Senate Passes Leahy, Collins, Brown, And Perdue ‘National Farm To School Month’ Resolution
WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, Nov. 1, 2019) – The Senate Thursday night approved a resolution sponsored by Senator Leahy (D-Vt.) and cosponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Senator David Perdue (R-Ga.), to designate October as National Farm to School Month. Farm to School programs across the country increase access to local foods in schools, which helps enhance food education for children while also boosting economic opportunities for farmers.
Led again by Leahy, in June the senators reintroduced the Farm to School Act, which will increase federal resources allocated to both serving healthy, nutritious meals in school cafeterias and supporting local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen.
Leahy said: “One of the best ways to help students make healthy choices is to teach them about their food and how it is grown. Farm to School programs have given children and schools across the country the tools to craft farm-fresh, healthy, and delicious meals that students enjoy. Our bipartisan resolution recognizes the important contributions of farm to school programs across the nation.
Collins said: “Since 2013, schools and non-profits throughout Maine have received funding through farm to school programs to help purchase local food and implement innovative food and wellness lessons for students. By designating October 2019 as ‘National Farm to School Month,’ this resolution raises awareness of the importance of providing students with access to local and healthy foods while supporting Maine farmers and our agricultural economy. It also helps build support for legislation to improve and expand these programs, such as the Farm to School Act of 2019 we introduced earlier this year.”
Brown said: “Farm to School programs promote regional food economies, while increasing access to locally grown produce,” said Brown. “As we recognize National Farm to School Month, we must continue to support our farmers and policies that make it easier to fill our school lunchrooms with healthy food grown in Ohio.”
Perdue said: “The Farm to School program connects schools with local farmers and provides hands-on opportunities for kids to learn where their food comes from. Studies have shown that when local food is served in schools, students consume 30% more fruits and vegetables. The Farm to School program is an important first step toward improving child nutrition, while also supporting our agriculture community and growing the economy. The Secretary of Agriculture has been a strong advocate for this program, and I applaud Senator Leahy for his bipartisan efforts to get this bill across the finish line.”
In addition to raising awareness of farm to school efforts, this resolution recognizes support for policy improvements to build upon the Leahy-authored 2010 Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act provision, which has helped farm to school programs around the country thrive. Grants have been awarded in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to support programs in more than 43,000 schools.
This resolution also spotlights the economic and health benefits that come when schools support local farmers. For example, for every dollar spent on local food in schools through the Farm to School program, up to an additional $2, is circulated in that school’s local economy. This resolution has the support of leading national advocacy groups such as the National Farm to School Network and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
The full resolution can be read here.
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David Carle (w/Leahy), 202-224-3693
Annie Clark (w/Collins), 202-224-2523
Rachael Hartford/Matt Keyes (Brown), 202-224-3978
Casey Black (Perdue) , 202-224-1324
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