MSU Extension selected as a National Farm to School Network Michigan partner

Community Food Systems team members will continue to support capacity building and expansion of farm to school and farm to early care in a new role as Supporting Partner.

MSU Extension selected as a National Farm to School Network Michigan partner

Michigan State University Extension is excited to announce our selection as a 2017-2019 National Farm to School Network Michigan Supporting Partner. This new role recognizes MSU Extension’s leadership in the farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) movement, and will provide new opportunities for us to continue building capacity and support for farm to school and ECE activities in Michigan.

From school gardens and farm field trips to local food on lunch trays, farm to school and ECE practices help children learn about where food comes from and make healthier choices, while also creating new markets for local and regional farmers and food producers.

In Michigan, the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) has provided leadership in farm to school and farm to ECE for more than 10 years and will now serve as Michigan’s Core Partner. MSU CRFS has founded and organized several farm to school initiatives, including the Michigan farm to school mini-grant program, statewide trainings, technical assistance and networking opportunities. More recently, MSU CRFS provided leadership on two statewide initiatives: the Michigan Farm to Institution Network and the 10 Cents a Meal program. The Michigan Farm to Institution Network promotes local foods for schools and other institutions through the local purchasing campaign, Cultivate Michigan. The 10 Cents a Meal program is providing matching reimbursement for local food purchased for school meal programs in two prosperity regions, and may be expanding to another region in the next state budget year.

MSU Extension Community Food Systems team has partnered with MSU CRFS to support the growing farm to school movement by providing regional, on-the-ground support for statewide initiatives and statewide leadership to the Michigan Farm to Institution Network and the 10 Cents a Meal program. MSU Extension Community Food Systems and MSU CRGS have also established local and statewide trainings to boost farm to school knowledge and practices and organized meet the buyer events and networking spaces to benefit farm to school stakeholders. In alignment with the Michigan Good Food Charter, the Community Food Systems team is working towards the goal of all Michigan institutions sourcing 20 percent of their food locally by the year 2020, with Michigan farmers profitably supplying their products.

The National Farm to School Network has selected core partner and supporting partner organizations in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Territories to collaborate on efforts to strengthen the farm to school and ECE movement nationwide and ensure its benefits are available to all children and communities. Together, we’ll support the development of new information and resources, grow awareness of the movement and its benefits and provide vision for the growth and evolution of the farm to school and ECE movement.

The other supporting partners for Michigan are: Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. To learn more about our partnership with the National Farm to School Network, visit farmtoschool.org/ournetwork.

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