Blog Archive

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The end of another school year—new beginnings for farm to school

June 2021
Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers,

June marks the beginning of summer and vacations for some, as well as graduations and the promise of new adventures. For those in year-round settings, continued learning experiences, innovative procurement practices using Michigan products throughout the summer, and gardening opportunities abound!
“Flint Kids Cook” Supports Healthy Eating for Families
The culinary director for the Flint Farmers’ Market, Sean Gartland, and Sarah Egan, a registered dietitian, are leading a virtual cooking series called Flint Kids Cook to teach children how to make healthy food. Using favorite foods like macaroni and cheese, Sean and Sarah show families how to prepare recipes from scratch with healthy and cost-effective ingredients that can also mitigate the effects of lead.

Nebraska Passes Farm to School Legislation
Nebraska lawmakers unanimously passed legislation for the creation of a farm to school program, including a program administration position. Nebraska farm to school will include hands-on learning for students, as well as gardening, cooking demos, and farm visits. The program will also support networking for farmers, schools, public agencies, and nonprofits.

Farm to School Act of 2021 Introduced with Bipartisan Support
The Farm to School Act of 2021 expands funding for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, which will support students, schools, and farmers, particularly those in high-need student populations and racially diverse communities. The Act also aims to help communities build back after the pandemic.

Driving Sustainable Farm to School Initiatives Through the Farm to School Institute Model
June 8
12:30 – 1:45 p.m. ET

Since 2010, Vermont FEED has hosted the Northeast Farm to School Institute, a unique year-long professional learning opportunity for school, district, and early childhood teams to build robust, sustainable farm to school programs. Join this special webinar to learn about this impactful training model, the evidence base behind its design, the key components of farm to school sustainability, and how the Institute is being adapted across the country.

National Farm to School Network Virtual Gathering: Shifting Power, Cultivating Justice
June 23
1-5 p.m. ET

National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is planning a virtual community gathering and you’re invited! In the spirit of their Call to Action, this community gathering will be centered on learning, connecting, strategizing, and committing to action for shifting power through farm to school to cultivate justice.

Green Schools Conference
June 28-29

Annually, this conference brings together nearly 1,000 attendees who are critical to advancing green schools for all children—those who lead, design, build, and teach in schools around the world. The conference will address topics such as design for sustainability, education and social equity, healthy schools and COVID-19 response, empowering student leadership, achieving climate commitments, and much more.

National Children and Youth Garden Symposium
July 7-9

The National Children and Youth Garden Symposium 2021 will take place as a virtual symposium with both live, interactive sessions (July 7-9) and prerecorded sessions for on-demand viewing. This event is for educators, landscape architects and designers, staff at botanic gardens, non-profits, and more from around the country who are working to engage children with gardens and the natural world.

Save the Date! Advancing Racial Equity in the Michigan Farm to ECE Network
July 12, 2-4 p.m. EST
July 26, 2-4 p.m. EST

The Michigan Farm to ECE Network will host a workshop for its members using a racial equity assessment tool to build and sustain a Network environment for equity and plan work that reduces disparities and inequities. The Network is encouraging participation on both dates if possible!
Early Childhood Health Equity Landscape Project
This new suite of resources aims to help policymakers, advocates, and communities understand how different initiatives employ cross-sector partnerships to improve health equity for young children and their families. An interactive map presents information about 143 initiatives and allows users to sort these initiatives by state, health and well-being focus, service sectors, funding sources, and age groups served.

Children Thrive Outside: A New Day for Outdoor Play in Childcare
National Wildlife Federation and New America sponsored this recorded webinar featuring expert speakers summarizing research and sharing strategies for creating successful outdoor spaces in early care and education environments that support outdoor play.

How Schools and Early Care Sites Served as Hubs for Food Access During COVID-19
The National Farm to School Network shares how early care and education sites and schools in five states connected to increase food access during the pandemic, with prompts for how these models can be leveraged as access points for food distribution in the future.

Action Brief: The Power of Student Voice & Choice
FoodCorps’ new report, The Power of Student Voice & Choice: Integrating Whole Child Into Food Education, highlights why now is a key moment to ground education in human development by taking a whole child approach to learning. This brief is primarily intended for anyone working with students in a school environment—particularly in the classroom, garden, and cafeteria.

Resources from Natural Learning Initiative to Promote Natural Learning Environments
North Carolina State University’s Natural Learning Initiative includes multiple resources for the promotion of natural learning environments. A free 12-step gardening activity guide, informational sheets, and a national plant database are only a few of the available items on their extensive website.

Pint Size Produce from Renewing the Countryside
This "activity suite” for farm to ECE includes an activity plan, family handouts, and informational fliers about produce and products grown in the Midwest. Available in either PDF or PowerPoint, ECEs can download these resources and modify the formats as needed.

Countrywide Survey on the State of School Food Post-COVID
Given this past year of COVID, the Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) is looking at ways to support school food professionals across the country. As they work with partners, they want to understand what you’re serving and where you’re at to help provide solutions. All information will be analyzed anonymously by CAF, and school district names won’t be shared with anyone.

Request for Proposals: USDA Local Food Promotion Program
Deadline: June 21

USDA's Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) funds projects that develop, coordinate, and expand local and regional food business enterprises that help increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products. Grants can be used for the planning stages of establishing or expanding a local and regional food business enterprise or to improve or expand a food business that supports locally and regionally produced agricultural products and food system infrastructure.

FoodCorps Position in Petoskey, MI
Deadline: Rolling

The application portal for 2021-2022 FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Members is open and Groundwork Center in Petoskey is looking for one more FoodCorps service member to join their team in August. Members for the program year must, at a minimum, serve 1,700 allowable hours between August 9, 2021 and July 8, 2022.

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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