USA: OTA applauds amendment on organic pilot project
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The Organic Trade Association has thanked Senator Sherrod Brown, chair for the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition and Family Farms, and Senator Patrick Leahy, for gaining inclusion of an amendment for a pilot project to offer healthy organic food in school feeding programs in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee. “In supporting OTA’s proposal for organic foods to have a role in healthy school feeding programs, Senator Brown as sponsor and Senator Leahy as co-sponsor of the amendment have taken the first step to help include organic products and all that they offer into national children’s feeding programs,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director. During the committee discussion, several members of Congress noted the organic pilot project ties directly to the goals of various national programs including First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program and USDA’s Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer.
The amendment would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to establish an organic food pilot program that would provide grants on a competitive basis to school food authorities to increase the amount of organic foods provided to schoolchildren under the school feeding program. The appropriations request for carrying out such an initiative for fiscal years 2011 through 2015 was set at 10 million $. Current nutrition programs receive about 16 billion $ annually. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act would provide about 4.5 billion $ over ten years for expanding and new programs. Ms Bushway noted that Senate Agriculture Committee passage is just the first step in the legislative process. OTA plans to continue to inform Congress about the value of this pilot project as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 moves toward final adoption. OTA itself has recognized the contribution organic foods can make to children in schools and has under way an “Organic. It’s Worth It In Schools” initiative to encourage schools to access and offer more organic food.
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