Senator Boxer: Healthy Food for Schoolchildren
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I recently introduced legislation to support local farmers and improve nutrition in school-provided meals by offering more fresh produce to students.
My Healthy Food in Schools Act (S.3144) would create grants for schools to increase the availability of fruits and vegetables to students, fund the implementation of farm-to-school programs that connect cafeterias with local growers, and provide school cafeterias with the equipment they need to prepare and serve healthier meals for their students.
Childhood obesity threatens the health of one-third of American children. Passing the Healthy Food in Schools Act is a common-sense way to ensure that our nation’s children can eat well at school. This bill also supports farm-to-school programs, which are a proven method of improving children’s health while supporting local farmers and boosting local economies.
Currently U.S. Department of Agriculture spends more than $10 billion each year on school meal programs, but only a small fraction of that funding buys fruits and vegetables. According to a report by the Institute of Medicine titled “School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children,” increasing the amount and variety of vegetables and fruits in schools is one of the best ways to make school meals healthier.
Supporters of my bill include the Healthy Schools Coalition, the Public Health Institute, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the California Grape & Tree Fruit League, Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, Community Food Security Coalition, the Prevention Institute, the National WIC Association and the National Farm to School Network.
The Healthy Food in Schools Act would bring us closer to the goal of providing healthy meals for every American schoolchild. You can count on me to keep working to enact this important, common-sense legislation.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer