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Communities Putting Prevention to Work and Farm to School

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USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visits Puget Sound Food Network to learn about the Farm-to-Table Project

In Spring 2010, Public Health - Seattle & King County was awarded two highly competitive federal stimulus grants to address the leading causes of death in our region as part of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW). CPPW supports policy, systems and environmental changes that reduce obesity and tobacco use, the main contributors to premature illness, death, and health care costs locally and nationally.

Overall CPPW goals:

  • Increase physical activity and improve nutrition
  • Decrease smoking rates, number of teenagers who begin to smoke, and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Reduce health inequities

More than 50 local organizations, plus local leaders and elected officials, have united with the common vision of making healthier choices more accessible to everyone in the county.

WSDA Farm to School and partners worked on the following CPPW projects during the grant period 2010-12:

Kent School District Farm to School
WSDA Farm to School worked closely with Kent School District which provided insight into farm-to-school implementation in large urban school districts. The project included development of assessment and strategic planning tools, equipment guides and other resources for starting farm to school in these food service settings, which culminated into WSDA Farm to School Start-Up Kit, available on our webpage, School Food - Getting Started.

Farm to Table Project - Senior and Childcare Meal Programs
The WSDA Farm to School Program partnered with city of Seattle Aging & Disabilities Services to assess operations, provided staff training and assisted on Farm to Table projects in senior meals and childcare programs in King County.  Another Farm to Table project partner, Northwest Agriculture Business Center (then known as Puget Sound Food Network) facilitated farm and foodservice supply chain connections. Assessment tools, training materials, and strategic planning guides for senior meal programs and childcare providers were developed from pilot projects and are available on our webpage.

Research and Guidance on Local Food Procurement
The WSDA Farm to School Program worked with Georgetown University Law School, a local attorney, and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office to conduct a legal analysis to clarify the impacts of the Washington State provisions put in place by the 2008 Local Farms-Healthy Kids Act, as it interacts with the USDA’s guidance about geographic preference and school food purchasing and bidding requirements. The results were used to guide creation of a legal and practical primer for school food buyers, to provide clear statements of legal and regulatory requirements for purchasing Washington-grown food in our state’s schools.

The primer is available on our webpage, School Food - Procurement and Geographic Preference. It includes sample language for school district policies and procedures, bid solicitations and contracts to increase confidence and competence to successfully source from Washington farms and food producers. The project was made possible by a partnership with Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network and Washington Environmental Council.

Last Updated: 9/30/2014