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Northern Michigan Farmers Excited For Grant Supporting Farm To School Programs

The school year is right around the corner and this year when your kids go back, they could be eating more locally grown produce. 

A federal grant was recently given to the Michigan Department Of Education to improve farm-to-school programs.

The grant is more than $72,000.

Schools can apply it to their food costs, giving them more money to buy produce grown right in their own backyard.

"Making sure we use fresh produce grown locally in our school systems to provide healthy lunches for our kids," says Rep. Curt VanderWall. 

This year when kids go back to school they could be having more fruits and vegetables grown by farmers right here in Michigan. 

"Getting kids better connected with food getting actual carrots actual broccoli instead of just the frozen stuff in their schools cherry tomatoes with better flavor would be big steps," says John Ferree. 

And it’s not just the better flavor that appeals to lawmakers. 

"This just goes to help solidify the farmers that put their sweat and blood into the product and this is showing them we do believe in them and that we are buying their product to use in our schools," VanderWall says. 

But farmers think there could still be some challenges. 

"I’m totally positive about it. I think that you’re going to have bureaucratic hurdles I think you’re going to have implementation hurdles and probably some issues with retraining cafeteria staff," John says. 

Regardless, lawmakers are excited to keep more food local. 

"We have so much to offer we have to work hard to continue to grow our industries and of course agriculture is a huge part of what we have," VanderWall says. 
The Department Of Education hopes to have at least 20 percent of its fruits and vegetables from local sources by 2020.

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