Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposed fiscal year 2014 operating budget would continue funding to put Alaska Grown foods on school lunch menus.
The $3 million “Nutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools” program is available to all 54 school districts this year. The grant reimburses participating districts that buy Alaska fish, produce and even honey.
Scott Ruby directs the program in the state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. He says it helps Alaska become more self-sufficient.
“It’s called food security where we can provide our own and not be reliant on shipping in food from outside,” Ruby said. “It’s a good deal.”
Ruby says the Department of Natural Resources’ Farm to Schools program helps connect schools with suppliers.
“I think that’s been one of the larger benefits of this is that there were products available out there at reasonable costs that the school districts didn’t know were available,” he says.
Juneau School District Food Services Supervisor Adrianne Schwartz says the cost of a meal is the same for students whether they choose local halibut or pizza.
“The issue is that to maintain a meal price that’s affordable for everybody,” Schwartz says. “The majority of the local produce and fish would be too expensive without this funding.”
The Juneau School District received $86,000 for the current year and has served salmon and halibut from Southeast waters as well as fresh produce from the Matanuska-Susitna region.
The governor’s proposal to fund the program next year would allow Juneau and other districts to expand the menu and serve more local foods on a regular basis.
- French President François Hollande was at the White House trying broaden an international coalition to fight the Islamic State.
- Canadian regulators say the Tulsequah Chief Project, near Juneau, has agreed to reduce pollution leaking into a nearby river. But the mine won’t have to restart a shuttered water-treatment plant.
- On the sidewalks, at the stores, at the bars, people have been talking about a loud sound they heard around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Most have never heard anything like it before.
- A pilot program called Alaska Innovative Medicine in Anchorage is rounding out its first year trying to improve that journey for patients while also spending less on health care.