Blog Archive

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Looking to 2021 with farm to ECE and farm to school news

December 2020
Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers,

This month’s newsletter highlights some innovative resources and thought-provoking articles that are helpful for our work as we move forward into 2021. 
We wish you happy holidays and look forward to more farm to school in the new year! Thank you for all you do for Michigan’s children.
Michigan Farm Grows Farm to School Initiative
Partridge Creek Farm in Ishpeming, Michigan has helped grow a local elementary school’s farm to school education program. Students reported trying new vegetables and actively growing and harvesting produce. Although the program had to be paused during the pandemic, the farm plans to expand efforts with grant applications in the coming year.

Michigan Food Professionals Recognized as Community Food Champions
Two Michigan food professionals were recognized by the National Farm to School Network during National Farm to School Month. Sarah Nesky, a School Nutrition Professional from Suttons Bay Schools and Debra Wade, a Child Development Center Cook at Baxter Community Center were among 30 community food champions recognized across the nation.

Northern Michigan Farm Supports Community During the Pandemic
Nearly 18,000 boxes of local produce were distributed to families in Northern Michigan through the Farmers to Families Food Box program. Coveyou Scenic Farm Market of Petoskey coordinated produce procurement from their own fields as well as 10 other growers for distribution to local families. Refrigerated trucks delivered carrots, cucumbers, apples, peaches, cherries, and more to partner food pantries and other human service agencies.

Community Garden Addressing Food Insecurity in Northern Michigan
The Buckley Community Garden is addressing food insecurity by providing a space for nutrition education for students within the community, as well as community space for residents to plant and harvest produce for their families. “It brings kids full circle in learning about food and healthy eating,” says Terra Bogart.

Loan Preparation for New and Beginning Farmers
December 7, 2020 - March 8, 2021

Are you new to the world of lending? Loans are an important tool for growing any business. This online learning series will prepare new and beginning farmers with the tools needed to approach a lender.

National Day of Racial Healing
January 19, 2021

Join us in taking collective action to create a more just and equitable world. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation will host its fifth annual National Day of Racial Healing in January 2021. A toolkit is available to help prepare promotions for the day and to share virtual events in your community.

Learn more and get updates at
Teaching in Nature’s Classroom Online Course
January 25 – May 7, 2021

This course, developed as a companion to Teaching in Nature’s Classroom: Principles of Garden-Based Education, is an opportunity for educators to consider best practices and reflect on their own teaching practice in outdoor learning environments, with a focus on school and community youth gardens.

Second Edition of Teaching in Nature’s Classroom: Principles of Garden Based Education Available
The second edition of Teaching in Nature's Classroom: Principles of Garden Based Education by Nathan Larson is now available, including an epilogue about the important role of garden-based classrooms. A free ebook version is available for download in both Spanish and English.
Reach for the Stars with Farm to Preschool, Second Edition
The North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network just released their second edition of Reach for the Stars with Farm to Preschool. This resource is designed to help child care centers and family child care homes easily integrate farm to ECE activities into their curriculum while simultaneously addressing the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale.

Challenges and Opportunities to Promote Healthful Foods in Farm to Early Care and Education Programming
This study from Colorado provides perspective about the challenges and opportunities to promote healthful foods to young children with farm to early care and education programming. The article includes survey results and suggestions to increase participation in farm to ECE.

Examining the Local Food Supply Chain During COVID-19
In this article, researchers examine how local and regional food systems adapted during COVID-19 as market demand and policy changes required innovative practices. Local responses are explained as well as suggestions for research and technical assistance moving forward.

Revised School Health Index Available
Action for Healthy Kids has revised its comprehensive school health assessment tool, known as the School Health Index (SHI). The SHI helps schools identify the extent to which a school is meeting best practices for promoting emotional and physical health of students and staff.

Learn more about the tool and how your school can complete the assessment.
No Kid Hungry Food Security Grant
Deadline: December 18, 2020

No Kid Hungry is offering a new grant intended to increase food security for children from birth to 5-years-old. Community organizations, early childcare centers, healthcare providers, and other eligible providers working to ensure young children have access to healthy food are encouraged to apply for amounts between $15,000 and $25,000.

Center for Science in the Public Interest's State and Local Policy Campaign Grant Funding Opportunities 
Deadline: December 31, 2020

Center for Science in the Public Interest is offering a new funding opportunity for state and local advocates working to advance innovative policies to measurably improve the food environments in schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and federal, state, and local programs to support public health, especially for low-income families and communities of color.

2021 Farm to School Grant Program Applications Open
Deadline: January 8, 2021

The 2021 USDA Farm to School Grant application is now open for eligible schools, state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- to medium-sized agricultural producers, and nonprofits. New for 2021, institutions operating the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program at non-school based sites may apply for funding.

Scratch Cooking in Schools Fellowship Looking for Input
The Chef Ann Foundation is preparing a scratch cooking in schools fellowship and looking for input from school leaders and school food supporters. The foundation and collaborators are asking for 10 minutes of your time to complete a survey to help design the program.

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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