Imagine a Wisconsin where all K-12 students have the opportunity to eat nutritious free school breakfasts and lunches made with locally sourced ingredients. You can help make this vision a reality!
Last month, Governor Evers included free school meals for all, strategic investments in school breakfast funding, and a local purchasing incentive program in his proposed biennial budget. More specifically, the Governor’s Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids plan includes:
Creating the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids program, an initiative aimed at improving student health and reducing hunger by investing $120.2 million in FY 2024-25 to fully fund school breakfasts and lunches for all children;
Providing $4.3 million in FY 2023-24 and $4.7 million in FY 2024-25 to increase the school breakfast reimbursement rate to 15 cents per meal and extending eligibility for the reimbursement to independent charter schools and state residential schools operated by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI); and
Incentivizing schools to support Wisconsin farmers, food producers, and local economies by providing $2.75 million in FY 2024-25 for an enhanced 10 cents reimbursement per meal for those including locally sourced foods.
There will be opportunities for people to testify at public hearings (not yet scheduled) to encourage the Joint Finance Committee to keep these provisions in the final budget. In the meantime, here are several ways to take action.
Invitations to Take Action
Submit a brief video in support of free school meals for all by Friday, March 31. Full instructions are provided here. Having farmers and local food advocates speak to this issue strengthens the coalition’s ability to engage elected officials who are interested in agriculture and economic development.
Join the next Healthy School Meals for All Wisconsin coalition meeting on Thurs, March 9, from 1:30-2:30 pm.
Meeting registration link: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcuduqprz4tHtGgAS3_FMxbzDzTzPyhvAb_
Take a look at who is on the Joint Committee on Finance and the Education Committees (Assembly and Senate). If you know anyone from these representatives’ home districts, encourage them to contact their legislators in support of the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids plan. It is also helpful to contact any Republican legislators, even if they are not on either of these committees.
Submit a letter to the editor expressing your viewpoint. There are many local newspapers, magazines, and online media outlets that accept brief letters to the editor. Here is the submission information for Cap Times, the Journal Sentinel, and the Wisconsin State Journal.
Contact Allison Pfaff Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org, farm-to-school director at REAP Food Group, if you’d like to stay updated and/or be alerted about opportunities to provide public testimony.
Action Alert sent to WNPJ by Family Farm Defenders: email@example.com