Blog Archive

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Deadline Extended: Storytellers & Facilitators Wanted for Michigan Good Food Summit!

Apply Now to Get involved at the Summit!
If you're looking for a more active role at the summit, consider applying to be a storyteller or facilitator at the event on Friday, May 19, 2023!

We have extended the deadline to apply by one week!
New application deadline: April 7, 2023.

What we're looking for:

7 minute stories to inspire dialogue and connection around food systems issues, and highlight the leadership, progress, challenges, models and practices that advance Good Food systems in Michigan.

What we're looking for:

Individuals interested in facilitating breakout strategy discussions to help summit participants connect, gain and share valuable insights on important Good Food systems topics they have identified.
Storytellers and facilitators will have their summit registration fee waived and receive a stipend of $150.

Click on the button below to learn more and apply by April 7, 2023!
Just want to participate?
That's great too! We can't wait to welcome you in-person or virtually for the Michigan Good Food Summit on Friday, May 19!
Please contact Rachel Kelly at or Diane Drago
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MSU CRFS to act as Michigan Lead for Lake Michigan School Food System Innovation Hub

A child serves herself in the school lunch line.
School Food System Innovation Hub to Bring Innovative Supply Chain Solutions to the Lake Michigan Region
Lansing, MI – Michigan’s schools will benefit from a new multi-state initiative to develop innovative solutions for sourcing nutritious foods in school meals. Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems will receive funding to serve as the Michigan lead for the Lake Michigan School Food System Innovation Hub (Innovation Hub). Last Wednesday, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will award $16 million over the next five and a half years to the Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI) and its partners, a consortium of organizations across Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Northern Indiana. IPHI is one of four lead organizations to win a combined total of $50 million from the USDA School Food System Transformation Challenge Sub-Grants initiative.  

The Innovation Hub will strengthen the K-12 school food supply chain, improving access to nutritious, locally grown, and culturally relevant foods for children in the Lake Michigan region. The new funds will primarily be used for sub-grants awarded to collaboratives between schools, farms and food business, and other partners in the four participating states. Sub-grants are designed to help schools address challenges such as increased food purchasing costs and limitations with staffing, training, physical space, and kitchen equipment. The first round of sub-grants, called Spark Awards, are anticipated for the fall of 2023. The Innovation Hub will also offer assistance, for small and emerging farmers to increase and shift their production to accommodate school districts’ food needs, and to school districts on how to develop procurement relationships with local food producers.  

“Michigan has a long history and deep experience with farm to school, including through the state-funded 10 Cents a Meal program administered by the Michigan Department of Education. That means that school food service professionals already have a strong awareness of what they need to better support their food programs, and Michigan farms and food businesses have been working to respond to their food-related needs,” Colleen Matts, Director of Farm to Institution programs at CRFS, said. “Food service directors have always led the way with innovative ideas to purchase and serve more locally grown and culturally relevant foods, and these new funds can be leveraged in exciting ways to take their healthy school meals to the next level.”

IPHI will oversee the management of the initiative in collaboration with Seven Generations Ahead (Illinois); Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (Michigan); Kids Forward/healthTIDE (Wisconsin) and the Northwest Indiana Food Council (Indiana) to make sure each state benefits from local knowledge, expertise, and relationships. Action for Healthy Kids will provide crosscutting support and evaluate the program. In addition, the National Farm to School Network and the Chicago Food Policy Action Council will provide support for program design and outreach. 

“In addition to working with underserved schools, the Innovation Hub will build opportunities for farmers and food producers that have experienced economic or social disadvantage with special attention to racial equity,” Janna Simon, director of IPHI’s Center for Policy and Partnership Initiatives, said. 

The national USDA initiative is designed to foster innovation in the school food marketplace to get a wider variety of healthy, appealing foods into the marketplace and onto kids’ lunch trays. “Continuing to make school meals healthier and available to more students are some of the best ways we can help our children thrive early in life,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services added: We’re hopeful that these grants will accelerate and expand innovation in the school food marketplace, so that schools – and ultimately our children – have better access to healthier food products.” In addition to IPHI, the other recipients of these funds are Boise State University, Chef Ann Foundation, and Full Plates Full Potential.  

For more information about this initiative, contact Megan McManus, Farm to Institution Specialist, at or Colleen Matts, Director of Farm to Institution programs, at
MSU Center for Regional Food System’s Michigan Farm to School and institutional food procurement work is conducted in collaboration with MSU Extension and is also funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Michigan Department of Education, and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems advances regionally-rooted food systems through applied research, education, and outreach by uniting the knowledge and experience of diverse stakeholders with that of MSU faculty and staff. Our work fosters a thriving economy, equity, and sustainability for Michigan, the nation, and the planet by advancing systems that produce food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable. Learn more at and connect on Twitter and Facebook: @MSUCRFS
CALL 517-353-3535
Your gift will support a thriving economy, equity, and sustainability for Michigan, the nation, and the planet by advancing systems that produce food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable.
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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Apply by March 27: Groundwork Seeks FoodCorps Service Members

Spread the word!

Groundwork is hiring FoodCorps service members for the Aug '23 - July '24 service term. Deadline March 27, 2023.


FoodCorps partners with schools and communities to nourish kids' health, education, and sense of belonging. Each year, we have AmeriCorps Service Members partner with K-12 schools for a full school year teaching kids to grow, cook, and love the nourishing foods that celebrate their cultures and communities—and help schools serve more of those foods, too. FoodCorps recruits talented leaders into full-time, paid public service, where they grow healthy school food environments in diverse communities through hands-on, experiential food education. In the greater Petoskey area, FoodCorps partners with the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities and runs programs in East Jordan and Alanson Public Schools with work in the broader Char-Em Intermediate School District.


We have two tracks of Service Members:

  • Food Educators: who work alongside educators to provide kids with food education and culturally affirming experiences with food in the classroom, gardens, and in the cafeteria. 
  • School Nutrition Service Members: who work alongside school nutrition directors and other community partners to support scratch cooking and local procurement across the Char-Em ISD. 


Benefits of service in Michigan include a $33,000 stipend for 11 months of service (Aug '23 - July '24), a $6,895 Segal Education Award upon successful completion of service, health, dental and vision insurance, as well as student loan forbearance. Please see the attached flyers for more info and the job descriptions.


Desired Qualifications

  • Experience with hoophouses and season extension is useful for our short growing season. Gardening experience is a must!
  • Able to jump into a fast-paced school environment and connect with youth, staff, and community partners, attend wellness committee meetings, family nights, and other community activities
  • MUST have access to reliable transportation, and an appreciation of outdoor recreation and seasonality (especially winter) is useful for connecting with the region
  • Must have excellent organizational and communication skills.
  • Must be reliable, accountable, and a team player.
  • Knowledge of Anishinaabe history and culture is a bonus
  • Passionate about strategic systems change in food systems, with interest in Groundwork's other program areas



Here is the link to the FoodCorps national website with more details on the position and to apply. Please direct any questions to or for site specific information, contact Jen Schaap, FoodCorps supervisor at Groundwork

Feel free to share on Instagram or Facebook.


There is a referral program where if you (or anyone in your network) refers someone to apply, and they serve for at least 90 days, you will receive a $250 as a thank you (you can expect this gift typically in Nov-Dec 2023). Please make sure to let anyone know that you are referring them — include your name and contact information to Erin Wenk, above, to be eligible for the referral. Thank you!




** My new email address is Please make note.

* My working hours may not be your working hours. Please do not feel the need to respond outside of your working hours.*

JEN SCHAAP  |  Food and Farming Program Director
Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities

P    231-941-6584 x708
A  313 Howard St, Unit B  |  Petoskey, MI 49770

pronouns: she/her/hers

The Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities is a Traverse City based non-profit. Our work is member-funded and community-driven. Protect what you love. Become a member of Groundwork today.
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.