“When I mentioned the idea of Farm-to-School or a school garden to the director of operations at Langdon Elementary school, she told me that the kids would love it, but that she doubted its feasibility. Maybe its inclusion in the school lunch reauthorization would make it seem a little more doable.”—“That Lunch is Nasty” - Perspectives on the National School Lunch Program
“Last month, Texas Senate Bill 1027 passed through the state’s Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on June 19, 2009. The bill, sponsored by state Senator Kirk Watson, provides for the establishment of an inter-agency farm-to-school coordination task force in order to increase the ability of schools in the state to purchase locally produced foods to feed students.”—Sustainable Food - Change.org: Bill Establishes Farm-to-School Program in Texas
Finally, Time for Lunch is asking for the continued and increased support of Farm to School programs. In the last year, my high school has added a kitchen garden to its premises (the result of a student-organized senior project) and they will hopefully begin eating from it in the fall. More programs like this are possible, but there needs to be more funding. Apparently, the last time the Child Nutrition Act was reviewed (in 2004), a section was added to provide an unspecified amount of money to schools to hold lessons in local eating and healthy eating, but Congress never appropriated the funds. Time for Lunch is asking Congress to guarantee mandatory funding for programs like the one started at my school.
Some bills I really would have liked to have seen passed - specifically HB 2800, the Oregon Farm to School bill, and HB 2995, which would have created an Oregon Food Policy Council - stalled in Salem (again, in the farm-to-school bill’s case) for now. We may have another chance when the Oregon Legislature convenes for a brief session early in 2010.
Jim Barber: Barber is an Agricultural Promotion Specialist and Special Assistant to the Commissioner for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Through this role, he has become familiar with the state’s agricultural challenges and also worked on conservation issues. Barber is very active on agricultural organizations and co-founded NY Farms!, an organization that developed the Farm-to-School program which was later adopted by the State. He has been the 5th generation farm owner and operator of Embar Farms for 19 years. Barber holds a bachelor’s degree in general agriculture from Cornell University.
H. 3179 Creates Farm to School Program This legislation creates the South Carolina Farm to School Program within the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. This program fosters a direct relationship between South Carolina farms and schools to provide schools with fresh and minimally processed foods for student consumption. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.
Farm to School - “The Committee directs the Department to report to the Committees within 180 days on the national demand for farm to school programs. Farm to school programs enable children to have access to nutritious food while benefiting community and local farmers by providing a consistent, reliable market.”
Teach children healthy habits that will last through life - Fund grants for innovative Farm to School programs and school gardens. Give schools the incentive to buy local - Establish financial incentives that encourage schools to buy food from local farms for all child nutrition programs, thereby creating jobs in our communities, rebuilding rural economies, supporting family farmers, and shortening the distance food travels to save oil and ensure school foods are as fresh and healthy as possible.
“For every $1 we spend on Oregon products, another $.87 continues to cycle throughout the Oregon economy. Beyond supporting the agricultural sector, when we invest in school food we create jobs and support the Oregon economy overall. School food is a “fork ready” project if ever there was one; that’s good news in these difficult economic times. Equity issues have to be considered as well. In Oregon, 46 percent of the children who eat school food do so as recipients of either free or reduced price meals. As the recession deepens, this number is expected to rise as more and more economically challenged families turn to the school meal program to help keep food in their children’s bellies. Don’t these children deserve the very best Oregon has to offer?”—La Vida Locavore:: Farm to School in Oregon: A “Fork-Ready” Project