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Vadavalli – School Garden

Touch the Soil News #808 (Feature photo – courtesy of Vadavalli School District) When it comes to food, are third-world nations leading the way ahead of first-world nations? In the first world, folks are suffering from obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition, toxins in food and urban isolation. However, in the city of Vadavalli, India (45,000 people) the school district has launched an organic school farm (see photo above). The idea was kick-started by the district’s chief education officer. The students raise spinach, tomatoes, pumpkins, coriander and lettuce among other things. A local organic farmer teaches students the basics and provides free organic seeds. The school-garden produce is used at the school…

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School Breakfast Program – How Does Your State Rank?

Touch the Soil News #642 (feature Photo – School Breakfast – USDA) According to Feeding America (the nation’s food banking network) approximately 1 in 5 children live in poverty and simultaneously are food insecure. While food banks strive to stave off hunger in America, it is school lunch and breakfast programs that are a major safety net for children under 18. In the last school year (2015-2016) an average of 12.1 million students eligible to receive free and reduced price breakfast participated in the School Breakfast Program. Participation in the School Breakfast Program increase 3.7 percent over the year, or nearly 433,000 more children from the previous year. During this same…

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The Federal Grocery Store for Children

Touch the Soil News #362 In 2010, Congress passed the Hunger-Free Kids Act. The legislation included what is called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) which focuses on feeding more children at schools (with no pre-qualification requirements) and improving the quality of school food. Administered by the USDA, the CEP recently released its numbers, perhaps in part to justify its existence and to demonstrate the need that is out there. Over 3,000 school districts and 18,000 schools (more than half of potentially eligible schools) are participating in the CEP programs – benefitting more than 8.5 million students without any stigma attached. Due in part to CEP, more than 90,000 schools and…

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Regulators and the Restaurant Food Chain – Struggling to Restrain Birth of a Giant

In a previous article, we explored how America now spends more dollars eating out than at grocery stores for home eating. Like everyone else, we at Touch the Soil eat out also. One of the things we noticed is the frequency of Sysco and US Foods trucks at the back doors of the restaurants we go to. One begins to wonder, from whose menu do restaurants order their food from? It all came to a head recently when we stumbled across news about a lawsuit initiated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is charged with ensuring companies comply with antitrust laws and regulations. Mostly the FTC works things…

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Farms to School Act of 2015 – Not Everything America Does Is Wrong

February 25, 2015 │ Chicago, Illinois – The National Farm to School Network announced the Congressional introduction of the bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015. Despite dividing differences of opinion, the nation’s two political parties agree on the importance of gardening, school cafeterias feeding local food and student health through better nutrition. Republican Congressional Representatives Thad Cochran and Jeff Fortenberry joined Democratic Congressional Representative Patrick Leahy and Marcie Fudge. The Act seeks to increase Farm to School funding from $5 million per year to $15 million. The Act expands the School Grant Program that helps schools launch school gardens, cooking classes and farm to cafeteria programs. Today, 23.5 million…

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