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Nourishing Native American Children
8 years ago
| Blue Label

Support the National Farm-to-School Act of 2010

Representative Betty McCollum introduced H.R. 5456 - The National Farm-to-School Act of 2010 to the United States Congress during summer 2010. The Act is designed to award competitive grants to assist eligible entities, which includes tribal schools and/or tribal organizations, in implementing or expanding farm-to-school programs.  This bipartisan legislation is intended to increase the consumption of fresh, local food in schools across the country by helping to connect school food service providers with local farmers. 

Farm-to-school programs facilitate the purchase of local food for school meals and offer both immediate and long-term benefits to child health, small- and medium-sized agricultural producer income, and community economic development.  The term 'farm-to-school program' means a program that connects schools and small- and medium-sized agricultural producers for the following purposes:

(A) Serving locally produced, healthy foods (including fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, and poultry, and grains) in school cafeterias;
( Improving student nutrition;
(C) Providing educational opportunities for students in the areas of nutrition, health, and local agricultural food production; and
(D) Supporting local and regional agriculture and the growth of rural communities.

Farm-to-school programs of varying scale are operational in more than 8,900 schools in 42 states around the country. Though successful models of farm-to-school programs exist around the nation, many schools and small- and medium-sized agricultural producers that would like to implement a farm-to-school program or scale up their existing program face barriers in the form of program planning, implementation, and technical capacity.

The purposes of the National Farm-to-School Act are to:

(1) Establish the Federal Government as a partner in assisting communities with planning, technical assistance, and implementation of efficient, cost-effective farm-to-school programs; and
(2) Facilitate a sustained commitment to farm-to-school procurement in communities by linking local small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, schools and institutions, state, local and tribal government agencies, institutions of higher education, parents, community and tribal organizations, and other community stakeholders.

The food systems within Indian Country are diverse and different types of school systems exist within tribal reservations.  We encourage tribal schools and/or tribal organizations eligible to participate in the farm-to-school program to advocate for program flexibility in recognizing tribal food sovereignty and diversity within Native communities. For more information about H.R. 5456 - The National Farm-to-School Act of 2010, please
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