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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Grant expands farm to early care and education efforts in Michigan

Child's hand picks blueberries
A second Farm to Early Care and Education Implementation Grant will further expand farm to ECE efforts in Michigan  
An additional $90,900 grant will grow connections between early care and education providers and food producers in Michigan. 
Meagan Shedd,
The Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) announced that the Farm to Early Care and Education Implementation Grant (FIG) will continue for a second year, November 1, 2021 through October 31, 2022. This grant from the ASPHN was awarded to the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) to strengthen collaborations and increase awareness of, capacity for, and equitable access to farm to ECE.

“One of the most important lessons learned in the first year of FIG was that the pandemic is still a challenge in our state,” says Meagan Shedd, the FIG team co-lead for Michigan. Shedd is an assistant professor who leads farm to early care and K-12 education work at the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. "Our year 2 activities will focus on ‘meeting providers and farmers and food producers where they are’ and working more actively to reduce barriers to participating in farm to ECE programs.”

MSU CRFS coordinates the Michigan Farm to Early Care and Education Network, a group of statewide partners who collaborate to improve access to healthy food, increase nutritional awareness and health outcomes, and support ECE providers as they work to improve children’s learning environments.

Michigan was one of ten states and the District of Columbia that received an additional $90,900 each and technical assistance to strengthen their state-level farm to ECE initiatives for an additional one-year project period. ASPHN administers this grant in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Farm to School Network. The continuing Year Two FIG teams include: Colorado, District of Columbia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont, and Washington.

The Year One FIG Evaluation Report describes the impact of the FIG's first year and the potential promise for opportunities in its second year. Year One positively impacted over 1,200 ECE sites, 1,900 ECE providers, and 219,000 children. The funding and technical assistance also helped teams increase awareness and implementation of farm to ECE; prioritize equity in their FIG work; and sustain that impact with policy, systems, and environment changes. This work will continue in year two with teams continuing to prioritize equity across all farm to ECE activities, expand farm to ECE implementation and awareness across their states, and strengthen their sustainable farm to ECE systems.

Interest in the farm to ECE strategy has grown in recent years thanks to its innovative and effective approach. Year One FIG mini grants and awards could only award 25 percent of the interested ECEs. ASPHN hopes to build on this interest by networking local farmers and food producers with ECEs such as family childcare sites, preschools, childcare centers and Head Starts, thereby helping to stimulate local economies and increasing children’s access to healthy foods.

For more information about farm to ECE in Michigan, please contact Meagan Shedd at

For more information about FIG, please contact Emia Oppenheim at or 814-255-2829, extension 714.
The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) unites the knowledge of diverse food systems stakeholders with that of MSU faculty and staff to advance regionally-rooted food systems through applied research, education, and outreach. Our work fosters a thriving economy, equity, and sustainability for Michigan, the nation, and the planet by increasing understanding of and engagement with systems that produce food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable. Learn more at

Founded in 1952, the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) is a non-profit membership organization that strengthens nutrition policy, programs and environments for all people through the development of public health nutrition leaders and the collective action of members nationwide. ASPHN’s membership is composed of more than 700 nutrition professionals located throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. ASPHN's vision is healthy eating and active living for everyone. You can find ASPHN on the web at and on Facebook at

MSU Center for Regional Food Systems appreciates the technical assistance, training, and financial support provided to us by the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN). FIG is supported by the CDC of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of cooperative agreement number NU38OT000279-04. This specific project, along with many other projects, is funded through this cooperative agreement that totals $3,245,000. One hundred percent of FIG is funded by DNPAO/ National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) /CDC/HHS. The contents of this release are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, DNPAO/NCCDPHP/CDC/HHS, or the United States. 
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