Farm to School & Community Food Security
There is ample evidence that our food policies are deficient in ensuring every American has access to healthy, affordable food. At the same time that obesity rates are rising, especially in youth, there are 48.8 million people living within the U.S. that are food insecure or do not know if they will be able to afford to feed everyone in their household.
Despite the challenges, there are policy innovations that can help to address the diet-related health epidemic facing our country, while also supporting sustainable agriculture and farming livelihoods. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) supports the work of the Community Food Security Coalition who successfully won mandatory funding for the Community Food Project Grants program(CFP) in the 2008 Farm Bill. The CFP program addresses food insecurity by providing grants for the development of community-based food projects in low-income communities.
In 2009 and 2010, NSAC worked with the National Farm to School Network, the Community Food Security Coalition, and others to win $40 million in mandatory funding for the new competitive Farm to School Grants program in the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization. On April 17, 2012, the first Request for Funding was released for $3.5 million. The Farm to School program will help schools procure healthy fruits, vegetables, meats, and other agricultural products from farmers and ranchers in their region to use for school lunches.
- NSAC submitted comments to USDA regarding the use of funding to increase prevalence of EBT machines at farmers markets.
- Along with other partners, NSAC submitted comments to USDA regarding the Farm to School Census, July 23,2012.
- Along with organizational partners, NSAC submitted recommendations to USDA regarding the remaining $1.5 million for Fiscal Year 2013 Farm to School Grants, July 13, 2012.
- NSAC submitted comments to USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan regarding the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program in Florida and Michigan, September 29, 2011.
- NSAC submitted recommendations to USDA on how to implement the Farm to School Competitive Grants Program, June 23, 2011.
- NSAC submitted comments on the nutrition standards in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, April 13, 2011.
- Letter from 41 organizations to House and Senate urging $50 million in mandatory funding for Farm to School, May 3, 2010.
- Feeding America sign-on letter in support of the bill sent to Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and John Kline (R-MN), the leaders of the House Education and Labor Committee. The letter is signed by nearly 200 national groups, including NSAC, and over 1,000 state and local organizations, including a large number of anti-hunger organizations.