Legislative Alert: 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids and Farms

Dianne Conners, Economy, Find Local Food, Health, Learn More

10 Cents a Meal is a match grant for schools to purchase MICHIGAN grown produce and dry beans and it is currently available in five of Michigan’s ten prosperity regions. Over the past three years of the program, farmers have developed new markets for their products and school kids are consuming more healthy, Michigan grown produce. Win, win!

Farmer talk about 10 Cents a Meal: 

• “It’s great to have another source of income. The more diverse streams of income we have, the more stable we are as a farm.” – Andrea Romeyn, Providence Farm, Antrim County

• “The schools are investing in us, which we transfer to our employees…Because of our big diversity of varieties, it’s really allowed us to utilize some fruit and keep it in for fresh eating, which is a better return for us than a processing option.” – Dave Rennhack, Rennhack Orchards, Oceana County

• “Farm to school is consistent business with consistent pricing. When I started with schools I was told student consumption had doubled and tripled in apples. It’s nice to hear you are making a difference.” – Mike Gavin, Gavin Orchards, Ottawa County

• “When the school year started, sales increased in the fall. Then, there was a downturn over the holidays. Once school started back up, our packing ramped back up. 10 Cents is definitely noticeable in our business.” – Mark Coe, Michigan Farm to Freezer, Wayne County

10 Cents is funded through the state’s K – 12 education budget which is currently being debated. The Senate proposes to increase the 10 Cents a Meal program funding from $575,000 to $2 million and expand eligibility to ALL Michigan public schools and early childhood centers. The House and Governor’s budgets suggest maintaining the current level of funding ($575,000) and eligibility only for the five prosperity regions currently in the program. As the Senate, House and Governor work to reconcile the differences in their budgets, this is an important time for them to hear from you.

If you feel that 10 Cents a Meal is an important program that should be expanded, here are some opportunities to act:

  • • Let elected officials know (contact information is below) you’re in support of 10 Cents a Meal. Be specific with your ask. Do you want them to advocate for statewide expansion and increased funding to $2 million? Then share this.
  • • If you are a Farm Bureau member, consider offering 10 Cents a Meal for inclusion in the Michigan Farm Bureau 2020 Policy Book. A number of chapters are considering this resolution.

Under the section Agricultural Innovation and Value-Added Initiatives 2: We support: Incentive programs that help schools and childcare centers to purchase more locally grown agricultural products, including  Michigan’s 10 Cents a Meal matching grant program. 

  • • Add your name to the list of supporters and organizations that see the value of 10 Cents a Meal. Go to tencentsmichigan.org. Click the “Get Involved” tab at the top of the homepage and then click Sign Up!

KEY LEGISLATORS

Senate Conference Committee members:

  • • Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, Chair, K-12 and Michigan Department of Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
    Phone: 517.373.2413 Email: SenWSchmidt@senate.michigan.gov.
  • • Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee
    Phone: 517.373.7946 Email: SenJStamas@senate.michigan.gov
  • • Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, Minority Member, K-12 and Michigan Department of Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
    Phone: 517.373.2417 Email: senrbayer@senate.michigan.gov
  • • Other Appropriations K-12 and MI Department of Education subcommittee and the full Senate Appropriations Committee members can also be contacted. And of course your own senator, found here.

House Conference Committee members:

  • • Rep. Aaron Miller, R-Sturgis, Chair, School Aid and Department of Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
    Phone:
    517.373.0832 Email: AaronMiller@house.mi.gov
  • • Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township, Vice Chair, School Aid and Department of Education Appropriations Subcommittee
    Phone: 517.373.8931 Email: PamelaHornberger@house.mi.gov
  • • Rep. Kristy Pagan, D-Canton, Minority Vice Chair of the School Aid and Department of Education Appropriations Subcommittee
    Phone: 517.373.2575 Email: kristypagan@house.mi.gov
  • • Other School Aid and Department of Education Appropriations subcommittee and the full House Appropriations Committee members can also be contacted. And your own representative, found here.

Diane Conners is the Senior Policy Specialist at the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities. Learn more about 10 Cents a Meal here. Contact Diane at diane@groundworkcenter.org

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