This is National School Lunch Week and USDA, along with its partners, are celebrating the program's accomplishments, including the achievements of HealthierUS School Challenge honorees and the enactment of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The theme of this year's National School Lunch Week is "School Lunch – Let's Grow Healthy" and places special emphasis on Farm to School efforts. The initiative connects schools with regional or local farms to serve healthy meals using locally produced foods.
On Tuesday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack highlighted the changes that have been made in the school meals programs.
"Historic reforms in USDA's school meals programs have helped strengthen the nutritional habits of millions of American children," said Vilsack. "USDA's commitment to improving the quality and standards of food in our schools, coupled with efforts to increase physical activity, will enable more children to lead healthier lifestyles and put them on a path to a brighter future."
Since President Obama signed the HHFKA into law last December, USDA has worked to implement the Act's reforms, including provisions to simplify program administration, expand access and improve nutrition in school meals. And over 1,500 schools across the country have made improvements as part of the Healthier US School Challenge, a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation. Participating schools voluntarily adopt USDA standards for food they serve at their schools, agree to provide nutrition education, and offer greater opportunities for physical activity.
USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon said, "Farm to school activities not only inject fresh, locally-produced food into school meals programs, but also provide small farmers with new marketing opportunities and school children with the chance to learn about how food is produced and harvested for consumption."