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10 Cents a Meal was vetoed from the state budget. Here’s how it can be restored.Print

Local Food | October 1, 2019 | By Diane Conners

10 Cents a Meal was vetoed from the state budget. Here’s how it can be restored.

10 Cents a Meal has been eliminated from the state budget—the victim of one of nearly 150 line item vetoes Gov. Gretchen Whitmer handed down this week in what is being called an historically tense budget process.

Now it’s time to move to the next step – and there is one. The legislature can move forward on a supplemental budget process to restore the program, and Governor Whitmer can then join legislative leaders at the negotiating table.

Let’s call on them to do that—move forward on the supplemental budget process and negotiations. Contact your legislators and Gov. Whitmer now. Read on for more information on how to do this.

The governor and the legislature, bruised as they may be, have been challenging each other to truly negotiate. And they should, immediately. Delaying negotiations means delaying momentum in a healthy school lunch program—a win-win for students and Michigan farmers—that was poised this year to finally be available to school districts across the entire state.

10 Cents is a matching grant program that helps schools purchase Michigan grown fruits, vegetables, and dry beans. Because it’s an incentive match program, it doubles the state’s investment in Michigan’s economy. And it puts the wide variety of fruits and vegetables our state grows on the plates of our children. It’s investing in children’s health and our local food and farm economy.

10 Cents has received national recognition, bipartisan support, and endorsements from school, health, and farm advocates across the state.  

Those who have either signed up as supporters or provided statements of support include Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Farmers Union, Michigan Food and Farming Systems, the School Nutrition Association of Michigan, the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Healthy Kids-Healthy Michigan, Michigan League for Public Policy, and school districts ranging from those in Detroit and Flint to the state’s Upper Peninsula.

State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, who led the effort to expand the program statewide with $2 million in funding in the budget—before the veto—said he even thought of the program as not just bipartisan, but “nonpartisan.” Legislators in agricultural areas immediately understood the value, and legislators from urban areas, when they learned of the 10 Cents program, asked, “How can I get this for my schools?” Schmidt said.

And Gov. Whitmer originally included the program in her budget as well, and also recognized it in her policy priorities when she was campaigning to be governor, despite the fact that 10 Cents was originally moved forward by Republicans.

The governor’s previous support of 10 Cents showed a win-win attitude, and that's what we need. We need things we can agree upon. Make this one of them.

Here are steps for contacting legislators and Governor Whitmer:

Ask your legislators to call on legislative leaders—the Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, and Appropriations Committee members and chairs in both chambers — to move forward a supplemental budget process that includes:

  • Restoring the legislature’s expanded $2 million in funding for 10 Cents a Meal in the School Aid Budget
  • Expanding 10 Cents so it is available to school districts statewide, and
  • Adding in eligibility for sponsors of early child care centers.

If you have limited time, start with your own legislators, asking them to contact legislative leaders.

And then call on Gov. Whitmer to respond affirmatively. Tell her why the program is valuable to you.

School has started. Let’s do this now.

Here is where you can find contact information for your legislators, Senate leadership, Senate Appropriations Committee members, House leadership, House Appropriations Committee Members, and Governor Whitmer.

If you need more information about the impacts of 10 Cents a Meal, check out the reports to the legislature at tencentsmichigan.org.

 



Letter Templates and Tips for Personalizing Your Message

Need help in putting together a letter to Governor Whitmer and Michigan legislators to restore funding for 10 Cents a Meal? Below are a couple of sample letters.

Copy and use them as is, or consider adding a sentence as a second or third paragraph that says something about yourself and why you believe this is important.

For example:

This program is important to me because I am a family physician and I know that getting healthy food into the eating patterns of school children is crucial for their health now and in the future.

This program is important to me because I am a school food service director and it allows us flexibility to try new items with our students. We can serve a much greater variety of produce to our students with this program in place.

This program is important to me because I am a farmer and I have seen the farm to school market grow as an important way to grow my business.

This program is important to me because I am the parent of school children, and I want them to have flavorful, nutritious food in schools because they eat there every day! I also like investing in our local economy.

 

Dear Governor Whitmer,
I am urging you to make sure that funding for the very important program known as “10 Cents a Meal” is restored to the state School Aid Budget. You originally included this program in your budget and recognized it in your policy priorities when you were campaigning to be governor.

As you know, 10 Cents a Meal is a matching grant program that helps schools purchase Michigan grown fruits, vegetables, and dry beans. As an incentive match program, it ultimately doubles the state’s investment in Michigan’s economy. It also puts a wide variety of Michigan fruits and vegetables on the plates of our children, improving their health and well-being. The 10 Cents a Meal Program is an important investment in the health of our state's children and the health of our local food and farm economy. It is a win for everyone!

This nationally recognized program has bipartisan support and endorsements from school, health, and farm advocates across the state. The budget approved by the Senate and House was poised to expand this program so it would finally be available to school districts and early childhood centers across the entire state.

Please support a supplemental budget that includes these measures:

  • Restore the legislature’s expanded $2 million in funding for 10 Cents a Meal (the Local Produce in Schools line item),
  • Expand 10 Cents so it is available to school districts statewide, and
  • Add in eligibility for sponsors of early child care centers.

Thank you for your previous support of 10 Cents. Please make sure it is funded and available for our children across the state.

Sincerely

 

Dear (Senator or Representative),
I am urging you to make sure that funding for the very important program known as “10 Cents a Meal” is restored to the state School Aid Budget. The Senate and House originally included this program for expansion statewide. Thank you so much for that!

As you know, 10 Cents a Meal is a matching grant program that helps schools purchase Michigan grown fruits, vegetables, and dry beans. As an incentive match program, it ultimately doubles the state’s investment in Michigan’s economy. It also puts a wide variety of Michigan fruits and vegetables on the plates of our children, improving their health and well-being. The 10 Cents a Meal Program is an important investment in the health of our state's children and the health of our local food and farm economy. It is a win for everyone!

This nationally recognized program has bipartisan support and endorsements from school, health, and farm advocates across the state. The budget approved by the Senate and House was poised to expand this program so it would finally be available to school districts and early childhood centers across the entire state.

Please act soon and support a supplemental budget that includes these measures:

  • Restore the legislature’s expanded $2 million in funding for 10 Cents a Meal (the Local Produce in Schools line item),
  • Expand 10 Cents so it is available to school districts statewide, and
  • Add in eligibility for sponsors of early child care centers.

Thank you for your previous support of 10 Cents. Please make sure it is funded and available for our children across the state.

Sincerely

Diane Conners is senior policy specialist at Groundwork Center. She has led farm to school initiatives for 15 years.

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