FoodCorps Applauds USDA’s Investment in Healthy Food and Nutrition for Students as Part of $2 Billion Food System Transformation Framework
Framework Comes on the Heels of President Biden’s Announcement of Historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
June 2, 2022 – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Food System Transformation framework, a new plan and commitment to create an equitable and more resilient American food system. The new framework’s goals are key investments that show President Joe Biden’s administration’s commitment to prioritizing access to healthy meals for our nation’s children.
Key highlights geared toward improving access to healthy food within schools include:
- $100 million to create a new Healthy Food Incentive Fund, which will support school food authorities to innovate and accelerate their efforts to improve the nutritional quality of school meals for children. These funds will support peer-to-peer learning and recognize local programs for their leadership, excellence, and efforts to deliver nutritious food.
- $60 million to leverage increased commodity purchases through farm to school, a proven model of increasing markets for farmers via child nutrition programs while also providing children with fresh and healthy food. These grants to states and territories administering farm to school programs will support increased procurement and use of local foods in child nutrition program meals.
Curt Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO of FoodCorps, commended Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s announcement, saying, “These new investments in schools and kids, in addition to the White House’s upcoming Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, are a clear signal that our leaders are prioritizing the wellbeing of our nation’s children. I applaud these concrete efforts that recognize the importance of school meals and will have a real, positive impact on students across the country.”
FoodCorps and our partners have advocated for the creation of the Healthy Food Incentive Fund as a critical investment to support initiatives such as hands-on food education to ensure students consume healthy school meals. We look forward to continuing to work with the USDA to share examples of how successful local purchasing has alleviated supply chain challenges during the pandemic. The $2 billion investment comes days before the 76th anniversary of the creation of the National School Lunch Program, a pivotal program responsible for nourishing millions of children each year.
“We look forward to the continued momentum spurred by the administration to ensure that all kids — no matter their location, background, or circumstance — have access to nourishing food that helps them learn and grow,” Ellis added.