Blog Archive

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Resources to keep your farm to school programs going all year long!

Farm to School Resources
As National Farm to School Month comes to a close, we have compiled a shortlist of resources from Michigan Farm to School and the Michigan Farm to Institution Network to help keep your programs going all year long!
Local honeycrisp apples in a school cafeteria
Additional Resources
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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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Upcoming Local Sourcing Discussion

Hello Michigan Farm to School Participants and Supporters!


Please see the information below regarding an important upcoming local sourcing discussion hosted by the Michigan Farm to Institution Network.


Register Here:


We at MFIN and Cultivate Michigan want to hear your feedback! This upcoming network meeting on November 4th will focus on learning from you about the best options for developing local food sourcing resources for institutions, including schools.   


Since we launched the network and Cultivate Michigan in 2014, MFIN has developed and shared resources, namely the Cultivate Michigan Sourcing Guide, that provide sourcing information for Michigan fruits, vegetables, and some proteins. This information has included farms of origin, food hubs and distributors, item codes, pack sizes, seasonal availability, etc.   


We plan to develop new resources to help you find local farms and local products that meet your needs, using valuable information about Michigan-grown food purchases made by 10 Cents grantees along with your real-life experiences. Feedback from institutional food service directors and buyers and local food vendors and suppliers is critical to help shape resources that will work for you! We will begin this meeting with a review of existing resources before jumping into the discussion to gather feedback.  

This meeting is brought to you by the Michigan Farm to Institution Network which is coordinated by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems with support from MSU Extension.   


When:10:00-11:15 am on Thursday, November 4, 2021 


Where:This virtual meeting will be held on Zoom. Once you register, you will get the link to join the upcoming meeting at the appointed time and date. If you haven't used Zoom before, you can click here to download the app or the web browser client.   


Register Here:


Let me know if you have any questions!


Garrett Ziegler

Community Food Systems and Sustainable Tourism Educator

MSU Extension, Community, Food and Environment Institute


MSU Extension at the Downtown Market

109 Logan St. SW

Suite B102

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Office: 616.608.7436

Cell: 814.777.3562


Michigan State University Extension programs and

materials are open to all withought regard to race,

color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion,

age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual

orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status



Monday, October 25, 2021

USDA Farm to School Grant Program RFA is now open!


Please see information below about the request for applications (RFA) for the next round of USDA Farm to School Grants! Proposals are due by January 10, 2022.




Colleen Matts

(she, her, hers)

Director, Farm to Institution Programs

Coordinator, Michigan Farm to Institution Network

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems | 517.432.0310 | |


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems team members are working remotely. Our response time may be a bit slower than normal due to family and community responsibilities. 



From: Lacy Stephens <>
Date: Friday, October 22, 2021 at 7:54 PM
Subject: [NFSN Partners] USDA Farm to School Grant RFP Now Open!

The fiscal year (FY) 2022 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now available! The solicitation officially opened October 22, 2021 and will remain open until 11:59pm ET on January 10, 2022. FNS seeks to award up to $12 million this fiscal year.


Eligible schools, institutions operating the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program, State and local agencies, Indian Tribal Organizations, small- to medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- to medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit organizations are eligible for Farm to School grants. Priority scoring incentives return for applicants who meet certain criteria, including new priority consideration for organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and serving BIPOC communities, and organizations located in and serving rural areas. Please see the RFA for full details.


The RFA includes three tracks—Implementation, State Agency, and Turnkey. Each track provides funding for a specific range of activities:

  • The Implementation Track works well for eligible entities with prior farm to school experience, helping scale up or further develop existing farm to school initiatives
  • The State Agency Track helps States seeking to improve access to local food served in eligible CNPs by incorporating local procurement and agricultural education activities.
  • The Turnkey Track simplifies the application process for applicants interested in choosing from four projects: (1) Action Planning, (2) Agricultural Education Curriculum, (3) Edible Garden, and (4) Producer Focused Training. Specific eligibility varies by track and project type

Also new this year, pending Congressional appropriations action, FNS will consider proposals of up to $500,000 from State agencies and other eligible organizations proposing projects that are multi-state or national in scope. Please see the RFA for additional eligibility requirements and details for each available track and project.


The RFA can be accessed here:


The Office of Community Food Systems will host webinars  Monday, November 8th, 2021 and Tuesday, November 9th, 2021, each at 2:30pm ET, to help interested applicants learn more about the RFA and put together a grant package, respectively. A Frequently Asked Questions document will also be available through the Farm to School Grant Applicant Resources Page of the FNS website.



Lacy Stephens, MS, RDN  (she/her/hers)

Senior Program Manager, National Farm to School Network

816.914.0597  | Based in Missouri*

I acknowledge that I live, learn, and work on the traditional territories of the Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Washtáge Moⁿzháⁿ (Kaw / Kansa), and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, (Sioux), and Wazhazhe Maⁿzhaⁿ (Osage) people. Learn more:


Monday, October 18, 2021

FW: Governor Whitmer, Ag Director crunch into Michigan apples to Celebrate Farm to School Month

From: Michigan Dept of Agriculture & Rural Development <>
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2021 11:46 AM
To: Yelton, Lori (MDARD) <>
Subject: Governor Whitmer, Ag Director crunch into Michigan apples to Celebrate Farm to School Month



bob new header

For immediate release: October 14, 2021
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724

Governor Whitmer, Ag Director crunch into Michigan apples to Celebrate Farm to School Month

2021 Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch goal of one million crunches

Lansing, Mich – Today, Governor Whitmer, Lt. Governor Gilchrist and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell bit into Michigan apples to celebrate the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch and Farm to School Month. They were joined by MDARD staff and their families as part of the celebration.

Similar apple crunches are occurring across Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Michigan K-12 schools, early care and education sites, hospitals, colleges and universities, farms, state and local agencies, non-profit organizations, local businesses, and Michigan families have been encouraged to celebrate Farm to School Month by collectively purchasing and crunching into Michigan-grown apples at 12 noon on Thursday, October 14, as part of the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, and then sharing their photos and videos on social media.

In 2020, 807,796 students, children, teachers, and good food supporters across the Great Lakes region crunched. The goal for 2021 is one million crunches. Participants registered their events to be counted in the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch. Plans for participating include crunching from a socially distanced classroom, in apple orchards, via video conferences, in school gardens, from home, and many other safe and creative places.

“The Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch highlights the importance of bringing fresh, local foods to schools, preschools and other educational settings throughout the year,” said Whitmer. “We’re taking a bite out of food insecurity by supporting Michigan Farm to School programs and investing in our rural communities.”

Farm to school is a national program enriching the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and childcare education settings. Earlier this month, Governor Whitmer proclaimed October as Farm to School Month in Michigan to highlight the important connection between Michigan agriculture and healthy school lunches.

“Farm to school programs are a great way to include Michigan-grown and produced food on school lunch menus,” said McDowell. “I encourage you to take a crunch out of a delicious Michigan apple today to celebrate our farmers, growers, and the key role they play in providing nutritious foods for our kids and families.”

Through the Farm to School program, schools and preschools buy and feature locally produced, farm-fresh foods such as dairy, fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, meat, and beans on their menus. Schools also incorporate nutrition-based curriculum and provide students with experiential learning opportunities like farm visits, garden-based learning, cooking lessons, and composting and recycling programs. As a result, students have access to fresh, local foods, and farmers have access to new markets through school sales. Farmers are also able to participate in programs designed to educate kids about local food and agriculture.

The Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University, the Michigan Department of Education, MDARD, and local community and school food programs champion statewide Farm to School efforts.

Governor Whitmer’s recent visit to a cider mill apple orchard.

Learn more about Michigan's Farm to School efforts.

Information on the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch.

Michigan Great Apple Crunch logo.


This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: Michigan Dept of Agriculture & Rural Development · P.O. Box 30017 · Lansing, MI 48909 · 1-800-292-3939