Columbia, Missouri – President Obama signed into law yesterday a measure that will set new, expansive nutrition guidelines in the country's public schools. As Harvest Public Media's Jessica Naudziunas reports, the new law will get produce from local farms.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will shape new public school food offerings to help encourage healthier choices in vending machines and school lunches.
The hot dogs and breaded beefs of the past will be replaced with non-fried and whole wheat options in the future.
In rural America, where public schools are often surrounded by farmland, school menus do not always match what is grown a few miles away. But Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says funding is available to support farm-to-school fresh food sourcing.
"We want our youngsters to have a better idea of where their food comes from," says Vilsack. "Obviously if they are able to purchase it locally, they're also encouraging and improving the local economy. So, additional resources for this effort, additional focus on making sure schools are fully aware of what is actually grown and raised in their area, and encouraging them to look for ways in which they might be able to do business with local farmers."
Over the next ten years, these school food changes will take shape. The government has committed $4.5 billion dollars to the effort.