Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

News & resources related to school closures and COVID-19

Greetings friends,


As communities and families across the state are learning how to manage day-to-day life without schools in session, we will do our best to share timely news and resources, especially those related to food programs provided through schools and early care and education (ECE) sites, to help us work through this unprecedented time together.





The USDA Unanticipated School Closures Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is an option for schools to continue serving meals despite school closures.

According to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) website, "Due to the mandatory closure of all Michigan K-12 schools, the Michigan Department of Education is allowing all Sponsors who participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and SFSP to serve meals during this time. During this mandatory closure meals/snacks served must meet the meal pattern and are not required to be consumed onsite."

Municipal governments and community non-profit organizations are also able to serve as sponsors of this program. You can find information about the program from MDE here, including an intake form and FAQs here.


USDA household food programs are also available through MDE's Food Distribution Program, including The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and Commodity Supplemental Food Program for seniors. Find a searchable map here and directory here of agencies and locations providing food through these programs in Michigan.




How to find free lunch for Michigan kids with schools shut down from MLive includes a list of how some school districts are planning for food distribution during school closures.

Michigan releases interactive map locating free meals for children during coronavirus school closures also from MLive includes a link to a map of locations serving school meals at Click on each location on the map for meal times and days offered. Please note that this map will be updated regularly as MDE receives more information from sponsors as they plan for the weeks ahead.


USDA Announces Feeding Program Partnership in Response to COVID-19 to provide meals to children in some rural areas.





No Kid Hungry Grants Available to Support Coronavirus Response

No Kid Hungry is offering emergency grants to support local school districts and nonprofit organizations that are working to get kids the nutritious food they need. Learn more and apply here





Webinar: Serving Students School Meals During COVID-19
Wednesday, March 18 // 2pm ET
Join the School Nutrition Association, USDA, Food Research Action Center (FRAC), and school food service operations for information on guidelines and practical ideas for serving kids meals when schools are closed. Register here


Webinar: Serving Meals During COVID-19: Out-of-School Time Partners

Thursday, March 19 // 2pm ET
The Food Research Action Center (FRAC) is also hosting this webinar for out-of-school time program providers and non-school meal sponsors who can collaborate with school districts to ensure meals are provided when schools are closed. Register here


Postponed: 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

National Farm to School Network has postponed the 10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, originally scheduled for April 21-23 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to a future date. They are working to announce the new conference dates as quickly as possible. Read more information on NFSN's Latest News page.



Thank you for all you do to support your communities, and best wishes for the safety and good health.


Colleen Matts

(she, her, hers)

Farm to Institution Specialist

Coordinator, Michigan Farm to Institution Network

Core Partner, National Farm to School Network

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems | 517.432.0310 | |



Thursday, March 12, 2020

Tell your Good Food story with photos! No camera or photo skills needed.

MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is running a project to equip community members, food and farm businesses, and advocates to tell their own good food stories through photography. 

*You don’t have to have a camera or photography skills to participate!*

Please see below information or visit the webpage for details. 

Deadline to apply is Monday, March 31, 2020.
Three people holding vegetables in front of their hoophouse.
People across Michigan are building a good food system that creates a more equitable, sustainable, and economically thriving Michigan. This is the Michigan Good Food movement.
The goal of this project is to equip community members, food and farm businesses, and advocates to tell their own good food stories through photography.

How it works
You don’t have to have a camera or photography skills to participate! When you apply to be a part of the project you can pick one of two ways to participate:
- Option 1 - 
Receive basic high-resolution photography equipment and participate in a webinar training on:
  • how to use the equipment, and
  • how to take great pictures.

This equipment is for the participants to keep. In return, each participant is expected to contribute at least 40 photos to the shared photo library. We hope that individuals will continue to share their food story through photos after the project.
- Option 2 - 
Propose a photo session with a professional photographer. If you can identify a photographer local to you, that’s ideal. If you can’t, we can help you find someone. 

If you are selected, you agree that your photos/photo session could be featured in upcoming Michigan Good Food publications. A selection of the photos will be featured at the Michigan Good Food Summit, on November 16, 2020. 

Expectations for participation
The primary goal of this project is to create a library of photos that tell the story of people building a food system that creates a more equitable, sustainable, and economically thriving Michigan.

We want to provide photography for people and organizations to tell their stories and promote and share their efforts long after this project’s timeline.

The following expectations are necessary to accomplish this goal:
  • Participants will contribute a set of 40 or more photos to the library.
  • Applicants will work with the review team between April 1- April 10 to answer questions, respond to feedback, and revise their proposal as needed. 
  • Applicants and participants will communicate with MSU Center for Regional Food Systems in a timely fashion via email or phone.
  • Option 1 participants will participate in the webinar or in-person training in April 2020.
  • Participants will document photo release permissions as needed for any person(s) in the photos that they contribute to the library.
  • Participants give permission for all photos contributed to the library to be used in Michigan Good Food Charter related publications and promotions. Photo credit will be given. 

Proposal guidelines
Proposals for Option 1 must be submitted through the Option 1 survey.
Proposals for Option 2 must be submitted through the Option 2 survey.

Proposals are due by 6:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31 and must include:

  • For individuals: a brief description of your experience or involvement in food
  • For businesses and organizations: a brief description of how your organization is involved in Michigan’s food system
  • A brief description and list of the kinds of photos you anticipate taking. If selected, you are not limited to these photos. This description will help us to select participants that represent the diversity of Michigan’s food narratives, including but not limited to: 
  • Places: urban, suburban, and rural communities, businesses, community organizations, farms, warehouses, transportation, restaurants, stores, markets, cafeterias, schools, childcare sites, etc.
  • Activities: growing plants, raising livestock, processing, packaging, distributing and selling products, receiving/sorting orders, preparing food for sale or consumption, serving food, eating, food council meetings, etc.
  • People: farmers, farm workers, field scouts, packers, processors, drivers/delivery, sales associates, stocking associates, cooks, food service workers, volunteers, youth, etc.
  • Any other notes you wish to make
  • If proposing Option 2, please also include:
  • a description of the proposed photo session, including:
  • Where it will take place
  • Who and what will be photographed (see places, activities, and people listed above for examples)
  • name and contact information for the photographer who you propose working with 

Submission and review
  • Proposals are due by 6:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31. A confirmation email will be sent within 48 hours of receiving your proposal.
  • Proposals for Option 1 must be submitted through the Option 1 survey
  • Proposals for Option 2 must be submitted through the Option 2 survey
  • Preference will be given to proposals for Option 1, because this project aims to provide equipment and skills so that participants continue to tell their stories and promote and share their efforts long after this project’s timeline.
  • We will let you know whether you have been selected within one week of the final review team meeting.
  • We encourage under-represented people and organizations - including persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities - to apply.

If you have questions about submitting a proposal or need to request special accommodations, please contact Andrea Weiss at

Who can submit a proposal?
If you are involved in building a Michigan food system that promotes equity, health, sustainability, and thriving economies, you can apply!
Here are some examples of people and organizations that we encourage to apply:
Organizations led by people of color
Local food council members
Community garden organizers
Early care and education sites doing farm to early care and education or local food sourcing
Farmers & farm workers
Food service providers (institutional or contracted) and food service workers
Food hubs, distributors, and processors
Food entrepreneurs/small businesses that are increasing access to affordable, healthy food

Wondering if you’re eligible? Contact Andrea Weiss at

Process and timeline
March 31: Proposal submission deadline
April 1 - April 10: Proposals reviewed and responded to, revisions requested if needed
April 10: Revised proposal deadline
April (exact date to be determined): Instructional webinar
May - June 2020: Professional photo sessions
July 31: Submission deadline for photos to be used in 2020 Michigan Good Food Charter
September 30: Submission deadline to be used in the 2020 Michigan Good Food Summit, a statewide conference

We look forward to reading your application!
CALL 517-353-3535
You are receiving this email because you are subscribed to one or more CRFS listserv(s). 
Please note that if you unsubscribe from this mailing, you will be removed from the listserv(s).

Monday, March 9, 2020

FW: Reminder - Seeking a Food Systems Specialist at the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

Happy Monday morning! This is a reminder of this new position opening at MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Applications are due March 11th!




Colleen Matts

(she, her, hers)

Farm to Institution Specialist

Coordinator, Michigan Farm to Institution Network

Core Partner, National Farm to School Network

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems | 517.432.0310 | |



​Greetings! We're seeking a full-time Food Systems Specialist to join our team at the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.


The full position description is below and available on the MSU Careers website by searching for posting #636431. Applications will be accepted until March 11, 2020.


Please share with your networks. Thank you!



Food Systems Specialist - Posting #636431



Position Summary

The Center for Regional Food Systems within the Department of Community Sustainability is seeking a full-time Specialist - Outreach to support capacity-building among and facilitate technical assistance to Michigan local food councils, Michigan food and health organizations, and countrywide grantees in the federal Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP).

The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, or GusNIP, supports programs that provide nutrition incentives – including produce prescription programs and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program incentives – to help families bring home more nutritious fruits and vegetables. The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition will lead a newly-established Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation and Information Center. Core partners in the project include Fair Food Network, National Grocers Association, National Farmers Market Coalition, and the Michigan Farmers Market Association. CRFS will be a consultant to the project. 


One half of this position will lead efforts with statewide food and health networks and associations and work with current Michigan Local Food Council Network coordinators to support councils, seeking to build organizations' capacity to execute their individual and collective priorities. This includes assisting local food councils in building their capacity to serve as a critical piece of the Michigan Good Food infrastructure by communicating across communities statewide, setting and advancing policy priorities in the development of a post-2020 Michigan Good Food Charter, and playing an active role in a statewide food policy voice once developed.


The other half of this position will be devoted to coordinating the Center's involvement in providing local food sourcing and food system equity technical assistance, network facilitation, and educational resources development to grantees of the federal GusNIP program.  GusNIP grantee assistance will center on the topics of local food sourcing and food system equity, with the goal of maximizing the efficiency and impact of GusNIP projects. Types of assistance include one-on-one grantee assistance, webinars, best practice bulletins, and other resource materials.  The candidate will provide a portion of this technical assistance and will coordinate technical assistance provision by other CRFS staff.


This position is an opportunity for a collaborative, network-oriented, resourceful candidate to join teams supporting local and statewide food and health groups in Michigan and GusNIP grantees across the U.S.

Position expectations

  1. Plan content for and facilitate capacity-building among local food councils and statewide food and health network/associations in areas such as racial equity, membership, fund development, and policy advocacy through in-person or virtual training, peer-to peer learning, technical assistance, and webinars. Assist councils in building capacity to serve as a critical piece of the Michigan Good Food infrastructure and participate in a statewide food policy voice.
  2. Contribute to relationship-building among and across statewide food and health networks/associations and local food councils, including via site visits across these groups.
  3. Assist in making and administering mini-grants to local food councils using a participatory grantmaking process.
  4. Lead or contribute to development of outreach and scholarly publications on networks and learnings; distribute information of interest to networks via calendar, e-newsletter, website, and directory of councils and statewide food and health networks/associations.
  5. Contribute to reporting and reimbursement requests on current funding and developing grant proposals to support new/continued work.
  6. Coordinate and be primary contact for the Center's role as a technical assistance and content provider to GusNIP grantees through one-on-one grantee consultations, webinars, and best-practice informational resources such as bulletins, resource guides, and videos. Some content and technical assistance will be provided by the candidate selected and some by other CRFS staff.
  7. Coordinate the community of practice on local and regional sourcing for GusNIP grantees and project partners.
  8. Co-coordinate the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion community of practice for GusNIP grantees and project partners.
  9. Participate in and represent CRFS in recurring calls and semi-annual convenings of GusNIP NTAE content providers, core partners, and grantees.

Expected of all CRFS academic specialists

  1. Engage with relevant networks led by CRFS and/or partners and appropriate professional organizations;
  2. Document and share project work and accomplishments; maintain regular internal and external communication about project activities; write grant reports; develop and report on an annual plan of work;
  3. Actively participate in CRFS staff and strategic meetings and stay current on CRFS projects, activities, resources and publications as relevant to this work;
  4. Represent projects and CRFS in a professional manner in all forms of engagement and communication; and
  5. Help to foster, facilitate, and maintain the CRFS culture of anti-racism, trust, support and accountability.



  1. Bachelor's degree required; Master's degree or comparable experience preferred.  Prefer background in community food systems, food policy, planning, community development, or a related field.
  2. Minimum of three years' experience working with local food councils, and/or local/regional food sourcing and procurement in retail or institutional settings.
  3. Demonstrated experience using an equity lens in food systems educational programming and working with multicultural and diverse populations.
  4. Demonstrated project leadership, management, and grant-writing experience.
  5. Proven ability to effectively and diplomatically engage and collaborate with diverse stakeholder groups such as project grantees, nonprofit, academic, and governmental organizations, and funders. Experience in network-building and group facilitation.
  6. Demonstrated resourcefulness and ability to problem-solve and think critically. Proven to self-direct and balance multiple projects simultaneously and to easily shift between working independently and as part of a team.
  7. Demonstrated strong written and verbal communications skills and experience using a broad range of communication tactics.
  8. Fluency in Spanish highly desired.
  9. 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.
  10. Available to occasionally travel throughout the state and, less frequently, within the US, including overnight. Possession of a valid, current state driver's license required.

Required Application Materials

  1. CV
  2. Cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position
  3. Names and contact information of three references

Special Instructions

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.

Center for Regional Food Systems

The mission of the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University is to work 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.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

MSU Affirmative Action Statement

The MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University is committed to achieving excellence by creating and sustaining an accessible and inclusive culture that values cultural and academic diversity. We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. The CANR is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that academic excellence is achieved through open access and proactive inclusion.

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. Michigan State University is a pioneer Land Grant institution based in East Lansing, Michigan that provides regional, national, and international leadership in basic and applied research, excellence in teaching, an emphasis on international engagement, and a strong extension program that partners with diverse stakeholders to bring science-based responses to social and environmental challenges.




Andrea Weiss

Communications Director

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems 

Natural Resources Building

480 Wilson Road, Room 309

East Lansing, MI 48824

(517) 432-0283 

MSU Center for Regional Food Systems Facebook and Twitter