August 18, 2015
A new national survey that was released Tuesday, August 18, commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), shows strong support for the current U.S. school nutrition standards as well as farm to school. The 2015 School Food Poll was a follow up to a similar survey administered by WKKF in 2010 to find out if American opinions have changed since the implementation of new school food nutrition standards under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
The national poll, which was conducted in May 2015, surveyed 1,206 U.S. residents age 18 and over by phone. Several interesting findings from this survey include:
Farm to School Highlights
Nine questions in the 43-question survey addressed the topic of farm to school activities.
The first question asked respondents their reaction to farm to school programs after providing a brief statement describing how farm to school programs function. Well over half of the respondents, 58 percent, had a very positive reaction to farm to school programs, and 85 percent had either a somewhat or very positive reaction.
After hearing that the programs increase fruit and vegetable consumption, respondents were asked if they would support or oppose increased government funding to expand farm to school programs, with 88 percent stating their support. 84 percent of respondents also supported increased federal funding for farm to school programs after hearing a statement about increased opportunities for farm visitations, school gardens, healthy food, and support for regional farmers through the programs.
Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization
The findings from the survey suggest that programs and policies implemented through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 are valued. This legislation included the most extensive changes to child nutrition programs since the 1970s, including enhanced nutrition standards that have come under criticism over the last couple of years. The 2010 bill also included first-time mandatory funding of $5 million annually for the Farm to School Grant program, a victory won by a coalition led by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition with the Community Food Security Coalition, National Farm to School Network, School Food FOCUS, and the Wallace Center at Winrock International.
As part of the upcoming CNR, which is set to expire on September 30, 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 to better meet the needs of kids over the summer months. NSAC and the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) have diligently been working to advance farm to school priorities in the 2015 reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms.
The results of this national survey reveal substantial support for the farm to school movement, which improves the health, well-being, and food education of children while simultaneously strengthening regional market opportunities for farmers and producers. You can still take action and show your support for farm to school programs!