We wanted to share this update from the National Farm to School Network on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill.
In May, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016, marking another step forward in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) process, but potentially a step backward for our nation’s children. While there are considerable issues with the bill, one bright spot is farm to school. The bill uses much of the language from the Farm to School Act of 2015 marker bill and includes a doubling of funding – from $5 to $10 million annually – for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program.
Aside from this farm to school victory, the bill is controversial. A proposed three-state block grant proposal cut funding to operate the school nutrition programs in those states and replace it with a fixed yearly sum based on 2016 funding levels. This would eliminate the additional six-cent reimbursement that 98 percent of school districts receive for meeting the improved nutrition standards and make it difficult to meet the needs of low-income children in fluctuating local economies. Many organizations are mobilizing to stand up against this and other negative impacts of the bill. Learn more about these advocacy efforts and find opportunities to get involved here.
Be sure to follow along on the National Farm to School Network's blog for a full update on the current status of CNR. They anticipate the bill will move early this summer or late in the fall.