Text: H.R.5456 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (05/28/2010)


111th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 5456

To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to award competitive grants to assist eligible entities in implementing or expanding farm-to-school programs.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 28, 2010

Ms. McCollum (for herself, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Mr. Latham, Mr. Ellison, Mr. Luján, Mr. Kagen, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Putnam, Mr. Michaud, Mr. Al Green of Texas, Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Carnahan, Mr. Moore of Kansas, Ms. Pingree of Maine, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. Shuler, Mr. Kind, Mr. Loebsack, Mr. Van Hollen, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Courtney, Mr. Walz, Mr. Holt, Mr. Perriello, and Mr. Moran of Virginia) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to award competitive grants to assist eligible entities in implementing or expanding farm-to-school programs.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “National Farm-to-School Act of 2010”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Farm-to-school programs facilitate the purchase of local food for school meals and offer a spectrum of both immediate and long-term benefits to child health, small- and medium-sized agricultural producer income, and community economic development.

(2) Farm-to-school programs of varying scale are operational in over 8,900 schools in 42 States around the country.

(3) Though successful models of farm-to-school programs exist around the country, many schools and small- and medium-sized agricultural producers that would like to implement a farm-to-school program or scale up their existing program face barriers in the form of program planning, implementation, and technical capacity.

(4) One-third of children in the United States are now obese or overweight. Over the past 3 decades, obesity rates have quadrupled in 6 to 11 year olds and tripled in 12 to 19 year olds, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

(5) Childhood obesity rates are disproportionately high among low-income and minority populations. Among Mexican-American children and adolescents ages 2 to 19, 38 percent are obese or overweight. For African-American children, this rate is close to 35 percent. A study of American Indian second-graders in Arizona, New Mexico and South Dakota found that over 20 percent of the children were overweight and 29 percent were obese.

(6) Communities with high levels of poverty have less access to fresh fruits and vegetables than higher-income communities. A study of nearly 700 neighborhoods in the United States found that low-income areas have access to half as many supermarkets as the wealthiest areas.

(7) Increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is one of six major strategies to prevent and control obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

(8) According to survey data from the Department of Agriculture, only 2 percent of children nationwide meet the daily food servings as recommended by the Food Guide Pyramid.

(9) The national school lunch program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) has potential to provide fresher and healthier foods to millions of children in the United States. Approximately 60 percent of students in the United States are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school lunches. In fiscal year 2008, 30.9 million children consumed free or reduced-price school lunch on a daily basis.

(10) Farm-to-school programs can increase children’s daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Farm-to-school programs in Oregon and California have demonstrated that children in schools with an active farm-to-school program increased their average consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by one or more servings per day.

(11) Farm-to-school programs are popular among children and can increase school lunch participation. Studies of 9 farm-to-school programs found that schools that participate in a farm-to-school program have seen an increase in student participation in the school meal program ranging from 3 percent to 16 percent for all meals.

(12) Farm-to-school programs can benefit small- and mid-sized agricultural producers by providing access to consistent markets and the planning and organization skills to expand to other institutional customers.

(13) Farm-to-school programs can benefit local economies. A 2009 study of farm-to-school programs in Oregon found that for every one dollar invested in farm-to-school programs, the yield in economic activity in the local community was $1.87.

SEC. 3. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) FARM-TO-SCHOOL PROGRAM.—The term “farm-to-school program” means a program that connects schools and small- and medium-sized agricultural producers for the purposes of—

(A) serving locally produced, healthy foods (including fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, and poultry, and grains) in school cafeterias;

(B) improving student nutrition;

(C) providing educational opportunities for students in the areas of nutrition, health, and local agricultural food production; and

(D) supporting local and regional agriculture and the growth of rural communities.

(2) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Agriculture unless otherwise specified.

SEC. 4. Sense of Congress.

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) farm-to-school programs should be recognized as a proven effective strategy that can provide immediate and long-term benefits to child health, small- and medium-sized agricultural producer income, and community economic development; and

(2) the Federal Government should partner in assisting schools and local educational agencies with planning, technical assistance, and implementation of farm-to-school programs.

SEC. 5. Purposes.

The purposes of this Act are to—

(1) establish the Federal Government as a partner in assisting communities with planning, technical assistance, and implementation of efficient, cost-effective farm-to-school programs; and

(2) facilitate a sustained commitment to farm-to-school procurement in communities by linking local small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, schools and institutions, State, local and tribal government agencies, institutions of higher education, parents, community and tribal organizations, and other community stakeholders

TITLE ICompetitive Grant Program for Farm-to-School Programs

SEC. 101. Competitive grant program for Farm-to-School Programs.

(a) Amendment.—The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 19, the following:

“SEC. 19A. Farm-to-school program.

“(a) In general.—From the amounts appropriated under subsection (l), the Secretary shall provide assistance, through competitive matching grants and technical assistance, to eligible entities to implement or expand farm-to-school programs, and for related activities.

“(b) Eligible entity.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘eligible entity’ means—

“(1) a school, including a charter school;

“(2) a local educational agency;

“(3) an institution of higher education;

“(4) a nongovernmental, community-based, or tribal organization;

“(5) a State, regional, local, or tribal government agency; or

“(6) a partnership consisting of 2 or more of the entities described in paragraphs (1) through (5).

“(c) Regional balance.—In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary, to the maximum extent practicable, shall ensure—

“(1) geographical diversity; and

“(2) participation of urban, rural, and tribal communities.

“(d) Types of grants.—A grant under this section may be—

“(1) an implementation grant to support the initial costs of implementing a new, or expanding an existing, farm-to-school program;

“(2) a training and technical assistance grant to support the training and access to resources and information necessary to conduct a successful farm-to-school program; or

“(3) a planning grant to support the cost of conducting research, identifying resources, and developing partnerships to design a successful and sustainable farm-to-school program.

“(e) Grant Amounts.—A grant awarded under this section to an eligible entity shall not exceed—

“(1) in the case of an implementation or training and technical assistance grant, $100,000; and

“(2) in the case of a planning grant, $25,000.

“(f) Grant Duration.—A grant under this section shall be awarded for a period—

“(1) in the case of an implementation or training and technical assistance grant, not to exceed 2 years; and

“(2) in the case of a planning grant, not to exceed 1 year.

“(g) Cost sharing.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The amount of a grant awarded under this section shall not exceed 75 percent of the cost of the activities carried out under the grant.

“(2) NON-FEDERAL SUPPORT.—An eligible entity receiving a grant under this section shall provide support of at least 25 percent of the cost of the activities carried out under the grant in cash or in-kind (including, facilities, equipment, training, or services provided by a State, local, and tribal governments, institutions of higher education, and private sources).

“(h) Use of funds.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—An eligible entity receiving a grant under this section shall use such funds to implement or expand, make plans to implement or expand, or provide training and technical assistance to an eligible entity in accordance with paragraph (2) for the purposes of implementing or expanding, a farm-to-school program, by—

“(A) establishing effective relationships among—

“(i) schools and local educational agencies;

“(ii) distributors; and

“(iii) small- and medium-sized agricultural operations or groups of such operations;

“(B) facilitating the development of enterprises to minimally process, as defined by the Secretary, distribute, aggregate, store, and deliver locally or regionally produced agricultural food products to support community development and the income of small- and medium-sized agricultural operations;

“(C) acquiring appropriate equipment to implement or expand a farm-to-school program;

“(D) developing school fruit and vegetable gardens for educational and food production purposes; and

“(E) supporting training and education activities, including supporting the planning of experiential nutrition education activities and curriculum that—

“(i) promote healthy food education in the school curriculum; and

“(ii) incorporate the participation of school children in farm- and garden-based agricultural education activities.

“(2) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—In the case of an eligible entity receiving a training and technical assistance grant under this section, the entity shall use the funds available under the grant to provide training and technical assistance to an eligible entity that desires to implement or expand a farm-to-school program.

“(B) TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES.—The training and technical assistance shall—

“(i) be provided under such terms as the Secretary may require; and

“(ii) include supporting the training and access to resources and information necessary for the implementation of a successful farm-to-school program.

“(i) Program proposals.—

“(1) SUBMISSION.—An eligible entity desiring to receive a grant under this section shall submit a proposal at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

“(2) REVIEW PANELS.—The Secretary shall form review panels to evaluate proposals submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) based on the criteria described in paragraph (3). Such review panels shall include—

“(A) representatives of schools and eligible institutions;

“(B) registered dietitians;

“(C) small- and medium-sized agricultural operations, including socially disadvantaged small- and medium-sized agricultural operations;

“(D) public agencies;

“(E) nongovernmental and community-based organizations with expertise in local food systems and farm-to-school programs; and

“(F) other appropriate parties as determined by the Secretary.

“(3) PROPOSAL REVIEW CRITERIA.—A proposal shall be evaluated based on relevant criteria determined by the Secretary, and shall include—

“(A) service to schools and institutions with a high proportion of children who are eligible for free and reduced price lunches;

“(B) benefit to local small- and medium-sized agricultural operations, including socially disadvantaged agricultural operations;

“(C) implementation or expansion of farm-to-school programs that can be sustained without Federal funds after the end of the grant period;

“(D) incorporation of experiential nutrition education;

“(E) demonstration of collaboration between schools or institutions, nongovernmental and community-based organizations, agricultural operations and groups of such operations, and other community partners;

“(F) evaluation plans that incorporate stakeholder representation; and

“(G) such other related criteria as the Secretary may determine relevant.

“(j) Evaluation.—Any eligible entity receiving a grant under this section shall agree to cooperate in an evaluation carried out by the Secretary.

“(k) Rule of construction.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize grants under this section for religious worship, instruction, or proselytization, or for construction of a facility for religious worship, instruction, or proselytization.

“(l) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this section for fiscal year 2011 and each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years, to remain available until expended.

“(m) Definitions.—For purposes of this section:

“(1) CHARTER SCHOOL.—The term ‘charter school’ has the meaning give the term in section 5210 of the Elementary and Secondary Education of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7221i).

“(2) ELEMENTARY SCHOOL; SECONDARY SCHOOL; LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY.—The terms ‘elementary school’, ‘secondary school’, and ‘local educational agency’ have the meanings given such terms in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).

“(3) FARM-TO-SCHOOL PROGRAM.—The term ‘farm-to-school program’ means a program that connects schools and small- and medium-sized agricultural operations for the purposes of—

“(A) serving locally produced, healthy foods (including fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy; meat, fish, and poultry, and grains) in school cafeterias;

“(B) improving student nutrition;

“(C) providing agriculture, health, and nutrition education opportunities to students; and

“(D) supporting local and regional agriculture and the growth of rural communities.

“(4) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION.—The term ‘institution of higher education’ has the meaning given such term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001).

“(5) LOCAL FOOD.—The term ‘local food’ has the meaning given the term ‘locally or regionally produced agricultural food products’ in section 310B(g) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1932(g)).

“(6) SCHOOL.—The term ‘school’ means a public elementary school or public secondary school.

“(7) TRIBAL ORGANIZATION.—The term ‘tribal organization’ has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.”.

(b) Conforming Amendment.—Section 18 of the Richard B. National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769) is amended by repealing subsection (g).

TITLE IIParticipation of Small- and Medium-Sized Agricultural Producers in Farm-to-School Programs

SEC. 201. Identification of Department of Agriculture programs available to promote participation of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers in farm-to-school programs.

(a) Identification of available programs.—The Secretary shall prepare a list identifying all programs of the Department of Agriculture that, without modification or with only minor modification, can be used to facilitate the participation of small- and medium-sized agricultural operations in farm-to-school programs.

(b) Covered programs.—Among the Department of Agriculture programs to be considered for inclusion on the list required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall specifically evaluate the following:

(1) The rural development programs of the Department of Agriculture.

(2) The loan and loan guarantee programs carried out under the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1921 et seq.).

(3) The Value-Added Agricultural Product Market Development Grant Program carried out under section 231 of the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note; Public Law 106–224).

(4) The Farmers’ Market Promotion Program carried out under section 6 of the Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1976 (7 U.S.C. 3005).

(5) The Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program carried out under section 204(b) of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1623(b)).

(6) The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program carried out under section 101 of the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note; Public Law 108–465).

(7) The Community Food Projects Program carried out under section 25 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2034).

(c) Additional determination regarding value-Added agricultural product market development grant program.—The Value-Added Agricultural Product Market Development Grant Program may be accessed by small- and medium-sized agricultural operations and associations of such operations to support farm-to-school programs. The Secretary shall promptly clarify the notification of solicitation of applications under the program to reflect this determination.

(d) Submission of results.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall submit to Congress the list prepared under subsection (a).

SEC. 202. Assessment of economic impact of farm-to-school programs on small- and medium-sized agricultural producers and rural communities.

(a) Assessment required.—The Secretary, acting through the Economic Research Service of the Department of Agriculture, shall conduct a nationwide assessment of the economic impact of farm-to-school programs on small- and medium-sized agricultural operations and rural communities.

(b) Content of assessment.—In conducting the assessment, the Secretary shall—

(1) examine the role that farm-to-school programs can play in establishing profitable new markets for small- and medium-sized agricultural operations and facilitating their access to new institutional or direct markets and value-added processing opportunities;

(2) identify barriers that impede the establishment of such profitable markets for small- and medium-sized agricultural operations; and

(3) identify strategies for mitigating such barriers.

(c) Submission of results.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress the results of the assessment required by this section.

TITLE IIIInteragency Cooperation

SEC. 301. Interagency farm-to-school exchange.

The Secretary of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall establish an Internet-based forum for the sharing and exchange of information on farm-to-school programs nationwide. Information available in this Exchange shall include—

(1) an inventory of all projects funded under the competitive grant program in title II;

(2) an inventory of existing farm-to-school programs in the United States, which lists—

(A) the agricultural producers and schools participating in each program;

(B) the number of students served by each program;

(C) the annual operating cost of each program; and

(D) the main contact for the program.

(3) information on best practices in farm-to-school programs nationwide; and

(4) additional information as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.