Here are the latest Farm to School news bites:
New today! The USDA released a proposed rule on geographic preference for school food. If adopted, this option would allow schools and other institutions that operate Child Nutrition programs with federal funds to give preference to, or award extra points or credit for, unprocessed locally grown or raised products when evaluating bids and procuring food. You can read the proposed rule here, and learn more from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition here.
Bill on School Lunch Is Scaled Back. Criticism of School Lunch Isn’t - Although the President Obama’s proposed budget for Child Nutrition Programs has been cut, $4.5 billion more will go toward improving these programs, which includes school meals and snacks. In the proposed Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill, at least $40 million is available for farm-to-school programs and school gardens, $10 million will go toward pilot programs intended to add organic food, and additional funding will go to train cafeteria staff. However, this $4.5 billion increase for the proposed Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 will require budget offsets from other federal programs, which may include cuts to EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) and the Conservation Security Program (CSP), both environmental conservation programs for farmers, and SNAP-Ed (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Nutrition Education program). You can learn more from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and follow this link to find out more about FRAC’s (Food Research and Action Center) action items for Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
Will work for food? Try Food Corps With support from the Kellogg Foundation and AmeriCorps, the National Farm to School Network hopes to establish a national Food Corps volunteer program to help schools develop and expand farm to school programs.
Farm-to-School Project Growing and Ripening Local farm-to-school efforts in White Lake and Muskegon County are expanding with the help of the food service directors, FFA programs, and other good food advocates.
Study uncovers benefits, challenges of farm-to-school “Local produce can be more cost-effective than alternatives for school cafeterias, as well as better received by students, according to a new study from researchers at Michigan State University.”
Fresh Crop of Michigan Farm-to-School Programs Michigan farmers are selling more fresh fruits and vegetables to school lunch programs, which link K-12 students to agriculture and provide access to good food choices while boosting the local economy.
The Center for Disease Control’s Obesity Prevention Program recently released a Guide to Fruit and Vegetable Strategies to Increase Access, Availability and Consumption. You can access the guide here.
Farm to School Meet & Greet – Livingston and Washtenaw Counties
April 21, 2010
3:30 – 5:00 PM
Hartland High School Cafeteria in Hartland, MI
See flyer attached for more information.
Saginaw Area Farm to School Planning Meeting – Saginaw, Bay, and Midland Counties
April 22, 2010 from 4-6 pm
Arrowwood Conference Center
5410 Seidel Rd. in Saginaw, MI
RSVP to Deb Neal, Nutrition Services Supervisor at Saginaw Township Community Schools, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 989.793.9713.
Eat Healthy + Play Hard = Smart Students Conference
April 28-30, 2010
Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, MI
School Food 101 Webinar: The Cost of School Lunch and Understanding USDA Foods
May 5, 2010
Organized by the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU
See email attached for details, and register at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PLD5LRJ.
Farm to Institution Specialist
CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
Michigan State University
303 Natural Resources Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1222