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Moving Forward for Healthy Kids

Last week was an exciting week for America’s school lunchrooms.  Our new meal standards were announced and they will help improve the health of millions of children.  These new standards represent one of five major components of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  There’s more to come:

  • The ability to take nutrition standards beyond the lunch line – for the first time ever, rules for foods and beverages sold in vending machines and other venues on school campuses will contribute to a healthy diet;
  • Increased funding for schools – an additional 6 cents a meal will be available — the first real increase in 30 years – tied to strong performance in serving improved meals;
  • Common-sense pricing standards for schools will ensure that revenues from non-Federal sources keep pace with the Federal commitment to healthy school meals and properly align with costs; and
  • Training and technical assistance will help schools achieve and monitor compliance.

Through the establishment of a new grant program, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 will also allow the USDA to take a giant step forward in facilitating growth in farm to school programs, in which schools bring in locally produced food from neighboring farms.  The USDA Farm to School Team, an outgrowth of the  Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, has been busy the last couple of years trying to figure out how Farm to School efforts can best contribute to improved health and well being of kids participating in school meals.  The Team has done great work and people can access the resources collected and follow their travels from the FNS website.

This week, we took another important step as Deborah Kane  began work at the USDA as the National Director of USDA’s Farm to School Program.  Deborah Kane comes to USDA from Ecotrust in Portland, Oregon, where she founded and ran Food-Hub.org, a groundbreaking food hub connecting farmers and buyers, including schools, across the Northwest.  She was also recognized by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for her work in regional food system development.

Deborah will work with the Secretary and me, along with leaders from the Agricultural Marketing Service, Food and Nutrition Service, and the USDA Farm to School Team to promote and expand our Farm to School efforts by implementing the provisions provided in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, overseeing a new farm to school grant program, and continuing to find creative ways to increase schools’ access to local foods.  Deborah joins a great Team at USDA already at work on Farm to School and primed for even greater success.  USDA expects to enhance schools’ ability to work with regional producers, create economic opportunities for food producers of all kinds and empower schools to increase or augment programming that builds food literacy among the nation’s children.

8 Responses to “Moving Forward for Healthy Kids”

  1. Susan Powell says:

    This is great news! I am familiar with Food-Hub and F2S. During my years as a restaurateur I always featured a “market day special” and for the last two years I have worked for the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market setting up demos and writing the blog.I have just finished my first week as the manager of the cafeteria at Ashland High School and I am VERY interested in increasing our use of local products and working with Tracy Harding. We are financially limited so I am very glad to hear that there will be increased funding and support! Btw, our food services director, Gema Soto, is ahead of the curve and implemented the new guidelines when she came to the district last year.

    Congratulations Deborah!

    Susan Powell

  2. Tia Henderson says:

    This is so exciting! Congratulations Deborah – and to USDA! I’m looking forward to figuring out how to make F2S easy for producers and schools – the distribution puzzle, especially in rural areas, is something I continue to hear about and can’t wait for innovative ideas.
    Best,
    Dr. Tia Henderson

  3. kids health insurance says:

    better lunch for kids! well done.

  4. Mark says:

    So exciting and amazing post. Great Idea great work, thank you for sharing!

  5. Sujan says:

    I want to share this on my blog. Thanks for the tip! Very helpfull. Thank’s alot for this.

  6. joycheapbuy says:

    Yep,we should care more about the young generation.Just like when we’re promoting the electronic cigarette,we should not make it allowed for teenagers.

  7. games for money says:

    Nice..This is very good stuff for the children.

  8. Aleksandar says:

    Great Idea great work, thank you for sharing!

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