Washington Statewide Organizing


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From the short course "Organizing Farm to School Statewide: Collaboration Models for Program, Policy, and Success of Scale" at the Farm to Cafeteria Conference. Thursday, March 13, 2009. Portland, OR.

Contact Erin MacDougall at erin.macdougall@kingcounty.gov for more information.

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Washington Statewide Organizing

  1. 1. Washington Farm to School – Collaborating for state policy and systems change Erin MacDougall Good Food Policy Group – Washington State “ Organizing Farm to School Statewide: Collaboration Models for Program, Policy, and Success of Scale” – Short Course National Farm to Cafeteria Conference March 19, 2009 Portland, Oregon
  2. 2. WA: Overview <ul><li>Population </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Location of farms in relation to schools </li></ul><ul><li>Political environment </li></ul>
  3. 3. WA: Coordination/coalition building leads to policy change 2002 2004 2007 - 2008 All future possibilities! Seattle/King County F2S Connections Team WSDA Initiates handbook/pilot salad bar program Good Food Coalition formed, WA Local Farms, Healthy Kids passes, state F2S program established 2009
  4. 4. WA: Involvement <ul><li>State/county agencies and pocket grassroots jumpstarted </li></ul><ul><li>Parents, agencies, and non- profits representing schools, nutrition, public health, farming, and food retail </li></ul><ul><li>Expansion included more of the above + farmers, environmental, </li></ul><ul><li>food security/hunger, land preservation, and faith-based </li></ul><ul><li>Champion legislators, lobbyists, coalition members and other </li></ul><ul><li>advocates, and the media attention successfully moved the bill </li></ul>
  5. 5. WA: Strengths <ul><li>Agricultural production </li></ul><ul><li>Strong food system movement </li></ul><ul><li>Interest in local farms economy </li></ul><ul><li>Many, including educators, interested in gardening and urban farming </li></ul>
  6. 6. WA: Challenges of the food system <ul><li>Political and geographic divide </li></ul><ul><li>Location of farms </li></ul><ul><li>Cost of local food </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting demand </li></ul><ul><li>Curricula </li></ul>
  7. 7. WA: Challenges of the legislative timing <ul><li>60 day legislative session in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Troubled budget prospects </li></ul><ul><li>How will this help my district? </li></ul><ul><li>Concern about fresh versus processed foods </li></ul><ul><li>No money for studies </li></ul>
  8. 8. WA: Local Farms, Healthy Kids (2008) <ul><li>State procurement policy </li></ul><ul><li>WSDA Farm to School program </li></ul><ul><li>Farm to Food Banks </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers Market Technology Program </li></ul><ul><li>Washington Grown Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in schools </li></ul>
  9. 9. WA: Best selling points for collaboration and success <ul><li>Benefits in areas of importance to many: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The health of children </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strong agricultural economies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Preservation of farmland and open spaces </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Washington has a chance to lead the way by enacting comprehensive legislation and making room for multiple stakeholders to achieve success </li></ul>Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS
  10. 10. WA: Best selling points “ For Washington State, Local Farms – Healthy Kids provides more healthy food choices for kids while supporting local economic development and food from local farms.” -King County Executive Ron Sims
  11. 11. WA: Best selling points “ Investing this year in Local Farms-Healthy Kids will pay big dividends in the future… A future where our local food systems help connect people together is a good place to start—a universal win for our children’s health, our economy and our environment.” - Michael Bennett, President, Pacific Pre-Pak, Inc
  12. 12. WA: Best selling points “ I’m so pleased that Washington State has invested in this critical effort to help farmers like us stay in business, protect and preserve farmland, and provide our children with nutritious locally grown produce.” - Gretchen Hoyt, Alm Hill Gardens, Everson, WA
  13. 13. WA: Best selling points “ Local produce in schools will help develop good eating habits at a young age, and will help eliminate the waste and energy required to ship food long distances.” - Josie Olney, 16 Seattle, and Tamlyn Zawalich, 16 Shoreline
  14. 14. WA: Tools for success <ul><li>Real barriers had been identified through talking with schools, farms and parents over time </li></ul><ul><li>Worked with experienced policy advocates and a coalition with a record of legislative success </li></ul><ul><li>Built a broad coalition and addressed possible push-back early </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasized crossover appeal of issues, bringing together groups often at odds: urban/rural, agriculture/environment, East/West, conservative/liberal </li></ul>
  15. 15. WA: Resources that help <ul><li>In-kind time of organizational leads </li></ul><ul><li>Experienced lobbyists </li></ul><ul><li>Students to do background research </li></ul><ul><li>A strong coalition ready to move swiftly during session </li></ul><ul><li>Media attention </li></ul>
  16. 16. Thank you! Contact information: Erin MacDougall 206.263.8804 [email_address] Or for more information about our state Farm to School program: Tricia Sexton-Kovacs 360.902.2029 [email_address]