Congress Passes Child Nutrition Bill

Washington, D.C.—Lawmakers have passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which will dedicate $4.5 billion to programs aiding the cause of a healthy school lunch. The presence of organic foods in underprivileged school cafeterias will receive a big boost, due to a $10 million Organic Pilot Program designed to help provide organic food choices in school nutrition programs.

The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 264-to-157 after moving through the Senate in August. The $10 million organic food provision will grant money to socially disadvantaged schools that adopt organic food as part of their lunch menus. Key supporters of the pilot program included Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The Organic Trade Association (OTA) worked with more than 20 House of Representatives officials to get the bill passed, including Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

OTA also supported the bill’s $40 million Farm-to-School Program, a mandatory funding item that will provide competitive grants and a technical assistance program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to foster the adoption of local foods from small- and medium-sized farms in school meals. The current funding structure of the overall Act would require budget cuts in the current food stamps program, but President Obama has promised that alternative funding will be found before this effect kicks in.

Published online 12/10/10