February 22, 2008
By Mitch Lies
SALEM — Oregon’s farm-to-school program received a slight boost on Feb. 19 when the Oregon Legislature’s budget writing committee moved a farm-to-school bill to the House floor, but with a caveat.
The joint Ways and Means Committee failed to provide funding for the program
Lawmakers authorized the Department of Education to fill the position in House Bill 3601. But questions arise whether the department can fill the position under existing budget constraints, especially considering that in earlier testimony before a legislative committee the department said it had no extra funds to put into the program.
Still, program backers said they were encouraged by the Ways and Means Committee’s actions.
"We’re disappointed it didn’t receive full funding," said Michelle Markesteyn Ratcliffe, farm-to-school manager for Ecotrust, "but we will be working to find a way to implement the program under existing resources."
"What this is a sign of is how important a policy that this is that even in this shortened session, lawmakers are taking this up," she said.