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RULE §26.21Interagency Farm-To-School Coordination Task Force

(a) Purpose. The Interagency Farm-To-School Coordination Task Force (Task Force) is created pursuant to the Texas Agriculture Code, §12.0026 and is established within the Texas Department of Agriculture (the department) to develop and implement a plan to facilitate the availability of locally grown food products in public schools.

(b) Composition. The Task Force is composed of the following members:

  (1) a representative of the department, appointed by the commissioner of agriculture (Commissioner);

  (2) a representative of the Texas Education Agency, appointed by the commissioner of education;

  (3) a representative from the Department of State Health Services, appointed by the commissioner of state health services; and

  (4) at least one representative from each of the following groups appointed by the Commissioner:

    (A) fruit and vegetable producer organizations;

    (B) school food service organizations;

    (C) food distribution businesses;

    (D) child nutrition and advocacy organizations;

    (E) parent organizations;

    (F) educational institutions that conduct research in the areas of agriculture and nutrition; and

    (G) health nutrition educators who serve school directors.

(c) Presiding Officer. The representative of the department shall serve as the presiding officer. The Task Force shall meet at the call of the Presiding Officer.

(d) Duties. The Task Force shall:

  (1) design new education resources, or review or update existing resources, on nutrition and food education that may be used by schools and school districts;

  (2) expand food-focused experiential education programs;

  (3) offer assistance in identifying funding sources and grants that allow schools and school districts to recover the costs associated with purchasing locally grown food products;

  (4) develop a database of available locally grown food products for use by school food service agencies that includes contact and purchasing information for the products;

  (5) identify, design, or make available training programs to enable local farmers and ranchers to market their products to schools and school districts;

  (6) advise schools and school districts on methods by which a school or school district may improve its facilities to allow for the use of minimally processed, fresh, and locally produced foods in school meals;

  (7) provide technical assistance to school food service agencies to establish procedures, recipes, menu rotations, and other internal processes that accommodate the use of locally grown foods in public schools;

  (8) offer advanced skills development training to school food service employees regarding the proper methods of handling, preparing, and serving locally grown foods; and

  (9) conduct any other activity considered by the task force as necessary to achieve its goals under this section.

(e) Duration. The Task Force shall remain in existence as long as deemed necessary by the Commissioner.

(f) Reporting. Reporting takes place through meetings held by the Task Force. Through these meetings, the Commissioner and/or department staff discuss matters related to the task force's business and the Task Force provides oral feedback and direction. The Task Force is staffed by the department. Department staff prepares and maintains the minutes of each task force meeting. Staff maintains a record of actions taken and distributes copies of approved minutes and other Task Force documents to Task Force members and the Commissioner.

Source Note: The provisions of this §26.21 adopted to be effective September 15, 2009, 34 TexReg 6320

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