Blog Archive

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

July Newsletter

Happy Summer!

Hopefully this finds you enjoying some cooler temperatures for mid-July and especially enjoying the amazing products Michigan has to offer this time of year. It is hard to believe it is already mid-July, and yet the products at the farmers markets each week have been a great reminder of how amazing our state is for diverse and delicious crops.


A few of the News bits for this month share about farm to school and student involvement across the summer month and the USDA Team Nutrition resource might help you think about back-to-school recipes if you are in that frame of mind.



University students grow with Detroit institutions to promote healthy eating

Students at Michigan State University have a unique internship opportunity to spend 10 weeks in the city of Detroit working with various community organizations and institutions, including in Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) schools. As part of their internships, students have a chance to see how social justice interacts with food systems work through hands on experiences they can take with them once they graduate.


Connecticut garden made accessible to all students

Hartford Courant 

Norfeldt Elementary School in Hartford, Connecticut received a grant enabling the purchase of two VegTrug raised gardens, helping to make gardening accessible for all students.  The entire student body utilizes the garden for learning and planting a variety of produce they later use in taste tests. The raised beds have allowed all of the children, including those with physical disabilities, access to the space. Equally as important, families volunteer to tend the garden during the summer months. 


Many schools keep gardening efforts going all summer

Associated Press

School gardens have been used as an educational tool in the U.S. for centuries and thankfully that is still continuing now more than ever. Summer volunteers and parent-child community activists work together to prepare gardens for the return of students in the fall, while season extenders such as greenhouses and a wide variety of plants can help fit in with traditional school schedules and integrate into subjects such as math, science, and English Language Arts.  


Minnesota campers meet animals, taste herbs, envision ag careers

The Free Press

As part of a week-long camp in food and animal science hosted by the Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence, middle- and high-school students participated in hands-on learning experiences in food and animal science, including learning about agricultural career opportunities.


Colorado students get hands-on experience in farm work

The Journal

Through a 6-week program, Southwest Open School joined with the Montezuma Land Conservancy to provide students hands-on learning experience in agriculture. Students work for four weeks, Monday through Thursday, in the school garden and at a local farm to learn about local agriculture and gain job skills. Participation in the program earns students school credit as well as a $100 per week stipend.


Georgia teen manages community garden

Albany Herald 

Like many community gardens, Sylvester's Village Community Garden receives support through multiple volunteers and sponsors. Unique to this garden is 14-year-old Janya Green, farm manager for Village Community Garden, who shares, "My main purpose here at the garden is to not only educate myself on healthy living but to also educate my community on how and what they should eat.".


Wisconsin's growing food independence

Green Bay Press Gazette

In the Green Bay, Wisconsin area, farm to school lessons in the classroom have expanded across the six districts to encompass elementary, middle, and high schools, and include planting gardens, greenhouses, chicken coops and one day maybe even beekeeping. Teachers, school food service staff, and students are growing what is served in lunch lines, as well as incorporating farm to school in classroom learning opportunities.


USDA supports local foods in schools through farm to school grants

USDA Press Release 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service recently "announced $5.2 million in grant awards to bring nutritious, local foods into schools and create new economic opportunities for farmers. The grants, part of the USDA Farm to School Program, will impact over 6,000 schools and 2.8 million students nationwide." 


Kansas students grow, sell produce

Lawrence Journal-World

When most student are on vacation during the summer months, a group of students at Liberty Memorial Central School spend a few hours each week to maintain their school garden to make sure it is ready for the upcoming school year. This includes planting, harvesting, and even taking produce to the market where they earn between $500 and $1000 each week, which helps to sustain the garden efforts.


The Seed takes Root: Program gets kids involved with agriculture

The Times and Democrat 

Clemson Extension has helped to expand school gardens across the state through its horticulture-based training program for educators. Since it began in 2012, 463 educators have participated, with 147 school gardens started across the state in 16 counties with a goal of improving both health and academic outcomes for children in South Carolina.


Gardens grow sense of community for Illinois neighborhood

Daily Herald 

The Dryden Place Project is a community initiative through the Arlington Heights Elementary School District 25 to link students from low-income families with their community. With multiple community organizations including the library, hospital, and fire and police departments joining, the effort has created centralized resources and the provision of a summer lunch program. The addition of low-cost community gardens that provide seeds and equipment are intended to provide nutrition support as well as improve student outcomes.


Massachusetts school nutritionist looks to bring orchard to Medford High

Medford Wicked Local

High school students at a Massachusetts school, through the Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility, shared an idea for a project that would address food security in their community. Connecting with the Medford Public Schools nutritionist who also ran the Garden Club was a natural fit. As a result, they began a project that could involve other students and proposed an outdoor learning space including a fruit orchard that could be harvested for use in the cafeteria, as well as serve as a space to teach students about the origin of food, the life cycle of plants, and the importance of healthy foods. 



Farm to Early Care and Education 101 Webinar

August 2, 2018// 6:00 pm ET

This interactive webinar will provide an introduction of how farm to early care and education—including using local foods in meals, snacks, gardening, and food-based education—can be integrated as part of play-based learning opportunities using evidence-based, culturally responsive, family supported approaches to meet educational and nutrition standards.


Farm to ECE Webinar: Indigenous Foods in Early Care and Education Settings 

August 2, 2018 // 2:00pm ET

Increasing children's knowledge on tribal history and food ways to strengthen their cultural, spiritual, and social connections in the community is a great opportunity for them. Join this webinar to ensure indigenous foods are procured, prepared, and served in ways that align with state licensing and Child and Adult Care Food Program. 

The Food Project Summer Institute 

August 1-3 // Boston, Lynn, and Lincoln, MA

Learn, grow and connect at the Food Project Summer Institute. Hear shared experiences, positives, and accomplishments from others and hear what others are doing to impact live and preserve the land. 


Healthy Eating in Practice Conference: Special Offer for National Farm to School Network

August 26-29 // Asheville, NC

Healthy Eating in Practice is a hands-on conference for healthcare professionals and advocates to better support healthy eating. This conference will equip attendees with practical skills and approaches that work in the day-to-day reality of healthcare.


Louisiana Farm to School Conference 2018

October 9-10, 2018 // Baton Rouge, LA

This Farm to School conference are looking to energize the movement in Louisiana, as well as provide educational and networking opportunities for school food service personnel, farmers, teachers, and stakeholders. 


Save the Date: Farm to Cafeteria Canada Conference

May 16-17, 2019 // Victoria, British Columbia

Farm to Cafeteria Canada is a pan-Canadian organization that works with many partners to educate, build capacity, to bring local, healthy, 

and sustainable foods into all public institutions. 



USDA standardized recipes available on Team Nutrition website

Although we are right in the middle of summer, back-to-school time is just around the corner. If you are thinking about menus for fall, check out the Team Nutrition website for ideas for standardized recipes that meet meal pattern requirements.





Meagan K. Shedd, PhD
Assistant Professor, Farm to Early Care and K-12 Education
Center for Regional Food Systems | Michigan State University
Department of Community Sustainability | College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
480 Wilson Rd, Room 309 | Natural Resources Building | East Lansing, MI 48824-1039
517.432.4525 | |




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