You know that ensuring students get fresh, nutritionally rich meals will help them express their full potential, in school and in life. And farmers like Katie Bishop of Prairierth are working hard to bring more fresh food to area schools– but they need your help.
Right now Congress has the opportunity to prioritize Farm to School funding in the Build Back Better Act– which will help schools source local, fresh ingredients for their cafeterias.
Even when public schools closed their doors at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was evident that many children still relied on public institutions for their primary access to daily meals. School cafeterias are essential assets to many communities across Illinois, and many of them remained open and operating to provide free meals during the COVID shutdowns, ensuring no child went hungry.
Katie and other area farmers realized the potential for school cafeterias to address childhood hunger, but there was just one piece missing. Many public institutions rely on heavily processed foods that are shipped in from out of state while local farmers are growing fresh, nutrient dense foods just miles down the road from these same institutions.
Katie and many other local farmers banded together to build the Farm-FED cooperative to help supply school cafeterias with locally grown produce and develop the necessary infrastructure to process, store and deliver locally grown fruits and vegetables to area schools.
More federal funding would help make it possible for school districts across Illinois to train staff, update kitchen equipment, and prioritize local sourcing from project’s like the Farm-FED coop. This would mean more healthy and nutrient dense foods for more children across Illinois, and more food dollars being spent locally and building the economic wealth of the community.
You can help!
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our children.
Congress is about to vote on legislation that would make historic investments in school meal programs and bring about more equitable access to healthy food. If enacted, the Build Back Better Act will connect millions of children with nourishing school meals, support more educators getting children excited to eat healthy food, build more school gardens, and bring more local, fresh ingredients into cafeterias.
The child nutrition provisions of the Build Back Better Act include:
- Expand hands-on food education and school garden programs
- Promote nourishing school meals that are scratch-cooked, culturally relevant, and local sourced
- Allow more schools to serve healthy meals by providing much-needed funding to upgrade school kitchen infrastructure
- Expand access to free school meals to nearly nine million more students by expanding the Community Eligibility Provision
Will you urge your members of Congress to act on farm to school provisions in the Build Back Better Act?
Thanks for using your voice to keep kids healthy.