House passes Upton ‘farm to cafeteria’ bill

Published 9:22 am Thursday, March 25, 2004

By Staff
WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved H.R. 3873, the Child Nutrition Improvement and Integrity Act, legislation that included U.S. Rep. Fred Upton's measure to help children develop healthy eating habits while providing a new, consistent market for local farmers.
H.R. 3873, which overwhelmingly passed the House 419-5, reauthorizes the federal Child Nutrition Act, the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and related programs.
Upton, a St. Joseph Republican, introduced his "Farm to Cafeteria" bill on June 26, 2003.
The bipartisan measure was co-sponsored by 41 members of Congress.
The measure had such broad support that it was included in the comprehensive child nutrition bill, H.R. 3873.
The Child Nutrition Improvement and Integrity Act seeks to improve nutritional services for vulnerable children by strengthening the certification process, insuring access for eligible children and addressing program integrity by insuring benefits are provided to children who are eligible. The bill also seeks to encourage healthy choices among children and to provide comprehensive solutions to concerns about health and nutrition in the school environment.
Upton's legislation creates a six-year, $10 million-a-year grant program and would provide grant funds of up to $100,000 per school district to establish "farm-to-cafeteria" programs.
Grants will help schools purchase equipment, provide staff training, conduct menu planning, locate sources of locally-produced food, purchase food and develop food and farm education programs such as farm visits and school gardens. Upton's bill strengthens the ties between local schools and local farms.
Every year through the federally-funded National School Lunch Program, American schools purchase billions of dollars of food to make 27 million lunches a day.
Upton's bill amends the National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.
Every five years Congress re-authorizes the Child Nutrition Act, which funds the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, Summer Food Service and other nutrition programs that are a lifeline for millions of American children.