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Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Farm to School Funding in the Child Nutrition Bill – ACT NOW!

In Feeding the Community on September 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

ACTION ALERT
September 22, 2010

Urge Your Representative to Move Forward Now on
Farm to School Funding in the Child Nutrition Bill!

Time is running out for Congress to re-authorize the Child Nutrition Act by September 30.  The House, unable to come to agreement on how to pay for their bill is now considering simply passing the version passed by the Senate in August, and they could do so as early as tomorrow.

The Senate bill provides less support to the Farm to School Program – just $40 million vs. the $50 million included in the House bill.  The most bitter pill, however, is that the Senate bill uses cuts in food stamps to pay for the improvements to school meal programs.

This is likely our last and best opportunity to win mandatory funding for the Farm to School program this year.   An investment in Farm to School programs will allow schools to serve fresh and healthy food produced by local and regional farmers.  That’s an investment that will pay dividends in improved child health, scholastic achievement and farm and rural economic vitality.

The Senate bill also provides a 6-cent per meal increase in school lunch reimbursements, expands school meal eligibility, and establishes stronger nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools.

Please call your Representatives and urge them to pass the
the Child Nutrition Act.

CALL TODAY!

It’s easy to call. Go to Congress.org and type in your zip code.  Click on your Representative’s name, and then on the contact tab for their Washington DC office phone number.  You can also call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Representative’s office: 202-224-3121. Once connected ask to speak to the aid responsible for child nutrition.  If unavailable, leave a voice message.  Be sure to leave your name and phone number.

The message is simple. “I am a constituent of Representative ___________ and I am calling to ask him/her to vote yest to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act that includes a strong Farm to School program.  Tell him/her that mandatory funding for Farm to School programs is a wise investment in our children and our local and regional farm economy.

Background

If funded, the Farm to School Program would offer competitive grants to schools or non-profit organizations to develop purchasing relationships with local farmers, plan seasonal menus, start school gardens, develop hands-on nutrition education, and provide solutions to infrastructure problems including storage, transportation, food preparation, and technical training.

Farm to School grant program was authorized in the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, but USDA has never requested any funding for the program.  Congress now has an opportunity to fund this important program when it reauthorizes the Child Nutrition Act in 2010.

  • Farm to School initiatives around the country have demonstrated that Farm to School is a win-win-win for children, schools, local communities and farmers — providing abundant reasons why this initiative should be available to schools throughout the country.
  • The choice of healthier produce options in the school cafeteria through Farm to School results in children consuming more fruits and vegetables, leading to lifelong improvements in their diets.
  • Schools report a 3 to 16 percent increase in school meal participation when farm-fresh food is served, bringing more school lunch funds to the schools.
  • Working creatively with local producers, some schools have found ways to save money while supporting local agriculture by purchasing locally.
  • The transaction from Farm to School keeps dollars in the local economy, strengthening local economies and creating jobs.
  • Schools provide an important new market opportunity for small and mid-sized family farmers and ranchers.

The Fall Harvest Season Brings Tasty Events!

In Edible Events, Feeding the Community on September 14, 2010 at 8:26 am

Singer Farms Naturals garlic drying at their eco-barn

The autumn harvest season is already under way and with it come several events including festivals, fund raisers, and dinners all celebrating our local bounty! Here are just some of the many cool food happenings happening this fall:

September 23

Are you a garlic lover? If so you will not want to miss this special evening celebrating one of the most naturally fortified foods around. Long used for its nutritional and medicinal qualities, this evening will showcase passionate organic garlic grower Tom Szulist from Singer Farm Naturals. Tom grows more than 20 varieties of garlic and plans on adding 30 more varieties for harvest next year. Experience, taste, learn all things garlic! Presented by the Lexington Cooperative Market, all proceeds support the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of New York. Tickets are only $5 and the event takes place at the gorgeous kitchens of Artisan Kitchens & Baths at 200 Amherst Street from 6:30pm-8:30pm.

September 25

If you are a reader of Edible Buffalo then you most certainly didn’t miss our Farm to School series featuring the Giving Garden at Union Pleasant Elementary School in Hamburg. One of the first outdoor classrooms at a local elementary school, the Giving Garden has transformed the student community at this school. Spear headed by two ambitious moms, Jean Marie Gunner and Stacy Furlong, their efforts have turned a wellness project into a full-fledged non-profit organization, S.O.L.E. (Seeds of Living Education) which consults with other schools across the region to build their own community school gardens. Tonight they celebrate the Giving Garden with their first annual Harvest Dinner Under the Stars fund raiser. There will be no shortage of local food, wine, and entertainment featuring Bobby Militello’s jazz band. Tickets for the fund raiser are $100 per plate. The event will take place under the stars at Memorial Park in Hamburg. For tickets or more information, please contact Jean Gunner at jeanmarie1016@msn.com.

October 8 & 9

If you care about healthy food, food access, food security, and all things that relate to food and the environment, then you don’t want to miss The World on Your Plate conference happening at Daemen College this weekend. Featuring numerous workshops, panel discussions, a market featuring some of the best the region has to offer in local products, and two outstanding women keynote presenters, ecologist, author, and cancer survivor Dr. Sandra Steingraber and Anna Lappe, author of the renowned book Diet for a Hot Planet. Open to the public, tickets for the conference are only $25 if you pre-register here.

October 16

Trattoria Aroma has made quite a name for itself as being a leader when it comes to sourcing their ingredients from local farmers. Winner of this year’s Buffalo Spree Best of WNY award as best restaurant featuring local ingredients, Trattoria Aroma has taken it one step further by offering their customers the ultimate authentic farm-to-table experience with their exclusive dinners at Oles Family Farm. With the success of their summer dinners, Trattoria Aroma added a fall dinner to their schedule. The tickets are $125 and include transportation from the restaurant to the farm, private wine tasting, a farm tour, tractor rides, a multi-course dinner, live music, and bonfire! Make your reservation by calling 716-881-7592. Space is limited for this dinner so call today!

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