The Michigan Land Use Institute
has long been a big backer of the idea that local food should be served in local schools. It seems that the USDA agrees with the organization, as they just gave them a two-year, $100,000 grand to help expand the local Farm to School program.
The grant allows MLUI to partner with eight local districts and area farmers to invest in cold storage and processing equipment to scale up local food procurement by the schools. It also allows MLUI to expand the farm to school activities that it currently operates in six schools.
The grant is going to make it easier for local schools to serve fruits and vegetables that are produced by local farmer across northern Michigan. The result will help local agriculture while teaching kids the importance of local food and healthy eating habits.
Additionally, food service directors have identified a need for washed, dried and bagged salad greens and cut vegetables, but the many farms in the region that typically grow vegetables don’t have the capacity or infrastructure to meet the needs of the region’s schools. The grant will help secure new, centrally located equipment for commercial-scale preparation, making it possible and more cost-effective for growers to scale up vegetable production to benefit schools.
The MLUI grant is one of 68 awarded by the USDA to organizations in 37 states and Washington, D.C., to connect schools with local agricultural producers. These are the first USDA Farm to School grants.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Michigan Land Use Institute