As part of the Local Food for Schools (LFS) Grant program, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) intends to apply for the full dollar amount allotted for purchase of locally grown foods from small and/or socially disadvantaged farms and businesses. MDE will subaward the dollars to all 816 School Food Authorities (SFAs) currently participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) using a fair-share method as prescribed within the Request for Application. To ensure that all reporting requirements are met, MDE will be create a “sister program” to our existing 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids and Farms (10 Cents a Meal) program. The 10 Cents a Meal program reimburses participants for purchases made once invoice data is submitted to MDE via an invoice tracking system. This system collects farm and/or vendor name along with farm location, food item description, and amount spent. The 10 Cents a Meal program is currently limited to the purchase of minimally processed fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
The LFS grant will allow for the purchase of locally grown and locally/minimally processed fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, legumes, and grains. The goal would be to support SFAs during this time of needed supply chain relief as well as foster and create new purchasing partnerships with local food hubs, smaller farmers, and distributors who sell local small-farm food items. MDE would continue our current partnerships to make these vendor connections to SFAs. Our long-term sustainability goal would be to broaden our current farm to school programs, such as 10 Cents a Meal, to include proteins, dairy, and grains.