October is “Farm to School Month” in Michigan. Almost a million meals have been provided to state schoolchildren and families as part of the pandemic response, and effort has been made to use local food as much as possible.
Farm to School Month is a national program that connects consumers with fresh food through the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University, the Michigan Department of Education, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).
In explaining the connection between the lunch line and the farm, MDARD Director Gary McDowell said, “Michigan’s local farmers, farm workers, and school nutrition professionals are key components of our state’s vibrant food system. The framework in place through Farm to School efforts have been crucial as farmers, school food service workers, and volunteers continue to serve as frontline heroes, expanding their efforts to provide food to our students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Examples of local products used in school lunches include dairy, fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, meat, and beans. Efforts are also underway to improve nutrition education and increase the number of school gardens.
Reporting for WGRT – Jennie McClelland