Farm to School

What is Farm to School?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farm_to_School

What can I do?
http://www.mnn.com/food/farms-gardens/blogs/farm-to-school-improvements-act-of-2010
Contact your representative and encourage him/her to co-sponsor the Farm-to-School Improvements Act of 2010.

How can I learn more?
Farmtoschool.org   is a great place to start.

Find your state (just scroll down on their site) and see what has already been started.

Who is involved in the movement and how can I meet them?
Taking Root: 5th Annual Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Detroit, MI

(I think I need to go! The field trips sound especially cool.)

Why is it important?
I snipped this excerpt from their information about the state of Illinois:

Why do we need an Illinois Farm to School program? Illinois is home to 1.6 million elementary school age children Over 60% of Illinois Children are overweight or obese and Chicago youth are on average 5% more at risk compared to the rest of the state. Because of the health implications of being overweight, the current generation of youth in this country are the first in American history whose life expectancy is projected to be less that that of their parents. One thousand five hundred miles is the average travel distance for food items now consumed in the State, and agricultural products sold for human consumption compromise less than 0.2% of Illinois farm sales. Length of food transit also constitutes food security issues. Encouraging Illinois farmers to work toward local food networks can create billions of dollars of new food sales to benefit Illinois farmers, businesses, and consumers and add to the revenues of the state government. In order to encourage Illinois farmers to grow more food for human consumption, an infrastructure must be created to support this effort, which must include guaranteed markets, as would be the case with an Illinois Farm to School program.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Although reading the above makes me a little depressed, I am also even more excited about how important this is and what we can do to make change.

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10 Responses to Farm to School

  1. Jackie February 26, 2010 at 3:13 am #

    I'm very sympathetic to your cause, but when you get to talk about "guaranteed markets," I wonder if you've thought through the unintended consequences of such things. Right now, the food supply companies have "guaranteed markets" and you can see what the quality has come to. Better to make farmers compete for those markets, to produce the best possible fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products.

  2. Ann.Marcella February 26, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    Thanks for the information, I love reading your blog! As a future teacher, and health-food advocate, it's horrible to see what school's can pass off as lunches. Hopefully we can make a change!

  3. Kameshwari February 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    I am already seeing an implementation of the Farm to School Program in Portage County, Wisconsin.

    On Thursday, 25 February, 2010, two Americorps workers showed the fruits of their initiatives to get more local produce to the schools. The two Americorps workers presented an enthusiastic explanation of their current projects at our local Central Rivers Farmshed Food Fair. It is exciting to see this level of awareness with Farm to School programs.
    http://www.nasda.org/cms/7197/9060/24915/24923.aspx

  4. Anonymous February 26, 2010 at 8:03 pm #

    Greetings!

    I just discovered your blog through Daily Kos, and surfing around through the archives, I noticed that you have concerns about HFCS. I did a research project on adipose tissue, and HFCS played in heavily to my project. Relevent findings are summarized at the bottom:

    Adipose tissue is not just fat than sits on your body to no effect. It is an organ that secrets hormones that regulate ALL of your major systems: nervous, cardiac, gastrointestinal, etc through the brain.

    Specifically, fructose inhibits a chemical called leptin. Leptin is secreted by your adipose tissue and signals your brain to stop eating when you have consumed enough food.

    Also, young women are experiencing a statistically significant decline in the age of menstruation because Tanner Stage development is regulated by volume of adipose tissue. Adipose tissue is a measure of your ability to acquire and store sufficient resources to go through the energy-intensive process of puberty and bear and raise a child. .

  5. Dr. Susan Rubin February 26, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    Here's another important reason we need Farm to School. As the price of fossil fuels continue their upward climb, food that is closer will be cheaper. According to experts, we have reached a worldwide peak in oil production. that means that the price of gas will only be going up from here on in. The more local/ regional and diverse food sources we can cultivate, the better.

    The problem is that many food service management companies discourage farm to school sourcing because they make more $$ when the source thru their giant agribusiness partners. probably due to some sort of national volume discounts (aka kickbacks)

    We need to create more local/ regional food systems if we are going to create resilience to meet the challenges in the years ahead.

  6. Jeremy Spry February 27, 2010 at 12:50 am #

    http://food.change.org/blog/view/what_did_school_lunch_used_to_look_like

    I thought you might be interested

  7. Joy February 27, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    What an excellent project Farm to School is! All Power to it!

  8. Missy March 4, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    Thanks for doing what you are doing with your blog. I am a new reader and I am finding a ton of information that is very helpful for me.

    I am a graduate graphic design student and am centering my thesis around a year round indoor farmers market run by the community. Part of my proposal is to set up these farm to school programs. Reading your blog gives me more information from the other side of the table (pun intended) which is awesome!

    Having more blogs, articles and activists behind the promotion of healthy foods is exactly what we need to see a change.

  9. twincats March 17, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    Sorry, but when I see this old chestnut:

    "…the current generation of youth in this country are the first in American history whose life expectancy is projected to be less that that of their parents."

    I have a Pavlovian response and have to say something. If that statement is true, then why does U.S. life expectancy still show an upward trend (as it has for decades) despite an additional upward trend in infant mortality in recent years?

    Overweight and even obesity have NOT been shown to cause any specific disease or death.
    Please remember: Correlation is NOT causation!

    Bad nutrition and lack of exercise are a whole different matter.

  10. Anonymous March 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    I just transferred to a Waldorf school, so my troubles with bad unhealthy school luches are OVER! We have had a farm and garden at our school, and we get to go on hikes randomly during classes-even Pre-Calc! Still, I transferred after I made a five year pledge of making all my own food, so I don't actually get to enjoy the organic fruits of my school's labor. Still, I advocate for other schools, not just expensive private schools, to hold regular meeeting and polls about making school lunchs healthier and supporting local farms-even if it means creating your own two acre farm like we did on our 22 acres school.

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