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.

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Oregon Farm to School Policy

  1. 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. 2. What is Farm-to-School? <ul><li>School Gardens teach students agricultural literacy and where food comes from </li></ul><ul><li>School Gardens promote youths’ eating more fresh fruits and vegetables </li></ul><ul><li>School meals include ingredients sourced directly from local farms </li></ul><ul><li>Students learn connections between the food they eat, the farms that grow it, their own health, and the environmental health of their bioregion </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Organization Leaders <ul><li>Growing Gardens </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Debra Lippoldt, Executive Director; organization is 10 years old </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mission : to find solutions to hunger and poor nutrition in low-income Portland communities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities : promoting home and school gardens through classes, school programs, credentialing program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy focus : in 2006 incorporated policy work into strategic plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding for Policy work : general fund, individual gifts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Upstream Public Health </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mel Rader, Director; organization is 4 years old </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mission : to seek solutions to public health issues in Oregon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities : policy change in public schools, recently removed junk food from school food outside of meal program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy focus : main focus of work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding for Policy work : grant funding from Northwest Health Foundation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ecotrust </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Michelle M. Ratcliffe, Farm-to-School Manager; organization is 17 years old </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mission : to promote economic and environmental sustainability and social equity in northern Pacific coast of North American (the Salmon Nation). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities : Food and Farms Program promotes a sustainable regional food system, identified promoting farm-to-school as a new activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy focus : emphatically no policy advocacy work, until Michelle came along </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding for Policy work: previously individual gifts, currently writing grant proposals </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Initiation Stage <ul><li>Salient Issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rising youth obesity and poor nutrition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental degradation caused by industrial agriculture and the industrial food system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Solutions = school gardens + farm-to-school programs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Event 1 : Local Portland groups meet to develop local school district policies around school gardens, farm-to-school, and school wellness </li></ul><ul><li>Event 2 : Dr. Ratcliffe has an epiphany, “Why don’t we do that here?” </li></ul><ul><li>Event 3 : State Representative Clem asks Oregon Dept. of Education to develop school garden and farm-to-school policy ideas </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Estimation Stage <ul><li>Local groups mull over policy ideas for school garden-based education and farm-to-school </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Ratcliffe drafts policy proposals </li></ul><ul><li>House Representatives Clem and Kotek get on board and introduce three bills: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HB 3185: mini-grants for school garden-based education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HB 3476: additional funds for school meals made with Oregon-grown agricultural products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HB 3307: staff position in Oregon Dept of Agriculture to oversee farm-to-school program </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The Selection Stage <ul><li>Strategy 1: Coalition-building </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tension between grassroots members and professional advocates emerges and is addressed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tactics for communication between the grassroots and the advocates: Ecotrust website, email list, media attention, fact sheets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strategy 2: Legislative Action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seek sponsors for each of the bills in House of Representatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seek support from agriculture industry representatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Testify before House committees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mentoring by Portland Public Schools’ professional lobbyist </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Results: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bills do not pass </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oregon Dept. of Agriculture decides to create farm-to-school staff position anyway! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Second Round: 2008 Special Session </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bill to create new staff position in Oregon Dept. of Education to coordinate with new Dept. of Ag position </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bill passed unanimously in both houses! But, no new funding attached </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The Coalition’s Fact Sheets
  8. 8. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Acted fast to take advantage of a policy window </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alignment of problem, proposals, and politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timing of legislative process was crucial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Broad base of support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relationship-building within the coalition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Partnerships with legislators and potential opponents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Diversity of skills of coalition members = capacity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Grassroots organizing, issue expertise, policy drafting ability, lobbying expertise, media expertise, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared skills among diverse groups </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strong messaging and communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small community, word travels fast, “general buzz” on the ground influences legislators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media and marketing expertise, crafted key messages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Planning was a weakness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short time period led to reactionary tactics and quick responses, no proactive strategy or planning </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. References <ul><ul><ul><li>Ecotrust (2007). Ecotrust’s food & farms program. Retrieved April 19, 2008 from http://www. ecotrust . org/foodfarms/ . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ecotrust (2008) Farm-to-school and garden bill on the move to 2008 special session. Retrieved April 19, 2008 from http://www.ecotrust.org/press/f2s_lc79approved_20080124.html. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Growing Gardens (2006). About us. Retrieved April 19, 2008 from http://www.growing-gardens.org/ . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Oregon Farm-to-School and School Garden Network (2007a). Notes from debriefing meeting with Representatives Clem and Kotek. Portland, OR. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Oregon Farm-to-School and School Garden Network (2007b). Fact sheet: Oregon farmers feeding Oregon kids (2007). Portland, OR. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Oregon Farm-to-School and School Garden Network (2008). Fact sheet: There is an urgent need for LC 79 in 2008. Portland, OR. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Upstream Public Health (2006). About us. Retrieved April 19, 2008 from http: //upstreampublichealth .org/about.html . </li></ul></ul></ul>Michelle & Abby!