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Give Higher Priority to Farm to School Programs

The Capital Times - The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, held a conference call last week with about a thousand of his closest friends to talk about the Obama administration’s initiatives on child nutrition and physical activity. He started by describing the twin problems that make this a high priority for the administration: obesity and hunger. A third of the nation’s children are overweight, and 16.5 million children live in food-insecure households — those with hunger or fear of starvation.

For decades, the federal government has sought to address child hunger through programs such as the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Snack Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program. These programs are coming up for review as part of the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which will occur this year, and attention will also be given to how they reduce obesity. Vilsack says the Obama administration is committing an additional $1 billion to this effort.

However, I was disappointed not to hear from Secretary Vilsack or see in the Obama budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2011 a clear commitment to fund Farm to School programs, which aim to get locally grown food served to children in school cafeterias. Read more.

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