“Farm to Cafeteria” is a wonderful idea being promoted by a large number of organizations representing family farmers, farm workers, children’s and youth advocates, environmental, health and hunger activists, organic consumers, faith-based groups and others, including Grassroots International, the National Family Farm Coalition, the Rural Coalition, the Organic Consumers Association and the Community Food Security Coalition.
The idea follows on the successful experience of numerous projects around the country that have emerged to connect schools to local family farms by assisting schools to purchase nutritious farm-fresh food grown in their local communities. Grassroots’ partner, the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in the state of Pernambuco is involved in a similar project linking formerly landless workers now settled in MST farms to schools in the capital city of Recife.
The benefits are obvious – children (especially those who receive free or subsidized lunches) eat healthier and fresh food and farmers have a ready local market and get more involved in their communities.
Initially introduced in the House and Senate as the “Farm to Cafeteria Projects Act” it is now being proposed as a very modest appropriation ($5million) to implement Section 122 (“Access to Local Foods and School Gardens”) of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. If passed, it will help school administrations compete for up to $100,000 in federal grants for setting up a Farm to Cafeteria program in their schools.
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 email.