Melanie Wong

melanie wong

10 cents a meal policy associate

[email protected] |

"I grew up in my grandparents' Chinese restaurant surrounded by the sounds of a bustling dining room and busy kitchen. I'd often walk around and talk to customers as they ate their dinner. Ever since I have known the power food has to connect people," Melanie says.

The realization of food’s connection power stayed with Melanie, forming a deep interest in food and leading her to pursue an education in nutrition and a career as a dietitian. “I wanted kids to know that good, healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad,” she says.

At Groundwork, Melanie’s role on the 10 Cents a Meal team definitely supports that mission.

She spreads word of the benefits of serving locally grown foods to children in her duties as manager of social media and communications. She also connects with schools and early childhood education centers to help generate interest in signing on to the program.

Looking ahead, Melanie is excited and optimistic that 10 Cents a Meal will continue to expand, especially in early childhood education settings, where she has focused her career thus far. “I know how important early experiences with healthy foods are as children form relationships with food,” she says.

For evidence that Melanie held onto the food lessons from her childhood, just look in her fridge. What’s always there? “Hot sauce, endless condiments, eggs, fruit, leafy green vegetables, home-brewed kombucha, and my sourdough starter—Herman,” she says. 

Good to know


Bachelor’s in Dietetics and minor in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from Michigan State University. Master of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Dietetics.

In her spare time ...

Melanie likes to “cook, eat, and learn about food and everything related to it!,” she says. She also loves dancing, watching anime, and tending to her composting worms and garden.

Favorite spot in northern Michigan

"Hard choice, the beauty of Northern Michigan is immense, but I will say the beach at Leelanau State Park. I visited for a hiking event, and it was amazing."

Why the prop?

Melanie loves reading through cookbooks, for her it’s less about the recipes and more about the stories that are shared by the authors. She picked the two books Momofuku Milk Bar and Xi’an Famous Foods because “I feel the authors were really able to express their lived experiences and share how their food embodies those experiences.”

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