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Oregon Farm to School Policy
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Oregon Farm to School Policy


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Study of Oregon's efforts to pass state legislation supporting farm to school and school garden programs.

Study of Oregon's efforts to pass state legislation supporting farm to school and school garden programs.

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  • 1. Oregon Farmers Feeding Oregon Kids: Policy Change and Coalition-building by the Oregon Farm-to-School and School Garden Network Abby Jaramillo MNA 679 4/28/08
  • 2. What is Farm-to-School?
    • School Gardens teach students agricultural literacy and where food comes from
    • School Gardens promote youths’ eating more fresh fruits and vegetables
    • School meals include ingredients sourced directly from local farms
    • Students learn connections between the food they eat, the farms that grow it, their own health, and the environmental health of their bioregion
  • 3. The Organization Leaders
    • Growing Gardens
      • Debra Lippoldt, Executive Director; organization is 10 years old
      • Mission : to find solutions to hunger and poor nutrition in low-income Portland communities.
      • Activities : promoting home and school gardens through classes, school programs, credentialing program
      • Policy focus : in 2006 incorporated policy work into strategic plan
      • Funding for Policy work : general fund, individual gifts
    • Upstream Public Health
      • Mel Rader, Director; organization is 4 years old
      • Mission : to seek solutions to public health issues in Oregon
      • Activities : policy change in public schools, recently removed junk food from school food outside of meal program
      • Policy focus : main focus of work
      • Funding for Policy work : grant funding from Northwest Health Foundation
    • Ecotrust
      • Michelle M. Ratcliffe, Farm-to-School Manager; organization is 17 years old
      • Mission : to promote economic and environmental sustainability and social equity in northern Pacific coast of North American (the Salmon Nation).
      • Activities : Food and Farms Program promotes a sustainable regional food system, identified promoting farm-to-school as a new activity
      • Policy focus : emphatically no policy advocacy work, until Michelle came along
      • Funding for Policy work: previously individual gifts, currently writing grant proposals
  • 4. The Initiation Stage
    • Salient Issues:
      • Rising youth obesity and poor nutrition
      • Environmental degradation caused by industrial agriculture and the industrial food system
      • Solutions = school gardens + farm-to-school programs
    • Event 1 : Local Portland groups meet to develop local school district policies around school gardens, farm-to-school, and school wellness
    • Event 2 : Dr. Ratcliffe has an epiphany, “Why don’t we do that here?”
    • Event 3 : State Representative Clem asks Oregon Dept. of Education to develop school garden and farm-to-school policy ideas
  • 5. The Estimation Stage
    • Local groups mull over policy ideas for school garden-based education and farm-to-school
    • Dr. Ratcliffe drafts policy proposals
    • House Representatives Clem and Kotek get on board and introduce three bills:
      • HB 3185: mini-grants for school garden-based education
      • HB 3476: additional funds for school meals made with Oregon-grown agricultural products
      • HB 3307: staff position in Oregon Dept of Agriculture to oversee farm-to-school program
  • 6. The Selection Stage
    • Strategy 1: Coalition-building
      • The Oregon Farm-to-School and School Garden Network is born, made up of 12 nonprofit groups and endorsed by over 90 businesses, organizations and individuals
      • Tension between grassroots members and professional advocates emerges and is addressed
      • Tactics for communication between the grassroots and the advocates: Ecotrust website, email list, media attention, fact sheets
    • Strategy 2: Legislative Action
      • Seek sponsors for each of the bills in House of Representatives
      • Seek support from agriculture industry representatives
      • Testify before House committees
      • Mentoring by Portland Public Schools’ professional lobbyist
    • Results:
      • Bills do not pass
      • Oregon Dept. of Agriculture decides to create farm-to-school staff position anyway!
    • Second Round: 2008 Special Session
      • Bill to create new staff position in Oregon Dept. of Education to coordinate with new Dept. of Ag position
      • Bill passed unanimously in both houses! But, no new funding attached
  • 7. The Coalition’s Fact Sheets
  • 8. Lessons Learned
    • Acted fast to take advantage of a policy window
      • Alignment of problem, proposals, and politics
      • Timing of legislative process was crucial
    • Broad base of support
      • Relationship-building within the coalition
      • Partnerships with legislators and potential opponents
    • Diversity of skills of coalition members = capacity
      • Grassroots organizing, issue expertise, policy drafting ability, lobbying expertise, media expertise, etc.
      • Shared skills among diverse groups
    • Strong messaging and communication
      • Small community, word travels fast, “general buzz” on the ground influences legislators
      • Media and marketing expertise, crafted key messages
    • Planning was a weakness
      • Short time period led to reactionary tactics and quick responses, no proactive strategy or planning
  • 9. References
        • Ecotrust (2007). Ecotrust’s food & farms program. Retrieved April 19, 2008 from http://www. ecotrust . org/foodfarms/ .
        • Ecotrust (2008) Farm-to-school and garden bill on the move to 2008 special session. Retrieved April 19, 2008 from
        • Growing Gardens (2006). About us. Retrieved April 19, 2008 from .
        • Lippoldt, D., Rader M., and Ratcliffe, M. M. (2008) Personal communication, March, 5, 2008. All information given, unless otherwise noted, is based on this interview.
        • Oregon Farm-to-School and School Garden Network (2007a). Notes from debriefing meeting with Representatives Clem and Kotek. Portland, OR.
        • Oregon Farm-to-School and School Garden Network (2007b). Fact sheet: Oregon farmers feeding Oregon kids (2007). Portland, OR.
        • Oregon Farm-to-School and School Garden Network (2008). Fact sheet: There is an urgent need for LC 79 in 2008. Portland, OR.
        • Upstream Public Health (2006). About us. Retrieved April 19, 2008 from http: //upstreampublichealth .org/about.html .
    Michelle & Abby!