Local Farms - Healthy Kids
landing page for Local Farms - Healthy Kids law
In 2007, WEC joined with farming interests, children’s health advocates, anti-poverty activists and others to develop the Local Farms – Healthy Kids campaign. The goal is to protect farmland, improve kid’s health, and reduce energy and waste, all by promoting local foods. WEC had a major victory in 2008 when the Governor signed the Local Farms – Healthy Kids Act.
A national model
A broad coalition of environmental, farming, school and public health interests worked together to push the effort through. The new Local Farms – Healthy Kids Act now firmly establishes Washington as a national leader in promoting policies to get healthy, locally-grown food to people who need it most.
What the law does
- Makes it possible: The Act will help expand children’s access to locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables by easing state purchasing restrictions that currently make it difficult for schools to buy from local farms.
- Forges connections: The Act establishes a state “Farm To School” program that will connect schools with community farmers, and will provide necessary information and technical assistance to both school districts and farms.
- Gets good food into the classroom: Washington will now enjoy a Washington Grown Fruits and Vegetables Program that will fund a fresh food snack program in schools with high numbers of low-income students.
- Helps those who need it most: Local Farms – Healthy Kids also makes it easier for low income families to purchase locally grown food by enabling more farmers markets to accept food stamps, increasing funding of the Farmers Market Nutrition Program and creating four pilot projects for food banks to purchase fresh food directly from Washington farms.
The Local Farms Healthy Kids legislation has become law and the funding to support it went into affect on July 1st, 2008. Now there is a lot of work to get done to make it as successful as it can be. Here are three key parts to our work between now an the end of the year:
- Tips for action: if you would like to help get more local food into your kid's school and help local farmers, read our Local Farms - Healthy Kids Toolkit, which provides a guide to get you started.
- Help those who need it most: Our work helped secure $400,000 in funding for lower income schools to help them purchase locally grown food. Now we are looking for opportunities to connect with local communities around the state to raise awareness of the new programs and increase healthy snacks for kids in schools and access to farmers markets for people on food stamps.
- Finally, we will be watch dogging the state agencies to make sure the law is pushed forward and that small and mid-sized farms are connecting with potential schools. Additionally, we will be helping to spread the word of our successes here in Washington state so that they can be duplicated in other states.