National Farm to School Monthby Representative Marcy Kaptur
Posted on 2015-10-29
in the house of representatives
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, October is National Farm to School Month, an
important opportunity to celebrate the close connection between local
schools and local food in communities throughout the country. Farm to
School initiatives play an important role in growing that connection,
improving child nutrition, supporting local jobs and economies, and
educating the next generation about the sources of their food.
Many of our rural communities are struggling. Meanwhile, access to affordable, nutritious food continues to be a challenge for many inner city communities. With these trends at work, it will be especially important to grow our Farm to School initiatives. One such initiative in Sandusky, Ohio connects students and their families with fresh, healthy food and local food producers. These programs are vitally important because they bridge the gap between rural and urban communities and help build local food systems that provide food security and independence.
It is no wonder that Farm to School programs are cropping up all over the country, today reaching more than 40,000 schools and over 25.5 million students. Here are the outcomes: For Farmers: Growing sales opportunities. Reliable demand. Expanded community interest in local foods.
For Schools: Reduction in child obesity; fresh and local food options that increase participation rates in school food programs, thereby boosting revenues.
For the Community: Keeps food dollars in the community; ensures healthy local farms that provide jobs, pay taxes, and protect working agricultural land.
Mr. Speaker, America's Farm to School programs are a win-win-win scenario.
So as we conclude this month long celebration, I urge my colleagues in the House to support H.R. 1061, The Farm To School Act of 2015 introduced by Congressman Fortenberry, which reauthorizes Farm to School programs through FY 2021 and allows land grant colleges and universities to participate as well.
Connecting our nation's schools to locally produced nutritious foods is not a partisan issue. It affects both Democratic and Republican districts. The House has an opportunity to act on this pressing matter with dispatch today. I suggest we take it.