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Tuesday Morning March 25, 2008

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March 25, 2008

 

Table Of Contents

LAC Reauthorization Town Hall Summary Posted
SNA Forms Supply Chain Task Force
USDA Soliciting Feedback on Farm to School Programs
Pennsylvania Summer Feeding Rural Area Eligibility Pilot
MyPyramid Menu Planner Launched
CRS Issues Report on Section 32 Funds
Healthier Diets Mean Children Do Better In School
IOM Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention Announced
Nominations Sought for Victory Against Hunger Awards
Conference Planned on “Understanding Sweetness”
Whole Grains Challenge to Honor Top Schools in September

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LAC Reauthorization Town Hall Summary Posted

capitolCongress moved this week to extend the expiration of the current Farm Bill to April 18, 2008.  The previous extension was set to expire on March 15.  Legislators are deadlocked in negotiations, with funding being the major barrier.    The Senate Agriculture and Finance Committees are disputing how to spend an additional $10 billion in extra funding over the $280 billion baseline in the bill. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill if it does not meet spending requirements.

SNA members are now able to view a summary of the Reauthorization Town Hall Meeting held during LAC 2008.  During the town hall meeting, SNA members were encouraged to share their thoughts and priorities for the 2009 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. While SNA’s list of priorities is still developing, members identified several issues are emerging as front runners. These issues include:

 

  • Uniform, national nutrition standards
  • Increased funding and reimbursements
  • Expansion of school breakfast programs
  • Simplification of the programs

The complete wish list of reauthorization priorities is available in the summary. Copies of will be sent to all LAC attendees.  To access the complete summary, please visit Related Links.

SNA Forms Supply Chain Task Force

As part of the 2007-2008 plan of action, SNA’s Board of Directors has identified supply chain efficiencies as a top priority issue for the Association.  In response, a Task Force of school district nutrition directors, state agency personnel and industry members was assembled to collect information on supply chain practices and determine successful practices. The Task Force, co-chaired by Leo Lesh SNS, Director of Food and Nutrition for Denver Public Schools and Pat McCoy SNS, The Schwan’s Food Company, plans to present findings to SNA’s Board of Directors in July. A web page has been created to serve as a source of information on the Task Force's activities as well as a way to capture information and feedback from all sections of SNA membership. Please see Related Links to read more and to provide input to the Task Force.

USDA Soliciting Feedback on Farm to School Programs

f2sThe recently enacted Fiscal Year 2008 Agriculture Appropriations Act directed USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to work with School Meal Program administrators and local food advocates to identify opportunities for growth in local procurement, and provide Congress a report on these efforts. In response to this request,  FNS held a “Farm to School” session at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference sponsored by the Food Research and Action Center and America’s Second Harvest. At this point, FNS is soliciting comments and feedback on best practices in farm to school initiatives identifying barriers or difficulties in creating and/or maintaining such initiatives. Additionally, on March 24, 2008, USA Today covered Farm to School programs. Please see Related Links for a memo on the topic as well as a list of questions FNS is asking about. The article is also available. Contact information to submit ideas is also included on the memo.

Pennsylvania Summer Feeding Rural Area Eligibility Pilot

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 authorized a summer feeding pilot project to operate in rural Pennsylvania during the summers of 2005 and 2006. The purpose was to test whether lowering the site eligibility threshold from 50 percent to 40 percent would increase the number of children participating in the program. The legislation directed USDA, through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), to evaluate the impact of the pilot eligibility criterion on: (1) the number of sponsors operating sites that offer meals under the SFSP, (2) the number of sites offering meals through SFSP, (3) the geographic locations of sites, (4) services provided at the sites, and (5) other factors influencing participation.

The report concluded that lowering the eligibility threshold to 40 percent had the desirable impact of increasing the number of sponsors and sites. The 15-percent growth in 50-percent and 40-percent rural SFSP sites and the addition of 17 new sponsors which had at least one 40-percent site during the pilot are indications that lowering the eligibility threshold from 50 percent to 40 percent has the potential to increase rural SFSP meal service to poor children in rural areas. To access the full report and summary see Related Links.

MyPyramid Menu Planner Launched

This month the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the release of the MyPyramid Menu Planner, a new state-of-the-art, on-line nutrition guidance tool to help individuals and homemakers plan healthier menus based on the recommendations of the MyPyramid food guidance system and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  According to Dr. Brian Wansink, Executive Director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), the new MyPyramid Menu Planner is the latest in a series of on-line nutrition tools developed by CNPP. The Planner is provided free of charge to the public and can help motivate consumers to make healthier food choices. See Related Links to access the Planner.

CRS Issues Report on Section 32 Funds

The Congressional Research Service (CRS,) the research arm of Congress, recently updated its report “Farm and Food Support under USDA's Section 32 Program.” The report explains that Section 32 of the Act of August 24, 1935 (P.L. 74-320 as amended; 7 U.S.C. 612c) authorizes a permanent appropriation equal to 30% of annual U.S. customs receipts. The appropriation was first created to assist Depression-era producers of non-price-supported commodities. The law specifies that Section 32 funds are to be used only for (1) encouraging the export of farm products through producer payments or other means; (2) encouraging the domestic consumption of farm products by diverting surpluses from normal channels or increasing their use by low-income groups; and (3) reestablishing farmers’ purchasing power.

CRS writes that currently most of the annual Section 32 appropriation (for example in FY2007, more than $5.7 billion of approximately $7 billion) is transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) account that funds child nutrition programs. However, the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Department’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), uses a smaller, but still significant portion of Section 32 funds to purchase non-price-supported commodities like meats, poultry, fruits, vegetables, and fish, which are used in school lunch and other domestic food programs. To read the entire report, see Related Links.

Healthier Diets Mean Children Do Better In School

A new study in the April issue of the Journal of School Health reveals that children with healthy diets perform better in school than children with unhealthy diets. Led by Paul J. Veugelers, MSc, PhD of the University of Alberta, researchers surveyed approximately 5000 Canadian fifth grade students and their parents as part of the Children's Lifestyle and School-Performance Study.

Information regarding dietary intake, height, and weight were recorded and the Diet Quality Index-International (DQI-I) was used to summarize overall diet quality. The DQI-I score ranges from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better diet quality. Less healthful dietary components included saturated fat and salt, while healthy foods were classified by fruits, vegetables, grains, dietary fiber, protein, calcium and moderate fat intake.

Students with an increased fruit and vegetable intake and less caloric intake from fat were significantly less likely to fail the literacy assessment. The research findings demonstrated an association between diet quality and academic performance and identify specific dietary factors that contribute to this association. Additionally, the research supports the broader implementation and investment in effective school nutrition programs that have the potential to improve student access to healthy food choices, diet quality, academic performance, and, over the long term, health. See Related Links for more information.

IOM Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention Announced

The Institute of Medicine recently announced the members of its Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention.  The committee serves as a central point for discussion of local and national childhood obesity prevention policy, as well as selects topics for examination by separate ad hoc committees. 

The committee is chaired by Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan, Vice President for Global Health and Director of the Global Health Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.  Other members of the committee are national leaders in public health, public policy, medicine, nutrition, physical activity, pediatrics, obesity prevention, social and behavior sciences, biostatistics, and epidemiology.  To view a complete list of committee members, please see Related Links.

 

Nominations Sought for Victory Against Hunger Awards

The Congressional Hunger Center and Victory Wholesale Group are seeking nominations for the 2008 Victory Against Hunger Awards (VAH).  This year, the VAH Awards will recognize 25 organizations that are building innovative “farm to school” programs with $1,000 grants.  Nominees can include schools, anti-hunger and community food security advocacy groups, food banks, and other active organizations.

A panel of experts will review this year’s nominees, selecting winners based on their success in fighting hunger by incorporating locally grown, farm fresh foods into their school nutrition programs.  These programs connect farms with local school districts, providing students with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products.  Farm to school programs also provide students with hands on nutrition education, allowing children to visit farms and start school gardens. For more information see Victory Against Huner Awards.

Conference Planned on “Understanding Sweetness”

Oldways, a non-profit food policy think tank, is sponsoring a conference entitled “Understanding Sweetness” on April 2, 2008 in Washington, DC.  The conference will bring together several scholars for a day long discussion on sugar and nutrition.  Conference attendees will participate in discussions on the physiological basis for sweeteners, safety of non-nutritive sweeteners, consumer attitudes towards healthy eating campaigns and a variety of other topics.  For more information about the conference, please visit Understanding Sweetness.

Whole Grains Challenge To Honor Top Schools in September

This September, the Whole Grains Council is inviting schools to participate in it’s annual Whole Grains Challenge.  To qualify, schools need to serve at least one whole grain choice every day throughout the month of September. Winners will be chosen in each of the ten categories, including K-12 Public Schools and K-12 Private Schools, based on the extent of their available whole grain choices. More is better! Now is the time to begin planning, to make sure you're ready for September's Whole Grain Challenge. For more information, please visit 2008 Whole Grains Challenge.

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

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:  Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and District of Columbia.

2007 - 2008 Public Policy and Legislative Committee Contacts

Craig Weidel

PPL Committee Chair

clweidel@mpsaz.org

Cindy Brooks

Northeast Region

cindy9253@sbcglobal.net

Sara Gasiorowski

Mideast Region

sarah.gasiorowski@wayne.k12.in.us

Annette Bomar Hopgood

Southeast Region

awhopgood@bellsouth.net

Cindy Hormel

Midwest Region

chormel@liberty.k12.mo.us

Melanie Konarik

Southwest Region

melaniek@springisd.org  

Lyman Graham,

West Region

lyman.graham@carlsbad.k12.nm.us

Lincoln Pierce

Northwest Region

lpierce@bethelsd.org

School Nutrition Association

Child Nutrition and Policy Center

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org 

 


 
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