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Agricultural News

Stabenow Applauds $5 Million Investment to Bring Local Food to School Cafeterias

Tue, 02 Dec 2014 16:40:17 CST

Stabenow Applauds $5 Million Investment to Bring Local Food to School Cafeterias
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, applauded USDA's announcement to invest $5 million in a variety of farm to school programs across the country. This funding comes through USDA's Farm to School Program, which helps schools source healthy school foods like fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. The Farm to School Program also educates students about how food grows through school garden programs and farm visits. Sen. Stabenow led the effort to expand support for family farmers by creating new opportunities to sell locally grown and organic products in the 2014 Farm Bill.

"Today's announcement is terrific news for local economies, students, farmers and families," said Stabenow. "As I visit schools with local farm to table programs, I continue to be impressed to see students enjoying broccoli and pineapple from salad bars, while learning about how their food is grown. Farm to school programs give needed support to local farmers, while educating and encouraging students to eat healthy. Whether it's teachers, students, parents or farmers, everybody wins when local food makes it to cafeterias close to where it has been grown and produced."

USDA's Farm to School Grants help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, and distributors. These grants will also be used to support agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.

One of the grants will go to the Stilwell Public Schools in Stilwell, Oklahoma. SPS will receive a planning grant of $41,535 for a comprehensive farm to school program. SPS serves 1,460 high need students living in and around Stilwell. The town is the most Cherokee Community in the USA. SPS updated the school meal program in 2012, contracting with Sodexo Food Services to ensure federal nutritional guidelines are reliably met. By formalizing the meal-creation process, this re-vamped structure will facilitate the ongoing incorporation of local produce; providing opportunities for Stilwell's farms to deliver a wide variety of vegetables and fruits that can be incorporated monthly into school meals.

The 82 projects will reach 4,800 schools and 2.8 million students as a result of USDA's announcement. A full list of awarded projects can be found by clicking here.



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