Release No. 0513.10
Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
USDA and White House Official Visit School to Highlight National School Lunch Week
Visit to Local Elementary School Kicks Off 2nd Annual D.C. Farm to School Week
WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2010 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass today celebrated National School Lunch Week by helping to kick-off the 2nd annual D.C. Farm to School Week at Savoy Elementary School, an initiative designed to help children learn where their food comes from and the lifelong benefits of a healthy diet. At today's event, Merrigan and Kass also highlighted the Obama administration's priorities for improving school meals and advancing the health of our Nation's children through opportunities like USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC), an initiative that recognizes schools for excellence in nutrition and physical activity.
"As schools across the country celebrate National School Lunch Week, we recognize how important it is that our children be healthy and active, that they not go hungry, and that they have access to nutritious meals," said Merrigan. "Schools like Savoy Elementary are making great strides to improve the nutrition and health of their kids and we applaud their efforts to make the next generation the healthiest and best educated in our history."
The HUSSC is a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. Schools participating in the HUSSC voluntarily adopt USDA standards for food they serve at their schools, agree to provide nutrition education and provide opportunities for physical activity.
"This week schools in Washington D.C. will serve healthy, locally-grown foods in school meals, and coordinate farm field trips and chef demonstrations to help kids connect with where their food comes from," said Kass. "And across the nation the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign is working to improve the health and well-being of children so that our kids can reach their full potential in school and beyond."
In February, the First Lady and USDA challenged stakeholders to double the number of HUSSC schools within in a year and add 1,000 schools per year for two years after that. Schools participating in the Challenge are recognized with Gold of Distinction, Gold, Silver, or Bronze-level certification. As of late September, 841 HUSSC awards have been made to schools. HUSSC certification also includes monetary incentives for schools -$2,000 for Gold Award of Distinction, $1,500 for Gold, $1,000 for Silver and $500 for Bronze.
The First Lady actively supports the HUSSC with innovative Let's Move! initiatives, including Chefs Move to Schools, a collaboration that links chefs with nearby schools, and most recently with the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition, launched in early September. This competition brings together chefs, school nutrition professionals, students and parents who work in teams to develop nutritious, delicious, kid-approved recipes for use in schools. Recipes must be submitted by Dec. 30. Winners will have a chance to compete in a national cook-off and $12,000 in prizes. For more information, please visit
Improving USDA's child nutrition programs on behalf of 32 million kids across the nation is a top priority of the Obama Administration. Strengthening the Child Nutrition Act, which authorizes USDA's child nutrition programs including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, is the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign. This legislation will serve as a down payment in battling hunger and food insecurity while providing critical resources to raise a generation of healthy children. To learn more about the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign, visit