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Tuesday Morning - October 6, 2009

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October 6, 2009

Table of Contents

Agriculture Appropriations Conference Committee Approves 1 Year Extension of Child Nutrition Programs

House Education and Labor Committee to Hold Hearing on Innovative Programs

USDA Holds Listening Session

SNA Honored with an ASAE Summit Award for Vote for School Lunch 2008

School Lunch in The Washington Post & The New York Times

China School Nutrition Program Development

Mark Your Calendars for Educate Your Community Week

Whole Grains Focus of November School Nutrition Workshop

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

From the Kitchen to the Congress Reauthorization Blog

State and Federal Legislation

Agriculture Appropriations Conference Committee Approves 1 Year Extension of Child Nutrition Programs

Last week, Senate and House of Representatives conferees for the fiscal year 2010 Agriculture Appropriations bill included a one-year extension of the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. This will allow programs such as the Afterschool Snack Program and the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program to continue operating while Congress considers a new Reauthorization Act. The National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program are both permanently authorized programs that do not need to be renewed.

The conference agreement includes $16.9 billion in mandatory funding to provide nutritious meals to schools, child care institutions, adult day care centers, and after school programs. This is $1.9 billion over the amount allocated in FY 2009.

The agreement also added $25 million for equipment assistance grants for the school nutrition programs. Only school nutrition programs that did not receive grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earlier this year are eligible to apply for this funding.

The House could vote to approve the conference agreement as early as Wednesday, with the Senate considering the legislation later in the week. Keep checking www.schoolnutrition.org for more information as it becomes available.

House Education and Labor Committee to Hold Hearing on Innovative Programs

The House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 10:00 AM. The hearing will look at innovative practices in improving the Child Nutrition Programs. Witnesses include:

  • Tony Geraci, Director, Food and Nutrition Services, Baltimore City Schools, MD
  • Richard De Burgh, President, DJ Co-Ops, Valencia, CA
  • Mary Lagnado, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Management Systems, Westbury Union Free School District, NY
  • Alice Sheehan, 8th Grader, City Neighbors Public Charter School, Baltimore, MD
  • Matt Sharp, Senior Advocate, California Food Policy Advocates, Los Angeles, CA

USDA Holds Listening Session in Iowa

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be holding a listening session on ending childhood hunger as part of the Iowa Hunger Summit. The session will be on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 1:30 PM at the Downtown Marriot Hotel in Des Moines. The listening session immediately follows the closing session of the Community Food Security Coalition conference.

President Barack Obama has set a goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015. The nutrition assistance programs of the USDA, including the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program play an important part in achieving this goal. USDA is asking for comments on how to improve these programs to help reach more families.

Written comments can be submitted either at the listening session or by emailing them to bart.bushman@fns.usda.gov by November 2, 2009.

SNA Honored with an ASAE Summit Award for Vote for School Lunch 2008

The School Nutrition Association’s 2008 National School Lunch Week Campaign, “Vote for School Lunch – Presidential Edition,” was honored September 29 by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) with a 2009 Summit Award. The award was presented to SNA during the 10th Annual Summit Awards Dinner held at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

“Vote for School Lunch – Presidential Edition” was the culmination of SNA’s most successful National School Lunch Week campaigns. Supported by SNA’s 55,000 members, and generously sponsored by the Milk Processors Education Program (MilkPEP), the campaign delivered important nutrition messages to students regarding healthy school meals. Coinciding with the 2008 presidential elections, the Vote for School Lunch campaign gave kids the opportunity to vote for their own president – the President of School Lunch! During October 2008’s National School Lunch Week, students across the country enjoyed healthy and nutritious samples of each “candidate,” allowing them to make a well informed vote.

The Summit Award is the highest honor bestowed by ASAE on associations that implement innovative community-based programs. The award is part of the Association Advance America awards program. Summit Awards recognize the very best efforts of associations in areas such as public education, economic development, business and social innovation, and civic and volunteering activities. Selected from a field of 38 Award of Excellence winners, the Vote for School Lunch campaign is one of 6 recipients.

School Lunch in The Washington Post & The New York Times

The Washington Post and The New York Times both published articles focusing on the school nutrition programs last week. The Washington Post article focused on the challenge of school meal program budgets. Most people agree that America’s children are heavier than they should be. However, the Post article points out that it is difficult to fix this problem through the lens of school lunch when so little money is allocated to child nutrition programs. With Child Nutrition Reauthorization on the horizon, SNA is asking for a 35-cent-per-lunch increase in the federal reimbursement rate, currently set at $2.68. Other individuals and organizations are calling for higher amounts. Meal programs need the additional funds not only to put food on the lunch trays, but to rebuild school kitchens, train cafeteria workers, and to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables.

The New York Times article aptly points out the lack of kitchen equipment that many school food professionals find their programs faced with. Advocates often argue that school meals should be prepared with an emphasis on healthy, non-processed foods. However, the current system is strained to achieve goals like these. Kitchen ovens and other equipment is aging, and staff are often not trained to cook meals from scratch. The Times alludes to the shift that occurred in many American families when cooking became a thing of the past and reliance of packaged, pre-made food skyrocketed. A similar shift occurred in cafeterias across the country who now lack the funding to reform school nutrition programs to the level that some advocates wish to see.

*The full articles can be read here:
At Some Schools, Tastier Trays Come at a Price - Washington Post  
School's Toughest Test - Cooking - New York Times

China School Nutrition Program development

During the first week of October, a Chinese delegation arrived in Washington DC on a trip coordinated with the United States Department of Agriculture. The delegation was comprised of individuals from the Deyang province and Beijing who are involved with the education system in China. The purpose of the trip for the Chinese delegation wass to learn more about School Feeding Programs in the United States. They hope to take lessons learned from site visits, information sessions, and networking back to China in an effort to launch a national school feeding program.

On October 1, 2009, SNA’s Staff Vice President for Child Nutrition and Policy, Cathy Schuchart spoke about SNA’s programs.. The Global Child Nutrition Foundation’s Director Paul Alberghine, also spoke to the delegation about GCNF’s programs and the Bill & Melinda Gates’ funded Needs Assessment Program in the city of Deyang.

Mark Your Calendars for Educate Your Community Week

November 16-20 is Educate Your Community Week. SNA encourages you to help educate community officials, teachers, students, and parents on the importance of the School Lunch Program. Recently, the school nutrition programs have received some less than favorable media attention. It’s particularly important with the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization to set the record straight. Please start early in developing a plan for Educate Your Community Week. SNA invites you to share success stories and creative ideas for education about the School Lunch Program. Please visit http://www.schoolnutrition.org for additional information and help others learn as well.

Whole Grains Focus of November School Nutrition Workshop

The Grains for Health Foundation is sponsoring a workshop on Wednesday, November 11, 5:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m. and Thursday, November 12, 2009 9:00am-4:30 p.m. The workshop will consist of school foodservice directors and personnel, food industry product developers and distributors, and experts from farm-to-school programs. They will collaborate on current topics including, how schools buy foods to improve efficiency, the use of whole-grain and nutrient-dense foods, new product development. They will also have the opportunity to offer input to influence Grains for Health Foundation’s work in improving child health. Additionally, there will be a hands-on session aimed at examining product and recipe development for school foodservice.

State and Federal Legislation

State legislation can now be accessed on the Internet through Netscan. Use Username: schoolnutrition and Password: sna

Click State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include: California, District of Columbia, Federal, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin


 
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