CHEYENNE – A pilot project to encourage schools to serve local meat products is being established at the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) following the signing of SEA0052 School Nutrition Pilot Project into law on Friday. The bill allows the WDE to spend up to $25,000 to provide matching funds to school districts for the processing costs for livestock donated during the 2017-18 school year. The goal is to increase the quantity of Wyoming poultry, lamb, pork, beef or bison used in school lunches.
The main sponsor of the bill, Senator Brian Boner (R-Douglas), says he’s always been impressed with the generosity of his fellow Wyomingites: “At a time when our schools are under significant financial stress, folks are stepping up to help save our schools money and increase the quality of our school lunches by donating livestock to their local school districts. This legislation will further promote the exciting trends we’ve seen at the grassroots level in some of our communities. The ranchers who have and will donate to these programs serve as a reminder that the strength of this state is not in the decisions we make here in Cheyenne, but in the resilience and generosity of our people.”
The project will save schools money by lowering the processing costs. In addition, the project will allow schools to leverage Farm to School and Ag in the Classroom programs to incorporate their school lunches into field trips and lesson plans already taking place.
“We’ve already seen a handful of schools work to enhance how they connect students to where their food comes from, and this project will give some momentum to expanding those efforts across the state,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow. “This is a great example of the people of Wyoming coming together to do the right thing for our students.”
The WDE Nutrition team will write the rules for the School Protein Enhancement Pilot Project as part of the USDA School Nutrition Programs through a grant process. School districts interested in participating can contact Susan Benning at 307-777-6280 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Brook Brockman at 307-777-2579 or email@example.com. Anyone interested in donating meat products should contact their local school district.
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Kari Eakins, Communications Director