→ Increase annual mandatory funding for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program from $5 to $15 million to better meet the high demand and need for this funding.
→ Improve program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
→ Fully include early care and education sites, summer food service program sites, and after school programs in the program.
→ Increase access among Native and tribal schools to farm-fresh and traditional foods, especially from tribal producers.
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.
While communities have already benefited greatly from the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, demand significantly outweighs current available funding. Since 2013, USDA has received more than 1,600 applications requesting over $120 million, and was able to make only 365 awards from $25 million available. Congress needs to build on the success of farm to school by strengthening the program’s scope and by providing an additional $10 million per year in mandatory funding.
We urge you to support this forward-looking legislation to enhance the effectiveness of the highly successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program and thereby improve healthy food choices and educational efforts for children and economic opportunities for farmers.
Sincerely,National Farm to School Network
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