The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has named a second round of grantees as part of the agency’s 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms program. The application process reopened in January after an initial round of grantees were announced in December 2020, bringing the total number of grantees from across the state to 149.
Among the second round grantees are several Wayne County organizations, including: Totts Early Learning Center ($500), Creative Learning Children’s College ($1,000), Detroit Service Learning Academy ($5,000), and Methodist Children’s Home Society ($5,000).
10 Cents a Meal was recently in the national spotlight after being highlighted by Michigan’s Child Nutrition Director Dr. Diane Golzynski in her testimony before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, chaired by Michigan’s senior U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Delta Township).
10 Cents A Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms is a state-funded program providing schools and early childhood education centers with match incentive funding up to 10 cents per meal to purchase and serve Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
School food service directors say the 10 Cents program allows them the flexibility to try new foods with students and that the local produce is more flavorful and often available in varieties that children love, such as multi-colored carrots. Dr. Golzynski, at the national hearing, said the exposure to healthy local produce has increased children’s “acceptance and excitement” about eating well, to the point of parents saying children now request the produce grown by their local farmers at home. She stressed the importance of good nutrition for children to show up ready to learn.
“The 10 Cents a Meal program is an innovative tool to help nourish our children and also serves as an important investment in our state’s local food systems,” said State Rep. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Twp). “I applaud the announcement of MDE’s second round of 10 Cents a Meal grants, including several first-time grantees in Northwest Detroit and Redford Township. It’s great to see an innovative program that can have an immediate impact on such a local scale, both for our schools and ECEs, and our urban and rural agriculture producers.”
Since Governor Whitmer signed the budget into law in October of last year, 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms has gone from a 2016 pilot program to finally being available to applicants state-wide. This action supported schools and ECE’s for 2020-2021, and affirms the importance of 10 Cents a Meal in providing local fruits, vegetables, and dry beans for Michigan’s schoolchildren.