March 22, 2010
On Wednesday the Senate Agriculture Committee will mark up Senator Lincoln’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the proposed legislation to reauthorize child nutrition programs including school meals and the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) nutrition program. The bill includes new national nutritional standards to be applied to all foods sold in school, including food in vending machines and on a la carte lines that compete with regular school meals.
Senators Lincoln (D-AR) and Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Woolsey (D-CA) announced last week that public health and education groups had reached agreement with the food and beverage industry on the new national nutritional standards included in the bill. This is an important achievement, effectively banning junk food sales in schools.
The bill also includes other improvements including universal free meal eligibility in high poverty areas, automatic certification for free meals of children enrolled in other assistance programs, expanded afterschool and summer meals programs, increased federal reimbursement rates for school lunches based on performance, and mandatory funding for farm to school programs.
NSAC has been working on the farm to school provision as an effective innovation to improve school nutrition while boosting local farm income and stimulating rural economies. To sign up for regular updates and action alerts on Farm to School and other issues, click here.