Leahy Advances His Farm To School Bill And Spotlights Vermont’s Leading Role At Sharon Elementary School

SHARON, Vt. (THURSDAY, May 6, 2021) – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) visited Sharon Elementary School Thursday to highlight new federal Farm to School legislation. The Farm to School Act, introduced by Leahy on April 22, seeks to reauthorize and expand the popular federal Farm to School program.  Sharon Elementary School actively participates in Farm to School programing with a school garden, farm tours and an ongoing focus on health and wellness.

Leahy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and is a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee said:  “Sharon Elementary School is a bright example of why it is so important that we strengthen the Farm to School program nationwide.  Whether with planting a garden, visiting a farm or cooking with fresh ingredients, Sharon students are learning the link between nutrition, agriculture and wellness.  We must invest in the health of the next generation and that includes ensuring that students across the country have access to the benefits of Farm to School programing.”

Leahy, chief sponsor of the bill, was joined by Senators Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in introducing the bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2021.  The bill reauthorizes the federal Farm to School program and strengthens the program by increasing annual funding to $15,000,000, increasing the maximum grant award to $500,000, and expanding access to pre-kindergarten, summer and afterschool programs.  The program is another of the ‘born in Vermont’ ideas that Leahy has taken to Capitol Hill and successfully expanded nationwide.  Vermont remains a leader in the national farm to school movement.

The Farm to School Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, supports initiatives that deliver fresh, local foods to schools nationwide.  The program was first authored by Leahy in the 2010 Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act.  Grants from the program help schools across the country implement farm to school activities.  Nationally, the popular Farm to School Grant Program has helped more than 30,000 schools adopt local and healthy meal options in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

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