Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

03/18/2009 01:00 PM House RESOURCES

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB  70-ALASKA GROWN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS                                                                                     
2:30:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO.  70, "An  Act establishing  the farm-to-school                                                               
program in the Department of  Natural Resources, the Alaska grown                                                               
fresh  fruit and  vegetable grant  program in  the Department  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development, the farmers'  market technology                                                               
improvement  pilot program  in  the  Department of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation, and the farmers to  food banks pilot program in the                                                               
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development."                                                                   
2:31:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SANDRA  WILSON, Staff,  Representative Carl  Gatto, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, paraphrased from the  following sponsor statement on                                                               
behalf  of  Representative  Gatto,  sponsor of  HB  70  [original                                                               
punctuation provided, but with some formatting changes]:                                                                        
     The Farm-to-School Act is  similar to programs proposed                                                                    
     in several  other states. Its  intent is  to strengthen                                                                    
     links   between  state   agriculture  and   state  food                                                                    
     procurement in  schools, expand local  markets, improve                                                                    
     nutrition,  and  even  benefit  the  environment.    It                                                                    
     improves  upon   current  law  that   requires  schools                                                                    
     receiving   state  moneys   to  purchase   agricultural                                                                    
     products harvested in  the state if, and  only if, they                                                                    
     are  priced  no more  then  seven  percent higher  then                                                                    
     similar products imported to Alaska.                                                                                       
     A  Farm-to-School  Program  is  created  to  facilitate                                                                    
     increased   procurement  of   Alaska  grown   foods  by                                                                    
     schools.  The program will, in order of priority:                                                                          
     Identify and develop  policies and procedure, including                                                                    
     proposed uniform  procurement procedures,  to implement                                                                    
     and evaluate the program;                                                                                                  
     Assist  food producers,  distributors,  and brokers  to                                                                    
     market Alaska  grown food to schools  by informing them                                                                    
     of opportunities and requirements;                                                                                         
     Assist schools  in connecting  with local  producers by                                                                    
     informing  them of  sources, availability  and benefits                                                                    
     of Alaska grown foods;                                                                                                     
     Indentify    and    recommend    ways    to    increase                                                                    
     predictability of sales and adequacy of supply;                                                                            
     Make  available publications  allowing students  to see                                                                    
     the benefits  of preparing and  consuming locally-grown                                                                    
     Support   efforts  to   advance  other   farm-to-school                                                                    
     extensions such  as school gardens  or farms,  and farm                                                                    
     visits; and                                                                                                                
     Seek additional funds to leverage state expenditures.                                                                      
     The Division of Agriculture  must, cooperating with the                                                                    
     Department  of Education  & Early  Development, collect                                                                    
     data  on program  activities and  report biennially  to                                                                    
     the Legislature their progress beginning January 2010.                                                                     
     HB 70 also gives schools  the authorization to create a                                                                    
     school garden  or even a farm.   In doing so  they must                                                                    
     allow students  representing student  organizations the                                                                    
     opportunity  to  be  involved in  the  garden  or  farm                                                                    
     operation.   Schools  may   teach   both  organic   and                                                                    
     traditional farming methods.                                                                                               
     This bill sunsets on July 1, 2013.                                                                                         
2:32:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CARL  GATTO,  Alaska State  Legislature,  related                                                               
that according to  reports he has read, Alaska  maintains about a                                                               
four-day supply of food.   He said the idea for  HB 70 first came                                                               
to him when he was in  Dillingham talking to people in the school                                                               
district who  told him that  the district had more  frozen salmon                                                               
than it  could use.  This  made him wonder whether  there was the                                                               
ability to  trade food  among the  schools; for  example, trading                                                               
the salmon for milk, potatoes,  carrots, and other crops from the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna  Valley.    However,  trading  did  not  become                                                               
successful, mostly  because of transportation  costs.   But there                                                               
was still  the idea of  taking locally  grown food and  moving it                                                               
from the farm to the schools,  and HB 70 provides a seven percent                                                               
incentive to do  that.  Farming contributes about  $50 million to                                                               
the state  and anything  that encourages  the production  of food                                                               
within Alaska is something that should be done.                                                                                 
2:34:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  requested Representative Gatto to  elaborate how                                                               
food  programs could  help  bring different  areas  of the  state                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said the programs  would add  another venue                                                               
for  communication  between  the state's  schools;  for  example,                                                               
signs in the  lunch area could note that the  fish was donated or                                                               
traded by  the Dillingham  School District  to the  Palmer School                                                               
District.   Children would  learn that the  food on  their trays,                                                               
such  as carrots  or potatoes,  had come  from their  state.   He                                                               
predicted that  the idea will  expand as  local food is  put into                                                               
the local schools.                                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN opened public testimony.                                                                                        
2:37:08 PM                                                                                                                    
JESSICA  LAZAR,  testified  in  support of  HB  70,  saying  that                                                               
support of local agriculture is  important and economically vital                                                               
to Alaska's  farmers.  Since everyone  needs to eat, it  might as                                                               
well be  purchased from friends and  neighbors, she said.   It is                                                               
entirely unsustainable  to continue  getting the majority  of the                                                               
state's food from  elsewhere.  Fresh, local produce  is also more                                                               
nutritious  than  food  that  has spent  weeks  in  the  shipping                                                               
process.  As  a child growing up in  Anchorage eating unpalatable                                                               
school  food shipped  from outside  Alaska, she  said she  thinks                                                               
public  schools  are a  great  place  to start  supporting  local                                                               
agriculture.   The bill  will be  a great  first step  in helping                                                               
students  connect   to  their  food  supply,   helping  them  eat                                                               
healthier, and providing a ready  market for farmers; thus, HB 70                                                               
would provide a win-win situation.                                                                                              
2:38:56 PM                                                                                                                    
GAIL EASTWOOD,  offered support  for HB 70  on behalf  of herself                                                               
and her  husband.  She  said she and her  husband have a  farm in                                                               
Delta Junction  and commercially fish  out of Petersburg.   Local                                                               
food will  provide a  much higher  nutritional value  to Alaska's                                                               
school children  as well  as assist Alaska's  farmers.   She said                                                               
she and her husband are absolutely  and totally in favor of HB 70                                                               
as a wonderful first step.                                                                                                      
2:40:22 PM                                                                                                                    
ZOE FULLER,  Alaska Youth for Environmental  Action, supported HB
70.  She testified as follows:                                                                                                  
     Like almost  all youth my  age, I attend a  public high                                                                    
     school   and   I   am   a    daily   witness   to   the                                                                    
     unsustainability  of  school  food systems.    Food  is                                                                    
     prepackaged, frequently  wasted, and is often  flown in                                                                    
     from out  of state using  fossil fuels.   Students need                                                                    
     better alternatives  than status quo school  food.  The                                                                    
     bill,   Alaska  Grown   Agricultural  Products,   would                                                                    
     provide support  to schools' procurement of  local food                                                                    
     and  the establishment  of  school  gardens and  farms.                                                                    
     The  bill is  ecologically friendly  and would  be good                                                                    
     for  Alaska's economy  by  providing  support to  local                                                                    
     farmers.   We want  to feel a  connection to  our food.                                                                    
     Local food  and school farms could  drastically improve                                                                    
     students'  connection  to   their  food  and  students'                                                                    
     connection to their school.   Students need you to pass                                                                    
     HB  70   in  support   of  Alaska   Grown  Agricultural                                                                    
2:41:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MYKALA RICE, Tanana District 4H, said  she likes HB 70 because it                                                               
would  provide fresher  and healthier  foods to  the schools  and                                                               
would educate  students about  where their food  comes from.   It                                                               
would also help  sustain the agricultural industry  in Alaska and                                                               
would encourage farming  to continue in the state.   She said she                                                               
likes the idea of gardens in  the school because they could teach                                                               
what many  kids do not  know; for instance,  most of the  kids at                                                               
her school do not  know how to plant a seed.   In addition, local                                                               
agriculture would  help reduce Alaska's food  dependence on other                                                               
MS.  RICE pointed  out that  teachers with  natural resource  and                                                               
agriculture backgrounds  are needed  to teach agriculture  in the                                                               
schools, otherwise any  farm and greenhouse programs  will not be                                                               
as successful as  they could be.   She noted that HB  70 says the                                                               
education  would go  through different  departments, one  of them                                                               
being  the  Cooperative  Extension Service,  which  is  currently                                                               
stretched to the  limit as far as staff, time,  and funding.  She                                                               
said she must therefore question  where the funding will come for                                                               
sponsoring a teacher or agent for  this school program.  She also                                                               
questioned whether  the definition in  the bill for  Alaska Grown                                                               
means only a product that is  grown in the state or also includes                                                               
a product  that is  shipped into the  Alaska and  then processed.                                                               
Ms.  Rice pointed  out that  the  growing season  is either  just                                                               
starting  when  school  is  ending   or  ending  when  school  is                                                               
starting.   She suggested  that further steps  be taken  to fully                                                               
implement HB 70 even though she likes the bill.                                                                                 
2:47:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   JOHNSON  moved   to  adopt   the  proposed   committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB  70,  version  26-LS0284\R,  Bannister,                                                               
2/12/09, as the work draft.   There being no objection, Version R                                                               
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
2:48:09 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNA ARMSTRONG, Tanana District 4H,  stated that she agrees with                                                               
some parts of HB 70, but disagrees  with others.  She said a good                                                               
thing about  HB 70, is that  Alaskan grown food would  be fresher                                                               
and healthier for  kids and would help educate  youth about where                                                               
their  food comes  from.   It  would also  help sustain  Alaska's                                                               
farmers  by  providing  more  customers  to  help  them  stay  in                                                               
business.    In  addition,  having  gardens  and  greenhouses  in                                                               
schools  is  a  great  idea because  it  would  provide  hands-on                                                               
MS. ARMSTRONG suggested  that changes be made to HB  70 in regard                                                               
to  the  funding.    The   Cooperative  Extension  Service  needs                                                               
increased funding as  it has been flat lined for  many years, she                                                               
said Alaska has only 9  full- and part-time Cooperative Extension                                                               
Service agents and they would  be unable to handle the additional                                                               
work that HB 70 would require of  them.  She also noted that most                                                               
of  the growing  season is  when school  is out  for the  summer,                                                               
therefore it  would need to be  a summer program and  there would                                                               
need to be a 12-month contract  with a teacher.  While she really                                                               
likes HB 70, she urged that it be amended to make these changes.                                                                
2:52:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON thanked the witnesses for their testimony.                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  agreed that the  witnesses have brought  up good                                                               
points about the funding.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG noted there is a $10 million fiscal                                                                   
note accompanying HB 70 that would implement its programs.                                                                      
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN held HB 70, Version R.  He urged members of the                                                                 
public to submit their suggestions to Representative Gatto.                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 70 Packet.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 70
HB 43 Packet.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 43
HJR 21 Packet.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21
HJR 21Fixed Gear Recency Anal.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21
HJR 21Fixed Gear Recency Anal
HJR 21 add info 1.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21
HB 70.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 70
HB 70-EED-TLS-3-16-09.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 70
HB 70-DNR-AG-03-17-09.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 70
HJR 21 add Testimony.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21
HJR 21 add Testimony 2.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21