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October 2022: Michigan Farm to School Month

WHEREAS, Farm to School enriches the connection among communities, fresh, healthy food choices, and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools, preschools, and early childhood education centers; and,

WHEREAS, Farm to School helps increase access for children to healthy, local foods and educational opportunities, including the 10 Cents a Meal Program, local food procurement, school gardens, field trips, and food and agriculture educational activities; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan’s local farmers, farm workers, and school nutrition professionals are key components of our state’s vibrant food system and continue to work to provide nutritious food to students and early childhood education centers; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan agriculture ranks high in the nation in production of a diverse array of locally grown agricultural products including asparagus, cucumbers, tart cherries, squash, celery, several varieties of dry beans, apples, blueberries, and milk; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan has more than 46,000 farms, producing more than 300 commercial agricultural products, employing over 805,000 people, and contributing more than $104.7 billion to the state's economy annually; and,

WHEREAS, during the 2021-2022 school year, Michigan school nutrition professionals served more than 204 million meals to students across the state, with over 64 percent of schools purchasing local foods from farmers and distributors; and,

WHEREAS, Farm to School engages local food businesses, community leaders, educators, policy makers, parents, caregivers, and children in creating and enhancing resilient food communities throughout the state, while advancing racial and social equity by addressing disparities in access to program benefits; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan’s Farm to School efforts involve state agencies, community partners, academia, farmers, early child education professionals 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 a healthier population; 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 2022 as Michigan Farm to School Month.