Target: FarmRaiser CEO Mark Abbott
Goal: Bring local, healthy fundraisers to school districts nationwide
Many Americans are familiar with the dreaded annual or biannual catalogue school fundraiser intended to lift schools out of the depression that budget cuts have created. However, making kids and parents shoulder the government’s burden by hawking unhealthy processed snacks and candy to neighbors is a nonsensical solution. A 2007 survey by the National Association of Elementary School Principals discovered that a shocking 94 percent of principals across the country held fundraisers at their schools. Concerned parent and community activist Mark Abbott decided to launch a new type of fundraiser by sourcing goods and healthy produce from local farms, and in 2014, FarmRaiser is going strong in its home state of Michigan as well as in Washington.
FarmRaiser’s site boasts that it “connects farmers and food artisans to student-led fundraisers, turning energetic students into healthy-eating advocates that sell locally-grown and -made products.” This determination to leave behind the days of selling junk food through schools couldn’t come at a better time: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over the last three decades, childhood obesity has more than doubled, while adolescent obesity has quadrupled. Obesity is highly preventable with proper nutrition and the establishment of good dietary habits. So why are our public schools sponsoring fundraisers that glorify the very packaged, processed foods that are making American children and adults unhealthy? Plus, 90 percent of the profits from the FarmRaiser go to the school or to the local farmer or artisan, making it an easy choice for schools to jump on board.
By signing this petition, you are congratulating Mark Abbott and FarmRaiser on their success in bringing healthy, local fundraiser alternatives to Michigan and Washington schools. You are encouraging them to continue to expand this model of fundraising to other states, where farmers, students, and schools will all benefit.
Dear Mr. Abbott,
Your FarmRaiser idea couldn’t have come at a better time for American schoolchildren. With childhood and adolescent obesity making shocking increases in the last few decades, public school participation in unhealthy fundraisers has got to give. Not only does FarmRaiser replace the unhealthy packaged food and catalogue gifts with local produce and goods, but it also builds connections between schools and the local businesses that are owned by their students’ parents. These connections will hopefully lead to more local sourcing for all school needs, as well as more community support for farmers and artisans who may have gone unnoticed prior to their involvement with local schools.
Thank you for working to connect schools with local farms and artisans, providing schools with healthy local options for fundraisers and teaching kids that it’s important to support local business. Thank you for building and growing FarmRaiser, and creating success stories along the way. Please keep expanding this alternative fundraiser model until all school districts feel they can rely on local healthy options to support public schools. I hope that your initiative also inspires other community activists to pursue similar programs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: liz west via Flickr