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Tuesday Morning - June 22, 2010

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June 22, 2010

Table of Contents

Several Hundred Child Nutrition Organizations Send Letter to Senate Leadership

Tell Congress: Support Increased Funding for Child Nutrition Programs!

Apply for a USDA Community Facilities Grant

USDA Taking Applications for Hunger-Free Communities Grants

USDA Unveils FY 2010-2015 Strategic Plan

USDA Stakeholder Meeting held on Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative

Representatives from 18 Countries Call for Global Support of School Feeding Programs

2010 World Food Prize Laureates Announced

Jill Conklin Named SNA 2010 Individual Industry Member of the Year

Study: National School Lunch Program Increases Educational Attainment

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

Several Hundred Child Nutrition Organizations Send Letter to Senate Leadership

Several hundred organizations advocating on behalf of the child nutrition programs sent a letter to the Senate leadership on Wednesday, June 16, 2010. The letter, sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Assistant Minority Leader Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), calls on the leadership to help pass a “robustly funded and comprehensive” child nutrition reauthorization bill by the end of the current Congress. SNA is among the organizations signing on to the letter.

The Senate Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill, the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act (S. 3307) was introduced in late March and includes $4.5 billion in additional funding over 10 years, short of the President’s requested $10 billion. The letter calls on the Senate leadership to bring S. 3307 to the Senate floor fully funding the President’s request.

Tell Congress: Support Increased Funding for Child Nutrition Programs!

Child Nutrition Reauthorization bills have been introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. SNA support these bills, which are a strong first step toward strengthening these programs and acknowledge the need to increase funding for school meals.

The Senate bill would boost funding for the federal child nutrition programs by $450 million per year and the House bill would increase funding by $8 million per year. Both bills include a performance-based 6 cent increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches. While both bills are a strong start, additional efforts are needed to reach the $1 billion per year increase requested by President Barack Obama.

Please take a moment to send a letter to your Senators and Member of Congress, asking them to support adequate funding for the school nutrition programs.

Action Alert

Apply for a USDA Community Facilities Grant

Is your school district in need of new kitchen equipment or are you looking to participate in a Farm to School program? If you work in a rural community of fewer than 20,000 people, you are eligible to apply for a USDA Community Facilities Grant. The USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program received $44 million in federal funding and an additional $31 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus) funds that must be awarded by August 2010. Grants range from $20,000 to $60,000 and will be awarded to towns, tribes, counties, and non-governmental organizations.
Go here for more information: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-CF_Grants.html

USDA Taking Applications for Hunger-Free Communities Grants

On June 8th, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will invest in research, planning, and various hunger relief activities through $5 million in funding for the new Hunger-Free Communities grants authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. Through the grants, FNS seeks strategies that support the creation of Hunger-Free Communities by funding activities including food distribution, community outreach, resource development and other methods to make food more accessible to those most in need. Two models of grants will be funded: 1) One million will fund Planning and Assessment Grants to evaluate food insecurity in communities and develop strategies to become hunger-free. 2) The remaining $4 million will support Implementation Grants for communities that already have a plan to end hunger and need resources for program implementation.

These are collaborative grants, and applicants are required to partner with one or more organizations in their communities. Applicants are also required to partner with Food Policy Councils or their functional equivalent at the local level or include the creation of a Food Policy Council as part of their application should one not serve their community. Grant applications may be submitted by email to: HungerFreeCommunities@fns.usda.gov  or through www.grants.gov.

For more information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns/outreach/hfc_grants.htm

USDA Unveils Strategic Plan

Last week, USDA unveiled a new strategic plan that lays out policy priorities for the Department during the next five years. The plan is critical because it sets four priorities and includes specific strategies and objectives that can be used to reach these priorities. The 4th strategic goal in the plan is: Ensure that All of America’s Children Have Access to Safe, Nutritious, and Balanced Meals.

The fourth strategic goal outlines the following: USDA helps put a healthy diet within reach of every American consumer by increasing access to nutritious food (Objective 4.1); promoting healthy diet and physical activity behaviors (Objective 4.2); protecting public health by ensuring food is safe (Objective 4.3); and protecting agricultural health by minimizing major diseases and pests to ensure access to safe, plentiful, and nutritious food (Objective 4.4).

To read the Strategic Plan FY 2010-2015: http://www.ocfo.usda.gov/usdasp/sp2010/sp2010.pdf (pdf)

USDA Stakeholder Meeting on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative

On June 16, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) held a stakeholder meeting regarding the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. Secretary Tom Vilsack, Deputy Secretary Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, and representatives from various USDA agencies outlined USDA’s initiative to educate and connect Americans with the people who grow their food. Other speakers included: Acting Associate Chief Tony Kramer, Natural Resources Conservation Service; Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook, Rural Development; Deputy Under Secretary Ann Wright, Marketing and Regulatory Programs and Deputy Under Secretary Michael Scuse, Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.

One of the speakers discussed the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Farm to School teams. The teams travel to schools to discuss the difficulties of educating students about food production. They are also working on a guide for schools.

Representatives from 18 Countries Call for Global Support of School Feeding Programs

During the first week of June, representatives from 18 countries who participated in the 12th annual Global Child Nutrition Forum issued the following call to action requesting the inclusion of school feeding on the international agenda, including at the African Union Summit next month. The Forum, which brought together the largest gathering of 130 leading international school feeding experts, is a sign of the tremendous global movement afoot to implement school feeding programs.

The Forum is the flagship program of US based Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF), the international arm of the School Nutrition Association. This year, the Forum was cosponsored by the Partnership for Child Development (Imperial College London).

Accra Communiqué: http://docs.schoolnutrition.org/files/GCNF/PCD_GCNF_Accra_Communique.pdf (pdf)

2010 World Food Prize Laureates Announced

The 2010 World Food Prize Laureates were announced in a ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC on June 16. This year’s honorees are the heads of two internationally respected non-governmental organizations (NGO). Bread for the World President Rev. David Beckmann and Heifer International President Jo Luck will receive their prize during a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol on October 14, 2010 during the annual Borlaug Dialogue.

Speaking at the State Department ceremony were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah. Secretary Clinton commended this year’s Laureates for being “NGO leaders and passionate advocates” working towards a hunger-free world. Secretary Vilsack noted that their efforts have brought “hundreds of thousands of global citizens into the battle against hunger and poverty domestically and around the globe,” and called them “shining examples.” Attending the ceremony on behalf of SNA were Executive Director Barbara Belmont and Dean of Education Danny Seymour.

http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Blog.aspx?id=14123&blogid=622

Jill Conklin Named SNA 2010 Individual Industry Member of the Year

Jill Conklin, Director of Sales Development, USA for Winston Industries, was named the eighth recipient of the School Nutrition Association (SNA) Individual Industry Member of the Year Award. Conklin, who has been involved with school nutrition programs for over 9 years, was nominated by SNA Nutrition Committee Chair Julia Bauscher, SNS for her “demonstrated… dedication to the school nutrition profession” and her “special passion to support members in serving children world-wide.”

As an SNA member, Conklin has worked tirelessly on behalf of school nutrition professionals worldwide, both as an individual and in her position with Winston Industries. Conklin views herself as an educator and is very focused on the professional development of school nutrition professionals. She has made it her mission to educate “foodservice professionals about solutions to the challenges they face.” Not only has Conklin traveled across the country providing free training workshops to school nutrition professionals, she also encouraged Winston Industries to participate in the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) scholarship program. Through her leadership, Winston now provides $20,000 in professional growth scholarships to SNA members to further their career development.
http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Blog.aspx?id=14127&blogid=564

Study: National School Lunch Program Increases Educational Attainment

A study published in the summer issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management found that participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) led to increased educational attainment and opportunity. The study looked at the long term effects of NSLP participation on education and health. While the study found significant gains in educational attainment, there was little lasting effect on adult health.

Researchers argue that offering low-cost or free school meals to students encourages them to come to school, therefore leading to greater educational opportunities. Study authors speculate that long term effects on adult health are minimal because the NSLP replaces food that students were going to eat from other sources or that it temporarily improves health, but the results fade into adulthood.

National School Lunch Program Increases Educational Attainment

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