Food service staff, educators, and others from Muskegon County made a “learning journey” to Traverse City in the fall to explore farm to school progress there. They discovered the professionally vetted farm to school lessons at Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, and it was a highlight, said Deb Warren, who is coordinating farm to school program development in the Muskegon Public Schools.
“We are trying to figure out a way to utilize it in our districts and, really, countywide,” she said. “A lot of times when you see curriculum, it is always in other states. The Traverse City one is very helpful.”
Mike Hill, superintendent at the ISD, is glad to hear it. He became committed to farm to school after seeing the difference it made for his son when Glen Lake Community Schools changed its food service a few years ago.
“Imagine being in middle school as an overweight boy,” he said. “You go to your school each day, eating pizza and hot dogs. Amazingly, the school adopts a farm to school and fresh food concept*. The young man starts a mission to eat healthy and even brought the passion of local, fresh food home. Four years later, you have a valedictorian of his class, all-state athlete, and ambassador for fresh, locally grown food. The school made the difference. We cannot underestimate the impact this has for our priority, children.”
“We cannot underestimate the impact this has for our priority, children.” —Mike Hill, Superintendent, Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District
*Michigan’s 10 Cents A Meal for School Kids & Farms is a successful state pilot that provides schools with up to 10 cents a meal in match funding to purchase and serve Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Originally a $250,000 state pilot in prosperity regions 2 and 4, lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder expanded 10 Cents A Meal for the 2017-2018 school year to also include prosperity region 9 with an increased budget of $375,000. The is one in a series of stories documenting 10 Cents A Meal for School Kids & Farms.