The Farm to School Act of 2015
Supporting Healthy Kids, Healthy Farms, and Healthy Communities
S. 569 and H.R. 1061
ORGANIZATIONS: can you endorse the Farm to School Act of 2015? Please add your organization’s name to our organizational sign-on letter to Congress here!
INDIVIDUALS: can you endorse the Farm to School Act of 2015? Please add your name to our citizen sign-on letter to Congress!
Farm to school is a common sense approach to child nutrition that empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. As part of the upcoming Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization, Congress needs to build on the success of farm to school by strengthening and expanding the program’s scope and by providing additional mandatory funding.
The bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015 – Senate bill 569 and House bill 1061 – will continue and expand upon the successes of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program by:
- Providing flexibility to local school districts to include preschools, summer food service program sites, and after school programs in the USDA Farm to School Grant Program (F2S);
- Increasing annual mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million to better meet the high demand and need for this funding;
- Improving farm to school participation from beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers;
- Enhancing access among tribal schools to farm-fresh and traditional foods, especially from tribal producers; and
- Identifying and eliminating regulatory and other administrative barriers related to the development of farm to school efforts.
To download and print an overview of the Farm to School Act of 2015, see the Farm to School Act of 2015 one pager.
- Lead co-sponsors who introduced the bill are Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH).
- Additional Senate co-sponsors include:
- Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
- Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT)
- Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
- Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA)
- Sen. Angus King (I-ME)
- Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
- Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
- Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
- Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
- Additional House co-sponsors include:
- Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
- Rep. James Langevin (D-RI)
- Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY)
- Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
- Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI)
- Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
- Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)
- Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)
- Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI)
- Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
- Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)
- Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH)
- Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)
- Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)
- Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY)
- Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
- Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
- Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)
- Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
- Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE)
- Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)
- Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
- Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)
- Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA)
- Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)
- Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
- Rep. Mary Kaptur (D-OH)
- Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
- Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)
- Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA)
- Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)
- Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
- Rep. Andrew Carson (D-IN)
- Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV)
- Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)
- Rep. David Reichert (R-WA)
- Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA)
- Rep. Fredericha Wilson (D-FL)
- Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA)
- Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
- Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
- Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA)
- Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI)
- Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
- Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-MN)
- Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
- Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT)
For More Information and to Take Action
Why It Matters
- Over 30 percent of all children in the US are overweight or obese, resulting in more missed school days and poorer academic achievement; obese youth are also at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and psychological problems and incur $19,000 more in lifetime medical costs than children of a normal weight, totaling roughly $14 billion in additional medical costs for the country. The Farm to School Grant Program helps children improve their access to and consumption of healthy foods.
- Native American communities face disproportionately high rates of overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Encouraging farm to school partnerships between tribal schools and tribal producers will increase consumption of nutritious traditional foods while also supporting Native farmers and ranchers.
- Farmers and ranchers receive only 16 cents out of every dollar spent on food, down significantly from the 31 cents they received in 1980; rural poverty and jobless rates are consistently higher than urban poverty rates. The Farm to School Grant Program helps combat rural unemployment by boosting farm income through increased marketing opportunities.
The Benefits of Farm to School
Farm to school activities provide a variety of benefits to students, parents, schools, communities, and food producers, including:
- Strengthens children’s knowledge of agriculture, food, nutrition,and the environment;
- Increases children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables;
- Increases market opportunities for farmers, fishers, ranchers, and local food system entrepreneurs; and
- Supports community and economic development.
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) are partnering to advance farm to school priorities in the 2016 reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act (CNR 2016), with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms.