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New USDA Data Show Growing Farm to School Efforts Help to Reduce Plate Waste, Increase Student Participation in Healthier School Meals Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced preliminary Farm to School Census data for school year 2013-2014 that indicate strong farm to school programs can increase the number of students purchasing school breakfast and lunch, improve consumption of healthier foods at school, and reduce plate waste. Census data also indicate that schools purchased nearly $600 million worth of food locally in school year 2013-2014, a 55 percent increase over school year 2011-2012 when the first Farm to School Census was conducted, creating new marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers in their communities.

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USDA Announces New Farm to School Program to Improve the Health and Nutrition of Kids Receiving School Meals

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today that USDA will be investing in farm to school programs nationwide to help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers. Merrigan joined students at Southern High School to announce the new program that will promote opportunities for nutrition and agriculture education while providing new economic opportunities for food producers of all kinds and communities nationwide. Students at the school displayed and highlighted their farm to school efforts with a tour of the school’s greenhouse.

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USDA Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Farm to School Grants to Continue Efforts to Increase Local Foods in Eligible Schools

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the release of a request for applications for the third round of USDA's Farm to School grants, including the addition of a new funding track. These grants help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers.

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USDA Celebrates Progress during National School Lunch Week and Farm to School Month

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) joins youth, parents, schools, communities, and partners across the country in honoring National School Lunch Week 2016, as proclaimed by President Obama, a time to reflect on the positive steps our nation has taken to make nutrition a priority in every U.S. school. This also coincides with the month-long celebration of Farm to School Month, which recognizes efforts to bring local foods into schools and onto students' trays.

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USDA Announces Availability of $5 Million in Farm to School Grants to Increase Local Foods in Schools

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that up to $5 million in grant funds is available to help schools create or strengthen farm to school programs this school year. Administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, these annual, competitive grants will help further USDA efforts to increase locally sourced foods in America’s school meals.

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New Report Shows Farm to School Grants Have Increased Likelihood that 6.9 Million Kids Will Eat More Healthy Food at School, Created New Local Market Opportunities for Farmers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the release of a new report that shows that USDA's Farm to School Grant Program, established and funded through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, has helped 12,300 schools improve nutritious meal options made with local ingredients for 6.9 million students, while expanding market opportunities for family farmers and ranchers in their communities. Recent studies published in Childhood Obesity and Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior indicate that strong farm to school programs can impact consumption of fruits and vegetables, leading to reductions in plate waste.

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FNS Blog: Seven Ways Farm to School Can Make You ‘Cool’

As we celebrate Farm to School Month this October, we can all feel the temperatures cooling down with the fall season. Here are seven ways USDA’s Farm to School Program can make your school and community ‘cooler’ throughout the year!

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Farm to School Programs Invest Nearly $800 Million in Local Economies

Schools across the United States purchased $789 million in local foods from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers in school year 2013 – 2014, according to results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Census released today. That represents a 105 percent increase over the 2011-2012 school year when the first census was conducted, signifying the deepening commitment of schools nationwide to bring local food into the cafeteria and strengthen their local economies.

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Agriculture Deputy Secretary Highlights School Meal Improvements to National School Nutrition Advocates

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today highlighted the importance of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and announced the findings of USDA's first Farm to School report during the 2011 School Nutrition Association national convention. Merrigan delivered remarks to thousands of school nutrition professionals at the three-day event which provided an opportunity to discuss the Obama administration's efforts to improve the health and nutrition of meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs.

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USDA Celebrates National Farm to School Month

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted important strides made in offering healthy, local food to millions of school children through USDA's Farm to School program, and emphasized the program's role in creating economic opportunity for America's farmers and ranchers. According to USDA's first-ever Farm to School Census, in school year 2011-2012, schools participating in farm to school activities purchased and served over $350 million in local food, with more than half of participating schools planning to purchase even more local foods in future school years.