Child Nutrition Act OverviewThe Child Nutrition Act includes programs that are responsible for feeding America’s children through the National School Breakfast program, National School Lunch Program, and After School Program. More than 30 million low income children are fed through these and other programs every day. The Act also includes the Women, Infants, and Children’s Program (WIC), which provides meals to children and their pregnant or nursing mothers. WIC has more than 9 million participants. The Act must be extended or reauthorized every five years, or the programs will expire.
OTA is working to incorporate more organic offerings in the programs included in the 2010 Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. Specifically, OTA is lobbying for an Organic Pilot Program to be included that would authorize a $10 million competitive grant program for lower income school districts to purchase organic items for their menus. OTA also supports removing barriers to organic foods in the WIC program, which is administered by the states. Additionally, OTA supports a robust Farm to School Program to link local organic farmers to their community’s schools.
Organic Pilot Program Request for Funding
Because the $10 million for the Organic Pilot Program is not mandated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, OTA wrote to Secretary Vilsack to ask that USDA include the Program in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. OTA understands the process to initiate a pilot program can take a year, or more, and believes that including the Organic Pilot Program in USDA’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget will expedite the creation of the Program. Read Vilsack’s response.
President signs the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
The President on Dec. 13 signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act into law. This includes the first-ever Organic Pilot Program that will provide grants to schools to incorporate organic foods in school feeding programs. Read the White House statement on the Act here.
Organic Pilot Program Passes Congress
Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that includes a $10 million Organic Pilot Program OTA championed to help provide organic food choices in school nutrition programs. Read the press release.
CQ Roll Calls refers to organic as "highlight" of Child Nutrition Bill
CQ Today published an article in its Nov. 16, 2010 print and online issues referencing the Organic Pilot Program as a tool to improve nutrition standards. Read the article here. (OTA Members Only Resource)
Letter in Support of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act
OTA joined with over 1,000 other organizations around the United States on November 11, 2010 to ask Congress to finish child nutrition legislation during the lame duck session. Read the letter here.
Organic Pilot Program Clears Senate before August Recess
The Senate voted unanimously to pass its version of the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (named the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010) on Thursday, including the Organic Pilot Program. There are some changes since the Senate Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutrition Committee passed the bill in March, including the removal of a provision that used EQIP funds to offset the costs of the bill. Click here for a full summary. (Members Only)
Organic Pilot Program Added to House Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization
The House Committee on Education and Labor voted to include the Organic Pilot Program in the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act. OTA has been lobbying to have the Program included in the House bill since the Senate Agriculture Committee included it in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Read a summary here. (OTA Members Only Resource)
House Education and Labor Committee Child Nutrition Hearing
The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on July 7th to discuss the child nutrition reauthorization bill, “H.R.5504, Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act.” The Committee questioned Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and a panel of experts including Chef Tom Colicchio, Major General Paul Monroe of the Executive Advisory Council, Dr. Eduardo Sanchez of Texas Blue Cross/Blue Shield, James Weill of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), and Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. Committee Chairman George Miller plans to hold a mark up, during which time amendments can be offered to the bill, the week of July 12th. OTA hopes to have the Organic Pilot Program included as an amendment in the bill during the mark up. Read a summary of the hearing. (OTA Members Only Resource)
Language for organic included for school feeding programs
OTA applauded Senator Sherrod Brown (OH), chair for the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition and Family Farms, and Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) for gaining inclusion of an amendment for a pilot project to offer healthy organic food in school feeding programs in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee on March 24, 2010.
The amendment would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to establish an organic food pilot program that would provide grants on a competitive basis to school food authorities to increase the amount of organic foods provided to schoolchildren under the school feeding program. Read OTA’s Press Release.
Senate Passed Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization
House Committee Passed Organic Pilot Program Amendment
House Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill as Introduced
Organic Pilot Program in the Senate Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill