ADRIAN, Mich. - Farmers in southeast Michigan are looking for ways to sell their food to local schools, prisons and hospitals, according to The (Adrian) Daily Telegram, with some turning for help to a five-county government program called the Food System Economic Partnership.

Jennifer Fike, the program's executive director, told The Daily Telegram that it launched a farm-to-school program in 2007-2008 in the Ann Arbor and Chelsea conventional public school districts as well as a charter school in Dearborn. The following year it expanded into Jackson County and may be introduced in Wayne County schools this spring, the Daily Telegram reported.

Schools are more likely to participate if they purchase their own food supplies rather than work through a large distributor, Fike told The Daily Telegram.

Other possible customers for local crops include hospitals and prisons, she said.

Karleen and Jonathan Goetz, farmers in Monroe County, sell their produce to the East Quad cafeteria at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, they told The Daily Telegram. They said the Food System Economic Partnership has helped them find new customers.

The Daily Telegram, "Five-county partnership works to get local crops into local markets," Feb.24, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Michigan School Money Primer," May 30, 2007