September 22, 2010
ACTION ALERT: HOUSE WILL VOTE ON CHILD NUTRITION THIS WEEK
URGE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO MOVE FORWARD NOW ON FARM TO SCHOOL FUNDING IN THE CHILD NUTRITION BILL!
It has come to our attention that The House will vote on a Child Nutrition package (The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, S. 3307
) this week! This legislation contains several major improvements to nutrition quality, access, and program integrity for school meal programs, including:
Mandatory funding for Farm to School Programs ($40 million);
A 6-cent increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches;
Establishes national nutrition standards for all foods sold on school campuses throughout the school day;
Improvements in the direct certification process; and
Expansion of the afterschool meals program.
For a complete list of provisions included in this legislation, click here
If passed, this legislation would be the first major improvement in the school meals program in more than three decades, and CFSC strongly supports the Farm to School provision as an important direction for school meals by linking cafeterias directly with regional food producers.
Though a bitter pill to swallow with the bill being paid for using money from the SNAP stimulus benefits, this is likely our last and best opportunity to see a Child Nutrition bill passed and to win mandatory funding for Farm to School programs this year.
Please call your Representatives and urge them to pass the Child Nutrition bill this week.
t's easy to call.
Go to Congress.org
and type in your zip code. Click on your Representative’s name, and then on the contact tab for their phone number. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Representative’s office: 202-224-3121.
The message is simple.
“I am a constituent of Representative ___________ and I am calling to ask him/her to support the Child Nutrition bill (The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, S. 3307) which is coming up for a vote this week.”
If funded, the Farm to School Program would offer competitive grants to schools or non-profit organizations to develop purchasing relationships with local farmers, plan seasonal menus, start school gardens, develop hands-on nutrition education, and provide solutions to infrastructure problems including storage, transportation, food preparation, and technical training.
A Farm to School grant program was authorized in the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, but USDA has never requested any funding for the program. Congress now has an opportunity to fund this important program when it reauthorizes the Child Nutrition Act in 2010.
Farm to School initiatives around the country have demonstrated that Farm to School is a win-win-win for children, schools, local communities and farmers -- providing abundant reasons why this initiative should be available to schools throughout the country.
The choice of healthier produce options in the school cafeteria through Farm to School results in children consuming more fruits and vegetables, leading to lifelong improvements in their diets.
Schools report a 3 to 16 percent increase in school meal participation when farm-fresh food is served, bringing more school lunch funds to the schools.
Working creatively with local producers, some schools have found ways to save money while supporting local agriculture by purchasing locally.
The transaction from Farm to School keeps dollars in the local economy, strengthening local economies and creating jobs.
Schools provide an important new market opportunity for small and mid-sized family farmers and ranchers.Click here for additional information on Farm to School and our campaign.
For more background information on Farm to School programs and our campaign, click here
for additional information on the SNAP offset.
Passage of the bill has become a White House priority in the last several weeks with the First Lady encouraging Congress to act and an open letter
from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and 100 retired generals and admirals presented to Congress yesterday (September 21) calling for immediate passage of the legislation.
The Farm to School Collaborative, a cross-sector alliance of school, nutrition, rural, and sustainable agriculture groups and farmers, has been leading the campaign for mandatory funding for Farm to School programs in the upcoming Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR). Members of the Farm to School Collaborative include the Community Food Security Coalition, National Farm to School Network, School Food FOCUS, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the Wallace Center at Winrock International.
For more background information on Farm to School programs and our campaign, click here.