Food & Farming

10 Cents a Meal for Michigan's Kids & Farms

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?

For the 2022-2023 year, 10 Cents a Meal is available statewide and has $9.3 million
in funding. This will support new and returning grantees, farmers and local food
vendors and distributors in their work to bring nutritious, Michigan-grown foods
to the tray or the table. Supporters and grantees alike are excited to see the 10 Cents a Meal program continue to hold bipartisan support from the Michigan legislature as the
program expands.

Take action!

For more information about 10 Cents a Meal, please contact Farm to Early Care and Education Specialist Melanie Wong, at melanie.wong@groundworkcenter.org.

Reach out to people and organizations like your school board, parent organizations, food service directors, legislators, health and wellness advocates, farmers and farm groups. Share Our Website, Success Stories, and the fact sheets, reports, and more below.

Check out these Tools for Schools and help your school and early childhood community get prepared to grow a successful program and secure 10 Cents a Meal grant funds.

Also, see resources and related articles below, and explore the 10 Cents Michigan website.