Blog Archive

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Start the new school year with fresh ideas

September 2020
Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers,

As we head back to school - whether in-person or virtually - this month's newsletter offers ideas to rethink and reimagine classroom spaces, revitalize menus, and invigorate nutrition education and gardening practices.

With October right around the corner, be sure to check out resources for Farm to School month too!
Will Changes to School Meals That Have Made Low-Income Kids Healthier Last?
The addition of more fresh vegetables and whole grains in school lunches has been successful in addressing health concerns for children from limited income families. However, with recent changes to USDA funding, whether this trend will persist is now the question that’s on the table.

Equity in Farm to School
Jamese Kwele, Director of Food Equity at Ecotrust and board member for the National Farm to School Network Board, gave a keynote at the Northeast Farm to School Institute this summer.

Read about or listen to her keynote on equity in farm to school.
Outdoor Classrooms Offered as Alternative to Remote Learning
As the pandemic continues, schools across the country explore options for outdoor classrooms as an alternative to remote learning. One example is Detroit Waldorf School, a participant in the Michigan Farm to Early Care and Education Procurement Pilot.

Read more about how families, educators, students, and communities are working together to create outdoor classrooms and support learning for students.
Summary of COVID-19 Child Nutrition Program Nationwide Waivers
No Kid Hungry offers a summary of the 47 COVID-19 Child Nutrition Program waivers and extensions provided to date from USDA in one convenient document.

Food Distribution at the Farmers Market Using Scrip Model
An innovative way to manage and distribute free food and support farmers is being used at the Hana Farmers Market in Hawai’i. Using county funding, customers are offered scrips (tickets) to use directly for the purchase of produce. The Hana Farmers Market has developed a resource to share implementation of the scrip program.

COVID-Friendly Outdoor Classroom Infrastructure and Design
September 2
11:00 PM -12:15 PM PST

As schools reimagine ways to reopen safely, repurposing outdoor space can be cost-effective. This webinar is hosted by School Garden Support Organizations and facilitated by Sharon Danks with National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative.

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. We recognize that this year may be different for many of our schools and other institutions who have typically participated in the Apple Crunch. Celebrate National Farm to School Month this October by crunching into locally and regionally grown apples!

Learn more and register your crunch. You can also share your plans, photos from your event, and follow along on Facebook!
Food Justice is Racial Justice: National Farm to School Network Movement Meeting
October 14
1:00 - 3:00 PM ET

How can we shift power in our communities to create a more just food system? Join National Farm to School Network for deep conversation and action-oriented reflection on racial justice in the farm to school movement and wider food system, featuring Karen Washington, food justice activist. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend this free event; no prior knowledge of farm to school needed.

2020 Back to School: Farm to School/ECE and COVID-19 Resource List
National Farm to School Network continues to compile a list of back-to-school resources that will be relevant to farm to school and farm to ECE stakeholders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

See the resource list. Have resources to suggest? Please email NFSN at to add your resources to the list.
Reset the Table: Meeting the Moment to Transform the U.S. Food System
The Rockefeller Foundation has published a report detailing the narrative of change necessary for an equitable and sustainable U.S. food system, which has been made even more apparent by the pandemic. The framework in the report addresses necessary steps for actionable change.

Meals Count: New Community Eligibility Provision Grouping Optimizer
For school districts looking for a resource to optimize the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) groupings and maximize federal reimbursement, Meals Count is a free, interactive, and customizable resource. If a district has 11 schools or fewer, the tool will run through every possible grouping scenario.

SNAP-Ed Meal Planning, Shopping, and Budgeting Resource
Check out this SNAP-Ed resource for ideas for menus and meal planning, shopping tips, and budgeting. If you are looking for ideas for family newsletters or your own early care site, the SNAP-Ed website offers great ideas, including snack recipes.
School food truck
Webinar Recordings: Back-to-School Food Service
No Kid Hungry’s webinar includes a discussion of the nationwide waivers and options for financial recovery, including CARES Act funds and the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). 

A national panel of school food experts and former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discuss the responsibility we have to ensure every child gets food. This webinar, sponsored by the National Press Club, explored the role of school meals programs in overall health, education, and wellbeing of students, as well as challenges of schools and proposed solutions. 
Georgia Organics' Seed Sharing Toolkit
As many school districts return to school virtually, there is a demand for hands-on learning opportunities. This guide from Georgia Organics includes advice on the sourcing and distribution of seeds and educational resources in partnership with school or community meal providers.

Survey: Help MSU Extension Learn More About Farm to Institution Produce Safety
Deadline: September 14

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.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Call for Proposals: Community Solutions for Health Equity
Deadline: October 7

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will be awarding $300,000 over three years for projects that ensure local health care systems increase responsiveness to community needs. A particular focus is on elevation of voices, stories, priorities, and knowledge of people of color and others left out of policy decisions.

No Kid Hungry School Nutrition Grant 2021
Deadline: Rolling

No Kid Hungry in partnership with the Michigan Department of Education will be offering grants to school nutrition programs to aid in maximizing student participation in federal nutrition programs.

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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