Federal Farm to School Bills Introduced


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In an effort to expand production and consumption of locally-grown foods in schools, lawmakers recently introduced new legislation that would enhance USDA’s Farm to School program.

The USDA awards up to $5 million annually in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm-to-school programs.

The bills, introduced by Sens. Patrick Leahy and Thad Cochran and Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Marcia Fudge, would increase funding for USDA’s Farm to School program to $15 million per year.

Supporters hope to include the language in the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which is set to expire on Sept. 30.

The bills would clarify that all school food programs are eligible to participate — such as after school, pre-school and summer food programs – in addition to the current focus on K-12 students during the regular school year. In addition, there is a provision to encourage Indian tribes to help serve tribal schools.

“With the introduction of this bill, we are building on the positive momentum of farm fresh food in school meals, school gardens and farm-to-school education across the curriculum, such as cooking classes, taste tests, hands-on science classes and farm field trips,” said Helen Dombalis, policy and strategic partnerships director with the National Farm to School Network.

Learn more about the Farm to School bills here.

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