The 2008 Farm Bill amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to direct that the Secretary of Agriculture encourage institutions operating child nutrition programs to purchase unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products. Effective Oct. 1, 2008, institutions receiving funds through the child nutrition programs may apply an optional geographic preference in the procurement of unprocessed locally grown or locally raised agricultural products.
This provision applies to institutions in all of the child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Special Milk Program for Children, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program, as well as to purchases made for these programs by the Department of Defense Fresh Program. The provision also applies to state agencies making purchases on behalf of any of the aforementioned child nutrition programs.
The purpose of this proposed rule is to incorporate this procurement option in the programs' regulations and to define the term "unprocessed locally grown or locally raised agricultural products'' to ensure that both the intent of Congress in providing for such a procurement option is met and that any such definition will facilitate ease of implementation for institutions participating in the child nutrition programs. The proposed rule is intended to be implemented by institutions choosing to apply the geographic preference option for the procurement of locally grown and locally raised agricultural products.