or projects that are linked to the garden. All of these activities can stimulate participants to show their appreciation and support.  Funds can be raised by charging a tour admission fee, or by providing a staffed container for donations.  A Fall School Garden Tour can also coincide with sales of pumpkins, apples and spring blooming bulbs to increase your fund raising efforts.  For a good example of a Michigan School Garden Tour, visit this link for an article with great pictures about the Dexter School Garden Tour.


A plant sale is also a great vehicle for fund raising and education. Students can gain experience in seed germination, propagation and long range planning when determining the start date to make sure the seedlings will be big enough by the date of the sale.  Houseplants propagated by stem cuttings are a great educational project if you have access to a greenhouse.  Plant sales can also be a great opportunity for students to learn about salesmanship and profit, and again, to showcase the students' efforts to the community while raising funds.


A youth farm stand can achieve many goals in addition to fund raising.  Youth farm stands at the school increases community access to fresh produce and encourages consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables by youth and adults.  They also teach business skills to students, and provide a valuable commodity to their community. 


I would always encourage you to tap into your school's PTO to assist in any of the above efforts.  A school 4-H garden club can also be an asset when it comes to generating enthusiasm and funds for your school garden.      


Michigan State University Extension has great resources to help you carry out any of the above educational and fund raising activities, and you can contact Kristine Hahn at 248-802-4590 for more information.  


This article was published by Michigan State University Extension and the staff in the Community Food Systems Workgroup who support Farm to School activities including school gardens.  For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).


School Garden Grant Information

  • American Honda Foundation - Due dates three times per year, next one is August 1
    • Schools, nonprofits classified as 501(c) (3) s and private or public schools (elementary and secondary) are eligible.
    • Award range: $20,000 - $75,000 for one year
  • Captain Planet FoundationDue September 30th for spring and summer projects
    • Schools, nonprofits and other organizations classified as 501(c) (3) are eligible
    • Projects must: be project-based; performed by youth; have real environmental outcomes; be based in the United States.
    • Award range is between $500 - $2500. At least 50% matching or in-kind funding for projects is preferred.
  • The Home Depot FoundationCommunity Impact Grants currently open
    • Schools and 501(c) (3) organizations are eligible.
    • Awards are up to $5,000
    • The Home Depot also has opportunities to match donations from local stores with nonprofits. Follow this link for more information on how to request a match. 
  • Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation
    • Public schools are eligible
    • Awards from $5,000 - $25,000
    • Visit this link to answer preliminary questions and learn more.
  • Project Produce Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schoolsdistributed on a rolling basis
    • Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program is eligible.
    • Must be submitted by district food service director.
    • These grants are $2,500 and can assist with offering educational activities in the lunchroom, encouraging students to try new veggies and fruits.
  • Salad Bars to School Grant
    • Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program is eligible to apply. To qualify for a Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools grant, applicants must offer the salad bar as part of the reimbursable meal served in your district.
    • Schools use the award (approximately $2,955 value) to implement salad bars as part of their daily meal program
    • For more information and to apply, follow this link.
  • Youth Micro-grants through Karma for Cara FoundationRolling deadline
    • Youth under age 18 who are working on a community service project (including school and community gardens).
    • Awards are between $250 - $1,000.



School Garden Educational Opportunities


  1. MOFFA (Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance) Educational Opportunities
  • North American Association of Environmental Educators Professional Development






Kristine Hahn

Michigan State University Extension Educator

Community Food Systems

Eastern Market Office

1445 Adelaide

Detroit, MI 48207


248-802-4590 (CELL)

313-567-8726 (FAX)

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.  Michigan State University programs and materials are open to all without 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.

"Always be humble and kind." - Tim McGraw


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Michigan Farm to School News


Can you believe it's stone fruit season already? Get your apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums while you can! Summer seems to be flying by, but the farm to school opportunities, events and resources just keep coming. Here's the latest!



Growing Farm to School – Growing New Farmers video

The farm to school and Hoophouses for Health partnership between Genesee ISD & Flint Ingredient Company are featured in this new video from the Great Lakes Region of the National Farm to School Network.


These 3 new Michigan childcare centers offer the most advanced facilities for children – and adults

Model D Media

Childcare centers are becoming much more than just a place to drop off kids. These three Michigan facilities have widened their reach to provide quality experiences for children, families, caregivers, and the whole community. 


The high cost of limited access to early childhood education in Detroit 

Model D Media

The lack of access to affordable quality educational care for young children has significant effects on children, families and the local economy. Read how Detroit organizations are coming together through Hope Starts Here to find workable solutions to this issue.   




Farm to ECE Quarterly Webinar: State Agencies as Leaders and Partners in Growing Farm to ECE

National Farm to School Network

August 2, 2017 3:30-4:30 pm ET

Join this webinar to learn more about the variety of ways that state agencies are leading the way in farm to ECE (early care and education) as well as innovative programs and strategic approaches to growing and supporting farm to ECE from two different states. Register here.


Webinar Trending Topics in Farm to School: Farm to School in Native Communities

National Farm to School Network 

August 3, 2017 2:00-3:00 pm ET

Speakers on this webinar will explain unique opportunities and challenges of farm to school in Native communities, and Native community leaders will share examples of farm to school successes.

Register here.


Cultivate Michigan Tours

-          Carrot Tour at Providence Farms in Central Lake (northwest Lower Michigan) on August 10, 2017

-          Stone Fruit Tour at Phillips Orchards in Clinton County on August 18, 2017

Register today to learn more about these Cultivate Michigan featured foods and network with other farm to institution practitioners and supporters.


Experiences of People of Color Within the STEM and Agriculture Workforce

Virginia Tech

Researchers at Virginia Tech are doing a study to determine the factors that encourage the persistence of minorities in the fields of STEM and agriculture. People of color who are pursuing careers in agriculture or STEM or people currently working in those fields are eligible to participate. Take part in their survey here.


Early and School Food Specialist, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems

The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) is seeking an annual full-time Academic Specialist to lead efforts promoting good food access and awareness in early child care and education environments (ECE) and K-12 schools. Learn more here.


2015-2016 MI Farm to School Grant Program Report

MSU Center for Regional Food Systems 

The MI Farm to School Grant Program is an effort to help food program providers overcome challenges or sustain local food purchasing programs K-12 schools and ECE programs in Michigan. This report serves as an overview of the 2015-2016 grant year, the program's fifth operating year. Read it here.


Cultivate Michigan Stone Fruit Guide & Promotional Materials

This summer's featured food category of stone fruits includes apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums, which are available now from farmers and markets near you! Check out our guide to learn where to buy them and how to use them – in oatmeal, savory sauces and fruit leather.


A Guide to Using The Creative Curriculum for Preschool to Support Farm to ECE Models

The Policy Equity Group

This curriculum is designed to help teachers plan and promote learning through play, exploration, and discovery - a natural fit for farm to ECE learning.


Ingredient Guide for Better School Food Purchasing

School Food Focus

This resource guide is for school food leaders and manufacturers alike who are interested in improving the overall quality, nutritional value, and safety of food provided to all students.





Lee Ann Viera,

Michigan Farm to School & Hoophouses for Health Student Assistant




Colleen Matts

Farm to Institution Specialist | Core Partner, National Farm to School Network

Center for Regional Food Systems | Michigan State University

480 Wilson Rd | Rm 302B Natural Resources Building | East Lansing, MI 48824

(p) 517.432.0310 |





Monday, July 10, 2017

Reminder! Early Childhood Education position available at MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (posting #446354)

Position Description

Early and School Food Academic Specialist – Position # 446354

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems



The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) is seeking an annual full-time Academic Specialist to lead efforts promoting good food access and awareness in early child care and education environments (ECE) and K-12 schools. The Academic Specialist will be responsible for creating and implementing the roadmap for CRFS' outreach and research efforts in this arena at both the national level and in Michigan, identifying and responding to gaps in engagement, knowledge and practice through:


-          Cultivation of collaborations and partner networks;

-          Leadership of survey research and other data collection and analysis;

-          Provision of training and technical assistance; and

-          Development and dissemination of resources, materials and presentations.


This is an exciting opportunity for a self-motivated, resourceful and committed candidate to bring creative vision to an existing foundation of relationships and learnings to accelerate, shape and support farm to school and ECE efforts.


Position expectations:


-          Convene and/or collaborate with national and statewide project partners virtually and in person;

-          Develop papers, resources and other creative forms of scholarship in a timely fashion for diverse audiences, including academics, practitioners, stakeholders, and the general public. Publication examples include reports, fact sheets, guides, videos, webinars, and journal articles

-          Present on outreach, research and/or education projects and findings at national, state and local-level conferences, meetings, and other venues, including scholarly, government, association and community audiences;

-          Develop and submit grant proposals, including collaborative projects with CRFS colleagues and/or external partners, and manage projects, personnel and/or budgets to fulfill project objectives; develop evaluation plans and tools, and write grant reports for grants awarded;

-          Responsible to project principle directors on grant deliverables as funding requires;

-          Engage with relevant networks led by CRFS and/or partners and appropriate professional organizations;

-          Document and share project work and accomplishments; maintain regular internal and external communication about project activities; develop and report on an annual plan of work;

-          Actively participate in CRFS staff and strategic meetings and stay current on CRFS projects, activities, resources and publications;

-          Represent projects and CRFS in a professional manner in all forms of engagement and communication; and

-          Help to foster, facilitate and maintain the CRFS culture of anti-racism, trust, support and accountability.


Status: This is a full-time, annual year, temporary position. Initial appointment will be for one year with reappointment contingent upon funding and performance.


Available:  August 1, 2017 or until a suitable candidate is identified.


Application Deadline: July 21, 2017 or until a suitable candidate is identified.


Starting Salary: Commensurate with education and experience up to $60,000 annually.


Reporting: Individual reports to Director, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems.




  1. Master's degree required in early childhood education, child development, food systems, public health, public policy, nutrition, or related field.
  2. At least two years of experience with early child care and K-12 food programs, education issues, and child environments strongly preferred.
  3. Demonstrated project leadership and management, with two years of experience or more preferred.
  4. Demonstrated resourcefulness, self-motivation and ability to problem-solve and think critically.
  5. Ability to self-direct and balance multiple projects simultaneously and to easily shift between working independently and as part of a team.
  6. Demonstrated strong written and verbal communications skills and experience using a broad range of communications tactics.
  7. Ability to effectively and diplomatically engage and collaborate with diverse stakeholder groups (in Michigan and nationally) such as academic faculty and staff, youth and adult community members, and organizational partners and funders; experience working with multicultural and diverse populations highly desired.
  8. High degree of knowledge of and comfort with using technology in completing job requirements including Microsoft Office suite; online search, file-sharing and collaboration platforms; electronic survey software; and phone/web conferencing systems.
  9. Available to regularly travel throughout the state and within the US, including overnight, and possession of a valid, current state driver's license.
  10. Understanding of and commitment to a culture of anti-racism and inclusivity. 


Application Procedure:


You must apply online to MSU Human Resources:


Go to and search for job posting #446354 under faculty/academic staff.


A cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position, and an updated curriculum Vita or resume needs to be submitted as a part of the application process.


If you have questions about the position or search process, you may contact: Rich Pirog,


Please do not send application materials directly to Rich Pirog.




MSU enjoys a park-like campus with outlying research facilities and natural areas. The campus is located in the city of East Lansing, adjacent to the capital city of Lansing. The Lansing metropolitan area has a diverse population of approximately 450,000. Local communities have excellent school systems and place a high value on education. The University is proactive about its obligations under the ADA, and provides individual accessibility plans to students and employees with disabilities. Michigan State University is also proactive in exploring opportunities for employment for dual career families, both inside and outside the University, and respects all family forms. Information about MSU Information about WorkLife at MSU can be found


CRFS Mission: CRFS works to engage the people of Michigan, the United States and the world in applied research, education and outreach to develop regionally integrated, sustainable food systems.


MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer and is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities. Michigan State University employment opportunities are open to eligible/qualified persons without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, or family status.





Andrea Weiss

Director of Communications

Center for Regional Food Systems | Michigan State University

480 Wilson Road, Room 309 | Natural Resources Building | East Lansing, MI 48824

(517) 432-0283