From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition blog:
In September, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) brought three farm to school advocates to Capitol Hill to share the amazing farm to school work they’ve been doing with lawmakers in Congress. Much of the work that these advocates have been engaged in to source more local, healthy food into schools across Arkansas and Kansas is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program.
During their visit to the nation’s capital, Allyson Mrachek and Maegan Brown from Arkansas, and Rachael McGinnis Millsap from Kansas visited eight congressional offices across their home states and had the opportunity to share both the successes they’ve seen, as well as the ongoing challenges, within their own communities. A central goal of their visit was telling decision makers in Congress why healthy food, family farm, and anti-hunger advocates want the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) to include the Farm to School Act of 2019.
The Farm to School Act of 2019, for which NFSN and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) have aggressively advocated, would provide an additional $10 million in annual funding for the Farm to School Grant program. The bill would also make policy changes that would improve access to the program for Native American communities, and prioritize projects that engage beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers.
For Allyson Mrachek, advocating for farm to school was something that came naturally. She first got involved in farm to school work as a FoodCorps (an NSAC member organization) service member over seven years ago, and her interest and passion drove her to stay invested in the work and in her community. Today, Mrachek focuses on investing in the health of Arkansas’ youth as the Child Nutrition Director for Fayetteville Public Schools. During her seven years helping to advance healthy eating and farm to school activities at Fayetteville Public Schools, one of Mrachek’s biggest projects has been overseeing the district’s transition to local food procurement.