March 1, 2010
On Friday, February 26, Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced the Farm to School Improvements Act of 2010 (HR 4710), which would provide the USDA with $10 million a year for a competitive grants program to fund projects linking producers with the school lunch program. The proposed legislation’s goal is to improve nutrition in schools while boosting farm sales and stimulating rural economies. NSAC strongly supports this legislation and is encouraging Members of Congress to co-sponsor it.
Farm to School projects could include developing a supply chain (aggregating, packaging, distributing) to serve schools, purchasing equipment to minimally process food so it can be used by cafeterias, adjusting menus to take advantage of regional production, or organizing trips for children to local farms.
Similar Farm to School language is included in the Children’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Act of 2009 (HR 4333), introduced by Rep. Farr (D-CA) and Rep. Putnam (R-FL), that also includes funds for salad bars in schools and other improvements to school nutrition.
NSAC’s end-goal is to have a mandatory funding provision for Farm to School included in the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, scheduled for congressional action later this year. The first step in the process will be consideration of comprehensive reauthorization bills by the House Education and Labor Committee and by the Senate Agriculture Committee. NSAC will continue to work on the pending Child Nutrition legislation with the aim of ensuring inclusion of Farm to School as part of the larger bill.