The cover of the report.

Local Food Purchasing at Michigan Schools: 2019-2020 Survey Results


October 29, 2020 - Author: <> and <>

58% of Michigan school food service directors reported purchasing local foods last school year

Since the 2014-2015 school year, MDE has included two optional questions in School Nutrition Programs online application to survey school food service directors about local food purchasing. Of those who applied in the 2019-2020 school year, 58% (505 of 878) responded that they purchased local foods for school food programs, the second highest percentage since the tracking effort began. Learn more in this new summary from MSU CRFS which also includes a breakdown of local food sources used by directors and a comparison of results for 10 Cents grantees with those for all directors.


The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) administers the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Nutrition Programs in Michigan. In order to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and other School Nutrition Programs (SNP), a school or school district must submit an application through an online platform called the Michigan Electronic Grant System Plus (MEGS+).

Since the 2014-2015 school year (SY2014-2015), MDE has included two optional questions in this application to survey Michigan school food service directors (FSDs) about local food purchasing. For the 2019-2020 school year (SY2019-2020) SNP application, FSDs were asked the following optional questions:

  • Do you currently purchase local foods for your school meals? Local foods are foods that are grown, raised, or processed in Michigan.
  • If yes, then please check from which sources you purchase local foods from the options listed below:
    • Department of Defense (DOD), USDA Foods Program (USDA), and/or Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program (UFV Pilot) utilizing USDA entitlement dollars
    • Broadline distributor (such as Gordon Food Service, Sysco, Van Eerden, and US Foods)
    • Local grocery store
    • Farmers market
    • Farmer cooperative
    • Food hub
    • Farm direct

This report summarizes results from SY2019-2020 and compares them to results from previous years to show patterns over time. Survey results for all SNP applicants are also compared to those of grantees participating in the 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids and Farms (10 Cents), a state-funded pilot program that matches what schools spend on Michigan fruits, vegetables, and legumes up to 10 cents a meal. Since 10 Cents grantees are provided with incentive funding for purchasing these foods for school meals programs, the comparison of this group to all applicants was of interest to understand if engagement in the program produced different results. The 2018-2019 school year (SY2018-2019) survey results are used for the 10 Cents comparison as the program remained unfunded by the Michigan legislature in SY2019-2020 until late summer 2020.


Thank you to the school food service directors who responded to these optional survey questions, and special thanks to Jaime Malnar and Diane Golzynski of the Michigan Department of Education for their ongoing leadership of this tracking effort. We are grateful to Jaime Malnar, Abby Harper of Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, and Rachel Kelly and Lindsay Mensch of MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) for their thoughtful reviews of this summary report. The authors would also like to thank Andrea Weiss of CRFS for communications guidance and Blohm Creative Partners for copy editing and design.

This work was possible thanks to generous funding support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

For more information about Michigan Farm to School, visit or contact Colleen Matts, Farm to Institution Specialist, at



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