A new Farm to School Bill has just been introduced and it could mean lots of healthy, local food for school-age kids statewide!

This bill would make grant money available to stakeholders in all stages of the food system. It has the potential to make the local food system flow more naturally from local farmer to local school kids. The $2 million in grant money would be available to different cogs within the local food chain.

Sign The Farm To School Petition HERE

Farmer Butch of All Good Organics talking pumpkins with a little local.

Farmers would be able to apply for technical assistance to help them cut through some of the red tape in selling to schools (there is a LOT). Schools would be able to apply for reimbursement in working with purchasing from individual farms, transportation and packaging costs. There’s even a portion that would be available for school gardens and agricultural education related to local foods.

From the Ground Up

 “This seems like a great opportunity to connect local food supplies with kids in our community. Programs like this do our kids a great service in understanding the food supply chain and how we access those resources,” says principal John Leininger. Leininger is at Matoska International Elementary School in White Bear Lake, which has started a small gardening program on site.

Matoska International Elementary teachers and school garden leaders, Dawn Maple and Angela Bianco

“This bill could be really helpful for schools to implement or increase their farm to school offerings, with school credited recipes and other pre-done marketing templates without having to reinvent the wheel with our already limited resources,” said Bridget Lehn, MBA, RD, Nutrition Services Coordinator for White Bear Lake Area Schools, referring to the state level “Farm to School Coordinator” position that is part of the bill.

Local Food Hub, The Good Acre, which works directly with local farmers says, “We 100% support it!” and for good reason. They’ve seen first-hand how farmers working with similar programs have grown and flourished.

Local Food Impact

School lunches reach more kids than any restaurant or monthly supplemental programs can. There is a social aspect as well; kids that see other kids eating fresh fruits and veggies at the lunch table next to them are more likely to try the same things. It should be noted that the funds they are proposing would be for local produce as well as meat and dairy products. 

According to the National Farm to School Network, every dollar invested in farm to school programs generates $2.16 to the local economy. Kids get more nutritious foods, farmers can make ends meet, and a few more

“This bill is good for local farmers. It’s good for our children, and it’s good for local economies too,” said Rep. Todd Lippert, DFL-Northfield, who sponsored the bill along with Sen. Michael Goggin, R-Red Wing.

Your Voice Matters

A similar bill made it through the house and senate committees in 2017, but ultimately wasn’t included in a final spending bill. So, if you think the health of our kids and our local economy is worthwhile, let your representatives know that you support this bill by calling or emailing them today!

Find your representative by clicking HERE.

thank you

Here’s the MPR Story Link, and the Winona Daily News coverage for further information.

I usually focus on what we can do individually to impact our Food System. But, when we have a chance to do something collectively to help our kids AND local farmers I needed to share it with you all.
I’m really curious, what do you think about Farm to School initiatives?

Dig In,