House Supports Alaska Grown Option in Schools
HB 70 benefits students, farmers in Farm-to-School Program
(Juneau) - The Alaska State House this weekend unanimously passed House Bill 70, also known as the Farm-to-School Act. The bill would heighten the presence of locally-grown produce in Alaska schools and create opportunities for students to be involved in agriculture. Representative Carl Gatto, R-Palmer, sponsored the bill.
Under HB 70, a Farm-to-School Program would be created to facilitate increased procurement of Alaska-grown food by schools. It gives farmers, distributors, and brokers more opportunities to sell produce, particularly to schools. In addition, schools would benefit by having direct access to these local farms and gardens to supply their kitchens with food. Schools would also have the authority to create a school garden or farm, allowing students to participate in organic or traditional farming methods.
"Not only would this allow students a better understanding of nutrition, but there's also an opportunity for farmers and gardeners in the business to have a dependable income stream," Gatto said.
The Farm-to-School Program would sunset in 2014 and would require renewal to continue.
HB 70 now heads to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.