Blog Archive

Friday, March 30, 2018

Rethinking Procurement: The Complexity of Advancing Local and Regional ECE and K-12 Procurement Systems Webinar: April 3, 11 am-12:30 pm

Upcoming Webinar that may be of interest:


Rethinking Procurement: The Complexity of Advancing Local and Regional ECE and K-12 Procurement Systems

April 3 // 11am-12:30pm ET

Join KHA Inc. for the Rethinking Procurement: The Complexity of Advancing Local and Regional ECE and K-12 Procurement Systems webinar, featuring leaders and experts in ECE settings and K-12 schools, who will provide context and grounding in food procurement policies, implementation, model successes and critical solutions to barriers. The Rethinking Procurement webinar will explore the complexity of ECE and K-12 procurement systems and nuances in the process of obtaining healthy, local, and sustainably grown food. Register here



Meagan K. Shedd, PhD
Assistant Professor, Farm to Early Care and K-12 Education
Center for Regional Food Systems
Department of Community Sustainability
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Michigan State University
Natural Resources Building
480 Wilson Rd, Room 309
East Lansing, MI 48824-1039



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Playbook for Building Healthier Food Systems

Hello Farm and Food community,
I'm thrilled to share an exciting new resource. Health Care Without harm has just released our new Healthy Food Playbook, which offers inspiration and tools to address food- and diet-related community health needs throughout the community health engagement process. Check it out and learn more below!

Stay tuned for more information about local and online events to help you make the most of it! Let me know if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Lindsey Scalera | Sustainable Food Program Director

Sustainable Food, Healthy Communities Program  | Ecology Center

Michigan Regional Organizer | Health Care Without Harm

Ambassador  |  Michigan Farm to Institution Network & Cultivate Michigan

339 E. Liberty St., Suite 300 | Ann Arbor, MI 48104

O: 734-369-9273  | C: 734-646-2428  |

Healthy people and a healthy planet starts with YOU: 

 - - - - 

Hospital-community collaborations tackle food insecurity and food-related disease while promoting healthy food systems.

According to Feeding America, 41 million people in the United States struggle with food insecurity, including 13 million children and 9.8 million senior citizens, resulting in widespread effects on physical and mental health.

In Michigan and across the country, hospitals are recognizing the vital link between healthy food access and population health outcomes and are putting their community benefit resources to work on solutions. Hospitals have been working within their communities to implement innovative, solutions-oriented programming such as:

  • Helping to establish fruit & vegetable prescription programs

  • Partnering with food banks and food pantries

  • Supporting farmers markets, mobile markets, CSAs

  • Cultivating community gardens and farms

  • Growing farm to school and farm to hospital programs

  • And more!

Healthy Food Playbook

Created with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Health Care Without Harm's "Delivering community benefit: Healthy food playbook" supports hospital community benefit professionals and community partners in developing initiatives to promote healthy food access and healthy, local and sustainable food systems.

The playbook offers inspiration and tools to address food- and diet-related community health needs throughout the community health engagement process.

Explore the new playbook!

MIFARMTOSCHOOL is a listserv that links farm-to-school stakeholders and practitioners in Michigan, from school food service directors and school administrators to growers and distributors. Content posted to MIFARMTOSCHOOL does not necessarily reflect the views of Michigan State University or the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.

Michigan Joins National Leaders and Local Food Advocates at 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference this April--learn more and register!

On April 25-27, 2018, more than 1,000 people will converge on Cincinnati, Ohio, for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference. The biennial event, hosted by the National Farm to School Network, is the only national gathering of farm to cafeteria professionals working to break down barriers to sourcing healthy, local food for institutional cafeterias and connect communities and children to where their food comes from.


Cafeterias in schools and early care sites, colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons and other institutional settings serve tens of millions of Americans every day, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems. 


Some of the Michigan presentations include:

poster presentations

  • Hoophouses for Health: An Innovative Program Taking on User-friendly Approaches to Measuring Impact
  • Making Michigan Recipes Work: Culinary Skills & Menu Planning for School Nutrition Professionals

breakout presentations including

  • 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms
  • Growing the Future: Farm to School Through Student Empowerment
  • It's Not as Hard as You Think: Tips and Tools for Engaging Statewide Networks in Policy Advocacy and Education
  • More Than an Afterthought: Evaluating Farm to School Activities for Effectiveness and Program Improvement
  • Curriculum Considerations: Guiding Intentional Integration of Farm to Early Childhood Education.


Attendees of the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will learn best practices, network with likeminded communities and bring home creative solutions that will help to nourish people and the economy. Registration is open until April 9. Register today! Learn more at


Hope to see you there!



Thursday, March 22, 2018

Seeking examples of schools tackling food waste

Greeting, MI Farm to School Network!


I’m reaching out to see if there are any schools or districts out there that are tackling food waste. Last night, the Our Table series at MSU focused on food waste, and there were many folks interested in exploring the role of educators in teaching children the value of food and the need to reduce food waste.


I would love to talk to anyone using local food and/or smarter lunchroom principles to help reduce food waste and highlight the roll schools are already playing in addressing this issue!


Please email me at





Abigail Harper

Community Food Systems Educator

MSU Extension

121 E. Maple St

Mason, MI 48854


(p) 517-676-7207

(c) 857-600-6921


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

FW: MDE Press Release: 10 Cents a Meal Program a Success in Providing Locally-Grown Produce to Michigan Schools


Here's more from the Michigan Department of Education about the 10 Cents a Meal Program and the new legislative report that was shared yesterday.




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 |



From: Martin Ackley []
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 4:01 PM
Subject: Michigan Department of Education Press Release




DE Logo     News Release



Contact:    Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs, 517-241-4395

                  Bill DiSessa, Spokesperson, 517-335-6649


  Ten Cents A Meal Program a Success in Providing

Locally-Grown Produce to Michigan Schools


March 21, 2018


LANSING – School districts in three regions of the state served students 65 new kinds of locally-grown fruits, vegetables, and dry beans under Michigan's incentive pilot grant program called 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms.


The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) shared today the results of the pilot program in its 2017-2018 Legislative Report.


"Bringing healthy, locally-grown food into Michigan schools helps our economy and fuels our students' learning," said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. "Healthy kids are eager to learn and achieve, driving Michigan to become a Top 10 education state in 10 years."


Grant-winning food service directors from the three regions where schools can apply for the funding – Prosperity Regions 2, 4, and 9 – also have been coordinating taste tests and nutrition education in the cafeteria and classroom. They used promotional materials from Cultivate Michigan, a statewide campaign of the Michigan Farm-to-Institution Network to help Farm-to-Institution programs grow, along with farmer posters and Harvest of the Month menus.


"The local food that I am able to get – it looks a lot better; I'm getting longer shelf life out of it; it tastes better; and students are definitely grabbing it on the lunch line," said Meaghan Eckler, food service director in Bedford Public Schools in Prosperity Region 9 in southern Michigan.


The program provides up to 10 cents a meal in matching funds for schools to purchase Michigan grown fruits, vegetables, and dry beans. It expanded from Prosperity Regions 2 and 4 in northwest and west Michigan in the 2016-2017 school year to also include Region 9 in 2017-2018. The number of districts that received grants, and the students they serve, roughly doubled – from 16 school districts and 48,000 students last year to 32 districts and 95,000 students this year.


The Michigan Department of Education also has worked to streamline the program to make it easier for school districts to receive their reimbursements and provide receipts required for local purchasing verification. MDE integrated the 10 Cents reimbursements within its Michigan Nutrition Data system, which food service directors use for other existing programs, and utilized FarmLogix, an online technology system that streamlines invoice tracking.


Overall, the invoices showed that schools purchased 80 different fruits, vegetables, and dry beans grown by 112 farms in 34 Michigan counties, plus 19 businesses such as processors, distributors, and food hubs.


"Farm-to-School is consistent business with consistent pricing," said Mike Gavin, of Gavin Orchards, a 220-acre farm in Ottawa County. "When I started with schools, I was told student consumption had doubled and tripled in apples. It's nice to hear you are making a difference."


Jessica Endres, the food service director for the Thornapple-Kellogg School District in Prosperity Region 4 in west Michigan, said the program changed her purchasing habits.


"The grant has inspired me to drill down into the community as much as I can," she said. "Before, I would have considered 'local' as states surrounding Michigan."


The program also is catalyzing educational activities.


"I'm looking into building a garden now, to grow peas and green beans – little things students would want to try because they grew them," said Sherry Sedore, the food service director at Pellston Public Schools in Prosperity Region 2 in northern Michigan – a new grantee. "Before we had 10 Cents, students weren't interested in the idea of a garden, but now there's interest."


Traci Jackson, a teacher with the Holland City School District in Prosperity Region 4, also saw students become interested in new foods, as a result of the program.


"Some students had thirds!" she said of parsnips in her report to Holland Food Service Director Patty Wall, who coordinates taste tests with local produce in 43 classes every Friday. "I was excited to be able to share that I used to live next to the farm. This connection made my kids more excited to try the parsnips."


Beth Kavanaugh, the food service director for Public Schools of Petoskey in Region 2 in northwest Michigan, said she's seen reduced food waste and an increase in student consumption of fruits and vegetables as a result of the grant.


"This is noticed not only by the lunchroom aides and cooks, but by the custodial staff," she said. "They literally grab my arm, walk me to the trash, and show me how much food is not wasted anymore."


10 Cents a Meal is a state-funded competitive grant pilot reimbursement program for schools to improve daily nutrition and eating habits for children, allowing schools to purchase local fruit, vegetables, and beans, and invest in Michigan's agriculture.


In all, 78 districts applied for the 2017-2018 school year and there was enough funding for 32 districts.


MDE is assisted in the program by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which provides expertise on Michigan-grown products and participates in food service director trainings; the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, which conducts monthly food service director surveys with MDE; Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, which conducts stakeholder interviews and provides communications support; and Northwest Prosperity Region 2, West Michigan Prosperity Alliance (Prosperity Region 4), and Greater Ann Arbor Region Prosperity Initiative (Prosperity Region 9), which have taken on roles that tap into regional strengths, such as communications and evaluation.


More information, including the full Legislative Report, is available at



Program Contacts:

Diane Golzynski, Michigan Department of Education,

Diane Conners, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities,

Colleen Matts, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems,




This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: Michigan Department of Education · 608 W. Allegan Street, P.O. Box 30008 · Lansing, MI 48909

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

10 Cents a Meal: New Michigan Department of Education Legislative Report

Greetings friends,

Hot off the press!  Please find attached the new Michigan Department of Education 2017-2018 Legislative Report on the 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms pilot program, which provides grant- winning school districts with up to 10 Cents a Meal in matching funds to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables and dry beans.
  • This report is also availble for download at on the home page and on its Tools for Communities page. 
  • The same content, slightly re-designed for use as five stand-alone hand-outs, will also soon be available on the Tools for Communities page.
  • To print the full page (and not clip off a tiny portion of the map on the bottom) select "print to fit" for in-house printers.
Please share widely! Lots of fun quotes and data. Our schools, Michigan growers, and other local businesses are making a difference for our kids and our economy.

Also, please like, share and follow the 10 Cents Facebook page — and if you post about 10 Cents or Michigan farm to school, don't forget to tag @TenCentsMichigan.


Monday, March 12, 2018

FW: Win $100 for completing a school garden survey!


Greetings school gardeners and school garden coordinators,


If you haven't already, complete the following school garden survey within the next two weeks to have the chance to win a $100 VISA gift card. Each school will have the chance to win. The winner will be selected in late March.



Thank you for your time and participation. Please contact Kate Gardner Burt of Lehman College directly with any questions. Her contact information is below.


Kate Gardner Burt, PhD, RD

Assistant Professor, Dietetics, Food & Nutrition Program

Lehman College

250 Bedford Park Blvd. West

Gillet 432

Bronx, NY 10468

(O): 718.960.7972





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 |


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March 2018 Michigan School Garden newsletter


March 2018

Count down 'til Spring school gardeners!  Woo Hoo!  Be here before you know it.




Starting and Sustaining a School Garden 2018

by Kristine Hahn


It is that great time of year again to be planning the school garden!  Positively channel that excitement for the upcoming school garden season by attending Michigan State University Extension's annual school garden conference, Starting and Sustaining a School Garden on April 20, 2018!


We have a content-packed and hands-on day planned for all and registration is available at:


This year the conference returns to its original location of the wonderful Michigan State University Tollgate Education Center and Farm, located at 28115 Meadowbrook Road, Novi, MI 48377.  And Dr. Norm Lownds, Director of the 4-H Children's Garden will be our keynote speaker sharing his wisdom of "25 Years of Working with Children in the Garden".


There will be a "Whole Group Investigation" that all attendees will participate in and will allow for continued contact beyond the conference. Timely break-out sessions include "Exploring Phenomena in the Garden" with separate sessions for the elementary, middle and high school levels.  There will also be several sessions outside in the gardens at Tollgate including "Themed Gardens", "Garden by Design" and "Edible Plants in the Garden". 


See a full listing of all the break-out sessions at the online flyer:


There will also be opportunities to ask questions and network with the workshop educators, other attending teachers, school garden staff and volunteers.  Feel free to download the above linked flyer and agenda to share with any other interested school garden people such as, parents, administrators and fellow educators.


A limited number of partial scholarships are available.  Contact Kristine Hahn at 248-802-4590 or for a scholarship application, any questions about Starting and Sustaining a School Garden Conference, or to schedule your own school garden site visit or a professional development session at your school.  Hope you can join us for lots of fun and learning on April 20, 2018 at Tollgate!


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).



Think spring with seed starting activities

By Kaitlin Wojciak


It's that time of winter when Michiganders begin to crave fresh green growth and the feeling of the warm sun on our faces. In some parts of the state the winter continues to drag on, yet we find ourselves searching for tiny tree buds or evidence of plant shoots emerging from the ground (even if it is still covered in snow).


In the classroom, students feel the same cramped up energy from spending most of their time inside for several months. One way to collectively alleviate some of the cooped-up tension is to plan seed starting activities for your students. On the light side, these starts can be a strategy to get back in touch with greenery before spring has truly sprung.  From a production framework, the starts could be used in the school garden once the weather is suitable for that transition. Regardless, introducing the smell of potting mix and observing the process of a seed sprouting will bring refreshment to school staff and students alike as the countdown until spring continues. From a practical standpoint, these activities can be used to meet educational standards for each grade level, including the Next Generation Science Standards.


Many older school buildings throughout Michigan are lucky to have greenhouses attached, which are perfect for this type of activity. If the greenhouse is not currently being used, an assessment of its condition is advisable. Ensuring that there is some air circulation and at least a moderate level of cleanliness will aid in keeping seed starts alive, lessening the risk for disease introduction. For specific questions and recommendations, contact your local Michigan State University Extension office for advice. Using the greenhouse environment will allow your class to experience a change of setting, some warmer temperatures, and gain agricultural and food related experience, even if it is casual.

For schools that do not have greenhouses, a low-tech solution is starting seeds on a classroom windowsill or using fluorescent lights if the classroom doesn't have windows. Having the seed starts in the classroom offers students a chance to track the plants' progress from day to day and encourages regular care throughout the week since they are in sight.


There are many considerations to follow when starting seeds specific to both seed needs and working with students, particularly younger students. A few key considerations adapted from this Indoor Seed Starting Q&A resource at, are below. For a much more extensive list of recommendations, visit the resource linked above.

  • Use shallow seed starting vessels with drainage holes. These can range from transplant production trays to egg cartons or individual yogurt cups. Just ensure that whatever container you use has holes to allow the water to pass through the bottom.
  • Soilless transplant mix is preferable to soil, as it is specifically designed for starting seeds, lessening the risk of weeds sprouting and disease introduction.
  • Start with moist soil and maintain a regular watering schedule for the seed starts. Misting the starts will help maintain the seed placement, rather than using a watering can or bottle.
  • Plant the seeds according to the instructions on the seed packet, paying attention to seed depth.
  • Establish a planting area in your classroom (or elsewhere), using plastic or another covering to minimize the mess.
  • Consider using age appropriate seed sizes. For instance, bigger seeds for younger students, like beans.


Remember, anyone can do these activities. Regardless of what facilities, equipment or resources are available to you at your school, there is a wide spectrum of how seed starting activities can look. If paying for resources is an issue at your school, consider requesting donations from home and garden stores – many are willing to provide assistance to area schools.

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 Grant Information


  • American Honda Foundation - Due dates three times per year
    • 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 Foundation
    • 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.
  • Carton 2 Garden ContestDue April 16th, 2018
    • Schools are eligible to participate in the contest
    • Classrooms collect milk and/or juice cartons from the beginning of the school year, re-purposing the cartons to create a project that will build or enhance your school garden.
    • 14 Schools with the most creative use of cartons will be selected for a range of prizes. Award ranges from $5,000 - $1,000 in value.
  • 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.
  • NIFA's Agriculture in the Classroom ProgramDue May 1st, 2018
    • State agricultural experiment stations, State cooperative extension services, all colleges and universities, other research or educational institutions or organizations, Federal and private agencies and organization and individuals are eligible to apply.
    • Projects should focus on increasing agricultural literacy through science literacy, agricultural careers, nutrition, and professional development opportunities for teachers.
    • Award range is $0 - $500,000
    • Full RFA available at this link
  • 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. Starting and Sustaining a School Garden 2018 Conference – April 20, 2018

The 2018 Starting and Sustaining a School Garden Conference is fun, content packed and hands-on!  The conference is scheduled for Friday, April 20, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will return to the original location of the wonderful Tollgate Education Center and Farm, 28115 Meadowbrook Road, Novi, MI 48377.  See all the great break-out sessions on the flyer and register at:  Contact Kristine Hahn at 248-802-4590 or for more information.  Hope you can join us!



  • 2018 All About Food — March 20, 2018

The 2018 "Farm to Fork" All About Food Conference event is scheduled for March 20, 2018 from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm and will be held at a new location this year: Macomb County Family Resource Center, 196 North Rose St, Mount Clemens, MI 48043. This is the former Washington Elementary School and is located behind the Mount Clemens Ice Arena. Registration is open through March 16. Scholarships are available. Contact with questions.


  • 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

    April 26-27, 2018 // Cincinnati, OH

    Save the date for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference


    coming to Cincinnati, Ohio, April 26-27, 2018! Hosted by the National Farm

    to School Network, The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is the only national gathering of

    stakeholders from across this movement, making it the premiere opportunity

    to learn, network and collaborate with likeminded leaders from across the

country. Learn more and sign-up for updates at

·       SAVE THE DATE:  JULY 27-29, 2018

2018 Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) Conference + Hoʻōla ʻĀina O Māʻilikūkahi Youth Food Sovereignty Congress

The University of Hawai'i – West Oahu Sustainable Community Food Systems Program, the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association, the University of Hawai'i System Office of Sustainability and key community partners will host the 2018 Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference and the Hoʻōla ʻĀina O Māʻilikūkahi Youth Food Sovereignty Congress on the island of Oʻahu from July 27-29, 2018.


Themes: Indigenous knowledge, decolonization and socio-ecological resiliency in agroecology and sustainable food systems education.

  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

Oakland County Office

1200 Telegraph Rd. #26E

Pontiac, MI 48341


*Please note my new office location

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