Above: Wendy Christensen, Food Production Manager at Flint Community Schools, which is one of 57 current 10 Cents a Meal grantees. Photo at Eisenhower Elementary, by Steven Hanna.
This is historic: All three branches of Michigan government have included 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms in their proposed 2019–2020 budgets. That’s the matching grant program that assists schools in purchasing Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, and dry beans.
But it’s not over yet, and your voice is important NOW.
The school aid budget, where 10 Cents is funded, now goes to conference committee starting as early as Tuesday, June 25, to iron out differences. The Senate, thanks to the leadership of Sen. Wayne Schmidt, includes expanding 10 Cents to a statewide program, $2 million in funding, and adding sponsors of early childcare centers as eligible; the House and Governor‘s budgets call for repeating this year’s funding level of $575,000, and keeps the funding available only to applicants in the currently eligible five prosperity regions.
Let Governor Whitmer, legislators, and all of Michigan know that 10 Cents a Meal is essential for our children and our communities! We’ve provided contact information below.
LEARN HOW 10 Cents a Meal can make your school's cafeteria menu healthier with help from state matching funds: tencentsmichigan.org.
5 Easy Ways to Be Persuasive
1. Use this messaging when you contact your legislators and the governor.
10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms has proven itself as a powerful way to introduce healthy, delicious food to children in Michigan while investing in Michigan agriculture and local economies. Please increase funding to $2 million and turn this pilot project into a program that is available statewide. Schools around the state should have the opportunity to apply for these matching fund grants out of one statewide 10 Cents fund. 10 Cents a Meal also should be expanded to include sponsors of early childcare centers. Thank you for your support of 10 Cents a Meal!
2. Personalize your letter to legislators and the governor.
Add your own thoughts about why it is important to invest in healthy, locally grown food for Michigan’s children. Want some ideas? You can find additional information about the program’s impacts on children and farms in fun quotes, data, and infographics in the legislative report here and in this one-pager that includes a quote from the School Nutrition Association of Michigan and Michigan Farm Bureau here. Bottom line: Grant-winning food service directors said 10 Cents a Meal provided them with the flexibility to try 67 new fruits, vegetables, and dry beans with their kids! In addition, districts purchased a total of 93 different produce items grown by 143 farms located in 38 counties. An additional 20 related businesses such as food processors, food hubs, and food distributors also received business.
3. Sign on as a supporter, and encourage others to do so.
Add your name to the list of people and organizations that embrace investing in local food for kids in schools and early childcare as a part of Michigan’s identity. It benefits Michigan’s kids, farms, and economy.
You can add your name to the list of supporters by visiting tencentsmichigan.org. Click on the "Get Involved" tab at the top of the homepage and then click Sign Up!
4. Make sure farmers’ voices are heard.
You can share this one-pager with statistics and quotes regarding impact on agriculture with farmers you know, as well as the info-graphic sheet that includes the quote from Michigan Farm Bureau. Encourage them to contact their legislators also.
In addition, local Farm Bureau chapter policy development committees are currently considering policy that they would like to see included in the important Michigan Farm Bureau 2020 Policy Book. A number of chapters are considering this resolution. Are you a local Farm Bureau member? Do you know someone who is? Please share this resolution (below) for consideration.
County Farm Bureau Chapters Pass the Following Resolution.
Under the section Agricultural Innovation and Value-Added Initiatives 2:
Incentive programs that help schools and childcare centers to purchase more locally grown agricultural products, including Michigan’s 10 Cents a Meal matching grant program.
5. Make sure your schools’ voices are heard.
A sample school board resolution in support of 10 Cents can be found at this link.
This can also be a template for others, such as the School Board Association of Michigan, health care professional organizations, etc.
Please be sure the school boards and any other organizations then add their names to the 10 Cents supporter page of the web site.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We added the specific ask of $2 million at the end per recommendation of a school board reviewer. Others may not feel they are allowed to make a specific ask, so that line could be removed.
Be sure to add your name to the list of 10 Cents a Meal supporters! (It takes just 30 seconds.) Sign up here.
Here’s contact information for the governor and key legislators