Blog Archive

Monday, May 3, 2021

Little seeds can grow big changes—resources for farm to ECE and procuring local food

May 2021
Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers,

Early care and education and K-12 schools plant the seeds for best practices in farm to school, enabling others to learn what works and think about where they can start to implement small changes in their own programs.

Read on to learn what others are doing to integrate farm to ECE and farm to school into their work.
Farm to School Supports Mental Health in Michigan Schools
Schools in Northern Michigan are using farm to school to support mental health initiatives, acknowledging that healthy eating is important for students' mental health. The use of SNAP-Ed, as well as hoop houses and gardens, is supporting nutrition lessons, taste testing, and the integration of local food in school menus.

Maryland Preschoolers Use Healthy Foods to Learn the Alphabet
Maryland SNAP-Ed is using a train-the-trainer approach in early care and education sites to share Edible ABCs, an innovative program that helps young children learn the alphabet and healthy eating habits.

Early Childhood Grant Awardees Announced by No Kid Hungry
No Kid Hungry just announced that $3 million will be awarded to 126 early childhood organizations across the country, including several organizations and early childhood education sites in Michigan. Congratulations to the Michigan awardees!

Fresh produce in boxes.
USDA Announces Nationwide Waivers through June 2022 and Summer 2021 P-EBT
USDA recently announced a set of nationwide waivers for School Year 2021-2022 through June 30, 2022 for school meals programs and childcare institutions across the country.

This summer, USDA is also expanding Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits. Read more.
Racial Equity in Farm to Early Care and Education Forum
May 5
5:00-6:00 p.m. EST

Join the National Farm to School Network for an open discussion forum to share your insights and ideas on how farm to ECE can be an opportunity to shift power and advance racial equity in our food and early care systems. Share your insights and ideas at this open community form on how farm to ECE can elevate and enable community initiatives.

Creative Opportunities for Strengthening Farm to ECE Through Emerging Federal Funding Streams 
May 12
12:30-2:00 p.m. ET

Farm to early care and education can be a component of building back better after the pandemic. Join this webinar co-presented by the National Farm to School Network, Policy Equity Group, and Food Research & Action Center to learn about immediate opportunities to encourage state decision makers to use American Rescue Plan funds to build more equitable and resilient food and ECE systems.

On-Farm Food Safety Info Session for Farm to Institution
May 25
1:00-3:00 p.m.

The May 2021 Michigan Farm to Institution Network meeting will feature presentations and discussions that focus on the importance of on-farm food safety in farm to institution programs. Farmers, institutional food service staff, and other supply chain partners are invited to join this info session and discussion!

Photo collage showing a garden sign for beets and children walking through a farmed field
Farm to CACFP Series
Wondering how other sites have leveraged the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and looking for creative ideas? Check out the recent Innovation Series from National Farm to School Network sharing how three states have used this funding source as part of their programming.

Growing Minds Farm to Preschool Toolkit
The Growing Minds Farm to Preschool Toolkit is available for free online or by order for a physical copy. This spiral bound toolkit contains lesson plans, “This Week in the Garden” activity guides, “Farm to School Goes Home” parent handouts, local food sourcing guidance, and tips for cooking and gardening with young children.

To order toolkits for $30 plus shipping and applicable sales tax, please email
Early Care and Education Food Procurement During a Pandemic
Wondering how to purchase local food during the pandemic or how other early care and education sites have sourced and served local foods with seasonal foods? Check out this recent blog post with Detroit urban farmer Heidi Bombrisk from Family Roots Farm.

2021 Farm to Summer Toolkit
There are many benefits to implementing farm to summer at summer meal sites. Summer nutrition sponsors can apply lessons from this toolkit from North Carolina to utilize local foods and implement nutrition education activities in summer nutrition programs.

Request for Proposals: Food Sovereignty Symposium & Festival
Deadline: May 15

This symposium seeks to provide opportunities for Indigenous knowledge holders, researchers, practitioners, producers, and community members to share common interests, insights, and dialogue from across the fields of Indigenous agriculture and foods.

Farm to Institution Fellow, Center for Regional Food Systems
Deadline: May 5

This fixed-term position is a unique and exciting opportunity for a self-motivated, resourceful, and committed early-career candidate to bring creative vision to an existing, strong foundation of relationships, programs, and learnings to support and shape farm to institution programs in Michigan into the future.

Farmer, Keep Growing Detroit
Deadline: Rolling

Keep Growing Detroit is seeking a full-time Farmer. The ideal candidate for this position loves physical, outdoor work, has some farming and/or market experience and is passionate about good food, healthy communities, and strong local economies.

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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