Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday the Farm to School Census data for the 2013-2014 school year shows an increase in the number of students purchasing breakfast and lunch at school, and in the number of students choosing healthier foods and wasting less.
Local farmers and ranchers also benefited from the Farm to School program as data showed a 55 percent increase in the purchase of local food compared to the 2011-2012 school year. Schools spent almost $600 million to buy locally grown food.
The Farm to School Grant Program, a part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, offers help to schools from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish farm to school programs. As of September 2015, the Farm to School program grants have helped 12,300 schools, a total of 6.9 million students, to make more nutritious meals.
"Farm to School is one of many tactics and resources that USDA makes available to help schools successfully serve healthier meals to kids. Farm to school partnerships have a proven track record of encouraging kids to try, like and eat more healthy foods and creating new market opportunities for the farmers that grow them," Vilsack said. "Congress should act quickly to reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to build on the success of farm to school and the healthier school meals and continue our momentum towards a healthier next generation of Americans."
In addition to the healthy meal options, the programs also emphasize education in the areas of nutritious food and agriculture using hands-on experiential activities.
Organizations in this story
United States Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave SW Washington, DC 20250
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