FOOD SERVICE DIRECTORS ARE TALKING ABOUT 10 CENTS A MEAL

“We are really enjoying the Michigan grown produce. There is such a huge difference in produce taste when it is local.”

“The kids are now asking, ‘Any new fruits or veggies to try?’ They keep me on my toes.”

“‘Local’ has become a cool buzz word among the little guys (K-5)”

“Students appreciate that food is coming from their area and supporting local farmers.”

 -Preliminary Food Service Survey data as of February 2016, courtesy MSU Center for Regional Food Systems.

Andrea Romeyn, Providence Farm

 “The 10 Cents a Meal program has added reassurance to grow our business...”

Nick Oomen, Oomen Brothers

“It is helping drive Michigan’s economy...”

Heather Ratliff, Cherry Capital Foods

“That is my greatest joy. These schools really wanted to do farm to school and these dollars have allowed them to increase what they are doing.” 

Mark Coe, Farm to Freezer

“The school sales have been on a steady incline and then they really spiked this year. Institutional school sales increased 30 percent because of 10 Cents a Meal.”

Marty Gerencer, Muskegon Food Hub

“The state believes in farmers, and the state believes in kids. That is the message it is sending.” 

Colleen Johnson, Muskegon Public Schools and Muskegon Heights Public Schools

“If we still have funding, I will plan earlier next year. I will hit the ground running.”

Colleen Johnson, Muskegon Public Schools and Muskegon Heights Public Schools

“We need to promote our state and its bounty.”

Tom Freitas, Traverse City Area Public Schools

“It is nice to have a government program that ensures that a school has to double the investment in Michigan produce in order to receive their reimbursement. Not many grants pay back the state like that.” 

Dave Ruszel, Leland Public Schools

“It is very strange that kids like beets. I’ve put canned beets on the salad bar, and the kids don’t like them. But I do a fresh beet with olive oil and vinegar, and the kids love it.”

Keri Carlson, Manistee Area Public Schools

“I think that students, when they eat something and we can tell them that it was grown near here, they relate to that. It is interesting to see.”

Deb Warren, Muskegon County Farm to School

“10 Cents a Meal is making farming and eating a priority. Being exposed at a younger age to fruits and vegetables through growing, taste testing, having it on their school menus – that improves what they choose and it carries through their whole life. It would be a shame if 10 Cents is discontinued. There is still work to be done, and there is such positive momentum.”

Dan Gorman, Whitehall District Schools and Montague Area Public Schools

“It is a lot healthier than tater tots or French fries.”

Student at Muskegon Area Career Tech Center

“This is like when your parents finally let you sit at the grown up table. What we are doing matters.”

Lindsay Hall, FoodCorps Service Member, Boyne Falls Public Schools

“To connect to curriculum, we talked about how beets grow, how beets were used throughout history as fabric dye and how the words ‘beet’ and ‘beat’ are homophones — giving us plenty of un-BEET-able puns for our cards.” 

Mike Hill, Superintendent, Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District

“We cannot underestimate the impact this has for our priority, children.”

Helen Dombalis, Programs Director, National Farm to School Network

“With this bill, Michigan joins just a handful of states that have taken this great step forward, demonstrating its role as a national leader in this work.”

Betti Wiggins, Food Service Director, Detroit Public Schools

“I am excited about the prospect of 10 Cents a Meal helping kids across the state and right here in Detroit where we will put this program to use the second it becomes real. This is how we change the food system and get local food to our children.” Betti is the 2016 School Nutrition Association of Michigan School Food Service Director of the Year. Detroit was not eligible to apply in the first round.

Kevin Robson, Horticulture Specialist, Michigan Farm Bureau

“Encouraging institutions to purchase more food from local sources is something that is extremely important, and undoubtedly has a positive impact on our farmer members producing food in regions all across Michigan.” 

Caryn Elam, Food Service Director, Hart Public Schools

"As a small, rural school district, we look for ways to increase revenue so we can increase options for our kids. In an agricultural area like ours, this funding can have a very tangible effect on the local economy. Staff and students will form a closer and healthier relationship with food because they can literally see where it’s grown." (Caryn applied but was not funded. She hopes for another opportunity.)

Jim Bardenhagen, Leelanau Farmer, MSU Extension Director Emeritus

"The 10 Cents a Meal Program has greatly increased our fresh produce business to area schools. The students are getting healthy, tasty local fruits and  vegetables, which school food service directors tell us the students like and eat. The local farmers get to sell more produce, which helps the growers’ economics. Basically, great benefits for all involved."

Matt McCauley, Executive Director, Networks Northwest

“Bottom-line is that Michigan enjoys a positive return on investment with the 10 Cents a Meal Program, benefiting farmers, schools, and kids…locally grown food tastes even better with this program.”