NSAC's Blog


Good News for Farmers and Kids: Farm to School Bill Introduced

February 25, 2015


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Over the past two years, farmers, teachers, school nutrition professionals and engaged community members have made one message loud and clear: the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is crucial to the success of farm to school across the country.

The only problem? Demand for the grants far exceeds supply. In its first three years, the Farm to School Grant Program received more than 1,000 applications but only had enough funding to award 221 grants. In other words, just one in five projects was funded.

Today, Congress took an exciting step toward closing this gap with the introduction of the bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015. Thanks to the leadership of Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Congress will consider the Farm to School Act as part of the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which is set to expire on Sept. 30.

The two Senators are both former chairs of the Senate Agriculture Committee and long-time farm and food assistance champions. The two Representatives were both very active on the most recent farm bill and are recapitulating their leadership roles as local farm and food system supporters.

The bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015 proposes an increase in annual mandatory funding for the grant program from $5 million to $15 million and full inclusion of preschools, summer food service sites, after school programs, and tribal schools and producers. The proposed legislation also aims to improve program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

This grant program is an essential tool to improve the health of our children, our food system and our local economies. Today, more than 23 million students are making healthier food choices at school and at home thanks to farm to school activities like school gardens, cooking classes and incorporating local foods in school meals.

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Students in South Carolina on a field trip to a local farm learn the basics of planting seeds, harvesting, and food safety. Photo credit: Susan Bowles

Since its launch in 2011, the USDA Farm to School Grant Program has supported projects that benefit farmers, kids and communities nationwide. For instance:

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Categories: Grants and Programs, Local & Regional Food Systems, Nutrition & Food Access


5 responses to “Good News for Farmers and Kids: Farm to School Bill Introduced”

  1. […] Good News for Farmers and Kids: Farm to School Bill Introduced […]

  2. […] has launched an ambitious farm to school program. According the NSAC blog, Nebraska is “a state where one in three children are overweight, grant-funded school gardens […]

  3. This is excellent! A great step forward to decrease childhood obesity and getting kids to like veggies. The elementary school in the area I grew up in has gardening projects on the school grounds and the students really get into it — they love growing and taking care of their own plants!

  4. Jim Webb says:

    This is so cool.

  5. Sally Maggard says:

    Very important program. The 2015 bipartisan legislation will take the country forward and benefit farmers, children, communities, the country.

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