In celebration of National Farm to School Month, the PHS team took a field trip to visit the University of Michigan Campus Farm on Wednesday, October 12th. The campus farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens is a student-driven multi-stakeholder living learning lab for sustainable food systems work built around principles of food grown by students for students, on-farm carbon-neutrality, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, in a learning community that fosters student leadership development and high-impact teaching, research, and learning opportunities. The farm offers many intern positions, and they are hoping to create educational programs in the future for local schools to visit the farm in person.

The campus farm utilizes solar hoop houses, heated only by the sun, to produce locally grown crops, such as spinach and kale, for MDining, Maize and Blue Cupboard, and on-campus farmers market year-round. The farm’s produce truly goes full circle, representing this unique concept of being grown by students for students, showcasing their true farm to table model. Now that’s what we call eating local!

MDining, located at the University of Michigan, is comprised of twelve on-campus cafes, seven markets, seven residential dining halls, a line of Blue to Go foods, and Michigan Catering unit. MDining prides itself on emphasizing creative, healthy, and nutritious foods, international cuisines, and sustainability throughout all dining operations. The Maize and Blue Cupboard, also located at the University of Michigan, works to ensure all members of the university community (students, faculty, and staff), whether on a tight budget or physically restrained from getting to a grocery store, receive equitable access to healthy, nutritious, and nourishing food and the ability to prepare it for themselves and others. The cupboard provides food, such as produce, dairy, meat, bread, frozen and shelf-stable foods, kitchen and cooking items, such as dishes, silverware, pots and pans, Tupperware, cutting boards, knives, and personal and household items, such as trash bags, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, school supplies, baby items, as well as connects patrons to other campus and community resources.

The PHS team had a wonderful campus farm experience and gained further knowledge of the amazing resources and partnerships taking place within our own university community. We left feeling inspired! How will your school celebrate National Farm to School Month? We encourage you to post photos on your school’s social media, and to tag @projecthealthyschools, so we can share your story with others!

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