National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is proud to announce its policy priorities for the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill. The House Committee on Agriculture is taking public input on the Farm Bill through June 9, 2023.
Karen Spangler, Director of Policy at NFSN said: “Rather than annual budget uncertainty, the Farm Bill offers an opportunity to solidify funding for the kind of long-term food system that America needs. The Farm Bill, a package of federal legislation renewed by Congress every five years, sets agriculture and food assistance policies that touch every aspect of farm to school and early care activity. But we know that this is just one piece of change needed for a truly just food system. We need to shift the economic, cultural, and decision-making power governing our food system.”
Representing organizations across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Territories, and Native nations, NFSN is dedicated to creating a strong and just food system for all through farm to school activities in schools and early care and education (ECE) settings.
In the Fall of 2020, NFSN released a Call to Action for a racially just food system, guiding all aspects of our work, from policy advocacy to resource design and partnership cultivation. The 2023 Farm Bill offers an opportunity to put these values into action through coordinated advocacy efforts.
NFSN's 2023 Farm Bill Priorities are based on six shared community values: economic and environmental justice, health, racial equity, workers’ rights, and animal welfare. These priorities include:
1. Build on Ten Years of Success in Farm to School: Expand and improve the successful Farm to School Grant Program to ensure more communities have access to support for farm to school activities. Incorporate measures from the Farm to School Act, such as ensuring a mandatory budget of $15 million per year, raising the grant cap to $500,000 for projects that need it, and reducing barriers to Farm to School Grants.
2. Support Farm to School and Farm to ECE in Agriculture and Nutrition Programs: Maintain or expand the budget of SNAP-Ed to support farm to school and farm to ECE work. Encourage culturally responsive and racially equitable approaches to nutrition education. Maintain or expand support for Specialty Crop Block Grants to increase farm to school market access for specialty crop producers.
3. Support Opportunity in Local Food Systems: Increase investment in local food infrastructure and ensure market opportunities are available to all producers. Focus on refining successful programs based on producer and stakeholder feedback and expanding investments. Direct USDA to center small- and mid-sized producers, particularly producers of color, in their own purchasing programs.
4. Ensure Equity and Resilience in Agriculture and Nutrition as a Whole: Address historic and ongoing barriers to racial equity in agricultural production. Invest in opportunities for land access, land ownership, and tenure for communities of color, and support technical assistance, research, and outreach through funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal colleges and universities.
NFSN seeks to ensure that the 2023 Farm Bill brings us closer to wins for all communities. We are committed to working with our partners and members to advocate for these policy changes, which will move us toward a just, equitable food system that promotes the health of all school children and benefits producers, workers, educators, and their communities.
Read more about our full Farm Bill platform at https://www.farmtoschool.org/resources-main/national-farm-to-school-networks-2023-farm-bill-policy-priorities.
About the National Farm to School Network
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is a hub for networking, information, and advocacy to grow the farm to school movement, which connects students in schools and early care and education settings to healthy, local food and hands-on learning through gardening, food education, and support for local food procurement.