Healthy Kids, Thriving Farms
Michigan's 10 Cents A Meal For School Kids and Farms pilot program is providing schools with match incentive funding up to 10 cents per meal to purchase and serve Michigan-grown produce to an estimated 95,000 students in 32 grant-winning school districts.
A report from the Michigan Department of Education on the program's 2016-2017 pilot, serving 48,000 students in 16 districts, shows that many school children are being introduced to new fruits and vegetables as a result of this funding, and the program is investing in Michigan’s economy and jobs at the same time.
“We believe the timing was right for this pilot, and for potential expansion next year, because schools are serving a greater variety of fruits and vegetables and that is exactly what Michigan farmers grow.” - State Superintendent Brian J. Whiston
Michigan-owned processors and distributors benefit from facilitating farm-to-school sales.
"The school sales have been on a steady incline and then they really spiked this year. Institutional school sales increased by 30% because of 10 Cents a Meal." - Mark Coe, Farm to Freezer
Growers on 20-acre to 1800-acre farms report growing business thanks to 10 Cents a Meal.
"I've had more and more kids drag their parents over to my farmers market booth and request things like parsnips because they tried them in school." -Andrea Romeyn, Providence Farm
Food Service Directors report that the variety of produce served in school meals has increased, and local produce purchasing can be planned with greater certainty thanks to 10 Cents a Meal.
"I've put canned beets on the salad bar, and kids don't like them. But I do a fresh beet with olive oil and vinegar, and the kids love it." -Dave Ruszel, Food Service Director, Leland Public Schools