Blog Archive

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

A New School Year Means Time to Harvest New Ideas!

September 2021
Dear Michigan Farm to School subscribers,

With the return to in-person classroom spaces, this month's newsletter offers ideas for farm to ECE and farm to school, including ways to revitalize menus and invigorate nutrition education and gardening practices.

With October right around the corner, be sure to keep an eye out for resources for Farm to School Month!
Using Local Foods at a Michigan Child Development Center
The Baxter Community Center’s Child Development Center in Grand Rapids is a participant in 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms. By serving scratch-made and local foods in their childcare program, they are getting kids excited about trying new foods and learning about nutrition.

Michigan Grantee Will Help Increase Fruit and Vegetable Access for Families
Fair Food Network was recently announced as a USDA Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program COVID Relief and Response grant program recipient. Their Double Up Food Bucks program is intended to increase fruit and vegetable access in areas of the state hit hardest by the pandemic with this two year award.

How Farmers Markets Are Addressing Food Security
Although food insecurity increased during the pandemic, farmers markets addressed a critical need in the food supply chain. As more markets accepted SNAP and Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, markets became a “go to” location for families and child care providers to access locally grown products.

USDA Re-evaluates the Thrifty Food Plan for SNAP Benefits
The average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will increase for Fiscal Year 2022 beginning on October 1, 2021. This change will occur due to a re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which determined that the cost of a nutritious, practical, cost-effective diet is 21% higher than the current Thrifty Food Plan.

Webinar: Shifting Power through Racial Equity-Centered Evaluation
September 9
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Join this panel discussion hosted by the National Farm to School Network to learn how three equity leaders use racial equity-centered evaluation to shift power to communities.

Virtual Speaker Series: Voices of Sustainable Agriculture
Part 1: September 10
Part 2: October 22
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET

In this virtual speaker series, participants will learn from farmers, researchers, and educators about healthy soil and water, successful farming practices, seed sovereignty, resilience, and more.

Partnership for a Healthier America: Veggies Early and Often Initiative
October 13
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET

Join Dr. Caree Cotright of University of Georgia, Reynaldo Green of Quality Care for Children, and Nicole Spain of Learning Care Group to learn about the importance of early childhood educators in raising a generation of vegetable lovers. This webinar will discuss strategies, including curriculum integration, menu development, and family engagement.

Michigan Good Food Charter Gathering
October 13-15

Join us as we wrap up the Michigan Good Food Charter update process and plan for the future of good food in Michigan! The gathering's interactive agenda will bring together food systems advocates and practitioners to preview components of the updated Michigan Good Food Charter, share feedback, and plan for collaboration and next steps.

Team Nutrition Back to School Support Kit
Check out USDA Team Nutrition’s Back-to-School Support for new resources on Planning a Dynamic School Environment and School Meals Supply Chain Issues.

Celebrating Seasonality: Wisconsin-Grown Recipes for the Early Childhood Setting
This guide from Rooted and Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at UW-Madison features 12 child-friendly recipes for ECE sites and features seasonal breakfast, lunch, and snack recipes scaled for 8 and 25 servings, with serving sizes for different age groups, and CACFP crediting information.

Build equitable practice
Penn State Better Kid Care: New Professional Development Trainings
Two new professional development modules for early care and education providers are now available from Penn State Better Kid Care:
State Farm to School Policy Handbook
This handbook contains a summary and analysis of all 546 farm to school bills and resolutions from 2002 to 2020 from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories.

BIPOC in Agriculture and Food: A Resource Guide
This dynamic, community-sourced resource guide offers lists and descriptions of BIPOC owned and operated organizations, schools, farms, restaurants, and companies. It also highlights media, petitions, grants, and initiatives curated for and by BIPOC.

Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Alliance for a Healthier Generation Offers Three New E-Learning Modules
National School Lunch Program Equipment Assistance Grant
Deadline: September 24, 2021 at 11:59 pm

Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced that the National School Lunch Program Equipment Assistance Grant opened up on August 30. The authorization of the 2021 Agriculture Appropriations Act allows MDE to competitively award Equipment Assistance Grants (EAG) to eligible School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or the NSLP Seamless Summer Option (SSO). The grant application is now available in NexSys.

For further information, contact
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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