October 2022 – A policy of universal school and early care and education (ECE) meals for all kids, embedded with the core values of farm to school, has the potential to radically transform our food system for the better. www.farmtoschool.org/policy/values-aligned-universal-meals
July 28, 2022 – David Hutabarat, MAM, Communications Director, National Farm to School Network
The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act passed through the House Committee on Education and Labor! Thank you to everyone who took action and advocated. This is a moment to celebrate!
Of course, this is only step one. This bill needs to continue passing through the whole House as well as the Senate. Letting legislators know what’s important to us and thanking them when they listen is crucial feedback, and continuing to spread the word to our communities on supporting child nutrition is key.
We are asking you to please spread the word to keep the momentum up. We created a toolkit with some sample language you can copy/paste directly to Twitter.
Schools serve as a critical venue to provide support to children. School lunch programs improve dietary intake, specifically increasing fruit and vegetable consumption of students. Research shows receiving a free lunch reduces food insecurity and school meal disparities. It is crucial to not only address having enough to eat, but also providing quality nutrition to help prevent poor health outcomes. Additionally, free school lunch programs reduce financial and emotional stress on food insecure students and families.
School nutrition directors are already planning menus, writing bids and placing orders for School Year 2022/23. School meal programs continue to face acute supply chain, labor and financial challenges. With no sign of disruptions easing, uncertainty regarding waiver status and reimbursement rates is hampering the integral bid process.
Meal programs and their suppliers urgently need the assurance of waiver extensions through SY 2022/23 and the security of continued regulatory flexibility to support meal service for students.The loss of child nutrition waivers on June 30 will have devastating consequences for these programs and the millions of students who depend on school meals. Contact your legislators to urge support for bipartisan Senate and House legislation to allow USDA to extend these critical waivers!
“I’m very concerned about not having the necessary waivers in place for school meals next year,” stated Trista Snider, School Nutrition Director for Weakley County Schools. “Our department stands to lose over $800,000 in revenue next school year if reimbursement rates are reduced, and if we revert to feeding students based on eligibility categories. If you would like to speak on behalf of kids and School Nutrition Programs across the nation, I encourage you to let your voice be heard and share this information with teachers, parents, and other stakeholders who may also like to take action!”
The Support Kids Not Red Tape Act is critical to sustaining school nutrition programs, ensuring children have access to school meals and preventing substantial financial losses for schools nationwide.
The Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is launching a postcard writing campaign in support of extending school nutrition program waivers for schools facing acute supply chain disruptions, persistent labor shortages and escalating costs. Currently, waivers will expire June 30th resulting in devastating consequences for these programs and the hungry students that rely on them.
The Support Kids Not Red Tape Act 1)Extends USDA’s waiver authority through September 30, 2023, 2)Directs states to submit a transition plan to USDA so that schools will be prepared and supported when transitioning back to normal National School Lunch Program operations after the waivers end., 3) Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to provide technical assistance to states on drafting transition plans and to School Food Authorities on meeting meal standards during the waiver period, and 4) Prevents schools from being penalized for not meeting meal pattern requirements during the waiver period if the violations are due to supply chain disruptions.
Download postcards and links here:
School Nutrition Association Take Action – Online Petition Form
Download Postcards and Advocacy Kit – to print, and organize postcard letter writing campaigns
Order Avery Postcards 8383 and Avery Labels 8160 on Amazon Smiles