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Governor Parnell Signs Farm Program, Shelter Capacity Legislation


May 4, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today signed legislation that strengthens the links between state agriculture and school foods programs, expands local markets, and improves nutrition.

House Bill 70, sponsored by Representative Carl Gatto, establishes the Farm-to-School Program in the Department of Natural Resources. The program was created to facilitate increased procurement of Alaska-grown foods by schools. The legislation will assist farmers, food distributors and brokers in marketing Alaska-grown food to schools, and assist schools in connecting with local producers. HB 70 also authorizes schools to create a garden or a farm. Governor Parnell signed the legislation at PalmerHigh School.

“It is important to support our farmers and their locally grown agricultural products,” Governor Parnell said. “By keeping those dollars in our communities and sustaining our farmers through increased demand, all of us benefit, whether we’re directly involved in agriculture or not.”

The governor also signed legislation that helps Covenant House Alaska’s mission of serving troubled youth.

Senate Bill 307, sponsored by the Senate Health and Social Services Committee, adds a new section in statute addressing shelter capacity in licensed programs assisting runaway minors. The amendment was necessary to bring Covenant House Alaska into compliance with federal grant requirements in the Homeless Runaway Youth Act. The Senate Health and Social Services Committee are chaired by Senator Bettye Davis.

Covenant House Alaska has been operating in Alaska for more than 20 years, last year serving 2,800 youth through its Crisis Center, CommunityServicesCenter and Transitional Living Programs.

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