Vilsack announces school meal investments

The USDA is investing $50 million to help expand access to healthy and nutritious school meal programs.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the funds will increase collaboration between schools, food producers, and suppliers. “To be able to understand and connect to provide locally and regionally produced food to urban, suburban, and rural area schools.”

He says one of the grants will be allocated to the Illinois Public Health Institute. “Which will be operating in a four-state area of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana,” Vilsack said. “They will work with a series of partners to focus on underserved and rural districts, and making sure the supply chain is strong enough to be able to access healthy and nutritious offerings.”

Vilsack says the department is also investing $10 million for schools to expand nutrition education. “We have a responsibility to assist this country in continuing to provide food and nutrition security for all of our people.”

The agency has also proposed a regulatory change that would give more schools the option to provide healthier meals at no cost. 

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