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Michigan Farm to Institution Network by the Numbers 2020


December 30, 2020 - <>

The Michigan Farm to Institution Network (MFIN) is a space for learning, sharing, and working together to help farm to institution programs in Michigan grow. Launched in 2014, MFIN helps institutions reach the Good Food Charter goal of sourcing 20% Michigan foods by 2020 and supports Michigan farmers and vendors in profitably supplying Michigan foods to institutions. Cultivate Michigan, which was launched at the same time as the network, is MFIN’s local food purchasing and tracking campaign.

Years since launch: 6
Network Members: Over 600
Cultivate Michigan Featured Foods: 24
Cultivate Michigan Members: 228
Cultivate Minchigan progress bar showing types of participating institutions as of December 2020. 2 long term care facilities, 203 schools and districts, 7 early childhood programs, 13 hospitals and healthcare systems, 3 colleges and universities, and 9 other businesses make up the 228 participating institutions.
As of December 2020

Research projects have included:

  • A landscape assessment of the number and type of institutions in Michigan (2016)
  • A local definitions survey of institutional food buyers (2016)
  • A farm to senior facilities scoping project (2017)
  • A food safety survey of institutional food buyers (2018)
  • A local food purchasing at Michigan public universities interview series (2019)
  • A national institutional buyer produce safety survey (2020)

Cultivate Michigan Featured Foods:

  • Spring: asparagus, milk, kale, eggs, onions, and beef
  • Summer: blueberries, peppers, carrots, stone fruit, berries, and cucumbers
  • Fall: tomatoes, winter squash, potatoes, salad greens, celery, and broccoli
  • Winter: apples, dry beans, cherries, cabbage, beets, and garlic

Cultivate Michigan tours featured:

  • A food hub
  • A food processor
  • A closer look at food safety and season extension practices
  • Producers of salad greens, beef, beets, celery and onions, cabbage, carrots, dry beans, cherries, milk, peppers, tomatoes, blueberries, and apples.

MFIN is coordinated by the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) with support from MSU Extension. Its work has been accomplished through extensive collaboration and under the leadership of a broad team of practitioners and supporters over the years. We are grateful to all of these contributors for their ongoing partnership as well as their time, effort, and valuable contributions to our collective work.

MFIN was co-founded by Colleen Matts, CRFS, and Hillary (Bisnett) Greenwood, then of the Ecology Center. Lindsey Scalera, formerly of the Ecology Center, served as co-lead from 2016-2018.

Management team members have included: Kathryn Colasanti and Noel Bielaczyc, CRFS; and Garrett Ziegler, Kaitlin Koch Wojciak, Mariel Borgman, Abby Harper, Abbey Palmer, and Julia Darnton of MSU Extension.

The role of data manager has been filled by Megan Thompson, Drew Kuhlman, and Zaire Parrotte, all of CRFS. Alyson Oslin served as the first project coordinator on behalf of the Ecology Center.

The leadership team is comprised of Diane Golzynski, Jaime Malnar, and Melissa Lonsberry of the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and Lori Yelton of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). Marla Moss of MDE, Jeanne Hausler from MDARD, and Krystal Quartermus of the Michigan Department of Community Health, now Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, also served on the leadership team in the past.

An advisory committee of farm to institution practitioners has provided critical guidance on and practical contributions to our activities and direction since 2014. Since that time, advisory committee members have included the following partners: Maureen Husek, Beaumont Health; Stephanie Ksionzyk, HoneeBear Canning; Marta Mittermaier, MSU Residential and Hospitality Services; Christine Quane and Caroline Michniak, Eastern Market; Bob Reich and Marty Szymczak, US Foods; Evan Smith, Kelly Lively, and Heather Ratliff, Cherry Capital Foods; Filiberto Villa Gomez, Farmers on the Move, Red de Productores Hispanos, and Michigan Food and Farming Systems; Chuck Wolford, Wayne RESA and MOR Cooperative; Mike Gavin, Gavin Orchards; Amanda Gallaher, Association for Child Development; Janine Oberstadt, Creative Dining Services; Eric Pearson and Ruta Pearson, Pearson Foods; Brian Rosso, American House Senior Living; Keith Soster, University of Michigan Dining; Jane Feenstra and John Fay, Gordon Food Service; Sarah Monte, Upper Peninsula Food Exchange; Brandon Seng, Michigan Farm to Freezer; Mary Brower, Bluestem Farm; Glenn Noffsinger, foodservice consultant; Carolyn Thomas, Macomb Intermediate School District; Xaviar Jaramillo, Spectrum Juvenile Justice Services; and Toni Alexander, Chartwells.

Finally, in 2016, a set of field partners included Rachel Bair of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Noel Bielaczyc of CRFS, Devita Davison of FoodLab Detroit, Becky Henne of MSU Extension, Jen Silveri of Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS), and Tyler Vuillemot of the Michigan Farmers Market Association.



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