Blog Archive

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April 2020 School Garden newsletter


April 2020

Happy Spring School Gardeners!  Many school gardens are closed due to the pandemic, but there is an EXPLOSION of online educational opportunities – and it’s a great time to plan for a Fall school garden.



‘Victory Gardens ’ Born Out of Corona Virus Pandemic

By Liz Crampton, POLITICO Pro Agriculture’s morning newsletter

Re-printed with permission

The outbreak has sparked a desire among people — many for the first time — to grow their own food, and they’re flocking to garden stores to stock up on seeds and practical knowledge.

As the economy faltered and some grew worried about food security, Nate Kleinman, a farmer and community organizer, saw an opportunity to build a movement modeled after the wartime fruit and vegetable plots, The New York Times reports. During WWII, school and community gardeners produced close to 40 percent of the country’s fresh vegetables, from about 20 million gardens.

Of course, there is no evidence the U.S. food supply is unstable — despite infamous shots of empty grocery store shelves shared across social media this month. But many have compared the coronavirus outbreak to a war-like experience, as people hunker down out of safety.

Whether it's out of a concern about food access, or just a new hobby to keep people occupied while quarantined, community gardening is booming. Since just last week when the Cooperative Gardens Commission was formed, Kleinman heard from more than 1,000 people interested in getting involved in community gardening.

“This is a rapidly forming collective that’s organizing to help match resources to needs in the agriculture space, especially in community food production,” Kleinman said Thursday on a call with participants, which are held biweekly for people to swap ideas and provide updates on the movement.

Seed stores across the country are reporting record-high sales. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, based out of Mineral, Va., has seen an approximate 300 percent increase in orders since March 15. Rejoice Blackwood, an employee at Southern Exposure, said orders for spring and summer planting typically drop off at the end of March.

“Even though we aren’t done with March yet, we are making many more dollars than we would have expected, and we were required to shut down our website for three days because our inventory couldn’t keep up,” Blackwood said.

High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont has had a similar experience. “It’s been insane,” said employee Sara Riegler, of the uptick in sales. “I’ve had way more conversations with folks who have never gardened before and want to get into it.”

School Garden Grant Information


  • American Honda Foundation - Due dates three times/year current cycle due on 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 Foundation ecoSolution Grant Current cycle open from Mar 15 - Jul 15
    • Schools, nonprofits and other organizations classified as 501(c) (3) are eligible
    • Projects must: support solution-oriented, youth-led projects that result in real environmental outcomes; be based in the United States; only support direct project costs.
    • Award range is between $500 - $2500.
  • 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.
    • 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

  • Virtual School Garden Education Sessions 2020

Join us for a series of Michigan State University Extension free virtual school garden education sessions! The target audience for this series is formal and informal educators including school and community garden organizers. This series of four interactive, educational garden sessions will be offered every other Wednesday starting May 6 through June 17, 2020 at 10am. By registering for the entire series, you will be able to attend each session using the same link.

May 6 at 10am: Cool Kid Plants: Plants Every Kid Should Know and Grow with Norm Lownds. Are you looking for kid tested and approved plants for your school or home garden? This session will highlight a number of interesting, easy to grow plants that engage kids and get them growing!

May 20 at 10am: Pollinator Gardening with Children with Ellen Koehler. What are pollinators, and why are they important to us? How can we help pollinators? School and community garden leaders join us to explore ideas and resources for place-based learning about plants, pollinators, and pollination.

June 3 at 10am. Planning the Fall School Garden with Kristine Hahn. Learn about the best crops to grow and some important considerations when planning a fall school garden in the narrow window from September - November.

June 17 at 10am. Cover Crops for School Gardens with Will Jaquinde. Between social distancing and limited access to schools, cover crops are a low maintenance option to control weeds, improve soil, attract beneficial insects and more! Learn the basics on how to plant and manage cover crops to get the most out of them for this season and beyond.

Register to participate in the series here:

Please contact Kaitlin Wojciak ( with any questions.








  • Cornell Garden Based Learning:  webinars and online horticulture classes


  • Life Lab Webinars: School Garden webinars and other resources


  • MOFFA (Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance) Educational Opportunities  LOTS of organic farming workshops and conferences in Michigan


  • National Farm to School Network COVID-19 Information and Resource Hub


  • National Gardening Association Online Vegetables and Annual Flowers Course


  • National School Garden Network Best Practices Webinar series – usually FREE

o   Check out their upcoming and archived webinars


  • School Garden Support Network Covid-19 Resources


  • Teaching in Nature’s Classroom Online Course

May 18 – August 28, self-directed



Michigan State University (MSU) Extension helps people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities and businesses. For more than 100 years, MSU Extension has helped grow Michigan’s economy by equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and empower our children to dream of a successful future.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

FW: Applications Now Being Accepted - PY21 FoodCorps/AmeriCorps Service Members for Petoskey and Hillman Areas

From: Addell Anderson <addell.anderson@FOODCORPS.ORG>
Reply-To: Addell Anderson <addell.anderson@FOODCORPS.ORG>
Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 10:49 AM
Subject: Applications Now Being Accepted - PY21 FoodCorps/AmeriCorps Service Members for Petoskey and Hillman Areas


Colleagues - Please forward this announcement to interested parties.

The application portal for 2020-2021 FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Members is open through Thursday, April 30, 2020. If receiving this announcement after that date, contact Michigan Program Coordinator Ana Cristina Cujar Fox - – for instructions. The candidate must, at a minimum, serve 1,700 allowable hours between August 3, 2020 and July 16, 2021.

In Michigan, we have openings in the following communities:  Petoskey and Hillman. If applying for a Michigan placement, be sure to select the state as the preferred location on your application.

Who We Are

In order to successfully complete your term of service, you must, at a minimum, serve 1,700 allowable hours between August 3, 2020 and July 16, 2021.


FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders that connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy. We do that by placing motivated leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service. Serving under the direction of local partner organizations, our service members focus on three areas of service:

·      Hands-on learning: students grow, cook, and taste new foods, which builds their skills and changes in food preferences

·      Healthy school meals: the cafeteria experience steers students towards the healthiest options and gets them excited to try new healthy foods

·      Schoolwide culture of health: as a whole, the school community and environment – from hallways to classrooms to the cafeteria to grounds – celebrates healthy food. We measure our success in terms of changes in children, schools, and systems.

What We're Looking For

•        Passion for building a healthier future for schoolchildren

•        Commitment to working hard in order to make a difference

•        Demonstrated leadership ability

•        Motivation to serve full-time in a limited resource community

•        Perseverance in the face of challenges and creativity in finding solutions

•        Respect for the diversity of opinion, experience, and background

•        Experience working in or studying food systems, agriculture, public health, education, community organizing, or public service

•        Experience working or volunteering in education, youth development, or other teaching settings

•        Knowledge of the culture, history, and/or language of the communities we serve

•        Desire to gain hands-on experience for your career

•        Demonstrated ability or dedication to performing the activities listed below


To be considered for a FoodCorps service member position, you must:

•        Be 18 years or older by the start of your service term

•        Be a legal, permanent resident of the United States

•        Hold a high school diploma, GED or equivalent

What You'll Do

Service members work with schools, service site organizations and local communities to build healthy school food environments. They do this in a variety of ways:

  • Service members focus on teaching children in grades K-8 about food and nutrition in the classroom by developing and teaching lesson plans, integrating activities into subjects such as math, science and history, working with teachers and school administrators to increase food and nutrition education in curricula, and more.
  • Service members grow healthy food with students, teachers, and community members in school and community gardens, dynamic educational settings where kids can get their hands dirty and experience what they're learning first-hand. While some service members expand/maintain already-existing school gardens, greenhouses, and hoop houses, others work to establish new gardens. Service members develop garden sustainability plans and recruit community volunteers to ensure that the projects they start last into the future.
  • Service members impact what's for lunch by sourcing food from local farms for cafeterias, promoting local foods through cafeteria taste tests, working with school food directors and staff to integrate healthier foods into breakfast, lunch and snack programs, and more.
  • Service members help build schoolwide cultures of health by working closely with teachers and school administrators, recruiting and training volunteers, organizing committees and running meetings, talking to press and public officials.
  • Service members spend time learning and participating in trainings, raising money to help support the local projects, and helping FoodCorps and schools assess the impact they are having.

What You'll Gain

·      $18,250 living stipend paid out in biweekly increments over your 11-month term

·      $6,095 AmeriCorps Segal education award upon successful completion of your term of service, which can be used for additional schooling or to pay off student loans

·      Student loan deferral or forbearance upon approval from your lender

·      Health insurance if you aren't already covered

·      If you have children, you might be eligible for childcare reimbursements

·      Numerous training and professional development opportunities

·      The experience of a lifetime!

For More Information

 Contact FoodCorps Michigan Program Coordinator Ana Cristina Cujar -


Apply Today!




Addell Austin Anderson | FoodCorps

Michigan Program Director

440 Burroughs Street
Suite 306
Detroit, MI 48202

Cell: 313-409-6684





Addell Austin Anderson | FoodCorps

Michigan Program Director

440 Burroughs Street
Suite 306
Detroit, MI 48202

Cell: 313-409-6684


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Foodspeak is a listserv that connects growers, consumers, and everyone in between to create a community of sharing information relevant to food systems and the Michigan Good Food Charter. Content posted to Foodspeak does not necessarily reflect the views of Michigan State University, the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, or the Michigan Good Food Charter initiative.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

LIVE Virtual Farm Tour of a Michigan Dairy Farm

Life feels very overwhelming right now. While students are staying home and staying safe, we have a great virtual field trip to break up at-home schooling and continue the learning for them and their families! It will feel like they’ve left the house, and they’ll learn how Michigan dairy farmers produce delicious milk for all of us to enjoy. With many of you working hard to find ways to provide virtual learning opportunities for your students, United Dairy Industry of Michigan is offering teachers, students of all grades, and their families the unique opportunity to connect individually for a LIVE Virtual Field Trip to a Farm – that’s right! Live, in real time, on a Michigan Dairy Farm as they are producing the nutritious milk for the dairy foods we’re enjoying at home. This tour will be live streamed via Facebook and at


On Tuesday, April 21 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, visit a real Michigan dairy farm for a live video tour and chat with a farmer. Your students will get a peek at barns, calves, cows and more while learning firsthand how dairy farmers care for their cows, the land, and produce delicious milk for you to enjoy!

Visit Milk Means to register and find details to share with your students to participate in this live event.


Yours in health,



Amiee Vondrasek
Youth Wellness Manager

United Dairy Industry of Michigan
o: (517) 349-8923 ext 235

c: (517) 342-4393



Monday, April 13, 2020

CE & FDA certified masks & respirators, large number in stock


We are a team in Shanghai supplying CE&FDA certified 5ply masks. Currently we have 100.000 pieces of KN95 Respirators  in stocks.

Attached is our product information.

If you need any, please contact us as soon as possible.


Sue Xu

Customer Support


Mobile: +86 133 2583 8282      (Skype / WeChat)


Friday, April 10, 2020

FW: NEWS RELEASE: Michigan is First State to Provide Food to Families Affected by School Closings Caused by COVID-19


Please see below for news about the new Pandemic EBT Program (P-EBT) approved for Michigan, which will be available to families with school-aged children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals. You can also read more in this USDA press release.


Be well,


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 | |



Sent: Thursday, April 9, 2020 4:47 PM
Subject: NEWS RELEASE: Michigan is First State to Provide Food to Families Affected by School Closings Caused by COVID-19



News from the State Emergency Operations Center

Michigan is First State to Provide Food to Families
Affected by School Closings Caused by COVID-19
Families with children who received free, reduced-cost
lunches at school qualify for new program

LANSING, MICH. Michigan has become the first state in the country to gain federal approval of a program that will provide nutritious food to children who were affected by school closings due to COVID-19. 

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) provides temporary funding to address emergency food needs and avert financial hardship for families affected by the pandemic.  

The food assistance benefits will go to Michigan families with students ages 5-18 who are enrolled in the Michigan Department of Education program for students eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and will reach approximately 895,000 students. This includes families currently receiving Food Assistance Program benefits as well as those not currently enrolled in the program. 

These additional benefits will fortify and supplement the important efforts that local school districts will continue to put forth, providing nutritious school meals to children at over 2,000 stationary locations and nearly 700 mobile sites throughout Michigan.

"I am proud that Michigan is the first state to receive federal approval for this program to put healthy food on the table for families that need them," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. "The spread of COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our state. My administration will continue to work around the clock to help Michiganders through this difficult time and slow the spread of this virus."

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) received authorization from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services to provide the additional food assistance.

"Children should never go hungry. Yet because of COVID-19, it is a risk unlike at any time in generations," said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. "I am glad that Michigan will be the first state to deliver SNAP benefits to families that previously received free or reduced-price lunches, whether or not they were SNAP-eligible. In a time of terrible need, it will be a small, good thing for nearly a million Michigan children." 

Families not currently receiving food assistance benefits will receive an EBT card.

Eligible families not currently receiving food assistance benefits will receive in the mail a pre-loaded Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) card – known as a Bridge Card – issued under the name of the oldest student in the household.

The amount of EBT benefits will be no less than the total amount of free or reduced-cost school lunch benefits that the family would have received during the time that school is closed. The benefits will include $193.80 per eligible student to cover the months of March and April and an additional $182.40 per student to cover May and June combined. 

Benefits for all eligible school-aged children in the home will be loaded onto this one EBT card. Prior to receiving the card, families will get a letter from MDHHS describing how to use their EBT card, how to set up their PIN, and other pertinent information about food assistance benefits. EBT cards can be used much like a debit card for food items only purchased in-person at SNAP retailers 

Families who are not already receiving food assistance benefits should start receiving MDHHS notices in the mail late next week, with the EBT cards arriving by the first week of May. 

Families currently receiving food assistance benefits will receive additional benefits on their EBT Bridge Cards.

Eligible families currently receiving food assistance benefits will be issued a supplement to their existing benefits. Supplemental benefits can be used as families would typically use their EBT card. Families who already receive food assistance benefits should begin receiving their additional benefits next week – with the payments being staggered over a 10-day period. 

Families can use their pre-loaded EBT cards at any retailer that accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT benefits. You can find a list of SNAP retailers on the SNAP Retailers website

Information around coronavirus outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and  


Contact: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112 or


Thursday, April 2, 2020

Supporting our Michigan farm to school community through COVID-19

April 2020
Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers,

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges and concerns to our tables. Our work at MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is evolving in response to the effects of COVID-19 but the goal of creating a food system that is equitable, accessible, healthy, fair, diverse, and sustainable remains. 

We have compiled a list of resources that may be helpful for early care and K-12 education sites looking for food-related resources related to COVID-19, including food assistance, local producer resources, food safety, and guidance on managing stress and anxiety.

Thank you for your continued work for children and families in Michigan. We will continue to stay in communication and provide whatever support we can. Please email us if you have a need that we may be able to help with.
Planning and Planting a Garden Can Help Children Manage COVID-19 Stress
Planning and then planting a garden can help children and their families address some of the challenges of schools being closed. Learning opportunities abound when planning a garden, with the benefit of not feeling like traditional school work. As children plant seeds and care for plants, they can contribute to their family’s food supply as well.

How Districts are Feeding Students During School Closures
Creative and hard-working school leaders, food service personnel, and community members are working to make sure children across the U.S. are receiving meals despite school closures.

Read more to find out the different ways communities are making sure kids don’t miss a meal.
Battle Creek School Closures Not Shutting Down Meals
Thanks to food service personnel and school leaders, many school districts in the Battle Creek area are serving students at least two meals a day despite school closures. Partnering with FireKeepers, food pantries, and businesses, the local community is collaborating to make sure families have access to food.

Addressing Food Security in Warren Through Nutrition Education
Knowing how to cook healthy foods on a budget is an important aspect of a nutrition-education program in Warren. Covering nutrition, food, and safety, Gleaner’s Cooking Matters class teaches students and their families lasting skills to improve nutrition and health.

Read more about the systems change taking place in this local Michigan community.
Quality of School Lunches Depends on Who Makes Them
The Labor of Lunch by Jennifer E. Gaddis illustrates the importance of school food service personnel in making and serving quality school lunches. The value of these workers has been made even clearer as nearly 30 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program are at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Join the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
March 30 - April 19

Sign up for Food Solutions New England's annual 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge (you can still sign up even though the challenge has started)! The Challenge is a great way to learn about the history and impacts of racism on our current food system. It also offers participants helpful resources and tools for integrating racial equity into their work and daily lives.

Racial Equity in the Food System: Perceptions, Reality, and the Road Ahead
April 15
3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT

This webinar, led by the Racial Equity in the Food System (REFS) workgroup, will involve a discussion based on the findings from a national survey of REFS webinar registrants. Learn how food system educators are making progress towards equity goals and how to overcome limitations in utilizing an equity lens in your work.

Resources for Food Systems Challenges Related to COVID-19
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is compiling an ongoing list of resources that may be helpful for early care and K-12 education sites looking for food-related resources related to COVID-19, including food assistance, local producer resources, food safety, and guidance on managing stress and anxiety.

Resources for Unanticipated School Closures Summer Food Service Program
The Michigan Department of Education has an updated list of resources for sites serving meals through this program. Resources include COVID-19 food safety recommendations, outreach materials, and contact information for food vendors, including a list of local food suppliers from Cultivate Michigan.
COVID-19 Resources for Farm to School and Early Care and Education from National Farm to School Network
The National Farm to School Network is compiling resources from across the nation related to COVID-19 that will be relevant to the farm to school and farm to early care and education community. Their page is being updated on a regular basis. 

Food Access, COVID-19, and Equity: Questions for Your Community
For government officials, employers, community leaders, and even businesses, thinking about access to food in the coming months for the nearly 40 million Americans who struggle with food insecurity will be even more important. The Rockefeller Foundation has four questions to help guide responses as we face the disruption in the food system and address critical challenges to ensure equity in our response together.

Farm to Summer Planning Guide Available
The Center for Ecoliteracy's summer planning guide is now available with tips and best practices to support farm to summer planning.

Check out the Farm to Summer Planning Guide.
Webinar Series: Food Literacy for All
Food Literacy for All is a community-academic partnership course at the University of Michigan. Using an evening lecture series format, it features different weekly guest speakers to address challenges and opportunities of diverse food systems.

Small Bites Storytime Videos
Looking for some educational activities at home for your young ones? Small Bites Adventure Club has storytime videos available for children to learn about seasonal produce. The vegetable featured this month is carrots.

No Kid Hungry Grants Available to Support Coronavirus Response
No Kid Hungry is offering emergency grants to support local school districts and nonprofit organizations in their efforts to ensure kids get the nutritious food they need. Complete their grant request form to find out if your organization is eligible for funding.

Funding Opportunities Related to COVID-19
Grant Station has a list of funding opportunities for non-profits related to COVID-19, updated daily. Funding sources in this listing are not limited to hunger relief, health, and schools.

About Michigan Farm to School

Farm to School centers around efforts to serve local foods in school and early care and education settings. We share ideas, tools and resources to support a range of efforts, from school garden programming to farmer visits and field trips.

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