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USDA Announces More than $5 Million in Funds to Help Schools Buy More Food from Local Farms

USDA Announces More than $5 Million in Funds to Help Schools Buy More Food from Local Farms



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"The program helps schools purchase more food from local farmers and ranchers in their communities, expanding access to healthy local food for school children and supporting local economies,” the USDA announced.

On Tuesday, December 2nd, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack — one of The Daily Meal’s 50 Most Important People in Food for 2014 — announced that more than $5 million in funds would be made available for projects across 42 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands that will help local schools to connect with local farmers through the USDA’s Farm to School Program.

“The program helps schools purchase more food from local farmers and ranchers in their communities, expanding access to healthy local food for school children and supporting local economies,” the USDA announced in a press release.

“According to USDA's first-ever Farm to School Census released earlier this year, school districts participating in farm to school programs purchased and served over $385 million in local food in school year 2011-2012, with more than half of participating schools planning to increase their purchases of local food in the future.”

More than 4,800 schools and 2.8 million students, nearly 51 percent of whom live in rural communities, will be able to participate in the program.

"[The] USDA is proud to support communities across the country as they plan and implement innovative farm to school projects," said Vilsack. "These inspiring collaborations provide students with healthy, fresh food, while supporting healthy local economies. Through farm to school projects, community partners are coming together to ensure a bright future for students, and for local farmers and ranchers."

For the latest food and drink updates, visit our Food News page.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


The War on School Lunch

Five days a week, weather permitting, the students at Reed Elementary, in Tiburon, California, sit down to lunch at picnic tables in a courtyard abutting the public school’s athletic fields. On the menu: roast chicken with organic potatoes and local zucchini, gluten-free pasta with fresh pesto sauce, and pesticide-free peaches, apples, and nectarines – all served on compostable dishware.

Would that all our kids had it so good. Unlike at Reed, however, where the parents kick in $6 a day for meals, most American public schools rely on the National School Lunch Program. In 2014, it provided five billion lunches to 30 million children. The federal government shelled out $11.6 billion to make that happen. Feeding our children, in other words, is big business. And while food crusaders like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Edible Schoolyard’s Alice Waters may have one agenda, the major corporations vying to get their products onto cafeteria trays have altogether different interests. Factor in the political sway of the multibillion-dollar food industry (and of the dairy, corn, poultry, and other lobbies with which it works), and you begin to understand just how complicated the simple act of nourishing students has become.


Watch the video: Strong Support for the Dairy Act, USDA announces investments for rural communities. (August 2022).