Updated: Mar 13, 2022
It's a win, win, win! The Local Food for Local Schools Reimbursement program (HB 1657) will help schools pay New Hampshire farmers and producers for New Hampshire made and grown food to serve as breakfast and lunch for New Hampshire students.
It's good for our farmers, who will have a stable market for their produce. It's good for our students, who will have access to healthy, local food. And it's good for the planet. Connecting local producers with local consumers cuts way down on carbon emissions and waste due to transportation, packaging, and refrigeration. Additionally, local food in the schools can teach students so much about nutrition, geography, food and consumer sciences, cultivation, composting, regionality, and seasonality. Plus, don't you just love the idea of our kids eating food grown across the street instead of across the globe?
According the information I received from the Northeast Organic Farming Association, the Local Food for Local Schools Reimbursement program (HB 1657) will "provide New Hampshire students access to fresh, nutrient dense local foods; annually channel $1.8 million in federal and state funds directly into New Hampshire’s farm and food economy, thereby supporting local farmers, producers, and fishers; and provide teachers and school nutrition staff with a jumping off point for education around NH products and career opportunities available in the food system". If you're a visual person, the Farm to School Network also supplied this helpful graphic:
Ready to support the Local Food for Local Schools Reimbursement program (HB 1657)? NOFA lists the following opportunities to show your support:
Testify in support of the bill in person on Wednesday, January 12th at 10:30 AM at the Legislative Office Building in Concord (State House complex LOB 205-207). Prepare your remarks using the talking points above and listed in this helpful Toolkit. Remember to put your testimony in your own words, infusing your experience and reason for supporting the bill, to have the most impact. You can sign up to testify and/or submit support prior to the hearing on January 12th online here, or sign in on the day of the hearing. If you are unable to make the in-person hearing, utilizing the online support function is great too!
Write an email to the House Education Committee Members showing your support for the bill, and copy your local representative(s). Remember to put your testimony in your own words, weaving your personal experience and reasons for supporting the bill into your email for the greatest impact. Utilizing this address, your letter will be sent to all members on the Committee: HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. If you need to locate who your State Representative is, please click here.
Sign in on the NH General Court website to show your support for the bill here. Follow the NH General Court's guide, "How to register support/opposition on a bill," for step-by-step instructions on how to sign.
If you are an authorized member of a farm or organization, sign onto our official letter to legislators showing your support for the bill no later than Tuesday night, January 11th to be shared at the hearing on January 12th.
Let's make this happen for our children, our state, and our planet!
(The cover photo is from this inspiring article about successful school lunch programs in California)