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Farm to School Month is Here!

Schools Throughout the Region Cooking Up Locally Grown Food

October 11, 2011 |

 
MLUI

For Immediate Release-Media Advisory
October 11, 2011

Contact:
Daniel Marbury, Farm to School FoodCorps Member
Michigan Land Use Institute
Phone: 231-941-6584 ext. 30 • Cell: 770-653-3805
Email: daniel.marbury@foodcorps.org • Web site: www.mlui.org

National Farm to School Month Celebrated in Area Schools

Schools throughout the region cooking up locally grown food

Schools throughout northwest Lower Michigan are cooking up locally grown foods for lunch this October and celebrating the nation’s first National Farm to School Month. Kids are creating recipes for school lunches with produce from nearby farms. And farmers are showing up in classrooms to let kids know how their food is grown.

The special month was designated by Congress last year, demonstrating the growing importance and role of Farm to School programs as a way to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of food.

National Farm to School Month also is providing area schools with the perfect opportunity to showcase their stepped-up efforts this year to purchase and feature locally grown foods in school meals and activities, said Diane Conners, who directs farm to school programming for the nonprofit Michigan Land Use Institute. More information on these stepped-up efforts is included below.

Opportunities for coverage:

FoodCorps
More information: Diane Conners, 231-941-6584 ext. 16 or diane@mlui.org.
Two of the nation’s first 50FoodCorps Service Members are working right here in northwest Lower Michigan in six area school districts in four counties. FoodCorps is a new part of Americorps, and it is sending young service members out into 10 states to help schools purchase and serve healthy, locally grown food; build school garden programs; and connect education to healthy eating and a celebration of local farms. FoodCorps member Daniel Marbury is helping schools purchase and feature more locally grown foods in the cafeteria and the classroom. Kirsten Gerbatsch is leading school garden efforts and assisting in nutrition education. The Michigan Land Use Institute is the service site for FoodCorps in northwest Michigan, in collaboration with MSU Extension and SEEDS.

FoodCorps School Events
Event information:

Daniel Marbury, Daniel.marbury@foodcorps.org, 770-653-3805 or
Kirsten Gerbatsch, k.gerbatsch@foodcorps.org551-427-8630

  • All month, Traverse City Area Public Schools is infusing farm-fresh foods into its menus district-wide throughout the month of October. More info: Food Service Director Gary Derrigan, derriganga@tcaps.net
  • Tuesday Oct. 11, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kirsten will be cooking up a tasty meal with her Good Grubs Cooking Club (SEEDS after school club) students at Suttons Bay School. Together they will make pasta and homemade tomato sauce using tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, herbs, and bell peppers grown at the Leelanau Community Garden and in the Suttons Bay school garden
  • Wednesday, Oct. 12, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Daniel will be conducting a fresh, seasonal harvest taste test at Platte River Elementary in Benzie County Central Schools.
  • Thursday, Oct. 13, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Daniel will be conducting a farm fresh taste test of cubed winter squash from Silver Lake Farm in TCAPS’ Interlochen Community School.
  • Thursday, Oct. 13, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m., Kirsten will be teaching high school students at Suttons Bay about preserving fresh foods through canning, pickling, and dehydrating. Students will learn about dehydrating to make apple rings in class with local apples.
  • Monday, Oct. 17, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m., Kirsten will be teaching high school and middle school students at Suttons Bay to make healthier alternatives to chips and fries using farm fresh produce. They will make kale chips, beet chips, and potato wedges. 
  • Monday, Oct. 17, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kirsten will be leading the Deep Roots Farm Club (SEEDS after school program) to plant garlic in the raised beds at Suttons Bay High School.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 18, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kirsten will be leading the Good Grubs Cooking Club (SEEDS after school program) to make spicy tacos using fresh, local ingredients and vegetables grown at the Leelanau Community Garden and in the Suttons Bay school garden.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m., Kirsten will host Miguel Albarran from Hansen's Grocery Deli, who will visit both middle school and high school Health & Foods classes to present a cooking demonstration and prepare some of his traditional Mexican cuisine!
  • Thursday, Oct. 20, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Daniel will be conducting a fresh, seasonal harvest taste test in the lunchroom at Frankfort Elementary School in Benzie County.
  • Friday, October 21, 8:20 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Daniel will be with the Central Lake 4th grade class on a Farm Fieldtrip Day (departing from Central Lake Elementary School visiting Duerksen Turkey Farm, Shetler’s Dairy, and Rocky Top Farm).
  • Monday, Oct. 24, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kirsten will teach her Deep Roots Farm Club (SEEDS after school program) about the wonders of root vegetables and bake a chocolate beet cake (shh...don't tell them there are beets in it yet!)
  • Tuesday Oct. 25, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m., Kirsten will be carving and decorating pumpkins with two classes at Suttons Bay to bring over to the elementary school students on Thursday for a nice Halloween treat. In class they will also roast pumpkin seeds and learn about other ways to cook and eat their jack-o-lanterns!
  • Tuesday, Oct. 25, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Daniel and food service staff make a very special lunch. Parents and community members are invited to join students for a NW Michigan Farm-Fresh meal at Suttons Bay High School.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 25, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kirsten will bake pumpkin cookies and decorate cookies with home made maple syrup icing with the Good Grubs Cooking Club at Suttons Bay.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. – 1p.m., Daniel leads a fresh, seasonal harvest taste test at Platte River Elementary in Benzie County Central Schools.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 26, 1 a.m. – 3 p.m., Daniel leads the 4th Grade Class in a salsa making experiment at Interlochen Community School.
  • Thursday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Daniel leads a school-wide, Salsa Blind Taste-test competition at the Interlochen Community School cafeteria.
  • Thursday, Oct. 27, 4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., Kirsten will visit the 4-H Kids Club at Suttons Bay Elementary School for the first time. She will be leading a garden walk with the children to get to know their garden and lead a fun activity about seeds.
  • Monday, Oct. 31, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m., Kirsten will bake "spooky and gross Halloween cupcakes and treats" with two classes at Suttons Bay School.
  • Monday, Oct. 31, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Daniel and food service staff prepare a very special lunch. Parents and community members are invited to enjoy a Farm Fresh Spooky Halloween Surprise lunch at Northport Public School.
  • Monday, Oct. 31, 3 - 6 p.m., Kirsten will teach her Deep Roots Farm Club at Suttons Bay School how to bake delicious pumpkin bread and roast pumpkin seeds - how to enjoy the whole pumpkin.
  • Monday, Oct. 31, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Daniel and Kirsten host local farmer visits and food education activities during the Northport Public Schools Fall Festival in celebration of National Farm to School Month.

More events in each of these FoodCorps schools are planned in the month of November, including a special harvest festival in Suttons Bay on November 8th to promote a school farm to community fundraiser. This event will feature local farmers, taste tests from local restaurants, live music, and much more. Farm visits in the classroom also are planned. Contact Kirsten and Daniel for more information.

Leland Public Schools
More information: Dorothy Sirrine, 231-946-4199, 301-938-9708, dorothy.sirrine@gmail.com

Leland Public Schools is working with a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant to change to a focus on serving fresh and locally grown foods. For Farm to School Month the cafeteria is being decorated with photos of farmers supplying the school and with still-life artwork of local fruit created by elementary students. The cafeteria also is adopting a “food of the month” approach to the menu, with pome and stone fruits—local nectarines, plums, pears and apples—featured in October. Students are learning about the differences in seed structures in the fruits.

Events planned so far are:

  • Thursday, Oct. 27 from 1:10 p.m. – 1:40 p.m., a presentation for 3-6th graders on growing food in northern Michigan throughout the year using hoophouses, presented by farmer Nic Welty of Nine Bean Rows Farm.
  • Date to be determined: A farmer presentation for 7-12th graders by farmer Michelle Ferrarese of Birch Point Farm.
  • Date to be determined: A farmer presentation for K-2nd graders from a beekeeper.

Glen Lake Community School
More information: Sam Hybels, hybelss@glenlake.k12.mi.us

Glen Lake Community School has hired former restaurant owner and chef Sam Hybels to take over its food service operations where former food service director and chef Eugene Peyerk left off. Hybels reports he is featuring 90 percent scratch cooking and 70 percent local produce in season. Fruits and vegetables from a 100-mile radius of the school are featured daily.

Leelanau Learning Circle
More information: Diane Conners, 231-941-6584 ext. 16 or diane@mlui.org

The Michigan Land Use Institute is facilitating a Leelanau Learning Circle of School Food Service Directors to help create mutual support in farm to school program development. The Learning Circle will allow the food service directors an opportunity to brainstorm, problem-solve, and potentially find ways to collaborate. MLUI also will be a “learner” in the Learning Circle, cataloguing stumbling blocks and opportunities; and tracking down or developing needed resources and assistance that food service staff identify. In addition, MLUI will integrate needs and opportunities identified within the Learning Circle to local food infrastructure development and farmer capacity building planned or under way in other MLUI projects and within the Northwest Michigan Food & Farming Network. 

About the Institute
The Michigan Land Use Institute is an independent, nonprofit research, educational, and service organization founded in 1995. More than 3,000 households, businesses, and organizations have joined the Institute in support of its mission to establish an approach to economic development that strengthens communities, enhances opportunity, and protects Michigan's unmatched natural resources.

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