USDA invests $50 million to strengthen school meals

Posted: 14 November 2022 | | No comments yet

To ensure that schools are nutritiously feeding children, the USDA has launched a healthier school meals initiative with a $50 million grant.

child holding school meal

The Unites States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has launched an initiative for healthier school meals through a $50 million grant opportunity.

The grant will be used to support collaboration with the food industry to develop nutritious, appetising school meals for students across the US.

The launch has been put into fruition following a commitment made in the administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.

“Building on the momentum from September’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, we’re investing in innovative solutions and challenging industry to partner with us to ensure every student has access to healthy school meals,” said Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture at the USDA.

“For children to reach their full academic potential, they must build healthy eating habits, and USDA recognizes the importance of private sector partnership in making this happen.”

Healthy Meals Incentives Initiatives

The request for grant applications marks the second phase of the USDA’s $100 million Healthy Meals Incentives Initiatives which was designed to improve the quality of school meals by strengthening access to nutritious food.

The first phase of the initiative was announced in September 2022 however, now with efforts from both phases, the USDA hopes that the initiative will support American agricultural producers by strengthening access to nutritious commodities in small and rural school districts.

Awarding grants

To manage funds for the School Food System Transformation Challenge, up to four non-governmental organisations will be selected by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. The organisations will award grants to support and enhance the food supply chain for schools with age ranges between kindergarten and 12th grade.

The USDA hopes that the grants will support schools’ ability to access a wider variety of healthy, appealing products and promote innovation by food producers and supplies, including local producers and small and disadvantaged businesses.

“School meals programs are on the frontline of providing critical nutrition to millions of children,” said Stacy Dean, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.

“These grants are intended to spark innovation in the school food marketplace and build a more equitable and resilient food system that serves all children well.”

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