Published: Jul 12, 2011 6:41 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 12, 2011 5:40 PM EDT

LANSING, Mich. - U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow says her home state of Michigan as well as Florida have been selected to participate in a new pilot program designed to give schools an increased ability to use locally produced fruits and vegetables in lunches.

The program will be overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The idea is to help boost the states' agriculture industries and provide healthy and fresher produce to children.

A news release issued Tuesday by Stabenow's office says the program will use commercial distribution models that already are in place and allow schools to obtain locally grown produce.

The statement says the initiative will serve as an alternative to the U.S. Department of Defense's commodity procurement program for schools.

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