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Gatto Comments on Farm-to-School Bill Signing - HB 70

HB 70 targets Alaska grown foods for school meals and procurement

Tuesday, May 4, 2010, Palmer, Alaska – Representative Carl Gatto, R-Palmer, released the following statement today regarding the enactment of his House Bill 70, the Farm-to-School Act. The bill takes effect Aug. 1 and sunsets July 1, 2014. HB 70 creates a Farm-to-School program within the Dept. of Natural Resources Division of Agriculture to increase the procurement of Alaska grown foods by schools and school districts. 18 other states have enacted or authorized similar programs. The bill also gives schools the authority to create gardens and farms, with the stipulation that students representing student organizations like Future Farmers of America and 4H have the opportunity to be involved with the operations.

Statement

“HB-70, known as ‘The Farm-to-School Act,’ offers districts and schools an opportunity to add fresh, nutritional, local foods into their meal programsNutritionists tell us that our kids are poorly nourished, mostly due to unhealthy choices. It is time to reverse this long time trend with locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

“The program also teaches kids about sustainable agriculture right here in the Mat-Su, and gets them involved in farming methods. The positive impacts from this program can only help our young people better understand what they consume, where it comes from, how it looks right out of the ground, how to make it table ready, and that healthier lives are the result. Students will better understand the food supply chain, leading to support of our local farms and farmers. 

“I am thankful to the governor for signing this bill, and to my colleagues in the legislature for its passage.  HB 70 may have established a record for the number of legislators, 30 of the 40 House members, who rose to speak on its behalf. The bill passed with a 40-0 vote in the House and 20-0 vote in the Senate.”

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