Blog Archive

Friday, July 31, 2020

Preparing for farm to school this fall

August 2020
Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers,

August has traditionally been a month of preparing for back-to-school. Preparations for this school year include considerations for both in-person and remote learning. Early childhood education settings and schools will approach learning in new and perhaps different forms than previous years.

MSU Center for Regional Food Systems continues to update our list of resources that may be helpful for early care and K-12 education sites looking for food-related resources during the pandemic and as educators prepare for the beginning of the school year.

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.
Atlanta School Gardens Maintained by Urban Farmers During Pandemic
Ten farmers are working with the Captain Planet Foundation and Food Well Alliance to revive learning gardens across the metro Atlanta area, bringing over 20,000 square feet of farmable land back to life during the pandemic. The project is expected to provide thousands of pounds of food for the schools' students and their families.

USDA Dietary Guidelines Scientific Report Released
The USDA recently published the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final scientific report. For the first time, this report puts emphasis on appropriate nutrition during the period from birth to age 24 months and during pregnancy and lactation. This report will inform the USDA’s guidelines and recommendations for what Americans should eat and drink to prevent disease and promote overall health.

Challenges with Federal Assistance for Young Farmers and Farmers of Color
Coronavirus relief efforts across the country have excluded farmers of color and young and first generation farmers. The programs' limited crop eligibility, reporting requirements, and requirements for citizenship status have left many young farmers and farmers of color out.

USDA Announces a Third Round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program Purchases
Between September 1 and October 31, the third round of USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program will distribute an additional $3 billion worth of agricultural products to families across the country. As of July 29, over 50 million food boxes have been delivered.

National CACFP Sponsors Association's Child Nutrition Virtual Summit
August 11-12, 18-19

Child care centers, home-based providers, tribal nations, schools, and afterschool programs looking for food program training can earn up to 20 hours of Continuing Education Credits at this virtual summit!

Join the Great Lakes Apple Crunch
October 8 (or any time in October!)

Last year 1.8 million students, children, teachers, and more participated in the Great Lakes Apple Crunch. Celebrate National Farm to School Month this October by crunching into locally and regionally grown apples!

The Power of Food: Cultivating Equitable Policy Through Collective Action
September 20-22, 2021
Kansas City, Missouri

The John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Food Policy Network will host their first-ever national forum for food policy councils and similar groups. This gathering aims to foster learning and sharing and transform how food policy councils imagine policy change for healthy and equitable communities.

Line of brown paper lunch bags with a red and green apple in front.
Team Nutrition School Feeding Resources
USDA’s Team Nutrition has compiled a variety of food service resources for summer and as schools and early childhood education programs transition into the school year:
Farm to School Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Bias Resources
To create more inclusive learning environments that are reflective of our communities, farm to school and farm to early care and education programs should follow equitable best practices to help children, teachers, and staff develop racial awareness. This resource from Growing Minds includes a literature list and external resources to learn about race, racism, diversity, and inclusion.

Rebuilding Our Food Systems with Leadership from Schools
This co-authored op-ed from the National Farm to School Network and the Urban School Food Alliance highlights the opportunity for school cafeterias to lead the work of rebuilding the food system and making sure everyone is treated fairly along the food supply chain. 

Chef Ann Foundation Launches Healthy Food Facebook Group for Families
Families interested in learning more about healthy food can check out a new Facebook group from The Chef Ann Foundation. Join the group for recipes for K-12 kids, inspiration and food tips, and opportunities for conversations with a resident nutritionist. Although the group is focused on Colorado families, anyone can be a member.

Video: What is Farm to Summer?
Learn about sustainable growing practices, local farmers, and how fresh, local foods are brought to summer meal programs! In this video from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, you will virtually tour two Atlanta farms to learn more about growing and harvesting food.

Video: Caring for a Garden with Young Children
Check out this video from Georgia Organics and Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education to learn tips for gardening with children up to 5 years old. 

Eight-Week Program for Food Entrepreneurs 
Deadline: August 8

Innovating within kids’ snacking, alternative distribution channels, traceability systems, or regenerative agriculture? Entrepreneurs selected for the Good Food Makers program will learn from experts in marketing, consumer insights, manufacturing, supply chain, distribution and more.

Request for Applications: Innovating Formal and Non-Formal Educational Experiences in Food and Agricultural Sciences During the Time of Social Distancing
Deadline: August 20

USDA AFRI’s Education and Workforce Development program has announced a new priority area for 2020. This priority addresses the need to develop and deploy strategies in workforce preparation through formal K-14 education, as well as in youth development through non-formal (e.g., extension) education to cultivate interest and competencies in STEM and agriculture during the pandemic.

Help MSU Extension Learn More About Farm to Institution Produce Safety
Deadline: August 31

If you purchase fresh produce for an institution or know someone that does, this survey is for you! The aim of this survey is to gather data on accepted food safety verification programs for fresh produce, awareness of the program’s requirements for farms, and confidence in these verification programs.

Take or share the survey and contact Mariel Borgman ( with questions.
Cigna Foundation's Healthier Kids For Our Future Grant Program
Deadline: September 30

In 2019, Cigna Foundation kicked off Healthier Kids for Our Future, an initiative aimed at improving the health and well-being of children around the world. They are seeking applications for programs that address food insecurity and are focused on delivering food and nutritional education to children.

Honoring School Food Heroes Campaign
School food service workers have worked to ensure children have had meals every day during the pandemic and supported local food producers in the process. Join TIPS for School Meals That Rock, Chef Ann Foundation, Life Time Foundation, Wellness in the Schools, and Whole Kids Foundation in celebrating school food service workers.

FoodCorps logo
FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member
FoodCorps is seeking a service member to serve with Muskegon Public Schools. Service members work with schools, service site organizations and local communities to build healthy school food environments.

For more information, contact FoodCorps Michigan Program Coordinator Quan Blunt at and apply today!
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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