Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Bill (HB 2800) heads to Ways and Means Subcommittee

Release Date: 05-11-2009

Oakley Brooks

Senior Media Manager
503.467.0779

Public hearing set for 3 p.m., Tuesday, May 12. School food investment will create hundreds of new jobs and generate millions of dollars for Oregon economy

WHO:
School food professionals, food manufacturers, students and farm to school experts will gather in Salem Tuesday afternoon to urge the Oregon Legislature to take full advantage of the school lunchroom as a viable marketplace for Oregon agriculture.

Testimony in front of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development will include presentations by:

  • Clare Columbus, Foodservice Director, Gervais School District
  • Peter Truitt, President, Truitt Brothers Inc., Salem
  • Deborah Kane, Vice President, Ecotrust’s Food & Farms program
  • Select students who will share reflections on school lunch

WHAT:
HB 2800 will pump at least $39 million into communities in rural and urban Oregon and create nearly 500 jobs in the state of Oregon in one school year, according to economic analysis of the pilot farm to school program conducted in two school districts.

Lawmakers will learn that Oregon schools will spend $140 million in federal funds on food. HB 2800 adds $19.6 million over the 2009/2010 biennium to their food budget as an incentive for schools to buy expressly from Oregon farmers and food manufacturers. To access these state funds, schools must first demonstrate a one-to-one match using National School Lunch and Breakfast program funds, which will compound the economic investment by keeping federal dollars in the state.

HB 2800 also creates a fund to support agriculture-, food- and garden-based education programs through mini-grants, which schools and districts may apply for through the Oregon Department of Education. Food- and garden-based education has been proven to increase school meal participation as well as children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables grown in the garden and then served in the cafeteria. Many of the children who benefit from the program are on the free and reduced price meal program.

WHEN: 3 p.m., Tuesday, May 12, 2009

WHERE: State Capitol, Room H-174

WHY:
HB 2800 represents a strategic investment in the state’s agricultural sector, which comprises 10 percent of the of the state’s economy.

HB 2800 creates the environment for our children to learn lifelong healthy eating habits.

HB 2800 leverages state and federal school food dollars to maximize local impact.

About the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network 
The Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network is a statewide coalition of more than 100 organizations and individuals representing government, community-based, non-profit, and for-profit sectors.