Student Question

A student is writing an informational article for the school website about school lunches and the nationwide movement known as Farm to School. The article begins:

"Monday through Friday, children from preschool to high school eat one, or sometimes two, meals at school. According to the USDA, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was established under the National School Lunch Act signed by President Harry Truman in 1946, and it established the policy that no student should go hungry at school. Since Truman's administration, it has grown to serve more than 31.6 million children per year. As the school lunch policy was implemented more than seventy years ago, the kinds of food included in lunches has changed. [A new idea within the program, now gaining in popularity across the nation and in our state, is Farm to School.]"

The sentence in brackets has been underlined by the student.

The student has made the following notes from research using multiple sources:

"USDA (usda.gov) study: nutritious food/local producers; first even census Farm to School 2012; schools purchased more than $385 million in local food; 44% of local school districts participate (up 25% from previous); 37 states participate (eight more than in previous year).

Farm to School (farmtoschool.org): students participate in educational activities related to agriculture, health, or nutrition; program began after a bill was passed in Congress in 2010 and is intended to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and educate students on nutrition.

Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Farm to School program (wafarmtoschool.org): established in 2008; October is Farm to School Month, and October 1 is Taste Washington Day; Governor Inslee has acknowledged that the program instigates cooperation between farmers, ranchers, and school nutritional services; Future Farmers of America (FFA) high school students are able to connect to elementary school students; classes use locally-grown foods; more school-based vegetable gardens."

Elaborate on the student's report by writing two to three paragraphs in your own words, including relevant evidence from the student's notes. Your writing should support the student's report, beginning at the underlined sentence.

Expert Answers

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At issue here seems to be process of composing a formal piece of writing using assembled notes in order to support the following thesis statement:

A new idea within the [National School Lunch] program, now gaining in popularity across the nation and in our state, is Farm to School.

For this exercise (as in any formal written piece of work), the writer needs to acquaint the reader with that which he or she is discussing. The other major editorial convention—in addition to the inclusion of a thesis statement at the essay's beginning—is that each paragraph should feature a self-contained idea and contain a topic with supporting sentences. Something like the following would work:

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides nutritionally balanced meals at little or no cost to children at both public and nonprofit schools and daycare facilities. The program was established under President Truman in 1946 and is adapting to serve the needs of a growing population living on a planet with greater agricultural needs as well as increased production capabilities. The enactment of a new Farm to School program, which encourages this food to be locally sourced and produced, highlights the adaptability of Truman's original program.

The Farm to School program (est. 2012) is sponsored by the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS, itself part of the Food and Nutrition Service), and has incorporated sustainable foods into the NSLP by networking with tribal communities to access local and traditional foods. The system works by means of a federal grant system that trains food service staff to prepare healthy meals and increases the nutritional quality of the meals. The program also sources the food locally. These grants were awarded largely to schools with a high poverty rate and those in rural areas.

According to a Farm to School Census study released in 2014, schools nationwide served $385,000 worth of food as part of the program. This progress represents the work of some 40,300 schools, which serve 23.5 million children. In addition to supplying food for and transforming the NSLP, the OCFS has also contributed to similarly progressive reforms in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program.

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