Today's Law As Amended

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AB-2602 Farm to School Program.(2013-2014)



SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The lack of access to nutritious food has led to a rise in obesity among children, which now affects one out of every three children in the United States. Obesity can lead to a variety of health problems, such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels. Farm to School programs could increase access to California grown vegetables and fruits, specifically in urban, low-income, and rural communities.
(b) In 2013, federal nutritional standards for foods sold in schools were updated to comply with the improved nutritional standards of the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. In California, 89.1 percent of schools are meeting these new meal standards. However, California schools are still facing obstacles in providing healthy meals to pupils, including a lack of adequate kitchen supplies.
(c) Farm to School program funding will provide school districts with the opportunity to update their kitchen supplies to meet new federal nutritional guidelines, increase staff training related to the preparation of fresh foods, educate pupils on nutrition, and prepare a greater amount and variety of fruits and vegetables.

SEC. 2.

 Article 10 (commencing with Section 590) is added to Chapter 3 of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:

Article  10. Farm to School Program
590.
 (a) The Farm to School Program is hereby established within the department for the purpose of promoting the objectives specified in subdivision (b) through the allocation of grants and the provision of technical assistance to school districts and county offices of education.
(b) “Farm to school program” means a program that connects schools and California farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving pupil nutrition, and providing agriculture, health, and nutrition educational opportunities.
(c) The secretary shall convene an interagency working group on increasing the provision of fresh and nutritious school meals to pupils that includes, but is not limited to, representatives of the Department of Food and Agriculture, the State Department of Education, and the State Department of Public Health. The working group shall advise the secretary on all of the following:
(1) Effective and efficient means of encouraging school districts and county offices of education to develop a farm to school program.
(2) The availability of state and nonstate resources and technical assistance to help school districts and county offices of education in establishing and maintaining farm to school programs.
(d) The secretary shall use existing resources to comply with this section.
(e) The State Department of Education and the State Department of Public Health shall use existing resources to comply with subdivision (c).
591.
 (a) An eligible school district or county office of education may apply on behalf of an elementary schoolsite to the department, in a manner determined by the secretary, for a grant to develop and maintain a farm to school program under this article.
(b) A school district or county office of education is eligible to apply for the grant if the schoolsite to which the funds will go serves pupils in prekindergarten, kindergarten, or any of grades 1 to 6, inclusive, and the school district or county office of education has an average of at least 65 percent of pupils who are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals.
(c) The application, at a minimum, shall include, but is not limited to, the following information:
(1) The identity of each school at which a farm to school program is to be located.
(2) The intended items of expenditure for the funds received, the overall cost of the items, and other sources of funding, if any.
(3) A description of how the funds will be used to meet the objectives of this article.
592.
 The secretary shall distribute the grants awarded to eligible school districts or county offices of education in accordance with the following:
(a) The maximum grant for any schoolsite shall be five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(b) No school district or county office of education shall be awarded more than 10 percent of overall funds unless the secretary determines there is insufficient demand from other county offices of education or school districts.
(c) Funds may be used only for the following purposes:
(1) The development of salad bars.
(2) Staff training related to the preparation of fresh foods.
(3) Food literacy education, including, but not limited to, through farms and gardens.
(4) Kitchen equipment related to the preparation of fresh foods.
593.
 (a) As a condition of the receipt of funds pursuant to this article, within six months of the final expenditure of funds received pursuant to this article, a school district or county office of education shall report to the secretary, in conjunction with the interagency working group convened pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 590, in a manner prescribed by the secretary, regarding the use of the expended funds.
(b) A school district or county office of education may submit one report for all of the schools that have received grants that are under the jurisdiction of the school district or county office of education.
594.
 The implementation of this article is contingent upon appropriation of funds by the Legislature for those purposes.