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News & Press: MDE & SBE

USDA Awards Michigan $496,000 to Support Healthier Foods in Schools

Monday, September 28, 2015  
Posted by: Sandra York
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LANSING – Michigan students will continue to get healthier school meal options as a result of the Michigan Department of Education receiving nearly half a million dollars in federal grants, and working with other state partners, to provide training to school nutrition professionals.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded over $8 million in grants to help school nutrition professionals continue preparing and serving healthier meals for their students.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) received approximately $496,000 as a part of this funding to help expand and enhance food service training programs and provide smarter lunchroom training within schools.

The MDE’s funding is comprised of two grants. One grant, totaling $146,000 will involve a partnership with the School Nutrition Association of Michigan (SNAM) to train up to 1,500 school nutrition staff in nutrition knowledge and skills development.

The second grant, totaling $350,000, will leverage existing partnerships with Michigan State University Extension (MSUE), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to develop, evaluate, and sustain an innovative statewide technical assistance and coaching system targeting K-12 schools. Through this system, MSU Extension educators will be deployed to assist 100 schools in creating student nutrition advocacy teams; adopting Smarter Lunchroom strategies; and sustaining healthy school environments.

“It’s wonderful to see stakeholders leverage resources in order to improve the health and academic growth of students,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. “The connection between good health and academic success is proven, and this work will continue to fuel the creation of healthier school environments across Michigan.”

Tim English, Regional Administrator for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, said, “Michigan is one of only 11 states to receive both a Fiscal Year 2015 USDA Team Nutrition Training grant, and a Professional Standards Training Grant. These grants are an exciting opportunity to enhance the expertise of Michigan’s school nutrition professionals and engage students, teachers, foodservice staff, and administrators in new approaches to achieve a healthier school environment,” said

A summary of Fiscal Year 2015 and previous years' Team Nutrition grant activities by state can be found at the USDA Team Nutrition Training Grants website.

For more information, please contact

Alan Shannon, Public Affairs Director
USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Midwest Region


Diane Golzynski, Assistant Director
Office of School Support Services
Michigan Department of Education

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