FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2007
An Enthusiastic "do Pass" Recommendation Results In Immediate Work Session For Oregon Farmers Feeding Oregon Kids
Farm to School Bills on the Move to Full Education Committee
PORTLAND, Ore. — April 11, 2007 — Earning unanimous support from the House Education Subcommittee on Education Innovation during a public hearing on Tuesday, the trio of complementary farm-to-school bills, HB 3476 (Kotek), HB 3307 (Clem) and HB 3185 (Clem) are on a fast track to the full House Education Committee where they are scheduled for a work session today.
HB 3476 (Kotek) and HB 3307 (Clem) were introduced together, with State Representative Tina Kotek noting, "Farm to school programs are widely discussed around the country as a way to connect kids with food and rural communities. As the Legislature commits to raising the bar for nutritional standards in Oregon schools, we're hard pressed to do that unless we provide some supplemental way to fund better lunches and teach kids about food."
Sponsored by State Representative Brian Clem, HB 3185 awards mini-grants for school gardens and encourages agricultural and food-based learning. "Oregon products, Oregon farmers and Oregon kids should connect in their lunchroom and in the classroom," said Clem.
During oral testimonies at Tuesday's hearing, officials from Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Department of Agriculture along with constituents from various sectors offered unprecedented enthusiasm for the bills.
"Schools throughout the state would like to purchase more Oregon products, but are hamstrung by federal procurement regulations, and lack the resources to do much more than pilot programs," stated Deborah Kane, vice president of Ecotrust's Food & Farms program and part of the coalition of Oregon Farmers Feeding Oregon Kids. "The Oregon Legislature has an opportunity to address two issues at once: adequately funding the school lunch program, and supporting the Oregon agricultural economy."
"These bills will give wings to earlier efforts to move more Oregon products within the state," stated Dalton Hobbs, assistant director, Oregon Department of Agriculture. "It's a classic win-win for the Legislature that will benefit Oregon farmers, canneries and processors, and kids by enhancing access to Oregon foods."
Oregon Farmers Feeding Oregon Kids Encourages You to Stay Informed
Stay informed on the progress of these bills by visiting http://www.ecotrust.org/farmtoschool to find updates or sign up to receive action alerts.