10 Cents a Meal
10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids and Farms (10 Cents) helps schools source and serve fresh and minimally processed (including frozen) Michigan-grown vegetables, fruits, and legumes. One of the first of its kind in the United States, this state-funded pilot program matches what schools spend on fresh Michigan-grown products with grants of up to 10 cents per meal.
The 10 Cents program has two primary goals:
- Improve daily nutrition and eating habits of children through the school setting, and
- Invest in Michigan agriculture and the related food business economy.
All school districts that serve lunch in five eligible Prosperity Regions were eligible to apply for 10 Cents grants in the 2018-19 school year. Fifty-seven grants were awarded to school districts in 27 of Michigan’s 83 counties that year.
The Michigan Department of Education administers 10 Cents. Since the program launched in the 2016-2017 school year, a core team has supported 10 Cents: MSU Center for Regional Food Systems has provided evaluation, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities supplied communications and advocacy, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development assisted with food and agriculture connections.
In the future, the program could be designed to include strategies to reduce health disparities, support minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses, and strengthen local food supply chains. Future expansions could also extend the pilot to a statewide program and include early care and education sites.
Schools, policy makers, and advocates can use the resources on this site to understand and communicate about the value and impact of the 10 Cents a Meal pilot program and similar school-based incentive programs for locally grown foods.