LEGISLATION TO INCREASE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IN SCHOOL MEALS INTRODUCED

News Date: 12/22/2009

Representatives Sam Farr, D-Cali., and Adam Putnam, R-Fla., have introduced the Children’s Fruits and Vegetables Act of 2009 (H.R. 4333), with the purpose of improving health and limiting obesity among America's schoolchildren through increased the amounts of fruits and vegetables in school breakfasts and lunches. The bill currently has 15 co-sponsors. 

The bill requires USDA to implement a plan to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables purchased for school feeding programs and it provides $10 million/year for two years to USDA to work with schools to encourage the use of salad bars in school cafeterias.    The legislation also provides a one-time payment of $100 million to improve overall cafeteria quality and feeding infrastructure.  

In addition, the bill would amend Section 10603 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 to provide for an increase in fruit and vegetable commodity purchases for domestic nutrition programs, as opposed to other agricultural commodities, by 5 percent in FY 2010, 10 percent in FY2011, 15 percent in FY2012, 20 percent in FY2013, and by 25 percent in FY2014.

A key provision of the bill is a robust competitive grant program to promote farm-to-school projects and provides for the spending of $10 million/year for two years to promote farm-to-school programs.   USDA would provide competitive matching and technical assistance grants to schools and institutions to carry out a farm-to-school program.  The types of grants provided would include implementation grants that support the cost of conducting a farm-to-school program; training and technical assistance grants for the training, operational support, information and access to resources necessary for carrying out the program and planning grants to support the cost of conducting research, identifying resources and developing partnerships to ensure a successful program.  (Contact: Amy Mann)