GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Education has handed down $9.3 million that will now be distributed as grants for schools looking to provide children with more local food options.
The 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Farms and Kids program is administering the grants. It is accepting applications from schools, early care and educational centers, as well as any other community settings where children are being fed. The grants will match what sponsors spend on Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables and dry beans up to 10 cents per meal.
“This is really an incentive program that offers a financial incentive for supporting the Michigan economy and agriculture as well as helping to offer more options to our children who are attending education in those spaces,” Melanie Wong, a farm to early care specialist at the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, explained.
The $9.3 million from the state is the largest dollar amount the program has received in its 10 years. The grants are open to schools and districts statewide as well as those organizations that participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Child Nutrition Programs, like the National School Lunch Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program or Summer Food Service Program.
“There’s been really tremendous growth and we really want to encourage all eligible sponsors to apply to really utilize this money that’s there for them for the purpose of increasing Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables and dry beans in their sites,” Wong said. “Because the money’s there and it can really do some good.”
Applications to receive a grant must be turned in by April 4. They can be found by clicking here.