‘Farm to School’ bill goes into law this Friday
Nebraska state senator: "What we're trying to do is keep those dollars, or as many as we can, in state."
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – According to Sen. Tom Brandt, 90% of the food dollars spent for Nebraska school cafeterias go out of state.
He hopes his new bill, LB396, which goes into law this Friday, will help change that.
“What we’re trying to do is keep those dollars, or as many as we can, in state,” Brandt said.
The reason Nebraska has imported so much food from other states is because it is cheaper to do so.
“Our kids shouldn’t be eating food from the lowest possible source, regardless of how far away it is and how many miles it had to travel,” Nebraska Farmers Union president John Hansen said.
LB396 will create a full-time position within the Nebraska Department of Education that will help coordinate and stimulate additional efforts to connect schools across the state to local producers. In other words, it will give Nebraska producers an opportunity to see which schools are interested in their food products, and schools the opportunity to see which in-state producers they can get food from.
A spokesperson for Lincoln Public Schools tells Channel 8 via text message that their director of nutrition services is not familiar enough with the program to comment on this story
Brandt explains it’s more difficult for small producers to provide food to larger school districts, like LPS and Omaha Public Schools.
“A big school system like Lincoln Public Schools may break it down on a school-by-school basis,” Brandt said.
He says this first year will be a discovery process for the program.
“I’m going to be very interested a year from now to see what our participation rate is,” he said.