The days are getting shorter and the smell of drying leaves and woodsmoke is in the air. Fall is here and that means it’s back to school for Michigan’s 1.5 million public school students. For many of us, back to school conjures up a variety of images and smells: freshly sharpened pencils, crisp notebooks, new backpacks, and the infamous mystery meals served in the cafeteria. For many of Michigan’s students, however, the school year also brings with it the tantalizing smells and flavors of locally sourced, and carefully prepared, food.
Do you have a passion for educating kids about local food? Do you want to help TLD promote our regions bountiful farmers’ markets? After an overwhelming positive response, we’ve decided to host 5 more Pop-up Farmers Markets this Spring but we can’t do it without your help!
The National Farm to School Network is hosting the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018. Individuals and organizations that are working to improve our food system, strengthen community health, empower youth, build racial equity and increase opportunities for farmers and producers are encouraged to attend.
Scholarship applications are being accepted now through Monday, February 12 at 8pm ET. All interested attendees are invited to apply for scholarships to reduce the cost of participating in the conference. To ensure the conference reflects the full diversity of farm to cafeteria constituents, scholarships are prioritized for farmers and farm support organizations, farm to college/hospital practitioners, early care and education providers, food service professionals, persons of color, and youth (through age 22).
The scholarship application is available at farmtocafeteriaconference.org.
Crisp apples, pumpkins, fresh cut flowers, and rainbow carrots are a few items that crowded the gym of seven elementary schools this month. Also included were guest chickens, various educational activities, smoothie bikes, and pumpkin soup samples. Students purchased flowers for their mothers, pumpkins for Halloween, and loved sampling kohlrabi and pea shoots from 9 Bean Rows Farmstead & CSA.
“How’d we end up getting this fancy lettuce? This stuff is good!” exclaimed a Posen High School student walking through the cafeteria line one day.
Harry Norconk is weighing asparagus when I arrive at Norconk Farms. Asparagus season is in full swing and he doesn’t have time to sit and chat, so instead we hop onto an RTV and drive out to the fields to pick up crates of freshly harvested asparagus. Driving around the farm we pass acres of asparagus stalks popping up out of the ground waiting to be harvested. Out in the field workers ride along the rows snapping spear after spear out of the ground and sorting into crates to be washed, weighed and packed.