The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced several actions to expand support for and access to the school meal programs, including awarding $50 million in grants that will increase collaboration between schools, food producers and suppliers, and other partners to develop nutritious, appetizing school meals for kids.
The department also announced $10 million in grants for schools to expand nutrition education, as well as a proposed regulatory change to give more schools the option to provide healthy school meals to all students at no cost.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack shared the announcement at an event at Maplewood Elementary in Greeley, Colo. where he spoke with school and district leaders about how these USDA actions will benefit their communities.
As part of the USDA’s Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative, Vilsack announced that the department is awarding $50 million to the following organizations to manage the School Food System Transformation Challenge Sub-Grants:
- Boise State University
- Chef Ann Foundation
- Full Plates Full Potential
- Illinois Public Health Institute
These grants aim to foster innovation in the school food marketplace to get a wider variety of healthy, appealing foods into the marketplace and onto kids’ lunch trays. Schools and other eligible organizations can apply for the challenge sub-grants later this year and are encouraged to check the USDA’s Healthy Meals Incentives website for updates.