USDA Child Nutrition Program Rule Proposals — What are They and Why Should You Take Action? (Deadline: Extended to May 10, 2023)
On February 7, 2023, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced proposed rule changes to its child nutrition program standards. This will have a huge impact on school, after-school, and early child care meal programs.
Applications Now Open for Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program
On March 17, USDA opened applications for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS). The program will make $200 million available to state governments to purchase local food for school meal programs.
Despite Lack of Funding for USDA School Meal Waivers Extension, Wins Present for Children, Farmers, and Communities in Congress’s Latest Spending Bill
Congress recently passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package. While the demand for nutritious, equitably procured school meals far exceeds the scope of funding provided, this bill nevertheless contains a handful of wins for farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) and much-needed funds for our farmers and communities.
Health and Economic Gains of School Meals at Risk as Child Nutrition Program Waivers Expire
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress granted the USDA the authority to issue child nutrition waivers, which have given schools the funding & resources necessary to keep school meals programs afloat & provide free meals to an additional 10 million students each day. We were deeply disappointed to hear that Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that does not extend these waivers.
Grants available for Farm-to-Institution Projects under Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP)
On March 1st, USDA opened grant applications under the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), and with this opening came an exciting announcement; in addition to the standard focus areas of these grants, USDA is seeking to fund Farm to Institution (FTI) projects.
Creative Opportunities for Funding Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE): USDA Farm to School Grant
The USDA Farm to School Grant is an annual, competitive grant that supports the planning, development, and implementation of farm to school and farm to ECE programs. USDA's Farm to School grants are an important way to help state, regional, and local organizations as they initiate, expand, and institutionalize their farm to school and farm to ECE efforts.