October 2017 Policy Update

State and Local School Nutrition Wins

In California, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 841, which prohibits schools from marketing junk foods that cannot be sold under federal “Smart Snacks” standards. This bill ensures kids get consistent messaging around healthy foods.

And, in NYC, Mayor de Blasio announced 15 schools in Brooklyn will start “Meatless Mondays” this spring. Participating schools will serve vegetarian breakfasts and lunches, and the Mayor also announced that the food at meals and events on Mondays at Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s residence, will also be meatless. A great step for healthier, and more sustainable, eating! If you are on Twitter, please take a moment to thank Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Fariña, and New York City’s Department of Education for making this possible!

Local FARMS Act Introduced!

On October 4, Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Sean Maloney (D-NY), and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Local Food And Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act. This bipartisan bill includes a number of provisions that would help farmers reach new markets, increase access to fresh, healthy, local food among low-income groups and communities in need, and develop and strengthen infrastructure that connects producers to consumers.

Notably, the bill also would reauthorize and improve the Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program (FASLP), which would help FoodCorps further our mission. During the 2014 Farm Bill process, FoodCorps worked with Congress to create the FASLP, which, if funded, would establish a competitive grant program for organizations working to improve child nutrition through food, nutrition, and agriculture education. FoodCorps has also been working with the Appropriations committees in Congress to seek funding for this program.

Check out this page with Rep. Pingree’s announcement of the bill, including a statement of support from our own co-founder and VP of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Cecily Upton! (She also joined Rep. Pingree for a Farm Bill Forum in March.)  We’ll be working closely with our partners at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to build support for this bill as Congress considers the 2018 Farm Bill and we’ll be in touch with you on opportunities to advocate with your members of Congress.

New Report on Childhood Obesity Cites School Nutrition as Key Policy

Earlier in September, we got a bit of a good news on childhood obesity rates. According to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health, nationally, childhood obesity rates are holding steady and while the rates are still far too high, the report notes that we’ve made progress in recent years to halt the increase. An accompanying op-ed specifically cites the need to maintain and support efforts around improving school meals and to invest in programs that support prevention.  This is a great testament to the importance of our work to support and strengthen school nutrition.