As schools close, USDA vows to deliver boxes of food to some students in rural America

The Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it will be delivering boxes of food to children affected by school closures due to the novel coronavirus in rural America. In partnership with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, and PepsiCo, the USDA says it will eventually deliver 1 million meals per week.(No paywall)

White House renews call for broader work rules for SNAP

The Trump administration proposed a 29 percent cut in food stamps on Monday, to be achieved by requiring more recipients to work at least 20 hours a week and by providing some benefits in the form of a box of food instead of letting people buy food themselves at grocery stores. The White House also asked Congress for stricter rules for access to free meals for low-income children at public schools.

Reduced-price meals should be free, says school food group

Congress can remove a roadblock to good nutrition by eliminating the reduced-price category for school lunches and breakfasts, and making the meals free for lower-income children, said the School Nutrition Association on Monday. Roughly 6 percent of lunches and 9 percent of breakfasts served at schools nationwide are sold at reduced prices of 40 cents for lunch and 30 cents for breakfast.

Q&A: Jennifer E. Gaddis on school food, feminism and worker rights

In Jennifer E. Gaddis’s new book, The Labor of Lunch: Why We Need real Food and Real Jobs in American Public Schools, school lunch is the framework for serious thinking about politics and people power. Gaddis makes the case that to reform school food, we need better working conditions and pay for cafeteria workers in addition to more nutritious ingredients. I asked Gaddis, an assistant professor of civil society and community studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to discuss the pillars of her research and how school food policy should move forward.(No paywall)

Q&A: Bettina Elias Siegel, author of ‘Kid Food,’ on advertising, school lunch and food culture

Bettina Elias Siegel’s new book, Kid Food: The Challenge of Feeding Children in a Highly Processed World, is an entertaining primer for anxious parents on the myriad ways that America’s food system is designed to frustrate their best efforts to feed their kids a healthy diet—and what can be done to push back and, hopefully, change that system.(No paywall)

Summer food program loses ground for third year

Participation in federally funded summer nutrition programs, which provide meals for low-income children when school is out of session, is down by 10 percent since 2015, said the anti-hunger Food Research and Action Center in a report today. Work in Congress to update USDA’s child nutrition …

‘Kids eat local’ bills may be part of child nutrition overhaul

Companion bills introduced in the House and Senate would make it easier for schools to buy locally produced foods to serve to their students, said sponsors on Thursday.

School participation in federal free lunch and breakfast program continues to grow, report finds

Nearly 13.6 million students are now receiving free breakfast and lunch through the community eligibility program, a federal initiative that has previously been targeted for cuts by Republicans, according to a new report. That figure is a 14-percent increase in the past year alone.

Roberts sees route for reauthorizing child nutrition this year

After warning against saddling small schools with big-city regulations, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts said on Wednesday that Congress could act swiftly on the overdue renewal of child nutrition programs. The programs, headlined by school lunch and WIC, cost $30 billion a year.

Slower growth in school breakfast participation

About half as many children take part in the school breakfast program as the more than 30 million who eat a hot meal through the school lunch program, according to USDA's most recent data. The government and the anti-hunger group Food Research and Action Center say that participation in school breakfast grew at a slower rate during the 2016-17 school year than it did in previous years.