Senator Stabenow Praises New Investments to Connect Michigan Schools with Locally Grown Food

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement to award new funds to support two innovative initiatives that will bring locally grown food to Michigan school cafeterias. The grant funding was made available through USDA’s Farm to School Program, which helps schools source fresh and healthy local foods. The Farm to School Program also educates students about how food grows through school garden programs and farm visits. 


“Farm to School projects provide our children with fresh, nutritious food, while also teaching them healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime,” said Stabenow. “Connecting Michigan farms with our classrooms and cafeterias also provides new economic opportunities for local farmers, helping to create jobs and grow our state’s diverse agricultural sector.”


Stabenow has led efforts to ensure children have access to healthy Michigan-grown foods like fruits and vegetables in every school meal.  She authored the 2014 Farm Bill, which connects Michigan farmers to schools, hospitals and local consumers. She has also championed efforts to expand salad bars and Farm to School initiatives into more schools.


USDA’s Farm to School Grants help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, and distributors. These grants will also be used to support agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes across the country.


South Haven Public Schools and the Michigan Department of Education will each receive a Farm to School Grant. South Haven Public Schools will receive $98,264 to launch a collaborative effort to increase locally-grown food at school, expand nutrition education, and two mobile greenhouse buses in the school garden. The Michigan Department of Education will receive $70,280 to connect school food service directors with local food suppliers through the creation of a Farm to School Leadership Institute.