Sarah Stone, a Chartwells Food Service Director for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, said Chartwells typically limits its food service staff in her region of the state to buying from certain larger vendors. But the 10 Cents schools* have been allowed more choices, such as Michigan-focused Cherry Capital Foods, which sources from smaller growers to mid-size.
And those smaller growers, she said, often grow more “unique” products that children like, such as rainbow colored carrots. It’s made a difference. “We got peaches and plums and some different varieties in the fall that the kids don’t normally see, and they were loving it,” she said. “They were taking their fruits and vegetables versus whining about taking them.”
“With the continuation of the funding it will help continue the process of adding more and more variety to the items we serve.” —Jenna Noffsinger, Frankfort-Elberta Area Public Schools
*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.