This past week’s Giving Tuesday the hopeful antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday helped showcase a lot of great organizations and causes that we hold dear to our hearts. One such non-profit is the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) who works to bring local food and agricultural education into schools. This email popped up in our inbox and it felt worth sharing:
What's the value of a national network?
9 regional leads advancing innovation in farm to school practices
51 state leads offering on-the-ground advice and network-building
500+ resources on farmtoschool.org to help programs get off the ground
1,000+ leaders building partnerships at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
10,000+ members carrying the movement forward
Thanks to this network, the farm to school
movement has accomplished....
$5 million dollars in annual USDA Farm to School Grant Program funding, secured in part through NFSN advocacy
23.5 million children engaging in farm to school activities
$385 million in food purchases invested back into local communities
4 The number of coffees it would take to equal a $20 donation.
Back in 2010 the NSFN and its partners opened the door for real farm to school advocacy when they lobbied for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, which is one of the many positive outcomes of the 2010 Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act. A recent blog post by Helen Dombalis, NFSN’s Policy and Strategic Partnerships Director, applauds the USDA for again allocating $5 million in grants for local farm to school activities. While this is an impressive amount, Dombalis expresses that it is not enough to fulfill all of the requests for funding:
As in the previous two years of the program, the demand for USDA Farm to School Grants continues to outweigh available funding by nearly five times. As we look ahead to next year’s reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, the National Farm to School Network will call on Congress to increase USDA Farm to School Grant funding to better meet the need and to expand the program’s scope to support preschool, summer and after school programs."
While it is unfortunate that our government is not yet investing more money to such an important cause, it is heartening to know that there is so much will and desire out there to see more farm to school activities carried out.