Blog Archive

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Growing change: Cultivating farm to school and racial equity

July 2020
Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers,

Summertime harvests have just begun, but fall will be here before we know it! Now is a great time to start planning for the many changes we might see in Michigan K-12 and early care classrooms.

On June 30, Governor Whitmer announced the next steps for school reopening in the fall. In this edition of the Michigan Farm to School newsletter, we are sharing some resources and opportunities that may help you continue your farm to school work during the pandemic.

We are also highlighting several resources and an event focused on food sovereignty and racial equity to help you continue to cultivate this work.

We expect that farm to early care and K-12 education will continue to evolve in these changing times. MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is still updating our list of resources that may be helpful for early care and K-12 education sites looking for food-related resources during the pandemic.
USDA Extends School Meal Flexibilities through June 2021
Since our June newsletter, USDA has further extended school nutrition flexibilities for the School Breakfast Program (SBP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) through June 30, 2021. This includes allowing children to be served meals outside of group settings, meal pick up by parents/guardians, and non-standard serving of meals, including grab-and-go options.

Feeding a Michigan Community with Edible Schoolyards
A Lansing school garden offers an opportunity for students and their families to access fresh produce and learn more about the fruits and vegetables they are eating as part of an after school and summer growing program. Through this program, children are receiving lessons on nutrition and cooking using foods and recipes from around the world.

Minnesota Department of Education Awarding Funds for Farm to School
In a response to changes in how schools offer food service to students during the pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Education is offering funds to support farm to school. These grants are allowing school districts to respond to needs in food service, including equipment and expanded product purchases.

Oregon Families Receive Food Boxes and Share Results
Nearly 2,000 boxes of food were distributed to Oregon families as part of the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program. Families shared photos of the recipes they made using products from the boxes on social media.

The Hunger for Justice Broadcast Series
A Growing Culture is hosting weekly live broadcasts with different hosts involved in the food movement and on the frontlines of COVID-19 in a series called The Hunger for Justice. Themes like gender equality, farmworker rights, trade policy, seed patents, climate change, and land grabs will be explored through the lens of food sovereignty.

Buy Local and Support Michigan Farmers and Food Businesses
The Cultivate Michigan Sourcing Guide includes ways to find local farmers and sourcing information from distributors and food hubs for 24 Michigan agriculture products, from asparagus to winter squashes. You can visit the Cultivate Michigan website to learn more about seasonal Featured Foods and efforts to track local food purchases.

(Note that not all sourcing information is up to date for the 2020 season, but the information included can serve as a guide for talking with sales reps and staff from food businesses offering local foods.)
Local Food in COVID-19 Response and Recovery
This fact sheet from the National Farm to School Network shares some promising practices to support the local food purchasing by schools and early care and education sites during the pandemic. Additional promising practices are offered to support healthy food access for families.

Family Farmers and Farmworkers Face the Virus: How Food Sovereignty Activists See the Crisis as a Pivotal Moment for Change
FoodFirst released a special edition backgrounder sharing experiences of farmers and agricultural workers during the pandemic. Malik Yakini of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network shares his perspective about the impacts of the coronavirus on food in Detroit.

Books featured on the Epicurious food and race reading list
Reading Lists For Learning About Race and Food Justice
These reading lists from Epicurious and FoodCorps focus on books that explore the intersections of food and race. As you and your organization engage in anti-racism activities, we encourage you to start learning through books!
The Significance of Farm to Early Care and Education in the Context of COVID-19
Farm to ECE is a tool to meet the goals, vision, and values of early care and education programs. Farm to ECE is becoming even more relevant during the pandemic as ECE providers work to meet the needs of children and families. This fact sheet can help you connect with interested providers, families, communities, and stakeholders to help build or rebuild farm to ECE initiatives and activities.

Gardening Projects and Online Learning Resources from BIPOC
Online resources developed by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and “how to” videos about food, farming and gardening projects have been curated and shared by Soul Fire Farm.

Gardener pours seeds into her hands
Farm to School Resources for Summer Learning At Home
Farm to Table: A Play on Farm to School at Home was developed by Action for Healthy Kids to help adapt farm to school at home. Explore the tips and resources to help kids learn about where their food comes from and why healthy food is important.

Vidigrow Home Gardening Videos for Parents and Kids feature simple gardening activities to support school gardening for children ages 6 to 12. Each video lesson can be used in schools or homes - no garden required. Check the videos out on the Vidigrow YouTube channel
Reinvestment Fund's 2020 Healthy Food Financing Initiative Targeted Small Grants Program
Deadline: July 10

Grants ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 are available from the 2020 Healthy Food Financing Initiative for food retail and enterprises. Grants are intended for programs working to increase or improve access to healthy foods in priority areas, create and maintain jobs, and revitalize communities.

Call for Proposals: Transforming School Food Politics Around the World
Deadline: July 15

Sarah Robert and Jennifer Gaddis are seeking contributions for a second volume of School Food Politics, tentatively titled Transforming School Food Politics Around the World. This edited volume will contain a curated collection of case studies that can help scholars, activists, policymakers, and students envision and create school food programs that are fair, culturally relevant, healthy, and sustainable.

Call for Proposals: 2020 Michigan Good Food Virtual Summit
Deadline: July 31

The 2020 Michigan Good Food Virtual Summit will be a series of webinars featuring stories, presentations, and panel discussions from communities and organizations across Michigan. The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is seeking proposals for webinar sessions, particularly on topics related to the impacts of COVID-19 and the importance of education and racial equity in the food system.

FoodCorps Michigan Program Coordinator
Deadline: Rolling

FoodCorps is seeking a motivated and passionate individual to lead, coach, and support a cohort of 15+ FoodCorps service members and FoodCorps programming in Michigan. This position will be responsible for coaching and supporting emerging leaders to implement high quality programs in schools across the state.

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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