The purpose of the Michigan Department of Education’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Project is to create and expand community partnerships between existing agencies, organizations, and their local and regional disadvantaged farmers and producers. Planned activities include partnerships connecting farmers, producers, and their products to healthcare organizations, tribal organizations, regional food collectives, mobile pantry programs, fresh produce box programs, food hubs, and allowed processing facilities. Expected outcomes target increased sales and support for local and socially disadvantaged farmers and producers, and delivery of local fresh produce at increased levels through new and existing programs.
The intended beneficiaries of the planned projects are local and socially disadvantaged farmers and producers and underserved communities. The addition of fresh produce will support food program recipients through the provision of fruits and vegetables, increase community organization efforts to provide more healthy food options for participants with limited resources, and allow targeted farmers and producers to establish an expanded customer base beyond the program.
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) released a request for Letters of Grant Interest to all known potential partners for this grant and encouraged them to share beyond our established food program providers. Over 20 proposals were submitted. Eight of these proposed innovative and robust plans are included in MDE’s grant application. Three proposals will be funded at requested levels, and five proposals will be partially funded at 43% of their submitted budget using reallocated funds received.