Michigan Farm to School Grant Program provides mini grants to Michigan schools

09/14/2015

Farm to School programming focuses on increasing procurement of locally grown foods in school meals. (view larger image)

Farm to School programming focuses on increasing procurement of locally grown foods in school meals.

By Abby Harper, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems 

The Michigan Farm to School Grant Program, a program coordinated by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, provides mini grants to schools throughout Michigan to develop farm to school programming focused on increasing procurement of locally grown foods in school meals. Grants are available both for schools that are in the preliminary planning stages of farm to school as well as those that are focused on implementing farm to school programming. 

This year, the 20 grantees from 12 counties across Michigan will be planning and implementing farm to school programming that impacts nearly 25,000 students. The program has an especially diverse pool of awardees this year, spanning both early education and K-12 programming. Awardees are also diverse in size, the range varying from schools serving meals to 25 students to school districts serving over 13,000!

Though all grantees are at different stages of the Farm to School program development, all are initiating innovative efforts this coming year to expand and strengthen their programming.  In addition to purchasing more fruits and vegetables from local farms, efforts include:

  • Building stronger planning commissions to ensure sustainability of farm to school efforts
  • Developing systems for freezing and preserving summer harvests to use in winter meals
  • Building community connections with local farmers through field trips and school education
  • Increasing staff capacity to serve local produce through knife skills and seasonal menu planning training
  • Working with Cultivate Michigan as a tool for tracking local purchasing

 

Check out the full list of current and previous grantees: http://foodsystems.msu.edu/resources/mi_farm_to_school_grantees

 

For more information on our MI Farm to School Grant Program, contact Abby Harper, Farm to School Specialist, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or you can view this year’s webinar outlining the program, expectations, and eligibility here: http://foodsystems.msu.edu/resources/mi_farm_to_school_grant_program_information_webinar