Michigan Potato Industry Commission
Raising the Bar with Salad Bars in Michigan Schools

When offered healthy food choices, children respond by trying new items, incorporating greater variety into their diets, and increasing their daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Bringing in new dishes and fun ways to eat vegetables will allow students enjoy the freshness of the salad bar and continue to eat healthier. There are several different ways to encourage healthy habits including setting up particular lunch menus on special occasions. Having a Mexican fiesta with potato bowls on Cinco de Mayo or having a Thanksgiving feast with mashed potatoes with the salad bar; there are endless opportunities.

Michigan Potato Industry Commission and the Potatoes USA want to help with this task and get fresh vegetables into the school lunch room. A Texas A&M University school-lunch plate-waste study last year indicated
that fruit gets consumed by students more than vegetables except when potato products are served as the vegetable, and then “just about every student chooses the vegetable”.

We are currently working to place 150 salad bars in Michigan schools, providing school children with access to a whole variety of fresh and healthy food choices. If you would like to join us in achieving this goal, please download and utilize the information below to place a salad bar.
Michigan Salad Bar Challenge
(Adobe PDF File)

At the root of the Commission's mission is the commitment to ensure that cutting edge research is being conducted in Michigan to address the core concerns of the industry. From the development of new varieties to ensuring that modern production practices continue to have a minimal impact on the environment, significant portion of resources are committed to key research efforts.

During the 2016 growing and storage season research efforts are taking place in all corners of Michigan to address concerns and validate the value of future varieties.

At the industry's Cargill Demonstration Storage Facility in Montcalm County and in fields across the state, new potato varieties will assessed looking for new varieties that will grow well in Michigan.

Growers and shippers of potatoes along with potato chip manufacturers and industry partners will gather in August to identify key issues affecting the industry during the Montcalm Field Day . Input from those in attendance will set the direction for future research.

Learn more about our research.

Telling the story of the nutritional value of the potato, helping consumers understand how potatoes are produced and sharing how Michigan's potato industry contributes to our state's economy are just a few of the educational efforts of the Commission.

Resources are available from our office to assist for educational programs including children's activity guides, recipes, nutritional information and other items. Teachers can access a lesson plan on potato nutrition called "What's Going On Down Under the Ground? Michigan Potatoes: Nutritious and delicious"
Potato Lesson Plan
(Adobe PDF File)
Most store-brand potatoes in Michigan are locally sourced. Michigan potato farmers purchase their supplies locally and many are involved in community service. 
Michigan’s climate and geography provide abundant amounts of rainfall and groundwater for potato cultivation. Michigan potatoes are proudly grown in the Great Lakes Basin with naturally pure water, in pockets of sandy soil formed by glaciers 14,000 years ago – making great conditions for potato cultivation.

Michigan potatoes are grown in over 40 counties across the state, from Iron Mountain to Sturgis and Monroe.

From mid-July through late October, potatoes are harvested across Michigan. Some of our potatoes go directly to market and others into storage, which means Michigan potatoes are available almost year-round.

Michigan potatoes travel much shorter distances from farm to consumer than those from popular potato states, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint.
Events We Attend

The Michigan Potato Industry Commission attends a number of trade shows and events across the country promoting Michigan potatoes and products made with Michigan potatoes. Here are a few that we attend annually.

School Nutrition Association of Michigan
Michigan WIC Training and Educational Conference
National Restaurant Show
Michigan Grocers Fall Conference and Show
Michigan Restaurant Show