Governor Whitmer proclaims October as Farm to School Month in Michigan!
“Farm to School empowers children and their families to make informed choices and strengthens the local economy, which contributes to vibrant communities and improves the health and well-being of our kids” -Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Governor Whitmer has proclaimed October as Farm to School Month in Michigan. This news comes just days after the 2021 budget allocated $2 million dollars for 10 Cents a Meal to expand to schools and early childcare centers statewide. The forward momentum for farm to school programming reaffirms Michigan’s commitment to serving kids healthy, locally grown produce and supporting our hard working farmers. In a press release issued by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Whitmer states, “I am so proud of our efforts to increase access to healthy, fresh local foods in Michigan through our Farm to School Efforts.
Who is Involved in Michigan?
“Michigan Department of Education has long supported and fostered farm to school programs through state-level partnerships, multiple federal grants, 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms program, and encouraging the purchase of Michigan-grown products for all of our nutrition programs”. - Dr. Micheal Rice, State Superintendent
Michigan’s robust Farm to School programming is the result of strong, collaborative partnerships across sectors. Community members, state agencies, teachers, academia, non-profits, farmers, and school food service have come together to support Michigan’s kids and farms, while building a more resilient local food system and creating healthier communities. Want to know more about who supports 10 Cents a Meal? Check out our supporters page here.
What is Farm to School?
Farm to School is a national program that seeks to bring healthy food into communities by building lasting partnerships between farmers, schools and early childhood education settings. The National Farm to School Network states that the program has expanded from a few schools in the late 1990s, to approximately 42,000 schools in all 50 states as of 2014. Schools not only serve fresh, local foods in farm to school programming, but they incorporate nutrition lessons, conduct taste tests, and facilitate hands-on learning experiences through gardening, cooking, composting, even visiting farms to meet with farmers directly. This leads to improved health outcomes for students, while giving farmers a strong institutional market through school sales.
The National Farm to School Network envisions “a nation in which farm to school programs are an essential component of strong and just local and regional food systems, ensuring the health of all school children, farms, environment, economy and communities”. By proclaiming October as Farm to School month, and continuing to fund programming that connects kids to healthy, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and legumes, Michigan is taking a step towards making this vision a reality.
Want to Learn More?
On our Tools for Schools page, you can find resources on ways you can get involved in your local school, and participate in the 10 Cents a Meal program. You can learn ways to build your farm to school program, find lessons for early childhood education, and find our recently updated Grant Application Guide.
For additional information about Michigan’s Farm to School efforts, visit www.canr.msu.edu/farm_to_school. See the proclamation here, and read the full press release from Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development here