USDA recognizes school meals professionals tireless efforts

By Julie Giyer
Kern Valley Sun

On October 15, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a statement in support of President Donald J. Trump’s National School Lunch Week Proclamation. The USDA celebrates food service professionals, school leaders, farmers, producers, and ranchers. “The tireless efforts of school food service professionals deserve recognition and I thank them for their service to our country and their commitment to the future of our next generation.” said Perdue. The USDA recognizes that healthy lunches are important to set children up for success. They wanted the school food service professionals to have more control because they know what their kids want to eat. The USDA will also be offering school food workers the tools they need with world-class customer service. There will now be the opportunity to allow commercially produced smoothies in school meals as well as healthier, more innovative tools. Schools have the resources to now offer the option of salad bars. This will help teach good eating habits.

The USDA is promoting Farm to School initiatives as well. This year the grants from Farm to School are the biggest amounts ever awarded- over $9 million supporting programs across 42 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. It will reach over 3.2 million children in more than 5,400 schools. The grants will increase the local food amount and create new opportunities for local farmers, producers, and ranchers, also inspiring children to consider careers in agriculture.

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is working to promote a nutritious diet and reduce food insecurities among the American People. There are 15 nutrition assistance programs administered to children and low-income families. They also co-developed the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy and provide science-based nutrition recommendations.