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History of the Child Nutrition Act and the Importance of Reauthorization

September 6, 2021

By Emma Rotner, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership student 

For the first time in 10 years, the Child Nutrition Act is up for reauthorization in the legislative session. The Child Nutrition Act was first passed in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson. This piece of legislation was instrumental in creating the school meals programs that exist within our nation’s schools today. The program began by piloting serving breakfast in schools and establishing food service equipment within schools. Over the years, more programs and services have been added and amended when the bill has been up for reauthorization (Billings and Aussenberg, 2021). There are 5 major programs that are governed under the Child Nutrition Act; these include: National School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program, Summer Food Services Programs, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Special Milk Program. There are also many other smaller programs and grants that fall under the umbrella of this program (FAS, 2019).

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Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership 2021/2022 Cohort

September 5, 2021

To create the inclusive, diverse and resilient food systems of the future, we need bold and knowledgeable change agents to transform public policy.

We are thrilled to announce Arizona State University’s Food Policy & Sustainability Leadership 2021-2022 class. With a commitment to shaping food and farm policy in the public interest, this cohort of leaders hail from across the country including Arizona, North Carolina, Kansas City, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Colorado, Minnesota, Vermont, Missouri, and Montana.

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Investing in the Nation's Youth by Investing in School Nutrition

August 25, 2021

By Emma Rotner, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership student 

In March of 2021, the Biden Administration put forth a proposal called the American Jobs Plan, a bill that focuses on revitalizing the American economy and job creation by investing in American infrastructure. The primary focus of the bill is to invest in roads and buildings and to update public transportation systems. Although school nutrition is not a primary focus, this bill could be an opportunity to push for updates within school kitchen facilities in order to improve the access to and quality of healthy, nutritious, and delicious school food for our nation’s children (The White House, 2021).

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Further Insight from NGO Panel

August 22, 2021

By Isabel Yoder, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student 

On Wednesday morning, we changed things up by hearing from a panel of non-governmental organization leaders. The panel was headed by Ann Mills, the Executive Director at Agua Fund, Michael Fernandez, the founding director at AAAS Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (AAAS EPI Center), and Ferd Hoefner, who consults with multiple organizations on behalf of federal farm policy issues. After hearing from mostly government-affiliated leaders earlier on in the week, it was fascinating getting some insight on what work is getting done to advance agricultural policy goals and initiatives from the outside. 

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"Keep Your Eye On What You’re Driving Toward"

August 21, 2021

By Mary Rochelle, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student 

Students were eager and ready to dive in on the first morning of the ASU Food Policy Certificate Capstone Immersive in DC. Fortunately, the lineup of speakers that morning was an engaging and impressive bunch, all ready to share diverse perspectives to paint a picture of their current and past work in food and agriculture. 

The third panel of the day featured Kumar Chandran and Sara Bleich, Political Staff in the Office of the Secretary at USDA. Their presentations and answers to student questions covered topics ranging from specific policies to what it was like to be a part of a presidential administration transition team to ways that their own career trajectories have informed their current roles.

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“On the Record”

August 20, 2021

By Wesley Conner, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student 

As Swette Center certificate students, we have the pleasure of receiving The Hagstrom Report in our email inbox daily to stay up-to-date on the inside scoop of DC Agricultural politics and news. The man behind the newsletters, Jerry Hagstrom, joined us with Helena Bottemiller Evich, an accomplished agriculture and food journalist from Politico, on a panel to discuss the role of journalism in promoting and informing policymaking. Later we had Matt Herrick, the Senior Vice President/ Executive Director of IDFA Foundation at the International Dairy Foods Association, join in on the conversation as well.

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Advancing Global Food Security with Jocelyn Brown Hall

August 19, 2021

By Claire Robertson, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student 

Jocelyn Brown Hall—Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Liaison Office for North America—joined the ASU Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Cohort for a wide-ranging discussion about advancing sustainable, resilient agriculture and food systems around the world to achieve food security. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations celebrated its 75th anniversary last year with over 194 member states working in over 130 countries worldwide to end hunger through technical assistance, research, and policy guidance. At ease in the classroom, Ms. Brown Hall rapidly began connecting the work of the FAO and global food security challenges with the experiences and expertise of cohort members around the room, from conflict to climate change to indigenous cultivation practices.

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Food and Agriculture Industry Insights

August 17, 2021

By Stu Lourey, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student

During a Wednesday panel of our D.C. immersive, we had the privilege of hearing from food industry executives, all of whom have significant experience in government. Interestingly, none of them spoke exclusively about the positive work their companies are doing at present. Instead, what seemed to motivate them was the need for change – both at their companies and in the food and agriculture sector more broadly. It was clear that they saw the opportunity to lead through that change from their role in the private sector. 

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Changing the Landscape of Casual Dining with Wellfound Foods

August 16, 2021

By Fran Alvarado, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student 

On a beautiful sunny day during ASU’s Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership immersive week, the founder and CEO of Wellfound Foods, Sarah Frimpong, joined us to talk about their local business and how they are transforming the food world in DC. There was a need for better packed food in a small café on Capitol Hill and they wanted to create the difference. 

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Transforming the Food System with Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

August 13, 2021

By Kana Miller, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student

A window of opportunity. The power of convening. Transforming the food system.  

Throughout our immersive, we heard from a diverse array of speakers, representing various facets of the food system. From the Agricultural Marketing Service and Agricultural Research Service within the USDA and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to NGO and food industry leaders, these three messages were repeated. 

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Farm-to-school support in the Federal Covid-19 Response

August 12, 2021

By Emma Rotner, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student 

When schools closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many students across the country lost the reliable meal sources that they would typically receive at school or through other child-care programs. Each day, millions of children rely on the National School Breakfast and School Lunch programs for their meals and main source of nutrition for the day. These school closures increased food insecurity and childhood hunger during an already economically unstable time. It is estimated that 14% of families in the U.S are experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic or as a result of the pandemic (FNS, 2020). This includes approximately 13 million children. To address the growing economic instability and food insecurity, the Trump administration passed the CARES Act and the Biden administration implemented the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Both plans Included a large number of waivers that would allow school districts to serve food in different and unique ways (FNS, 2020).

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Advocacy in Action with Dentons US LLP

August 8, 2021

Written by Mackenize Martinez, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student

On the afternoon of Wednesday, July 21, the Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Cohort took a much-anticipated trip off of ASU’s DC campus. The entourage embarked on a refreshing stroll down K Street to the Washington DC office of Dentons Law Firm, one of 204 locations worldwide that serve to build agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national, and global needs of private and public clients of any size.

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The Vast Agenda of the Senate Agriculture Committee

August 6, 2021

By Eric Hemphill, Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate student

During our D.C. immersive, we were fortunate enough to hear from staff of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry including Katie Naessens, Senior Professional Staff Member, Adam Tarr, Senior Professional Staff, Kyle Varner, Professional Staff, and Jacqlyn Schneider, Deputy Staff Director, who gave a nuts and bolts look at the inner workings of the Senate Ag Committee.

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Pushing the Envelope on Science with Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young

August 4, 2021

By Jane Coghlan, Swette Center Student Worker

After an early morning of professional headshots on the fourth day of the immersive, everyone felt a little sluggish as we sat down to hear Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young speak. That changed rapidly as Dr. Jacob-Young’s high energy and enthusiasm for science lit up the room and grabbed everyone’s attention as soon as she began talking about her career. It was immediately easy to see that she loves her work and loves to educate and inspire the next generation of leaders.

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Sustainable Food Systems Job and Internship Opportunities

August 3, 2021

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh meeting with students at the USDA Farmers Market in Washington, D.C. celebrating National 4-H Week on Friday, October 7, 2022. USDA Photo by Tom Witham.

Our team has put together this list below of listservs / job posting networks for undergraduate and graduate students studying sustainable food systems who are interested in pursuing a career in this field. If you know of any more that should be on this list, we encourage you to email us at

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USDA Investments in Meat Processing to Benefit Small Farmers

July 13, 2021

By Tucker Larson, Swette Center Student Worker

On Friday, July 9th, the USDA announced that it would be allocating $500 million to increase competition and “level the playing field” for meat and poultry processing. These funds will come through the American Rescue Plan and are intended to increase capacity, giving farmers and ranchers more choices when it comes to meat and poultry processing. On top of this $500 million, the USDA will also be providing $150 million to existing small and very small (SVS) processing facilities. Small facilities have anywhere from 10 to 499 employees and very small facilities have less than 10 employees or annual sales of less than $2.5 million. A third of this will be going to increasing the SVS plants processing capacity, while the other two thirds will go to producers who saw an unexpected increase in costs from overtime inspections and other variables caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Sustainable Restaurants Around ASU

July 11, 2021

Source: Anna Pelzer via Unsplash

Eating sustainably can sometimes feel like a daunting task with so many factors to consider. This can be especially true when eating at a restaurant where you often have no idea where the food on your plate came from. You don’t have to feel this way, though. In the Phoenix metropolitan area, there are more and more restaurants making sustainability a priority. We’ve compiled a diverse list of 8 local restaurants near ASU Tempe campus with delectable, sustainable food sold at a reasonable price. They are not listed in any particular order, and you can click on the names of the restaurants to visit their websites. Do you know of a restaurant sourcing sustainable food that should be included here? Email us! 

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ASU Student Clubs and Organizations Involved with Sustainable Food Systems

July 10, 2021

These clubs and organizations at ASU are a great place to meet others with interests in sustainable food systems and get hands-on experience with projects. Check them out on SunDevilSync to learn more about how you can get involved! If you know of any other ASU clubs or organizations that should be added to this list, please let us know! You can email the Swette Center at 

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