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FoodCorps Responds to New USDA Nutrition Standards for School Meals

To truly nourish children, schools should follow standards and serve meals in an inclusive environment

April 29, 2024—In response to updated nutrition standards for school meals announced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), FoodCorps issued the following statement from Director of Federal Government Relations Ashanti Lewis:

“The new nutrition standards are a positive step toward more nourishing school meals, which are essential for children’s health and academic success. It takes more than a nutritionally balanced plate to ensure every child is nourished and ready to learn, and we applaud the USDA for continuing to prioritize locally sourced and culturally responsive meals in its guidance for schools. We support policies that enable schools to follow nutritional guidelines and serve meals that are scratch cooked, created with student input, and eaten in an inclusive and welcoming environment. We also support funding for incorporating hands-on food and nutrition education so students learn where their food comes from and develop positive relationships with food. We appreciate the USDA’s thoughtful consideration of the many stakeholders impacted by school meals—including students, families, school nutrition staff, and local food producers—in creating these guidelines.

We also believe that nutrition standards are much more powerful when they’re complemented by policies that lift up the work school nutrition professionals do on a daily basis to keep all students nourished. This includes policies that provide more flexibility and funding to procure high-quality ingredients from local farms and other food distributors, investing in training and professional development for school nutrition staff, equipping school kitchens with the tools they need to prepare meals from scratch, and ensuring all children have access to free school meals, regardless of their family income. We will continue to partner with the Biden-Harris administration to realize a future where all kids can count on school meals that help them learn, grow, and feel their best.”

About FoodCorps
FoodCorps partners with schools and communities to nourish children’s health, education, and sense of belonging so that every child, in every school, experiences the joy and power of food. Our AmeriCorps members serve alongside educators and school nutrition leaders to provide children with nourishing meals, food education, and culturally affirming experiences with food that celebrate and nurture the whole child. Building on this direct programming, FoodCorps advocates for policy change, grows networks, and develops leaders in service of every child’s health and well-being. Our goal is that by 2030, every child will have access to food education and nourishing food in school.