Build Your Farm to School Program

These tools are organized around the objectives for each school awarded 10 Cents funding: 1) procure Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables and legumes, (2) prepare and menu Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables and legumes, (3) promote and market Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables and legumes and, (4) plan educational activities that promote one or more of the following goals: promote healthy food activities, have clear educational objectives, involve parents or the community, and/or connect to a school’s farm to school procurement activities.

1. Resources for procuring Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables and legumes.

Purchasing Michigan Products: A Step-by-Step Guide Created by MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, this tool offers guidance on local produce purchasing in a school environment.

Cultivate Michigan: Purchasing Guides This resource of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network helps institutional buyers to source a variety of Michigan grown products. Each year, four new guides are created for an additional four new featured products. Click on an individual product to learn seasonal availability, find contact information for vendors and, in some cases, obtain actual product code numbers that have been provided by broadline and specialty distributors.

Buy Local Food for your Institution This Institutional Sales page is meant for food service providers looking to connect with a local farm to source their product directly or through a distributor. Farmers that have indicated an interest in providing food to larger institutions can be found. 

USDA: Guide Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs Resources on this page help child nutrition program operators to incorporate local foods into their day-to-day operations. Site includes a 12-part webinar series.

USDA Local Food Directories The USDA's searchable directories for locating farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's), Food Hubs, and On-farm Markets. 

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development: Buying Local - Approved Food Sources for Food Establishments This guide provides information on providing safe locally produced products such as produce, meat and eggs to food establishments. Food establishments include restaurants, schools, grocery and convenience stores, institutions, etc. Click on the first google result to access. 

2. Resources to prepare and menu Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables and legumes.

School Nutrition Association of Michigan's "Michigan Farm Fresh Skills" Training "Participants will be trained on receiving, storing and preparing Michigan Farm Fresh Produce. Get hands-on training for knife skills and other culinary techniques using recipes that have been successful. This class was created by MSU Extension Educators and sponsored by a Specialty Crop Block Grant through Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development."

10 Cents A Meal Recipes and Resources This resource provides standardized recipes compiled by the Michigan Department of Education and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to help with school menu planning ideas. It also has recipes for the Cultivate Michigan featured produce.

Cultivate Michigan Purchasing Guides This resource of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network also has tips for storage and preparation; and recipes that have been tested and perfected by food service members. 

Northwest Education Services Farm to School Resources This website developed in northwest Lower Michigan offers links to many resources for food service professionals related to meal planning using local foods. 

The Lunch Box This national site shares best practices from around the United States. It offers ideas and support for menu development and local food use in salad bars; and staff support resources including a recipe database. 

Minneapolis Public Schools This resource offers menu ideas and appealing meals based on local foods. Schools in northwest Lower Michigan have tried some of the recipes, like kale salad, and found that kids love them. 

University of Mississippi Institute for Child Nutrition: Culinary Techniques for Healthy School Meals Culinary Techniques provides 16 print lessons and 51 video lessons to use in training. Six online courses are available for earning continuing education credits. The video lessons feature chefs from the Culinary Institute of America demonstrating step-by-step food preparation methods. The programs highlight the USDA Recipes for Schools

3. Resources to promote and market Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables and legumes.

Cultivate Michigan Find marketing posters, recipes, and other materials for 24 featured Michigan-grown foods. 

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Guide to Local Crops: Facts and Figures Michigan grows a wide variety of crops and leads the nation in dry beans, red tart cherries, blueberries, squash. 

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development video highlights of Michigan agriculture This is a primer to support your promotion and marketing messages and reviews the Michigan Farm Bureau’s role in the food economy. 

Northwest Education Services Harvest of the Month Resources This website offers many resources for food service professionals as well as teachers. You can also do an internet search for Harvest of the Month and come up with many other examples. 

USDA Food and Nutrition, Fruit and Vegetables Galore This resource includes the 2004 “Meal Appeal” fruit and vegetable promotion PDF. It is a complete resource for both the promotion and marketing of produce in a school setting. 

Garden to Cafeteria: A Step-by-Step Guide The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems developed this guide, which is helpful for both food service staff and educators. School gardens are a great curriculum tool, and can provide products for cafeteria taste tests and more. 

Try it Tuesday The Public Schools of Petoskey have set aside one Tuesday each month to try a different Michigan-grown fruit, vegetable, or legume. Parent volunteers help introduce a sample of this new food to students, who then vote on how they liked it. Give it a try, incorporate a monthly day of sampling in your school. Engage parents, students, and school staff, while promoting Michigan-grown produce, all at the same time!   

4. Resources for educational activities.

Northwest Education Services Learning Activities This site offers lesson plans, curriculum resources and detailed classroom activities. 

Farmer Involvement in the Classroom This page is meant for teachers looking to connect with a local farm for field trips, help with school gardens, in-class instruction, etc. The farmers who have an interest in participating in one or more of these types of activities are listed with contacts and more information.

Michigan Farm Bureau: Free Ag in the Classroom Lesson Plans for 4-6th grade in math, science, health, language arts and social studies. Lessons for other grade levels are also available at this general web site. The Farm Bureau also has speakers available to come to classes.

The Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee Six- week science and social study lessons recommended for 3rd, 4th, or 5th grades. 

USDA Farm to School USDA FNS offers a comprehensive list of curriculum options.  

Curricula and Resources Comprehensive list from Jeff Piestrak, Cornell University.

Resources for Farm to School Success Compiled by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Department of Education, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, and Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.

5. Additional Resources

Farm to School Preparedness Checklist

Assess your farm to school/farm to ECE preparedness: Review this checklist of prompting topics and questions to help you assess your school or child care center’s readiness for farm to school activities. 

The USDA Farm to School Planning Toolkit                                                                                                                                                                 

Here is a comprehensive planning tool kit that guides you though questions to consider when starting or growing a farm to school program and takes you all the way to evaluation of your efforts. You can also find the full list of all the USDA Farm to School Resources here.

Bring Your Legislator to the Lunch Table                                                                                                                                         

The School Nutrition Association of Michigan (SNAM) wants to help educate our legislators about how school food works. This easy-to-use toolkit helps you engage your legislators and offers you the opportunity to showcase your 10 Cent success story or to tell them why you want 10 Cents in your school.

Webinar for Food Service Directors: 10 Cents a Meal Training                                                                                                         

This webinar provides an overview of 10 Cents a Meal along with important information regarding FarmLogix and the reporting process required of grantee schools for 2020-2021.

Webinar for Food Service Directors: Farm to School Education & Marketing                                                                                          

Watch our webinar below, featuring three 10 Cents grantees who share stories of successful district-wide collaboration on hands-on learning activities to support student consumption of local food in the lunch line.

Webinar for Educators & Administrators: Farm to School Education & Marketing                                                                                           

Hear from leaders in Michigan's farm to school movement about the importance of educator involvement in hands-on learning activities, proven to boost student consumption of local food in the lunch line.

Want more info?

You can find many supportive Michigan contacts here.