[montanafood_ag] Tell the House Appropriations Committee that Farm to School is a smart investment for Montana!

Stephanie Potts stephaniep at ncat.org
Tue Mar 19 12:21:27 MDT 2013

Greetings friends, 

Thank you to everyone who wrote, called or testified in support of HB-471 , a bill to support Farm to School programs in Montana. Thanks to you, last week HB-471 passed its second reading on the House Floor with a vote of 70-29! 

Now, the Farm to School bill faces a new challenge: the House Appropriations Committee . They will hear the bill this Thursday at 8:30am, and they will scrutinize our request for funds to help schools buy Montana foods. 

Funding the Farm to School grant program would cost less than 30 cents per Montanan, and has the potential to return more than double that to our state’s economy. It will create new, steady markets for producers, revitalize economies, and improve the diets of Montana’s children. 

Farm to School is a smart investment for Montana--Can you help us convince the House Appropriations Committee? 

If you are a producer , work in school food , or live in the district of one of the committee members, your voice is especially important! 

The Representatives need to hear from YOU about how this modest investment will help schools, producers, and local economies. 

It is easy to contact Representatives: 
1) Call (406) 444-4800 to leave a message for legislators. 
2) Send a written message using this online form . 

You can send a message to one legislator or the entire House Appropriations Committee. (If you live in one of the committee member’s districts, it is best to contact them individually.) 
Ask them to support the Farm to School bill, HB-471 

The members of the House Appropriations Committee are: 
Ankney, Duane (R - Colstrip) 
Gibson, Steve (R - Helena) 
Hollenbaugh, Galen (D - Helena) 
Ballance, Nancy (R - Hamilton) 
Brodehl, Randy (R - Kalispell) 
Cook, Rob (R - Conrad) 
Cuffe, Mike (R – Eureka) 
Dudik, Kimberly (D - Missoula) 
Edmunds, Champ (R - Missoula) 
Ehli, Ron (R - Hamilton) 
Glimm, Carl (R - Kila) 
Hagstrom, Dave (R - Billings) 
Hollandsworth, Roy (R - Brady) 
Jones, Donald (R - Billings) 
McCarthy, Kelly (D - Billings) 
McChesney, Bill (D - Miles City) 
Mehlhoff, Bob (D - Great Falls) 
Noonan, Pat (D - Ramsay) 
Osmundson, Ryan (R - Buffalo) 
Whitford, Lea (D - Cut Bank) 
Woods, Tom (D - Bozeman) 
Italics were “no” votes on the House floor—If your Representative voted yes, please thank them! 

Tell them: 
Farm to School helps Farmers, Ranchers, and Businesses. 
· * Farm to school efforts are good for Montana’s farmers, ranchers, processors, and distributors. Montana’s public K-12 schools spend approximately $19 million annually on food products and this represents a significant and consistent market for Montana’s agricultural producers. 

* The grant program is a smart investment because it will help establish strong relationships between school districts and local producers that will continue even after the grant period has ended. 

Farm to School keeps money in our communities. 
· * The grant funding provided by this bill will allow schools to spend more of their total food budget on Montana-produced foods, keeping money our state. 
· *Farm to school programs are good for farmers and ranchers, but they also benefit local food processors, distributors, and packers. One study estimated that every dollar invested in Farm to School led to over two additional dollars in local economic activity. 

Farm to School is good for kids 
· * Every day, 80,000 Montana public school students participate in the school lunch program. 
· * On average, school food service directors have about one dollar per day, per student to spend on food--This grant program would provide food service directors with the funding boost they need to bring more fresh, Montana-made food into their lunchrooms. 
· * Farm to School projects have been shown to improve student nutrition and knowledge about food and agriculture. They increase the amount and variety of food available to students, help teach students to try new foods, and increase overall participation in the school lunch program. 

Thank you for making your voice heard! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about HB-471 or need any other information. 

Have a wonderful day, 

Stephanie Laporte Potts 
Coordinator, Grow Montana 

P.S. Please consider contributing to Grow Montana’s efforts to build a more robust and vibrant Montana food system during the legislative session and beyond. We still have $2,000 left to reach our legislative action goal . Can you help us get there, and make bills like HB-471 a reality? 

Stephanie Laporte Potts 
Grow Montana Coordinator 
National Center for Appropriate Technology 
stephaniep at ncat.org 

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