Blog Archive

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Macomb Food Momentum Conference - Save the Date and Call for Proposals

Apologies for cross-postings!


Macomb Food Momentum Conference Call for Session Proposals


The Macomb Food Collaborative is now accepting session proposals for the 2019 Macomb Food Momentum Conference being held on March 22nd from 8am - 4pm at the Family Resource Center in Mount Clemens.


Speaker search:

The 2019 conference theme is Macomb Food Momentum (previously this event was called All About Food: From Farm to Fork). We seek conference speakers who can offer engaging sessions to illustrate growth, change, transitions or needs to be addressed in our food system. There will be two types of sessions offered at this year's event:

  1. Presentation. A 60 minute presentation related to the theme, which should be engaging and participatory. Panels are acceptable. Hands-on activities are encouraged, but not required.
  2. Facilitated discussion. A 60 minute session that will focus on a particular need or gap to be addressed in the local food system, facilitating solutions-based discussion. The intent is that participants will leave with actionable items from these sessions. Applicants are encouraged to apply in a team of two or more. The conference planning team can assist with recruiting interested and active participants for these sessions.


Complete the online submission form no later than COB December 17th, 2018. You will be notified regarding selection in early January.

For more information, email the Macomb Food Momentum Conference co-Chairs, Kaitlin Koch Wojciak, at, Nicole Urban at or Carolyn Thomas at Be sure to also connect with us at or on social media, on facebook and on Twitter at @macombfood.


Sponsorship opportunities:

Please see the attached sponsorship letter for opportunities to support this important food systems event. This is the 8th annual food systems conference hosted by the Macomb Food Collaborative, providing a regular space for food systems stakeholders to convene, learn and share,  benefitting food system development in Macomb County, the region and the state.


Please feel welcome to share this information broadly.



Kaitlin Koch Wojciak

Michigan State University Extension Educator

Community Food Systems

21885 Dunham, Suite 12

Clinton Township, MI 48036

Work: 586-469-6088

Cell: 313-695-7746


MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.  Michigan State University Extension 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.




Monday, November 26, 2018

Step-by-step toolkit for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs to serve local foods

This guide gives step-by-step instructions and interactive tools that MSHS programs can use to begin purchasing and using more local foods.



Announcing a new toolkit for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs to serve and use more local foods!


The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is pleased to announce Local Food for Little Eaters: A Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Guide to Local Food Purchasing, as well as profiles of successful farm to Migrant & Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs nationwide.


This guide gives step-by-step instructions and interactive tools that MSHS programs can use to begin purchasing and using more local foods.


The companion piece, Farm to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start in Action, offers case studies highlighting Migrant & Seasonal Head Start programs nationwide that, through local foods, are reflecting and celebrating the cultures of children and families they engage.


Explore and share these tools with your networks!

Local Food for Little Eaters: A Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Guide to Local Food Purchasing

Farm to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start in Action


For more information, contact Meagan Shedd



Please help spread the word! Suggested social media posts are below. Click here for images you can include in your posts.


Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs nationwide are using local foods to reflect and celebrate the cultures of children and families they engage. Check out these step-by-step instructions, interactive tools, and case studies! @MSUCRFS


For Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs interested in using local and cultural foods, check out these step-by-step instructions, tools, and examples! @MSUCRFS




Andrea Weiss

Communications Director

Center for Regional Food Systems | Michigan State University

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

(517) 432-0283  

Nat'l Farm to School Network now accepting applications for Executive Director

As the Michigan Core Partner for the National Farm to School Network, I am reaching out to share that the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is now accepting applications for a full-time Executive Director. This is a remote position with preference for candidates located in or near Washington, D.C. Please share this listing with anyone who may be interested and qualified, and feel free to recommend candidates we should connect with directly. We appreciate any assistance you can provide in getting this position out to a wide range of diverse networks and communities. A link to the position and a short summary are below. This is an exciting opportunity for the right candidate and the farm to school movement!




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 |



Full position announcement:
Location: Remote with preference for proximity to Washington, D.C.

Application due date: January 7, 2019

Estimated start date: April 2019


Position Summary

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is seeking a dynamic, values-driven and collaborative leader as Executive Director. The Executive Director leads innovation and strategic growth toward accomplishing the mission of the organization for scaling up impact so that farm to school and early care and education (ECE) are a norm in all communities across the U.S. The ideal candidate will possess a commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, access and belonging; excel at fostering and expanding relationships with diverse partners and funders; and ensure the long-term financial sustainability and advancement of the farm to school movement. Find more details in this position description.

About the National Farm to School Network

NFSN is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education (including school gardens) into all schools and ECE settings. Farm to school creates opportunities for children and families to make informed food choices, while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. NFSN's tagline "Growing Stronger Together" reinforces an organizational approach and belief that robust movement building is possible only when we work collaboratively across sectors and locations.


For more information, please visit NFSN is a project of Tides, the nation's largest fiscal sponsor. Tides is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA that works with individuals, groups and funders to implement and accelerate positive social change in the nonprofit sector. For more information, please visit


Learn more and get involved:

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Michigan Farm to School Newsletter-November

Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers-

Hoping this finds you well as fall is under way in Michigan. As November is at its midpoint, a colleague and longtime friend in the field of education reminded me at a conference to take a quick moment of gratitude for the work in which we are able to engage. With that, please accept my thanks for the work that each of you do every day for Michigan's children.




Meet the teacher behind a farm-to-cafeteria program powered by Detroit students with disabilities


Teacher Michael Craig and farm director Matt Hargis work with students at Drew Transition Center, a school where students with disabilities prepare for adulthood and work together to provide healthy produce to hundreds of Detroit students. Each year Drew Farm provides approximately 20 tons of fresh produce to 15 schools in Detroit while also facilitating the development of valuable skills to the students at Drew Transition Center.


Fresh Food is a luxury, but these Michigan programs are making it more accessible to all

Model D Media

Several Michigan programs are ensuring Michigan residents, including its youngest citizens, have access to healthy, local, and affordable food. Growing Hope in Ypsilanti supports school and community gardens and develops educational programs. In Lansing, the Food Systems Program, part of the NorthWest Initiative (NWI), maintains gardens and teaches in-class lessons in up to 50 classrooms across four schools for elementary-aged school children.  In Detroit, Keep Growing Detroit, assisted over 1,500 gardens last year, which included 130 school gardens.


Building the Farm to School Momentum on Beaver Island

Groundwork Center

Local Food Policy Specialist, Jen Schaap, recently went to visit Beaver Island Community School (BICS) and shares how BICS is integrating nutrition education and farm to school to impact the lives of the students. 


School Lunch Day recognizes Iowa farm sources

Ottumwa Courier

A local school district is promoting eating healthy, local foods with the help of Iowa farmers. The district works with Food Corp to promote healthy school foods and educate students on food choices. Additionally, it tries to include as many local vendors for "Local Food Day" and use local products when it can to bring the concepts full circle. They are also partnering up with Summer Food Services Programs to create a starting point for more Iowa farmers to work with schools and start Farm to School activities for the students.


Betti Wiggins recognized in 50 Most Influential People in Health Care

Time Magazine

Congratulations to National Farm to School Network (NFSN) Advisory Board member and former Detroit Public Schools food service director Betti Wiggins for being recognized one of Time Magazine's 50 most influential people in Health Care. In Detroit, Betti engaged in ground breaking work to ensure every student in the district offered free breakfast and sourced 40% of food locally. Now an officer of nutrition in Houston, she is working with the Texas Department of Agriculture to bring healthy foods to more than 215,000 students.


How Schools are fighting back against obesity in Mississippi

Daily Journal

A local school district in Mississippi is offering pre-K and elementary students access to healthy food sources and education about eating habits and gardening lessons. Mississippi is one of many states addressing high obesity rates not only in adults, but now in children as well. In Northeast Mississippi, 30 school districts are sourcing from local farmers as one way to increase fresh fruits and vegetables in students' diets and expose students to healthier food choices.


Garden to Table: Belfast Students growing their own healthy lunches

News Center Maine

A Maine middle school program is able to grow produce for school lunches for the entire school year from the school garden. The full produce budget for the year is covered by the garden, including over a thousand pounds of produce for the cafeteria. A heated greenhouse enables greens production through the winter months as well as sales for their co-op, and students are also able to compost from the cafeteria.




Farm to School and 21st Century Food Service Programs

Thursday, November 15th, 2018 // 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

National Farm to School Network (NFSN) teamed up with National Education Association (NEA) who is their partner of the year to integrate farm to school and think about ways it can be advanced in educational settings. This includes a challenge to schools to create 21st Century Food Service Programs. To support this new partnership and help schools with this important work, this webinar will help explain the connection between healthier students in schools and fresh, local, and healthy produce.


Massachusetts Farm to School Farm & Sea to School Conference 

December 6, 2018 // Leominster, MA

The Massachusetts Farm & Sea to School "Setting the Table: Communities Creating Change" Conference will be hosting its fifth statewide conference. This one-day event will promote racial equity and social justice through the promotion of strategies and resources to grow the farm and sea to school movement in the Massachusetts food system.


National Farm to School Conference in Canada

May 15-17th, 2019 // Victoria, British Columbia

School/campus communities, policy makers, health professionals, non-governmental organizations, or anyone that is interested in the health and food sustainability should consider attending Canada's National Farm to School Conference. This conference will touch base on opportunities to learn and share movements that are bringing healthy, local foods in communities. Presenter proposals are due December 14th, 2018.



Youth Garden Grant 2019

Deadline: December 17th, 2018

For years the Youth Garden Grant has been supporting schools and youth educational garden projects that could impact the lives of not only the students but the community around them as well. The top five program proposals selected based on demonstrated programs with impact and sustainability will be awarded $1000 in cash with additional gardening tools and supplies.


Annie's Grant for Edible School Gardens

Interested in bringing a garden to your school? Details for the 2019 application, including a guide to creating a school garden, can be found at the Annie's website. Note that the current FAQ has information for the 2018 grant year, but the eligibility information and questions about funds can be helpful as you think about applying for 2019.


FY 2019 Farm to School Grant Program RFA Now Available

Deadline: December 4th, 2018 at 11:59 pm ET

Thanks to additional funding by FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems seeks to award approximately $7.5M in FY 2019 funding that will support the efforts to improve access to healthy local food in schools. Interested? Click here for some resources that can help with your application.




Maine Harvest of the Month Program Coordinator

The Harvest of the Month Coordinator will develop and oversee the Maine Harvest of the Month Project and will actively recruit schools to participate. The position will develop marketing materials for school nutrition programs and conduct trainings and technical assistance to schools to ensure they have the tools for success. For interest and more information please contact Stephanie Stambach at


Member and Strategic Partnerships Manager, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (Location Flexible)

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) amplifies the impact of philanthropic and investment communities in support of just and sustainable food and agriculture systems. SAFSF seeks a full-time Member and Strategic Partnerships Manager to support, mobilize, and expand SAFSF's membership and secure new revenue in support of its strategic direction. Learn more and apply here.


Policy Specialist, National Farm to School Network (Washington, DC)

Deadline: Nov. 16, 2018

The National Farm to School Network seeks a Policy Specialist to lead implementation of the organization's policy priorities, including influencing federal administrative, rulemaking, and legislative actions, and supporting the development of its biennial report of state level policies supportive of farm to school. The Policy Specialist will cultivate relationships with policymakers and their staff, partner organizations and advocacy coalitions, manage and facilitate NFSN's Policy Group, and educate and mobilize NFSN stakeholder around key issues. This position is based in Washington, DC.


Executive Director, Nation Farm to School Network

Deadline: Jan. 7th 2019

NFSN is seeking a dynamic, values-driven and collaborative leader as Executive Director. The Executive Director leads innovation and strategic growth toward accomplishing the mission of the organization. In partnership with the NFSN Advisory Board, Core and Supporting Partners and national staff, the Executive Director is responsible for implementation of the NFSN strategic plan through organizational programming and operations, ensuring long term financial sustainability and advancement of the farm to school movement. Responsible for shaping the vision and future direction of the organization, the Executive Director will seek opportunities for expanding partnerships and funders and for scaling up impact so that farm to school and ECE are a norm in all communities across the U.S. The ideal candidate will possess a commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, access and belonging, as demonstrated through career, educational and life experience. The position reports directly to the NFSN Advisory Board. Location is flexible (anywhere within the U.S., with preference for proximity to Washington, D.C.). Estimated start date is April 2019.







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 | |








Tuesday, November 13, 2018

November 2018 Michigan School Garden newsletter


November 2018

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween and are ready for Thanksgiving!


Connecting the school garden to curriculum standards

by Kaitlin Wojciak


Resources to address the challenge of offering experiential education and meeting content standard requirements ideas


As a food enthusiast, passionate about education, you are probably aware that using the school garden as a teaching tool provides a beneficial learning environment for your students. Most educators won't argue this point. However, a real challenge and barrier to implementing garden education is tying educational activities to curriculum standards, such as Next Generation Science Standards or Common Core State Standards. Commitment to offering an experiential learning environment, layered on top of the wide variety of topics that can be addressed through the garden keeps teachers working to connect their lessons to the garden. Yet many teachers go at this alone, or without resources on how to formally connect their lesson plans to the standards they are expected to incorporate and meet in their classrooms. With the stack of requirements that teachers must meet, it can be difficult to track down aligned curricula or organizations that can assist in creating content and standard alignment.


The purpose of this article is to provide a few resources that have done some of the leg work in providing national standard aligned activities that are either intended to be used in the school garden or offer education about agriculture and food systems, that complement garden education. The resources featured here are not an exhaustive list, just a sampling of some that will hopefully be useful.


Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom has a searchable database for agriculture related lesson plans, most of which can be connected to garden education, under the premise of connecting to the broader food system and agriculture. The database can be filtered by grade level, content area, agricultural literacy outcomes, common core connections, state specific content, and state origin (this is a national database). This page also offers a searchable database for companion resources that may enhance your educational efforts. In addition to these resources, Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom has a number of other resources for educators that are worth checking out, like the mobile FARM science lab that can visit your school!


The Growing Classroom, a curriculum created by the school garden centric California non-profit, LifeLab, has been connected to both the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards. Each lesson has been associated to national standards they connect with, all of which can be discovered via a searchable database. LifeLab also offers a number of other resources on how to connect garden education to the national standards, which can be found at this page.


The Whole Kids Foundation and the American Heart Association partnered to author a set of 35 free lesson plans that explore school gardens, fruits, vegetables and healthy eating for ages Pre-K through 5th grade. Each individual lesson states which national standards under Common Core and Next Generation Science which it covers. Additionally, each lesson offers lesson extensions for other content areas, literature connections and resources helpful to carrying out the lesson and associated activities.


School garden partners in Wisconsin have authored a brief document providing an overview of tying school garden education to curriculum standards, along with a list of curricula and activities that are aligned to national standards.


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, see To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).



Resources to Start a School Garden

by Kristine Hahn


A few target resources can be very helpful when starting a school garden


Starting a school garden can appear to be a daunting task, and many of the parents and teachers I have consulted with often don't know where to begin.  Many times a few helpful resources can provide enough direction to get a good start.


How to Grow a School Garden by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle is a comprehensive guide to starting a school garden without being overwhelming.  This book begins with the benefits of school gardens and goes directly into the very first crucial but often overlooked step of "laying the groundwork" where you organize a team of school and community members to support the garden from start to finish.  This "Garden Team" is the primary step to long-term success and sustainability.  The book proceeds to thoroughly cover the rest of the process including site design, groundbreaking, budgeting and fundraising.  It also covers the fundamental process of integrating the garden into the curriculum – an important step that is key to unlocking the immense potential of the school garden as an experiential educational tool.  Other topics covered are a sampling of year-round garden lessons and activities along with school garden recipes and a helpful resource list.


Another good school garden "starter" resource is the School Garden Wizard website at  This wonderfully accessible resource has lots of useful information including a template to create a proposal for your school garden, how to organize a "Vision Meeting", steps to forming a "School Garden Team" and how to provide a multi-sensory environment that supports a diverse range of learning styles and abilities.


University of Georgia Extension also has a website of School Garden Resources at that includes a shorter guide to starting a school garden called Steps in Starting a School Garden at which includes a nice timeline template for starting a school garden.


For those looking for a more Farm to School perspective on school gardens including finding and buying local food, the webinar video "Planning Toolkit – School Gardens" by the USDA at may be a good choice to get started.


These are just a few of school garden starting guides available and I hope you find them useful.  If you have further questions about school gardens, please contact Kristine Hahn at 248-802-4590.


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, see 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
  • Budding Botanist Grant Due November 19th, 2018
    • Title I public or charter schools in the United States are eligible
    • Applicants must be planning a new or expanding an existing school garden program designed to teach about environmental sustainability and the importance of biodiversity
    • Awards include a $500 curriculum and garden tool package and a check for $2,500 to install or expand a school garden
    • Learn more and apply here
  • 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.
  • Cartons 2 Gardens Contest Registration open, final submissions due March 29th, 2019
    • K-12 public and private schools are eligible to participate
    • Participants start by collecting at least 100 empty cartons from home, community or cafeteria. Projects will construct purposeful garden items and structures using the cartons.
    • 15 projects will receive award packages for their entries, including one grand prize valued at $5,000
    • Register and learn more at this link
  • Community Health Impact Grants Optional concept papers due November 29th, Applications due January 17th, 2019
    • Non-profit organizations recognized by the IRS, based in Michigan with a current certified financial audit and 1 FTE are eligible to apply. The State of Michigan and local units of government are also eligible
    • Proposals must address one of the eight focal areas, including access to healthy food and wellness and fitness programs
    • Awards range from $15,000 - $100,000 for one to two years
    • Read the full RFP and learn more here
  • 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.
  • 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 $3,147 value) to implement salad bars as part of their daily meal program
    • For more information and to apply, follow this link.
  • 2019 Youth Garden Grant Due December 17th, 2018
    • Nonprofit organizations, public or private schools and youth programs in the United States or US Territories are eligible to apply
    • Projects must plan on starting a new garden program or expanding an established garden program that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18
    • Winners are selected on demonstrated program impact and sustainability
    • The top five program awards will be a grant package worth $2,100. An additional 20 grant packages worth $500 will be awarded.
    • Learn more and apply here
  • 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

MSU Extension Tollgate Farm and Education Center

MSU Tollgate Farm's Annual Maple Tapping and Pancake Feast on March 9th and 10th, 2019! 


Stay tuned for more information - registration opens soon, and tickets sell out fast!




  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


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Register for Around the Table, Wednesday, November 7th, 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Around the Table

"Setting the Table: Preparing for the Future of Local Food"


Wednesday, November 7th,
4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
North Central Michigan College
Iron Horse Cafe

1515 Howard Street
Petoskey, MI 49770

For more information: 231-881-2784

It's time to talk ...

What are the needs and what we can accomplish together to enhance local food and farming in our community?
Five years ago the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation convened a community meeting concerning their Good Food Initiative. At that meeting community members provided valuable input on immediate and long-term priorities for local food and farming activities.
At "Setting the Table" we will revisit the good work done at that meeting. Our objectives will be to celebrate the successes of the past five years, gather community input to identify new priorities, and set goals for advancing locally grown food in our region.
The event will include a Certified Local Food Event meal for all participants
, and it will be a Certified Zero Waste Event as well.

Local Food Dinner provided by Iron Horse Café, the Grain Train Natural Food Markets,and Crooked Tree Breadworks


Register for Around the Table!

Sponsors of Around the Table include:
Local Food Alliance, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation,  Grain Train Natural Foods Markets, Health Dept of NW Michigan, North Central Michigan College, Taste the Local Difference, Friendship Centers of Emmet County, 1Senior Homecare, Crooked Tree Breadworks, Emmet County Recycling, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities,  MSU Extension, Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology, and the USDA Risk Management Agency (This is an equal opportunity employer and provider)

--   Larry Dyer  231-881-2784