[montanafood_ag] Act NOW to save the Farm to School Bill!

Stephanie Potts stephaniep at ncat.org
Mon Mar 25 16:30:00 MDT 2013

Friends of Farm to School, 

We need your voice! On Saturday, the House Appropriations committee voted to table the Farm to School Bill ( HB-471 ) , even though it had overwhelming support from the House Floor (70-29), and broad-based support across Montana. It seems cutting the budget outweighed the opportunity to help students, producers, and the local economy with a modest grant program to help schools serve Montana-made foods. 

However, we’ve been working in Helena today, and there is now a chance to save the Farm to School Bill— But we need your help! The appropriations committee can motion to reconsider the bill, and then can vote on it again. We have convinced a committee member to motion to reconsider the bill— now we need the other Committee members to support the motion to reconsider, and to vote yes on the Farm to School Bill the second time around! 

Can you contact the House Appropriations Committee and ask them to RECONSIDER AND VOTE YES for the FARM TO SCHOOL BILL, HB-471? 

(These calls and e-mails need to happen ASAP!!!) 

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 (the R’s are key votes) or the entire House Appropriations Committee. 
Ask them to RECONSIDER AND VOTE YES for 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) 

Tell them: 
Funding the Farm to School grant program would cost less than 30 cents per Montanan, and will create new, steady markets for producers, revitalize economies, and improve the diets of Montana’s children. A similar program in Oregon returned an average of $2.16 to the local economy for every grant dollar—quick math tells us that this program could return over $645,000 to Montana’s economy! 

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 


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