Local Eats

Feds Boost Support for Local Farm-to-School Meals

A new ruling by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) underscores the federal government’s intent to encourage use of local farm products in school meals. It allows schools and other providers to give preference to unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products for school-based nutrition assistance programs.

“This rule is an important milestone that will help ensure that our children have access to fresh produce and other agricultural products,” confirms Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon. “It will also give a much-needed boost to local farmers and agricultural producers.”

Part of the landmark Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 signed into law by President Obama—which improves the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children— the rule supports USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative and builds on the 2008 Farm Bill designed to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems. USDA expects Americans’ spending for locally grown food to rise from an estimated $4 billion in 2002 to as much as $7 billion by 2012.

For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s.

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