Fresh Bites Spring Edition 2022

COMMITTEES Public Policy & Legislation

Provide $5 million dollars in equipment grant money to help update New York State school kitchens •NYSreceived543applications forequipment requests which totaled approximately $5 million dollars. NYS was only able to fund a total of 159 equipment grant awards totaling$1,805,067. • Many school food service programs throughout the state areworkingwithantiquated, non-energy efficient equipment which in turn is negatively affecting the environment. Providing equipment grants could be a great use of taxpayer dollars. The 3,500+ members of the NYSNA support Governor Hochul’s initiative to transfer the administration of the Child Nutrition Program: Improve the Child Nutrition Program (CNP) by Transferring it from State Education Department (SED) into the Department of Agriculture and Markets (AGM): • Allowing AGM to oversee the CNP will result in a smoother operation with school food service programs. • Transitioning the CNP to AGM will result in more economic development throughout the state. • AGM will be able to increase access to healthy foods in New York school food service programs, helping students fight childhood obesity and helping them attain a better education. The 3,500+ members of the NYSNA also support the New York Grown Food For New York Kids Coalition (NYGFFNYK) with the following initiatives: Expand the 30% program to include all school meals, increase reimbursement, call for a rulemaking process, and maintain the $10 million placeholder. • Expand student access to healthy local foods at more meals during the school day and increase school food purchases from New York producers. • This will also reduce the administrative burden related to separating lunch purchases from other meal purchases. Raise small purchase threshold to match federal level. Enable schools topurchase foodmore easily fromNewYork farmers and producers, who often find it challenging to participate in formal bidding and procurement processes.

NYSNA’s 2022 Virtual Legislative Action Conference H I G H L I G H T S BY JULIA ALOTTA ADVOCACY COORDINATOR

School Nutrition Professionals mobilized immediately when the pandemic closed school doors statewide back in March of 2020. Despite the many challenges they were subjected to, such as staff shortages, supply chain issues and increased operating costs, they continued to ensure student access to healthy school meals at no charge for all students, through the extension of federal waivers. These waivers however are set to expire on June 30, 2022. School breakfast, lunch, summer meals and afterschool meals have offered a lifeline for families struggling with economic uncertainty. These programs, proven to fuel student success and combat child hunger and obesity, will be critical to our state’s recovery. To support the health and achievement of New York’s students and to ensure the financial sustainability of school meal programs, the 3,500+ members of the New York School Nutrition Association (NYSNA) call on New York elected officials to: Beginning in school year 2022-2023, provide healthy school meals at no charge for all students in New York State – regardless of income. • Provide all students equal access to school breakfast and lunch and eliminate any stigma or barriers for students. Nutritious school meals are proven to support learning, improve attendance, classroom behavior and contribute to overall health andwellness. • Ensure that no child goes hungry during the school day or accrues unpaid meal debt, a burden on both families and school district budgets. • Ensure that over 2,000 schools and nearly 800,000 students in New York State will continue to have access to healthy meals at no charge once the waivers expire on June 30, 2022. 2022 Position Paper

Hello NYSNA members, Thank you to all who attended NYSNA’s 2022 Virtual LAC. We had an AMAZING turnout and appreciate all your efforts towards advocating for #HealthySchoolMealsAtNoCharge! During the general session our NYSNA President, Donna Riviello, opened the floor to our guest speakers, Senator Michelle Hinchey and the Commissioner of NYS Agriculture & Markets, Richard Ball. They both emphasized the importance of healthy school meals and the impact on kids, especially during COVID-19, and they motivated attendees to go out and advocate for their school meal programs. Our attendees also had the benefit of hearing from Michela Ruiz-Ram�n from American Farmland Trust, who talked about the New York Grown Food For New York Kids Coalition (NYGFFNYK) initiatives. The coalition has put forth a lot of effort to advocate to include ALL school meals in the NY 30% incentive program, not just lunch. This would make it even easier for more districts to participate and the more that participate, the better it is for our local farmers and the kids we serve. We heard from Jessica Pino-Goodspeed from Hunger Solutions NY as she gave updates on the status of the federal Build Back Better Act and what that means for #HealthySchoolMealsAtNoCharge in NYS. Joining in with a supportive message was Caroline Bobick from the NYS School Boards Association and Tom Tatum from the NYS Association of School Business Officials representing the Education Conference Board (ECB) . They also presented updates to the group about what the future holds and showed their support for #HealthyMealsAtNoCharge. All week long NYSNA members attended virtual meetings with legislators. We offered a variety of resources, including a powerpoint template to help guide their conversations. They were even provided with talking points to help set them up for success! Given the victory of LAC, I want to express my gratitude to all the attendees for taking the time out of your busy schedules to attend and be a voice for your school meal programs. The past few years have not been easy, but your advocacy efforts do not go unnoticed. It shows that you are always thinking about what is best for school food service and the kids in New York State. Lastly, the feedback we have received from attendees and from legislators about the visits and our agenda items has been very positive and we are hopeful to see what the future holds for child nutrition! We hoped you all enjoyed our Legislative Action Conference and maybe…just maybe… it will be in person next year…

SPRING 2022 Artie Frego is the Director of Food Service for St. Lawrence - Lewis BOCES. He has been working in school food service over 20 years and is currently overseeing school lunch programs for 18 districts. Artie is a two term past president of NYSNA and has a passion for Public Policy and Legislation and Farm to School. ARTIE FREGO • PUBLIC POLICY & LEGISLATION CHAIR FreshBites 56

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