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Reps. Fudge and Fortenberry Co-Introduce the Farm to School Act of 2019

 

Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry Co-Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Expand the Farm to School Grant Program

 

WASHINGTON– Today, Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1) co-introduced the Farm to School Act of 2019.  The bill expands participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Grant Program to preschools, after-school programs, and summer food service sites, and increases annual mandatory funding from $5 to $15 million.

“Millions of students are eating healthier and engaged in food and agriculture education because of the Farm to School Program,” said Rep. Fudge.  “It is a commonsense program that benefits children and their families while providing economic opportunities to our farmers.  The increased demand for Farm to School programming tells us that more people are beginning to understand the connection between local foods and healthy young minds.  I’m proud to introduce this legislation in support of our nation’s schools and local farmers who help improve classroom diets and local economies.” 

Since 2010, Congress has provided $5 million annually for this competitive grant program that increases the use of, and improves access to, local foods in schools, while promoting food education for our nation’s children.  Since 2013, USDA has received more than 1,900 applications requesting over $141 million, however, only 437 awards were granted from the $30 million available ($5 million per year).  The Farm to School Act increases annual mandatory funding for Farm to School to $15 million to meet the current need and increases the maximum individual grant award to $250,000.

“Linking America’s farms to schools to provide local nutritious options for children is an exciting policy goal,” said Rep. Fortenberry.  “The Farm to School program adds fresh, healthy meal choices for students and teachers, brings ag education to the classroom for the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and prioritizes food to tribal schools from tribal agricultural producers. Building upon previous efforts to connect local farmers and students, it expands market opportunities for our beginning farmers and veteran agricultural producer.” 

Through the Farm to School Grant Program, participating schools, nonprofit organizations, and local, state and tribal governments can help schools offer locally grown, fresh food to students.  The bill expands markets for farmers, fishers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs and includes provisions targeting increased participation from beginning veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 

The Farm to School Act of 2019 has been endorsed by the following organizations: National Farm to School Network, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, American Heart Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Food Corps, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Education Association, and the National Farmers Union. 

Similar legislation will be introduced by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and David Perdue (R-GA) in the Senate. 

Reps. Fudge and Fortenberry first introduced the Farm to School Act in the 114th Congress.

Click here to read the bill text.

 

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