Monday, January 25, 2010

"Florida Farm Fresh Schools Program" SB 140 Passes First Committee

Legislation sponsored by Senator Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) which would encourage school food programs to purchase locally grown fresh produce passed the Senate Education Pre-K – 12 Committee on Wednesday. The primary goal of SB 140 is to ensure that Florida’s children receive and expand the variety of fruits and vegetables they consume, and make a positive improvement in children’s diets. “Children are more likely to achieve academic success when they have a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Siplin. “This legislation also aims to stimulate Florida’s farm industry by encouraging school districts to purchase locally state grown produce when possible.”

Every year, Florida schools spend millions of dollars for fresh produce. “The Florida Farm Fresh Schools Program” is intended to keep more of those dollars within the state. It also promotes healthy eating habits among students and assists small local farmers.

“Incorporating locally grown products into school meals supports local economies, reduces transportation costs, and helps to preserve farms and farmland,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson.

The legislation next heads to the Senate Committee on Agriculture for a hearing.

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