Farm-to-school movement advances

Naming one of our institutes The Greening Michigan Institute (GMI) is one of those decisions that generates more than its share of ribbing. Folks accuse me of having caved to political winds at the time we chose that name, but so far, I feel that the questions it generates helps people to understand just what’s different about Michigan State University Extension. First, and I always start with this: green is a great color. Who wouldn’t love to see a little more green outside your window? And at this university especially, green speaks of loyalty and solidarity (walk through any airport in the country with an MSU shirt on and strangers will greet you with the words “Go Green!”). But mostly, a green Michigan confers a sense of a place that thrives on its natural assets, whether they’re used to produce nutritious food, generate renewable energy, harbor abundant wildlife or attract money-spending tourists. And no combination of words helps to explain the idea of a greening Michigan as effectively as some examples of what we envision. I came across an article on the Michigan Land Use Institute website last week that helps to illustrate what we think is one of the growing opportunities for economic development in Michigan based on our natural assets. It features our own Rob Sirrine, Extension educator in the GMI, and work he is facilitating with the community food systems team. It captures the growing excitement over the advancement of the farm-to-school movement and MSUE’s role in northwest Michigan. Thanks to Rob and the community food systems team for giving yet another example of what we mean by “greening Michigan.”

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