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July 2022: Michigan Farm to Summer Month
July 01, 2022
WHEREAS, early childcare education programs, schools, and non-school sponsors of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Meals programs are capitalizing on the many opportunities that summer brings to serve fresh, local food at meal sites providing nutritious meals; and,
WHEREAS, Farm to Summer Month celebrates Michigan’s local food and agriculture products that allow Michigan residents the opportunity to consume seasonal fresh produce and other local products; and,
WHEREAS, Farm to Summer meal sites help children develop heathy habits through hands-on learning activities and educational opportunities, including school gardens, teaching where food comes from, and taste-testing a variety of fruits and vegetables during the summer months when school is not in session; and,
WHEREAS, Michigan has more than 46,000 farms producing a wide variety of crops on nearly 10 million acres of farmland, and Michigan’s food and agriculture system employs over 805,000 people, about 17.2 percent of the state’s workforce, and contributes more than $104.7 billion to the state's economy annually; and,
WHEREAS, Michigan is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the U.S., leading the nation in the production of dry black beans, dry cranberry beans, tart cherries, asparagus, cucumbers, dry navy beans, squash, and dry small red beans, and ranking high in the production of blueberries, summer squash, bell peppers, peaches, carrots, celery, sweet cherries, fresh sweet corn, and many other specialty crops; and,
WHEREAS, during Farm to Summer, fresh, healthy, local food is sourced from Michigan farmers and producers, farmers markets, food hubs, grocery stores, food service management companies, and distributors, supporting local economies and communities across the state; and,
WHEREAS, Michigan’s Farm to Summer efforts support a collaborative relationship among state agencies, community partners, academia, farmers, and school food service programs across the state, working together to achieve common goals and lift up preschool-aged children and families in a fair, equitable, inclusive, and just way, helping all communities thrive and creating positive change; and,
WHEREAS, racial and ethnic disparities exist in our food system both in terms of access to healthy foods and income for purchasing food, inextricably linking food justice to racial justice;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim July 2022 as Michigan Farm to Summer Month.