Today is a great day in school nutrition! The President of the United States (POTUS) signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 into law!
The is the first real raise/increase in school meal funding since 1973. While the increase may seem small it is historic and in addition to the funding increase there is a provision to increase funding for Farm to School Programs, funding that will allow for a competitive grants program that will help our local farmers. Access to food and nutrition programs will now be increased; families who now qualify for other governemtn programs will be streamlined into qualifying for free and reduced school meals. This law makes it easier for school districts to work with families to increase access to school meals.
Childhood obesity and childhood hunger go hand in hand. With the new competitive grant process for states to carry out strategies to end childhood hunger, we will begin to see a decrease in obesity in our schools. Our kids aren’t hungry because we lack food or because of a lack of food and nutrition programs. They are hungry because they lack access to these programs and to the nutritious foods they need to grow and thrive.
In Connecticut, one in three eligible students participate in school breakfast programs. These numbers are some of the lowest in the country. With additional resources available, we will be able to soon feed breakfast to more children in our schools in Connecticut. More kids eating breakfast equates to more kids learning and paying attention in class, and that equates to smarter kids down the road.
Resources for farm-to-school will increase the amount of local foods being served in schools. This is of great importance to me as the local food dude to continue educating children where the food comes from. My favorite story in our school gardens is of one child who popped a Sun Gold tomato into his mouth. That little tomato can change a whole generation of kids.
Lastly, there is a provision giving the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to regulate all food sold in schools. This includes competitive foods. This provision will possibly aid to the elimination of candy, soda and junk foods being sold in all schools, nationwide.
Thank you to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who fought for passage of this bill and now law. She stood st the Presidents side as he signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Act into law, keeping New Haven at the top!
Thank you to the First Lady for making School Nutrition a priority of hers, raising the bar and for devoting so much time for the health and well being of our kids!