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.

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