VanderWall supports USDA effort to provide locally grown food for schools. 

July 26, 2017

Rep. Curt VanderWall

VanderWall supports USDA effort to provide locally grown food for schools. 

State Rep. Curt VanderWall is applauding a federal grant that will help the farm-to-school program grow, providing Michigan students with more fresh, locally grown produce.

VanderWall, of Ludington, represents the state 101st House District. He said the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $70,280 competitive grant to the Michigan Department of Education to improve farm-to-school programs, which has a goal of public K-12 schools purchasing at least 20 percent of its fruits and vegetables from local sources by 2020.

Earlier this year, VanderWall cast a vote against the House version of the school budget because, in part, it did not fund a program to provide local produce to schools. He said the USDA grant will help accomplish his goal of providing more local, healthy food to schoolchildren as part of their school lunch programs.

“Michigan is a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables, and it only makes sense that this produce should be offered in school lunches,” VanderWall said. “Why would anyone purchase out-of-state canned produce to serve to our children when fresh, locally grown alternatives are available? This is a no-brainer.”

According to State Superintendent Brian Whiston, the funds will be used to:

·         Expand school food service director networks and cultivate their leadership via a new Cultivate Michigan Farm to School Leadership Institute;

·         Host a series of regional Cultivate Michigan Marketplace networking events to help food service directors strengthen relationship with local food suppliers; and

·         Build a more stable, informed school market for local food producers.

“Michigan was fortunate to receive this grant in a very competitive setting,” VanderWall said. “Hundreds of applicants from across the nation competed for limited funding. I am very pleased we will see more farm-to-school relationships as a result.”

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