OPHA Health Policy & Advocacy Committee


House Bill 2800

Farm-to-School and School Garden Program

Status - Passed Unanimously in both chambers

Summary - House Bill 2800, as passed, provides $200,000 in funding for a "pilot" Farm to School and School Garden grant program.  The grants will be given to two or more school districts for use to purchase foods grown or processed in Oregon, and to support farm and garden-based education.  The pilot grant program was a far cry from the original proposal of $22 million to provide additional funding for Farm to School purchasing for every school district in Oregon, but was still a major victory in a tight budget year.  The primary sponsors of HB 2800 were Representative Brian Clem of Salem and Representative Tina Kotek of NE Portland. 

Public Health Background – Childhood obesity is on the rise in Oregon and across our nation.  In 1990, 10 – 14% of our children in Oregon were considered obese.  The 2009 Oregon obesity rate is 29%!  The obesity epidemic also presents other long term health related problems such as type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  It is estimated that the state of Oregon spends approximately $450 million on medical expenses related to obesity each year.

Public Health Benefits – House Bill 2800 will serve as a prevention model for childhood obesity.  National Farm-to-School pilot projects indicate that students involved with these projects benefit from an increase in eating more fruits and vegetables at school and at home which may result in decreased obesity rates and other negative health effects. HB 2800 also helps to create learning environments in the cafeteria, garden, and classroom; studies show that students increase their fruit and vegetable consumption when garden and other food-based learning programs are in place in their schools. Developing good eating habits at a young age may improve good long term eating habits.  In Oregon, 50.2% of meals served at school go to children from low socioeconomic backgrounds; these meals are often the primary source of good nutrition for these students.

Key Points

  • Increases healthy food options for school aged children.
  • Creates food-, agriculture- and garden-based education activities in the school setting.
  • Increases fruit and vegetable consumption in school aged children.
  • Healthy lifestyle changes may improve long term health and decrease obesity and other adverse health conditions. Improves local economy by supporting local farmers and food processors.
  • Prevention of chronic diseases translates into lower medical costs, and lower health insurance rates. 
  • Improves local economy by supporting local farmers and food processors.

Key Supporters

  • Upstream Public Health 
  • Ecotrust