Blog Archive

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

USDA Value Added Producer Grant Seminar



The USDA Value-added Producer Grant might be a funding tool for growers expanding into Farm to School activities. If appropriate, please share this announcement in your communications, on your social media platforms, etc. Suggested text, social media post(with QR code) and flyer are attached/below for your reference. If you would prefer, you can share this flyer link, USDAVAPG2024 Seminar_.pdf, where the registration link embedded.



The MSU Product Center, in partnership with USDA Rural Development, will hold webinars on the USDA Value Added Producer Grant. These free sessions will be held on February 21st. Register at:







Wendy Wieland (she, her, hers)

MSU Product Center Innovation Counselor &

MSU Extension Community, Food and Environment Institute

Emmet County MSU Extension

3434 Harbor-Petoskey Road

Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Office: 231-439-8987

Cell: 231-881-6918


Want to help an Entrepreneur? Shut up and Listen!

MSU Extension programs and material are open to all without 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.

Michigan State University occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Anishinaabeg–Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples. The University resides on Land ceded in the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw. By offering this Land Acknowledgement, we affirm Indigenous sovereignty and will work to hold Michigan State University more accountable to the needs of American Indian and Indigenous peoples.



Tuesday, January 30, 2024

New Resource: Reviewing 10 Cents a Meal’s expanded impact on kids, farms, and food programs during the '21-'22 school year

Amplifying Impact with More Michigan Farms and Foods: 10 Cents a Meal 2021-2022 Evaluation Results
The 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids and Farms (10 Cents a Meal) program continues to reach more children in schools, districts, and childcare sites across Michigan, with the 2021-2022 school year serving the largest number of participating grantees yet.
We are pleased to share evaluation findings from the 2021-2022 10 Cents a Meal program, which show that 10 Cents a Meal is making significant progress towards its two main goals to improve daily nutrition for children in school or childcare settings and to invest in the Michigan agriculture economy. During the 2021-2022 program, more children, farms and food business were reached than ever before. An estimated 570,504 K–12 schoolchildren and 15,696 children through early care and education sites could have benefited by the program. Additionally, grantees reported purchases from 222 different farms and food businesses.
The full report, Amplifying Impact with More Michigan Farms and Food, showcases 10 Cents a Meal’s impact by examining the faceted impact on Michigan kids, farms, and food service programs. From “What foods were served through 10 Cents?” to “The Big Picture: Does 10 Cents Work?,” this report provides key indicators to determine future opportunities for growth.

This resource can be used to better understand the 10 Cents a Meal program and its impact. For food program managers and current 10 Cents a Meal grantees, this resource can be helpful to learn about how 10 Cents a Meal is used by other participants. For advocates and policy makers, these findings illustrate the bigger picture through the potential impacts and reach of the program. Lastly, this report can be used by Michigan farmers and food businesses to learn more about selling to schools and other grantees through the identified market channels and top foods purchased and served.

Amplifying Impact with More Michigan Farms and Foods: 10 Cents a Meal 2021-2022 Evaluation Results is available as a full report, as well as available as individual evaluation briefs.
Explore and share this resource with your networks!

For more information, contact:

This evaluation work was conducted with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and 10 Cents administrative funds for organizational partners.
Please help us spread the word 

Forward this message and share on social media. Please tag @MSUCRFS and @TenCentsMichigan on Facebook and @MSUCRFS and @10CentsMI on Twitter.

Social Posts:

For information about the regional distribution of 2021-2022 grantees and grantees over time:
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, January 23, 2024

Deadline approaching! Opportunities with the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center

Deadline approaching!
There are five open job opportunities with CRFS to support the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center. Application deadline is January 29, 2024.
The Michigan State University 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.
About the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center  

The Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center is dedicated to offering coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building opportunities for small- to mid-sized historically marginalized food and farm business entrepreneurs in support of a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system. Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (MI) coordinates the Great Lakes Midwest Regional Food Business Center that is comprised of network coordinators – 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, rather than transactional, approach.

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