One could say the efforts of Jaime Oliver are succeeding. Or you could say the awareness of the general public about the quality of fresh food over processed is growing. Or one might say that with the change in government, our society is once again putting people ahead of corporations. Whatever the reason, you should be happy about new regulations from the U. S. Department of Agriculture regarding public school lunches.
The new rule gives preference to schools using local farm products in their lunch programs. Whether Oliver’s Food Revolution had anything to do with that or not, I don’t know. But it is exactly what Oliver’s program wanted. Better and fresher food without spending more money was the goal.
The USDA says not only will this remove the barriers keeping schools from buying locally produced food, but will give an economic boost to local farmers. The agency is sending teams to select district to work on farm-to-school issues. The teams will not only look at what local products are available, but also nutrition and food literacy programs for school children.
The new “buy local” rule is part of the healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act signed into law a few months ago by President Obama. This law builds on the Farm Bill which provides for increases and flexibility for USDA programs to revitalize rural economies by supporting local food systems. The agency expects consumer demand for locally grown food to rise to $7 billion by next year, up from $4 billion ten years ago.
What do you think about this program? Please leave us your comments.