"Farm to school" applies to a variety of initiatives in Michigan, including efforts to offer local foods in school cafeterias, school garden programs, fundraisers that take advantage of local products, farmer visits to school classrooms and cafeterias, and field trips to nearby farms. Michigan Farm to School is a portal for information and a venue for sharing ideas, tools, and resources to support these and other efforts to link schools with local agriculture in Michigan.
Watch two new videos on Farm to School best practices and innovations in Michigan, including Olivet Community Schools hosting a farmer in the cafeteria for Farm to School Month and Michigan State University growing herbs for food service in the Bailey Greenhouse. Three previous videos include food service directors touring a farm called Veges from the Ledges, Country Dairy showing how they bring milk to local schools, and Bear Lake Schools sharing how they use local food in the Summer Food Service Program.
Michigan Farm to School is coordinated by Colleen Matts, Farm to Institution Specialist, and Julia Smith, Farm to School Specialist, with the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (formerly the CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems). Find more information including contact information on this Michigan Farm to School Fact Sheet.
Farm to School Partners:
FoodCorps is a "nationwide team of leaders that connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy." Michigan State University Extension Community Food Systems Workgroup is one of 15 FoodCorps state host sites for the 2013-2014 service year. Through local partner organizations, seven members are placed at school sites in Michigan to help jumpstart Farm to School, school garden and nutrition education projects.
The National Farm to School Network, supported by eight regional lead agencies that comprise the Network, the program offers training and technical assistance, information services, networking, and support in policy and media and marketing activities. NFSN has also launched a new national Farm to Preschool website to share resources and information for early care programs of all types to help them purchase and use local foods.
Michigan Land Use Institute (MLUI), focused on Northwest Lower Michigan, coordinates Taste the Local Difference and Farm to School programs that offer resources for buying and selling local products, fundraising, cooking, learning and assistance.
Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) serves a five county area in Southeast Michigan, FSEP exists to catalyze change in the food system of Southeastern Michigan. Through their Farm to School program, FSEP provides technical assistance to get fresh, healthy, local food into participating K-12 schools.
MSU Extension's Community Food Systems Workgroup focuses, in part, on farm to school and farm to institution programs. Michigan State University Extension and its Community Food Systems Workgroup support the development of community food systems throughout Michigan, including providing resources, specialists and educational programs for Farm to Institution programs.