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October 2021: Farm to School Month
October 02, 2021
WHEREAS, Farm to School enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools; and,
WHEREAS, Farm to School supports students' access to healthy, local foods and educational opportunities, including school gardens, cooking lessons, and farm field trips; and,
WHEREAS, Michigan's local farmers, farm workers, and school nutrition professionals are key components of our state's vibrant food system, with many expanding their efforts to provide food to our students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic; and,
WHEREAS, Michigan farmers are trusted providers of a wide variety of agricultural products and lead the nation in the production of asparagus, dry beans, cucumbers, tart cherries, squash, and milk produced per cow; and,
WHEREAS, Michigan has more than 50,000 farms and produces more than 300 commercial agricultural products, making our state one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation; and,
WHEREAS, Michigan residents have an increased interest in where their food comes from as well as in developing stronger regional and local food systems, expanding the number of local food opportunities for consumers and businesses across Michigan; and,
WHEREAS, Michigan's food and agriculture sector employs over 805,000 people and contributes more than $104.7 billion to the state's economy annually; and,
WHEREAS, racial and ethnic disparities exist in our food system, both in terms of access to healthy food and income from producing food, inextricably linking food justice to racial justice; and,
WHEREAS, Michigan's Farm to School efforts involve state agencies, community partners, academia, farmers, and school food service programs across the state working together to lift up children, families, and communities in an equitable and inclusive way; and,
WHEREAS, Farm to School empowers children and their families to make informed food choices and strengthens the local economy, which contributes to vibrant communities; and,
WHEREAS, during this month, we should show our support and appreciation for our local food and farming heroes and celebrate Farm to School Month;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim October 2021 as Farm to School Month.