Today, after a bleak outlook last night, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act! Through it, nutritious meals will be made more accessible to students in public schools. And for the first time, it will include a Farm to School Program that will help communities establish farm to school networks, create school gardens, and get more local food into the cafeterias with the $40 million in mandatory funding.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Act will provide $4.5 billion in new funding allocated over the next 10 years to improve access to healthier meals, even when kids are out of school; so, hunger gaps during the weekends, after school, and even during summer break will be closed.
The act will expand eligibility for school lunch programs, establish nutritional standards for all school meals, and encourage schools to use locally grown food. The Agriculture Department will write those new standards, which will support eliminating fat injected items in cafeterias now to foods with less grease, sugar, and empty calories. Changes like switching to whole wheat and choosing leaner meats will help improve classic cafeteria options. Another improvement will be that vending machines and school stores will stock less candy and high-sugar beverages.
The bill will also make it easier for lower-income children to have these better meals because the number of school lunches that are subsidized by the government will increase.
This is amazing!! Not only will kids get better food, but they will also be supporting local farmers, meaning they will be helping the earth by being more sustainable.
This is right up the Organic School Project’s alley because we believe in connecting kids to their food. Needless to say, we’re pretty excited over here… =]
Read all the specifics here.