After many twists and turns—including the longest government shutdown in U.S. history—Congress finally passed a package of spending bills for federal fiscal year 2019. The President signed it into law on Friday, narrowly averting yet another government shutdown. This means that all decisions about government spending have been set through September 2019.
With these funds, more kids across the country will be able to benefit from programs that deliver hands-on food education, promote farm to school, and improve school food environments.
We’re pleased to share some good news: the bill includes more funding for high-quality food education! FoodCorps’ top policy priority is the Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program, which provides funding to organizations that deliver evidence-based, hands-on learning that integrates food, nutrition, and agriculture into lessons and activities in schools. This bill delivered $1m in funding for that program for a second year in a row. With your help (thank you to all who took action!), we successfully advocated for this second round of funding and are overjoyed to see it pass. With these funds, more kids across the country will be able to benefit from programs that deliver hands-on food education, promote farm to school, and improve school food environments.
On top of this win, the agriculture funding bill included a couple of other highlights. The bill continues a $5 million investment in farm to school grants. And, the bill includes $30 million for school kitchen equipment grants—funds that schools can use to purchase equipment like cooking ranges and ovens to prepare meals from scratch, serve more fruits and vegetables, and increase access to healthy foods.
While these are all exciting wins for school food, we know that this bill passed after a lengthy—and unnecessary—government shutdown that continues to impact people across the country. We also recognize that it is happening during a divisive debate about a border wall and immigration, and that more may be to come on that front. At FoodCorps, we embrace equity, diversity and inclusion as strategic and moral imperatives in our work. We’re working to advocate for systems that ensure the health and safety of all children, and to stand against those that divide us and prevent children in our communities from reaching their full potential.