Blog Archive

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Spring Garden Resources, Farm to School/ECE Learning Opportunities, and More!

April 2021
Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers,

Hints of warm weather in the past few weeks are suggesting spring really is on its way. Equally exciting are the conversations across the state regarding farm to school initiatives. Many events are happening this month - we hope you find something that interests you!

Take a peek at this month’s newsletter to find out what is happening in Michigan and ideas to help grow farm to school in your community!
Cook-off Among Fifth Graders Showcases Farm to School
A group of fifth graders in Ishpeming, Michigan learned how to operate a farm stand and participated in a school cook-off showcasing their culinary skills as part of a farm to school event.

Read more about the events taking place at their school.
Changes in Food Production During the Pandemic
Many farms, food producers, restaurants, and retailers shifted to accommodate new health and safety guidelines during the pandemic. This article notes that many businesses have noticed more demand for local foods, and how programs like 10 Cents a Meal are incentivizing local food purchasing.

USDA Extends School Meal Flexibilities through September 2021
In early March, USDA extended school nutrition flexibilities for the School Breakfast Program (SBP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) through September 30, 2021. This includes allowing children to be safely served meals outside of group settings, meal pick up by parents/guardians, and non-standard serving of meals, including grab-and-go and bulk pick up options.

CICN Culinary Webinar Series
April 1
2:00 PM

Beginning April 1, the Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition (CICN) will begin hosting a monthly culinary webinar on the first Thursday of each month. Designed to enhance the overall cafeteria experience, sessions include: “Scratch-Made Salad Dressings and Condiments,” “Visually Marketing Foods,” and “How and When to Use Fresh Herbs."

Webinar: Offering Healthy and Safe Grab-and-Go Food During a Pandemic
April 7
1:00-2:00 PM

Join the CDC’s Divisions of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity for this panel discussion on culinary, behavioral design, and technological considerations for offering healthy grab-and-go meals and snacks in institutional food service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

School Garden Support Organization Network Webinar Series
April 7 and April 14
2:00-3:15 PM

The School Garden Support Organization Network is hosting a webinar series with two offerings in April, including “Strengthening Equity and Inclusivity in Our Organizations, Programming, Community Partnerships and Gardens” on April 7 and “Measuring Impacts and Sharing Results in Garden-based Education” on April 14.

Webinar: Addressing Root Causes of Hunger - Creating a Holistic Food Pantry
April 21
1:00 PM

Rooted in systemic injustice and poverty, food insecurity requires long term solutions rather than simply food to end hunger. The More Than Food model emphasizes a connection to community resources as well as a welcoming culture focusing on client choice. Learn about innovative ways to build the capacity of your food pantries to offer more than food.

Bringing the Farm to School: A Training for Agricultural Producers - Midwest Facilitator Workshop
April 26-29

The National Center for Appropriate Technology and the National Farm to School Network through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Office of Community Food Systems present the “Bringing the Farm to School Agricultural Producers Training Program: Regional Facilitator Workshop” to the Midwest region.

Check out this one-pager to learn more about the program and register.
Webinar: Positive Identity Development in Young Children
April 29
1:30-3:00 PM

Part of the Educational Equity Institute’s Racial Equity in Early Childhood Webinar series, this webinar will focus on positive identity development in young children, featuring Dr. Aisha White, Director of P.R.I.D.E. at the University of Pittsburgh.

Spring Produce Guide from USDA Now Available
Check out the new Spring Produce Guide from USDA for ideas to include fresh fruits and vegetables into spring lesson plans and tasting demonstrations! The guide includes over 25 fruits and veggies that are abundant in spring. You'll find recipes, teaching tools, and resources to learn more about each item.

Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition Training and Resources Available
The Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition (CICN) is a new division of the Institute of Child Nutrition. School nutrition professionals can check out in-depth, hands-on culinary training and resources for scratch-based cooking and the creation of culinary-inspired school meals that are healthy, flavorful, and student-approved!

Coming Together: The ABC’s of Racial Literacy from Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop recently shared Coming Together: The ABC’s of Racial Literacy.

Visit their website for background information regarding racial justice, developmentally appropriate videos to share with young children, and additional resources to engage in racial justice.
Free Garden-to-Go Kits for Spring
Starting April 1, you can sign up for a free Garden-to-Go kit from Lowes! In addition to the curbside garden-to-go kits, each week offers a new curbside garden offering, including mystery seed packets, tree saplings, and a quest to help create a butterfly garden.

MixUp Podcast Series from Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition
The MixUp Podcast Series joins host Chef Patrick Garmong, Associate Director of Culinary Education and Training at the Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition interviewing school nutrition program chefs from around the country.

Check out the MixUp Podcast series to take a peek inside their kitchen operations and see how other school nutrition chefs are inspiring child nutrition. 
21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge
April 5-25

Food Solutions New England invites you to join with thousands of others across the US to learn more about race and racism in our food systems and get inspired by practical ways to dismantle white supremacy while building equity, justice, and liberation into the food systems we are creating together.

Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program
Deadline: May 4

The USDA Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program is accepting applications for two types of grants:
  1. Community Food Projects (CFP) and
  2. Planning Projects (PP).

The purpose of the CFP is to support the development of community-based food projects to make such projects self-sustaining. The purpose of a Planning Project (PP) is to complete a plan toward the improvement of community food security.

Youth Programs Coordinator at Growing Hope
Deadline: April 9

Growing Hope is seeking a passionate educator to join their Youth Programs team as the Youth Programs Coordinator. The Youth Programs Coordinator will promote, schedule, and help run field trips on an urban farm and at farmers markets; lead garden-based nutrition classes for students K-12th grade in after school programs and at community summer camps; and assist with running Growing Hope’s Summer Teen Leadership Program.

Nutrition Facilitator at Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District
Deadline: Until filled

The Nutrition Facilitator will work under the Life SPAN (Supporting Physical Activity and Nutrition) grant, providing nutrition education through taste testing and cooking demonstrations in low income schools in the TBAISD service area. This is a temporary position based on grant funding.

Community Engagement Manager at Move for Hunger
Deadline: Rolling

Move For Hunger is hiring for a Community Engagement Manager focused on food recovery. The core of this position will be the development and management of Move For Hunger’s new national fresh food rescue program, which will build upon their 10+ years of experience rescuing and transporting food to food banks and pantries across the country. This role can be fully remote.

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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