BOSTON – On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, State Representative Jennifer Benson participated in the first Farm to School Day at the State House. Representative Benson spoke in the House Member’s lounge to a group of 75 student nutrition professionals, education professionals, farmers, ranchers, and delegations of students from the Martha’s Vineyard Charter School, and the Brookline Public Schools. The topic of the Representative’s remarks was House Bill 3221, An Act Relative to Healthy Eating in School Cafeterias, which she drafted to address the issue of nutrition in school food.
“This bill will raise the standards for the nutrition and quality of the food served in our schools,” said Representative Benson. “The children of the Commonwealth deserve access to fresh, healthy food, incorporating locally farmed ingredients.”
The legislation would launch a series of pilot programs designed to outfit school kitchens with the equipment necessary for fresh food preparation and storage, as well as establish a grant program through the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the development of programs providing for a direct line from local farms to school kitchens, so that schools can easily and affordably incorporate locally grown produce in their menus.
Before the event, Representative Benson met with members of the Island Grown Initiative and the Farm to School Organization on Martha’s Vineyard to discuss the legislation, and the tremendous success the students at the Martha’s Vineyard Charter School have made towards advocating for healthy, locally grown food in their schools.
“What these kids have achieved is incredible,” said Representative Benson. “They’ve demonstrated that there’s no reason why what they’ve done can’t be done across the Commonwealth. All it takes is willingness on behalf of school administrators, and new partnerships between farms and schools.”