Children aren't eating nutritious meals at school. Small farms across America are struggling to survive in the face of Big Agriculture. These two separate problems have one simple solution: H.R. 4710, the Farm to School Improvements Act of 2010.
If passed, H.R. 4710 would offer matching grants to those schools and non-profits that offer students greater access to local foods during breakfast and lunchtime. But like most pieces of legislation, it's currently stuck in committee.
With 13 co-sponsors, the bill's got a fighting chance at getting noticed; all we need to do is lend some extra support. Ask Rep. George Miller, Chair of the Committee on Education and Labor, to bring Farm to School Improvements Act to a vote.
Each day, the federal school lunch program reaches over 30 million children across America. But almost half of our nation's schools don't offer fresh fruits and vegetables to their students on a daily basis, and 80% still serve lunches with more than the recommended amount of saturated fat. The worse our kids eat, the worse they perform in the classroom, and the harder it is to teach them healthy eating habits further down the road.
Meanwhile, small family farms are struggling to survive in the face of consolidated industrial farms and feedlots. Every week, 330 farmers are forced to leave their lots. Even in states like Michigan, where small farms were actually increasing from 2002 to 2007, the recession has set small farmers back; 2008 estimates "showed a drop of 1,000 farms, especially in the smaller categories."
Small farms, when given the chance to compete against their industrial counterparts, are incredibly efficient and sustainable. They produce healthy food that's good for both our environment and our children. Tell Rep. Miller to bring the Farm to School Improvements Act to a vote in his committee.
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H.R. 4710 is currently sitting in the Education and Labor Committee. Please ensure that this important bill is given a chance to succeed; bring the Farm to School Improvements Act to a vote before your committee.
For the 30 million children across America receiving daily meals through the federal school lunch program, this novel partnership between schools and farms could improve their health and foster better eating habits, fighting the pervasive trend of youth diabetes and obesity plaguing our schools. For small farms, the bill could mean the difference between nourishing America's next generation and handing over their farms to consolidated industrial mega-farms.
The Farm to School Improvement Act deserves to be heard. Please bring H.R. 4710 before your committee. Thank you for your support.