Groundwork Center's Farm to School Making a Difference in Boyne Falls

Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities recently shared the outcomes of a grant that integrated a comprehensive Farm-to-School program into Boyne Falls Public School as a pilot in our area.  Funding from the 10 Cents a Meal state pilot project along with the Youth Fund and the Environmental Fund aims to help connect children in school to healthy food from local farms.  A “FoodCorps” worker brought daily programming into classrooms, the school cafeteria, and a school garden in Boyne Falls, where the teachers, food service staff and administrators have become champions for student health and access to fresh, locally grown produce.

Specifically, the “FoodCorps” worker:

•spent 444.25 hours on site at BFPS, reaching all 207 students and teaching 41 farm-to-school lessons in classrooms, with an additional 10 lessons taught in the school garden.
•worked closely with Food Service Director/Chef Nathan Bates to offer fresh, local food to students every day, and hosted five taste tests of local products. Chef Nathan prepared these items, and following positive taste test results, added them to the lunch menu.
•Second Spring Farm parsnip chips taste test results: of 104 students who tasted parsnip chips in the cafeteria, 45 students (43.4%) “loved it”, 35 (33.7%) “liked it” and 24 (23.1%) “tried it”;
•Bear Creek Organic Farm sunflower shoots taste test results: of 74 students that tasted the sunflower shoots, 49 “loved it”, 13 “liked it”, and 12 “tried it”.

Connections with other Charlevoix County schools have been made, as well.



Habitat for Humanity aims to increase the number of families served

The need for affordable housing in our local community is well-documented with 38% of Charlevoix County residents struggling to afford basic necessities (Char-Em United Way ALICE Report). Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity works to address that need in our area by building and repairing safe, decent, and affordable homes for lower income families.   Currently, Habitat has over 25 applicants for new housing and 10 applicants for critical home repairs. This demand indicates the need to serve multiple families simultaneously.


Last year, the Community Foundation’s Community Fund made a grant in response to a request from Habitat that aimed to increase the number of families they could help by reducing the time spent at each new build or critical repair.  A second tool trailer and a second complete set of tools now allows Habitat staff and volunteers to work at two job sites at a time, doubling their capacity to serve low income families. 


“We are most proud of the fact that our staff and volunteers have the right tools in the right place at the right time,” says Mandy Martin, operations manager at Habitat. “We are doing more because we have the necessary tools to do the job - this directly affects the amount of time it takes to complete the build.  By having the necessary tools to complete the job, the build time decreases.  We are able to serve more families because of this grant,” adds Ms. Martin. 



Join us in the mission to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Charlevoix County, now and for generations to come, through grants like this one.  The Community Foundation helps local people make a difference close to home.