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‘10 Cents A Meal’

Several U.P. schools, early childhood centers awarded grants to serve Michigan-grown fruits, veggies

MARQUETTE — The Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities announced that the Michigan Department of Education has chosen its 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms grantees for 2020-2021, which includes several grantees in the Upper Peninsula.

Grantees include: Gwinn Area Community Schools, $1,000; Hancock Public Schools, $3,000; Houghton-Portage Township School District, $2,000; Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan Head Start, $5,000; and Stanton Township Public Schools, $3,000.

The Michigan Department of Education selected 138 grantees across the state for its 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids & Farms grantees for 2020-2021, many of which are first-time grantees. The grantees, which serve over 406,000 children, have been approved for the program to improve daily nutrition and eating habits for children.

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.

Goals are to improve daily nutrition and eating habits for Michigan children through the school setting and invest in Michigan agriculture and related local food business economies.

The Michigan legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer increased funding from $575,000 to $2 million for 10 Cents a Meal in this year’s budget. Initially a pilot program launched in 2016, 10 Cents has been expanded so that it is available to schools statewide for the first time ever.

Additionally, the program has been expanded to include early childhood centers as also eligible for the grant funding.

“The 10 cents a meal program is a valuable partnership between our schools, area farmers and communities,” said Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township, in a news release. “As a farmer myself, I recognize the importance of having local support and as a parent, I also recognize the importance of children eating fresh and healthy foods.

“The Upper Peninsula is fortunate to have multiple schools receive funding for the program. I look forward to hearing about the positive results.”

In this time of greater food insecurity due to the pandemic, food service programs are playing an essential role in delivering healthy, nutritious meals to Michigan’s children.”

The 10 Cents a Meal program amplifies local purchasing power while also providing a market for small-to-medium scale growers, he said.

“Adding nutritious options to our children’s school meals is important to their growing minds and bodies,” State Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, said in a news release. “I’m proud of our state for having a program that incentivizes healthy eating, and benefits both our students and hard-working farmers.

“Programs like this are especially important for children in rural areas like the U.P. who may not have access to a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables to try outside of the school setting. Congratulations to our school districts who recognized the importance of the 10 Cents a Meal program, stepped up to the challenge and were awarded the MDE partnership.”

To learn more, visit www.tencentsmichigan.org.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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