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"Access to Local Foods and School Gardens," Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act

The following letter was sent to members of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee

Support Children's Health and Family Farmers ... at the same time!

March 23, 2006

Dear Senator,

The undersigned organizations urge your support for a $5 million appropriation to implement "Access to Local Foods and School Gardens," Section 122 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. Section 122 addresses the dual problems of climbing childhood obesity rates and struggling family farms by assisting schools in overcoming the barriers to purchasing locally-grown foods.

Childhood obesity rates have doubled in the last twenty years, with more than 16% of American children now overweight or obese and vulnerable to heart disease and other diet-related illness. Another 15% are considered at risk of becoming overweight. The number of young people who do not eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables is almost 80%.

At the same time that children need more healthy food in their diets, small- and medium- sized farms are struggling to find profitable markets. However, with the removal of certain barriers, farmers can market their fresh foods directly to local schools. Successful Farm to Cafeteria projects are beginning to emerge across the country, and they have demonstrated that children's eating habits dramatically improve when provided with hands-on nutrition education, farm-fresh food choices, and positive experiences in a school garden or at a local farm.

In addition to economic benefits, farmers become more involved in their community, boosting sales in other outlets, such as farmers' markets. This modest federal support will bring the benefits of fresh local foods to children in poorer school districts at a time when farmers are struggling to secure new markets.

Building on these innovative successes, "Access to Local Foods and School Gardens" removes barriers and creates a win-win situation for at-risk kids, small- and medium-sized family farmers, and their communities. Children who receive free and reduced price lunches particularly benefit from Farm to Cafeteria, as they often do not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables elsewhere. Section 122 authorizes a grant program for schools to receive funds of up to $100,000 to assist with the start-up costs of a Farm to Cafeteria project.

These competitive, one-time grants will allow schools to purchase adequate equipment to store and prepare fresh foods, develop vendor relationships with nearby farmers, plan seasonal menus and promotional materials, start a school garden, and develop hands-on nutrition education showing the importance of agriculture. An initial investment of $5 million will allow schools to create long-term Farm to Cafeteria projects.

"Access to Local Foods and School Gardens" offers each community the opportunity to design a Farm to Cafeteria project tailored to specific needs of area schools and farms. A modest appropriation of $5 million will clearly have far-reaching benefits. We, the undersigned national, regional, state, and local organizations, therefore respectfully request your inclusion of $5 million for Section 122 "Access to Local Foods and School Gardens" in your appropriations requests.

For more information about the need or the benefits of Section 122, please contact the Community Food Security Coalition by phone at 202-543-8602 or e-mail at Steph@foodsecurity.org..

Sincerely,

National and Regional
American Community Gardening Association
American Corn Growers Association
American Farmland Trust
America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network
Bread for the World
Catholic Committee of Appalachia
Center for Food Safety
Center of Concern
Community Food Security Coalition
Congressional Hunger Center
Environmental Defense
Family Farm Defenders
Farm Aid
Federation of Southern Cooperatives
Food Alliance
Food and Water Watch
The Food Project
Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
Grassroots International
H.A. Wallace Center for Agricultural and Environmental Policy
Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers of America
Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ
League of Young Voters
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Mennonite Central Committee
Michael Fields Agriculture Institute
National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
National Catholic Rural Life Conference
National Family Farm Coalition
National Farmers Union
National Gardening Association
NETWORK
Northeast Midwest Institute
Northeast States Association for Agricultural Stewardship
Organic Consumers Association
Organic Trade Association
Organic Valley Family of Farms
Partners in Ending Hunger
Pax Christi USA
Presbyterian Church USA, DC Office
Prevention Institute
Project for Public Spaces
The Rodale Institute
Rural Coalition
School Nutrition Association
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province
Slow Food USA
Society for Nutrition Education
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Spoons Across America
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Urban Agriculture Network
Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Weston A. Price Foundation
World Hunger Year

Alabama
Food Security Coalition, Jefferson County

Alaska
Nome Community Center

Arizona
Arizona Community Farmers' Market Group
Arizona Food Policy Coalition
Community Food Connections
Flagstaff Foodlink
Maya's Farm
Natwani Coalition
Rural ACCENT, Inc.

Arkansas
Arkansas 5 A Day Coalition
Arkansas Hunger Coalition
Dunbar Gardens

California
Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association
Alameda Point Collaborative, Growing Youth Project
California Citizens for Health Freedom
California Coalition for Food and Farming
California Food and Justice Coalition
California Institute for Rural Studies
Center for Food & Justice, Occidental College
Center for Informed Food Choices
Center for Land-Based Learning
Center for Urban Agriculture, Fairview Gardens
Central Coast Hunger Coalition
Chez Panisse Foundation
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Community Services Unlimited Inc.
The Ecology Center
Farmosa Farms
Food for People
Food for Thought-Ojai Healthy Schools Project
Garden for the Environment
Growing Gardeners
Heart of the City Farmers Market
LA Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness
Los Angeles Food Justice Network
Marin Food Systems Project
Merced County Community Action Agency
Model Neighborhood Program
Monterey County Farm to School Partnership
Northern California Indian Development Council
San Diego Urban Farms
San Francisco Food Systems
Santa Monica Certified Farmers' Market Program
Southland Farmers' Market Association
Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA)
United Indian Health Services
University of California Cooperative
   Extension - Youth Food Stamp Nutrition
   Education Program
University of California Hansen Trust
Veritable Vegetable

Colorado
Bowman Family Farms
Colorado Anti-Hunger Network
Denver Urban Gardens
Larimer/Weld Food and Agriculture Policy Council
Ridgway School Wellness and Nutrition Advisory Committee
San Luis Valley Food & Agriculture Policy Council

Connecticut
City Seed, Inc.
Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
Hartford Food System

Delaware
Sussex Consortium/ Delaware Autism Program

Florida
Florida Organic Growers (FOG)
New College Local Foods Initiative

Georgia
Action for a Clean Environment
Bread for the World-Southeast
Georgia Organics
Oakhurst Community Garden Project

Hawaii
Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School
Kokua Hawai'I Foundation

Idaho
Rural Roots

Illinois
Chicago's Green City Market
Healthy Schools Campaign
Illinois Specialty Growers Association
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Justice and Peace Office, Adorers of the Blood of Christ
Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation, Office of the Wheaton Franciscans
Seven Generations Ahead
Sustain

Indiana
ASSETS Elkhart County
Community Sustainability Project, Inc.
Heartland Center/Office of Peace and Justice, Diocese of Gary
Jennings County Growers Co-op

Iowa
Congregation of the Humility Sisters of Mary
Iowa Dietetic Association
Iowa Farmers Union
Iowa Network for Community Agriculture
The Second Chance
Sisters of the Presentation
Women Food and Agriculture Network

Kansas
Kansas Rural Center

Kentucky
Appalachia — Science in the Public Interest
Catholic Charities Louisville Parish Social Ministry Department
Community Farm Alliance
Diocese of Owensboro
Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.

Louisiana
New Orleans Food and Farm Network

Maine
College of the Atlantic
Cultivating Community
Farm Fresh Connections
Lots to Garden
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
New American Sustainable Agriculture Project

Maryland
Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA)

Massachusetts
Boston Public Market Association
Institute for Community Health
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
Massachusetts Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
Nuestras Raices, Inc.
Seeds of Solidarity Education Center Inc.
Small Planet Institute

Michigan
Agrarian Adventure
Food System Economic Partnership
Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council
Growing Hope
Michigan Catholic Rural Life Coalition
Michigan Integrated Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS)
Michigan Land Trustees
Michigan Land Use Institute
People's Food Co-op
Slow Food Huron Valley
Sweetwater Local Foods Market
Voices for Earth Justice

Minnesota
Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education
Franciscans International - Franciscan Community of Rochester
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
The Minnesota Project

Missouri
Missouri Farmers Union
Missouri Organic Association
Missouri Rural Crisis Center

Montana
Community Food and Agriculture Coalition
FarmHands
Sustainable Living Systems

Nevada
The Food Bank of Northern Nevada

New Hampshire
New Hampshire Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
North Country Health Consortium

New Jersey
New Jersey Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
FoodShed Alliance
Martin Luther King Jr. School
Ridge and Valley Charter School

New Mexico
Cooking with Kids
Farm to Table
NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council
New Mexico Food Stamp Project
New Mexico Public Health Association
New Mexico Task Force to End Hunger
Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust
Rio Grande Community Farm
Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute
Southwest Environmental Center
Southwest Marketing Network
UNM Fair Trade Initiative

New York
Added Value and Herban Solutions
Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Court St Joseph #139
Center for Popular Research, Education & Policy
Church Women United of Chemung County
Church Women United of NYS
Commission on Peace and Justice of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany
East New York Farms Project/United Community Centers
FamilyCook Productions
Feed the Solution
Food Bank of Central New York
Food Change
Food Link
Gardenshare
Horsehead Grange #1118
Just Food
Ladies of Charity of Chemung County
Massachusetts Avenue Project
New York City Nutrition Education Network
NY Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
NY Northeast Organic Farming Association
NY State Nutrition Council
Past Regents' Club, Diocese of Rochester
Pax Christi Upstate NY
Rochester Roots Inc.
Urban Community Health Organization

North Carolina
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
The Corporation for Economic Opportunity
Herbert Green Agroecology

Ohio
Four Season City Farmers
Grow With Your Neighbors, Wergerzyn Gardens MetroPark

Oklahoma
Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Oregon
Bend Farmers Market
Bend/LaPine School District
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns
Growing Gardens
Lane County Food Coalition
Oregon Food Bank
Oregon Hunger Relief Task Force
Oregon Tilth
The Rogue Initiative for a Vital Economy
The School Garden Project of Lane County
Troutsdale Fresh Direct Farm

Pennsylvania
A Little Taste of Everything
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
The Food Trust
Just Harvest
Kimberton Whole Foods
Nutritional Development Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development
Slow Food Central PA
Sweet Miriam's Farm
Threshold Foundation In Support of Youth
Urban Nutrition Initiative

Rhode Island
Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Kids First
Rhode Island Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)

Texas
CASA de Llano, Inc.
Central City Co-op
South Plains Food Bank
Sustainable Food Center

Utah
The Anti-Hunger Action Committee
Northern Utah Organic Growers
Salt Lake Community Action Program
Slow Food Utah
South Eastern Utah Community Action Program
Utah Issues
Utah Community Partnership Association
Utahns Against Hunger
Wastach Community Gardens

Vermont
Food Works
Rural Vermont
Shelburne Farms
Vermont Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger
Vermont Natural Resources Council
Vermont Public Interest Research Group
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Virginia
Appalachian Sustainable Development
Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula
Virginia Association for Biological Farming
Western Virginia Land Trust

Washington
21 Acres
Blue Heron Farm
EAT Local
Good Food Strategies LLC
Lutheran Public Policy Office of Washington State
Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance
PCC Natural Markets
Seattle School Gardens Collaborative
Small Potatoes Gleaning Project
Sustainable Connections
Tilth Producers of Washington

West Virginia
Partnership for the Land and Agricultural Needs of Tradition Peoples (PLANT)

Wisconsin
Cornucopia Institute
FH King Students of Sustainable Agriculture, UW-Madison
Friends of Troy Gardens
Growing Power
Madison Fair Trade Action Alliance
Madison Food System Project
Madison Graduate Student Organization
Rainbow Farmers Cooperative
Research, Education, Action, and Policy on Food Group
WestCAP, Inc.
Wisconsin Farmers Union

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