Blog Archive

Thursday, December 21, 2023

We're hiring! Announcing opportunities with the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center

Announcing Opportunities with the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center
The Michigan State Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) is the lead organization for the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center, with network coordinators in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin (more information about the Center can be found below). 

As one of 12 Regional Food Business Centers funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this Regional Food Business Center will develop a grant program and a regional network of dedicated technical assistance providers committed to fostering the sustainable success of farm and food enterprises, with a focus on historically marginalized farmers and food business entrepreneurs. 

To support the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center, CRFS will hire five new positions in early 2024. These positions will add needed person-power and skills to build its capacity to connect available resources to food and farm business entrepreneurs. All positions are remote-friendly, unless otherwise noted in the full position description.
Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center Administrator  
This Administrative Professional position (Research Administrator II) will oversee post-award and project administration activities, such as implementing a project management system, supporting coordination of activities and communication with partners and stakeholders, ensuring compliance and completion of deliverables, and managing the budget and contracts.
Evaluation Specialist 
The Evaluation Specialist will lead evaluation and monitoring activities for the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center, such as coordinating and implementing needs and/or landscape assessments, developing and implementing evaluation and monitoring tools, data collection, analysis, and reporting, and working with regional partners to establish and implement data sovereignty practices.
Business Builder Grant Program Manager 
The Business Builder Grant Program Manager will work with regional network coordinators to develop and manage an equitable regranting program for food and farm business entrepreneurs, manage business portfolios in Salesforce, and supervise the Grants Assistance Specialist.  
Grants Assistance Specialist  
The Grants Assistance Specialist will provide grant writing support, training, and other capacity building opportunities for food and farm business entrepreneurs across the region (IL, IN, MI, and WI). 
Michigan Food and Farm Network Specialist 
The Michigan Food and Farm Network Specialist will provide Michigan-based network coordination, outreach, and equitable business and technical assistance, also serving as part of the farm and food business development team at CRFS. Residence in Michigan is required.
If you have questions about the position or search process, please reach out to the contact listed on each job posting under Special Instructions. 

Application materials must be submitted through the website. Positions are posted with the application deadline of January 29, 2024, except for the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center Administrator position which is currently open through January 18, 2024.  
About the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center  

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) coordinates the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center. This Regional Food Business Center is comprised of network coordinators – the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (IL), Northwest Indiana Food Council (IN), Food Finance Institute of the University of Wisconsin System (WI), and the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Food Systems – who seek to take a “transformational, not transactional” approach. As one of 12 Regional Food Business Centers in the United States, this Center is dedicated to offering coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building opportunities to small- to mid-sized historically marginalized food and farm business entrepreneurs in support of a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system. 

Learn more at  


Support for the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center comes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service Regional Food Business Centers Program. The 12 USDA Regional Food Business Centers support all 50 U.S. States and Territories, and are inclusive of all types of agricultural products produced locally or regionally. 
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Read the USDA Non-Discrimination Statement here.


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.

CALL 517-353-3535

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

FW: Seeking Berrien County Growers for Midwest Regional Foodshed Evaluation Project


I'm forwarding the request below from Ola Klimczak with a DePaul University research team partnering with the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) that is seeking to learn more from Michigan growers located in Berrien County. Please reply to Ola directly ( to indicate your interest or with any questions.




Colleen Matts


Director, Farm to Institution Programs

Coordinator, Michigan Farm to Institution Network

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems




"The Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) is seeking to help build the capacity of midwestern growers to engage with buyers linked to public procurement by the City of Chicago and Cook County agencies. DePaul University is part of a team of researchers working with CFPAC to learn about growers in Berrien County in an effort to promote equitable access for growers to sell to local and regional institutional food buyers. 


My name is Ola Klimczak and I am one of the DePaul researchers working to learn about Berrien County growers including their current practices and their potential interests in selling into the institutional food supply chain. We want to get a better sense of why, how, where, when, and how much growers are producing, and ultimately, the growers' capacity and interest to become suppliers to institutional buyers. 


We would appreciate 30 minutes to an hour of your time to briefly talk about your farm by phone or zoom.  I would be also willing to plan visits to your farm if that is preferred.


Thanks for your consideration and I look forward to speaking with you at your convenience. 


With Gratitude,  "


Alex (Ola) Klimczak

Student: Masters of Sustainable Urban Design and GIS Certification


Sunday, December 3, 2023

Mutual collaboration

Hello matts11.pikabo,

I am Noel, I work with a bio-pharmaceutical company here in the United Kingdom. I have a business proposal for you. I want us to partner in a supply business to my employer, where you will represent the seller.

The profits are worth the efforts and you do not require experience nor expertise to participate in this. If you are interested, kindly respond back to me so I can explain further.

Kind regards
Noel Dosi

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Grant Applications to Improve School Meals through Local, Regional Partnerships Now Open


Apologies if this has already been shared: 

Applications are now open for the School Food Systems Transformation Challenge Sub-Grants, which is part of USDA's Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative.These grants will transform the K-12 school food marketplace by increasing collaboration between school districts, food producers, suppliers, distributors, and/or community partners. Students can expect to see improvements in the quality of food on their plates, thanks to these new efforts.FNS encourages all eligible applicants to consider applying for one or both grant opportunities:Supporting Community Agriculture and Local Education Systems (Project SCALES): Led by the Center for School and Community Partnerships at Boise State University, these projects will increase the procurement of locally sourced foods by developing innovative partnerships between schools and producers; growers; and processors. In addition, schools will be supported in the preparation of the foods and promoting them to students. Project SCALES was awarded $16.1 million and will provide two cohorts with sub-grants of up to $150,000 each (70 total). Two informational webinars on this grant opportunity will be held on Dec. 6, 2023 (English) and Dec. 13, 2023 (Spanish). Applications for the first cohort will close on Jan. 26, 2024. Applications for the second cohort will open in 2025.

Partnerships for Local Agriculture & Nutrition Transformation in Schools (PLANTS): Led by Chef Ann Foundation, these projects will support regional efforts to expand scratch-cooked meal programs, increase equity, foster a resilient supply chain, and create scalable and sustainable change for school districts across the country. Chef Ann Foundation's PLANTS was awarded $7.8 million and will provide sub-grants of $500,000-$600,000 to each of eight awardees. These grants will increase opportunities for regional small- and mid-scale producers, aggregators, and processors to become part of the K-12 school food market. An informational webinar on this grant opportunity will be held on Nov. 29, 2023. Applications close on Jan. 22, 2024.


Seema Jolly | she/her/hers

FoodCorps | Impact & Partnerships Lead, Michigan

(269) 352-6224 (cell) | @foodcorps

MIFARMTOSCHOOL is a listserv that links farm-to-school stakeholders and practitioners in Michigan, from school food service directors and school administrators to growers and distributors. Content posted to MIFARMTOSCHOOL does not necessarily reflect the views of Michigan State University or the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Introducing the Lake MI School Food System Innovation Hub

The Lake Michigan School Food System Innovation Hub is coming soon! 
The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is a part of the Lake Michigan School Food System Innovation Hub, which supports people working to improve meals in schools across Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana — especially in areas that don’t have equitable access to resources.  

Our USDA-funded grant-making initiative offers funding, training and other assistance to partnerships that include farmers, food producers, suppliers, distributors, schools and organizations.  

In February 2024, we’ll open applications for two new funding opportunities: the Spark Awards and the Innovation Collaborative Awards. Additional grant cycles will continue through 2028. 

Spark Awards fund projects that need a short-term infusion of funds for school food system and product improvements, such as capacity-building, planning and product-testing projects.  

Innovation Collaborative Awards fund projects that promote systems-level change of the school food system, such as scaling up of programs, forming regional partnerships, or developing or integrating new programs or products.  

Wonder if you have what it takes to go after these opportunities? Don't hesitate! We can help guide you through the application process, and all our grantees receive ongoing support tailored to their needs and goals.  
Learn more today at

Please contact the Michigan State Lead, Megan McManus at
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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