Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Michigan School Children to be Served Healthier, Locally Grown Produce for Lunch

Thank our dear departed friend and Local Food Advocate Chris Bedford for this happy news for locavor nerds: the State of Michigan is one of two states in a pilot program that allows public schools to use Federal Funds to buy directly from local farmers. It requires no new expenditures and is voluntary. Chris Bedford lobbied Senator Stabenow to persue this opportunity for Michigan. Even in his absence he's making West Michigan and Michigan in general a better place.

The other state is Florida. So if you're in either state and you have kids in school, maybe give your public schools a poke to see if they're on top of that.

This is a much needed boost to these two state economies from money to local farmers, and will hopefully provide our kids with fresher foods with higher nutrient content.

A pilot program being tested in Michigan and Florida would allow schools to use federal commodities money to buy produce from farmers in their areas.

Exact details are being hammered out, but in its current form the program wouldn't involve new expenditures, an aide to Sen. Debbie Stabenow said.

Stabenow is chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. The program is voluntary for schools and farmers, the aide said, and farmers who want to supply schools will have to register with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Local activists, including the late Chris Bedford of Sweetwater Local Foods Market, had pushed Stabenow's office to support the pilot program, said Bill Bobier, a Hesperia farmer, former state representative, and senior policy analyst for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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