Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Speaker, I request 5 legislative days during which Members may revise and extend and insert extraneous material on House Resolution 1654 into the Record.
Ms. HIRONO. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise today in support of House Resolution 1655, celebrating National Farm to School Month, which was observed in October of this year.
Farm to School programs bring nutritious products from local farms into the cafeterias of schools in our area. The result is healthier meals, improved student nutrition, and a link to firsthand education in agriculture, health, and nutrition. Exceptionally popular with children, Farm to School programs operate in over 9,700 schools in Hawaii and all 50 States. In schools with a Farm to School program, there is a 3 to 16 percent increase in school lunch participation.
Farm to School programs provide better food options for our kids at school. Since 1980, obesity rates in 6-to 11-year-olds have quadrupled, and for 12- to 19-year-olds they have tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Tragically, over one-third of our children are now obese or overweight. Increasing one's consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is one of six major strategies to prevent and control obesity. Studies have demonstrated that children in schools with an active Farm
to School program increased their average consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by one or more servings per day.
Farm to School programs also have an important educational component. They allow for taste tests, school gardens, composting, and farm tours, which helps children to clearly connect the food that they eat to their body, communities, and environments.
From an economic standpoint, the program helps local family farms and stimulates the local economy even during these difficult times. Farm to School programs help farmers find a local economy for their produce. Local farmers receive 60 to 70 cents per dollar of the sale price under Farm to School, whereas the average intake a farmer receives from traditional distributors is often less than 20 cents per dollar.
Farm to School products which reach the cafeteria are likely less costly to pack and ship and may have a reduced impact on the environment. In Hawaii, our high costs of land and remote geography require us to import over 85 percent of our food. Farm to School programs can have a major impact on providing Hawaii farmers with an institutional market for their produce and reducing transportation costs.
I have had the privilege to visit several of Hawaii's growing number of Farm to School programs to see their impact firsthand. In August, I visited Ka 'Umeke Ka'eo Hawaiian Immersion Charter School on Hawaii Island. The proud fourth- and fifth-grade students showed me the school garden, which is integrated into class lessons. Most memorable was watching the worm composting process, which, by the way, the kids really liked. I again say mahalo for the tour to the students, Director Alapaki Nahale'a
of the Hawaii Charter School Network, School Garden Instructor Pua Mendoca, and Nancy Redfeather of the Hawaii Island School Garden Network.
I also visited the school garden at Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School in Kona. I would like to thank Dr. Guy Kaulukukui of the Kohala Center for assisting with the visit. Last year I went to a garden party at Aikahi Elementary in Kailua, sponsored by the Kokua Foundation. At the garden party, we weeded and mulched the gardens for the kindergarten, first, and fifth grade classrooms. In Hawaiian, 'aina means ``land'' or ``earth.'' The Kokua Foundation's 'AINA program stands for Actively
Integrate Nutrition and Agriculture in Schools. The program works to foster healthy eating habits, improve children's health, and encourage environmental stewardship.
Since its inception in 1996, Farm to School programs nationwide have been making healthy eating a priority in our schools and building strong community connections. For these reasons, we celebrated and honored Farm to School programs this past October. I congratulate the efforts of Farm to School programs in Hawaii and nationwide.
I want to thank Representative Holt for introducing this resolution and, once again, express my support for House Resolution 1655.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise today in support of House Resolution 1655, expressing support for designation of the month of October 2010 as National Farm to School Month. Farm to School programs operate in every State in more than 9,700 schools and support community-based food systems, strengthen family farms, and improve student health. These programs bring fresh fruits and vegetables to students to help ensure they have access to quality food options and get their recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Ultimately, these programs can help in the fight to end childhood obesity.
Farm to School also supports local businesses. Schools involved in Farm to School programs serve as consistent customers to food producers and help support local farmers and the community. In fact, for every $1 spent through the Farm to School program, $1 to $3 is returned to the local community. The Farm to School program benefits both students and local businesses, and I urge my colleagues to support designating October as National Farm to School Month.
I reserve the balance of my time. [Page: H7481]
Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlelady from Hawaii.
I rise in support of House Resolution 1655 that I introduced to establish October as National Farm to School Month. I want to thank the leading cosponsor, Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota, and Chairman Miller for their help in bringing this to the floor today.
It should not be a surprise that I, as a representative of the Garden State, support bringing Jersey tomatoes and sweet corn into schools. But this is not just a local or provincial resolution. Farm to School programs are a key priority for Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, and First Lady Michelle Obama has planted a garden at the White House with the help of local students to symbolize the good nutrition that comes from fresh foods as well as to educate students about where food comes from.
Farm to School programs can help in the fight against childhood obesity and economically support our local farmers. These programs also help address the troubling rate of childhood obesity. Currently, there are 31 million children who eat school meals 5 days a week, 180 days a year. While the National School Lunch
Program does a good job feeding these children, the program has the potential to provide fresher and more healthful foods to millions of children in the United States. Farm to School programs fight obesity by increasing children's daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Farm to School programs also benefit small- and mid-sized agricultural producers by providing access to consistent markets, and they're a great stimulus for the local economy. For every dollar spent on local foods in schools,
several dollars circulate in the local economy.
While there are presently more than 10,000 Farm to School programs operational in all 50 States, it is but a fraction of the 94,000 public and nonprofit private schools that are operating the National School Lunch Program. Establishing October as National Farm to School Month would increase awareness and provide the recognition that the existing programs have earned.
Farm to School programs exemplify the best use of Federal school lunch dollars, and I am pleased that this legislation that I wrote to provide $40 million in mandatory funding for Farm to School competitive grants is included in the pending reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act on which we will vote soon.
I would like to take a moment to thank Megan Lott at the Community Food Security Coalition and Beth Feehan, the director of the New Jersey Farm to School Network, for their efforts in support of this resolution. I urge my colleagues to support this resolution and to join us in helping to spread and strengthen Farm to School programs across the country.