In the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Congress established mandatory funding of $5 million annually for a farm to school competitive grant and technical assistance program. The USDA Farm to School Grant Program increases the use of and improves access to local foods in schools – thus boosting farm income and economic opportunities – while also fostering experiential food education for our nation’s children. However, demand for the program is more than five times higher than available funding, so we are excited to announce that the Farm to School Act of 2015 has been introduced in Congress.
Farm to school is a common sense approach to child nutrition that empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. As part of the upcoming Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization, Congress needs to build on the success of farm to school by strengthening and expanding the program’s scope and by providing additional mandatory funding.
The bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015 – Senate bill 569 and House bill 1061 – will continue and expand upon the successes of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program by:
- Providing flexibility to local school districts to include preschools, summer food service program sites, and after school programs in the USDA Farm to School Grant Program (F2S);
- Increasing annual mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million to better meet the high demand and need for this funding;
- Improving farm to school participation from beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers;
- Enhancing access among tribal schools to farm-fresh and traditional foods, especially from tribal producers; and
- Identifying and eliminating regulatory and other administrative barriers related to the development of farm to school efforts.
To download and print an overview of the Farm to School Act of 2015, see the Farm to School Act of 2015 one pager.