(105 ILCS 124/5)
The General Assembly finds all of the following:
(1) According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, less than 20% of young people eat the recommended 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that, unless reversed, in the next 50 years obesity will shorten life expectancy in the United States by 2 to 5 years, exceeding the impact of cancer or heart disease. Studies by the Yale University School of Public Health have found that, due to obesity and related diseases, the current generation of young people may be the first in American history whose life expectancy is projected to be less than that of their parents.
(2) Farm-to-school programs link schools with local
and regional farms in order to provide schools with fresh and minimally processed farm commodities for inclusion in school meals, vending machines, salad bars, and snacks. These programs also help children develop nutritional awareness and healthy eating habits.
(3) In addition to procuring farm fresh foods for
school food offerings, farm-to-school programs often include activities that provide pupils with hands-on learning opportunities, such as farm visits, cooking demonstrations, and school gardening and composting programs, and integrate nutritional and agricultural education into school curricula.
(4) It is in the interest of this State to promote
farm-to-school programs that emphasize the purchase of farm fresh foods by schools in order to improve child nutrition and strengthen local and regional farm economies.
(Source: P.A. 96-153, eff. 1-1-10.)