Your involvement empowers us to push ahead with 10 Cents a Meal, which improves child well-being and farm family income through an innovative Farm to School program that also serves early childhood education centers.
10 CENTS A MEAL FOR MICHIGAN'S KIDS & FARMS
Frequently Asked Questions
How does 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan's Kids and Farms work?
10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms is as simple as it sounds. It provides up to 10 cents per meal in matching grants to school districts to increase the Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, and legumes that end up on children’s school lunch trays. The program doubles the state’s investment because schools match the grant with existing school food dollars, usually federal.
Can 10 cents from the state plus 10 cents from the school really buy enough local food to make a difference in a child’s health?
On average, school districts have only $1.20 to spend on school lunches, so 20 cents (10 cents from the state and 10 cents from the school) directed to local produce is a meaningful investment, and the extra dime gives schools the flexibility to try new things. Also, by focusing on locally grown food, the school can increase the nutrient quality of meals and the interest among children in eating healthy fruits and vegetables. Science suggests that nutrient-dense foods improve learning outcomes, increasing the odds that children will have brighter futures.
What do farmers say about how 10 Cents a Meal helps them?
By steering school lunch dollars to local farmers, the program adds an important element of financial stability to farm cash flow. Schools, in fact, are typically the biggest “restaurants” in any community, and the COVID crisis has shown they feed our children even when school buildings are closed. With 10 Cents a Meal now funded for the entire state and including early childhood education centers, the program gives a budget boost to hundreds of Michigan’s small and mid-sized farmers. It also strengthens Michigan’s food supply.
What is the current status of 10 Cents a Meal?
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the new state budget for 2021, which includes $2 million for 10 Cents a Meal, up from $575,000 last year. Schools all across the state, from Detroit thru the Upper Peninsula, now are eligible to apply for the grant funds. Sponsors of early childhood education centers also can apply for the first time. School districts and early childhood centers can learn how to apply here.
“Groundwork's skills in dealing with legislation, promotion, marketing, social media and building grass root support for the effort was a missing piece that no other stakeholders at the table possessed. The 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan's Kids & Farms program would not have been possible without Groundwork’s talent and expertise.”
— Dan Gorman, Food Service Director for Montague Area Public Schools and Whitehall District Schools