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Farm-to-School Programs

As the U.S. Bishops remind us, “A key measure of every agricultural program and legislative initiative is whether it helps the most vulnerable farmers, farmworkers, and their families and whether it contributes to a global food system that provides basic nutrition for all.” (USCCB, “Catholic Reflections on Food, Farmers, and Farmworkers”)

Rural family farmers have been struggling in recent years due to the industrialization of the food industry by major corporations. As a small percentage of large agricultural corporations increasingly control food production, individual farmers find it harder to make a living and continue their traditional way of life.  Federal farm programs often exclude individual family farmers and disproportionately benefit the largest producers. An estimated 70% of U.S. government spending on farm payments goes to the top 10% of farms receiving government support (Oxfam).

Catholic Social Teaching calls us to prioritize the needs of the vulnerable of our society.  Family farmers deserve attention as vulnerable members of society who are increasingly disadvantaged by large food corporations. By promoting Farm-to-School programs, not only are local economies greatly improved, but the nutritious value of school meals is dramatically enhanced.  Farm-to-School programs provide fresh fruits and vegetables to school children while simultaneously creating a market for individual farmers, sustaining local economies and promoting family security.