the past several months, we’ve been preparing for Congress to take up
reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act this fall. However, as you may
have noticed, the healthcare debate has been all-consuming in Washington, delaying most everything else --
including Child Nutrition Act reauthorization.
Last week, the Agriculture Appropriations bill extended the current school food program through September 30, 2010 – and all it needs is a presidential signature. It makes some important new investments in health, including:
- $85 million to improve children’s access to meals during the summer
- $25 million to help schools purchase cafeteria equipment to provide healthy school meals
- $25 million to help states automatically enroll children in the School Lunch Program
However, it does not fundamentally shift the program or fund healthier school food. That battle will be taken up next fall.
extension is not unexpected and it may not be a bad thing. Updating the
Child Nutrition Act could involve major policy shifts, and it deserves to be in the
front and center of policy discussions when it's taken up. As long as the health care
debate continues, the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization and the school food issues it involves may get lost in the
So while we won’t see comprehensive reforms to school food this year, we have seen a great deal of exciting movement from the administration (some of which we’ve blogged about here and here). All of this movement will affect the debate when Congress takes it up next year.
In the meantime, we will again bring our student chefs -- and the healthy school meals they design -- to Washington, we will continue working with policymakers on school nutrition, and we will work to raise the profile of the issues involved in Child Nutrition Act reauthorization, particularly the issue of making more nutritious school meals available to children throughout the US.
Stay tuned – we’ll keep you updated.