Examiner: Vermont Senator Leahy’s plan helps revamp school lunch program

North Central Vermont – an area filled with farmers and local food producers, will see some changes in how its students receive lunches. Before ending its summer session, the U.S. Senate on Aug. 5 unanimously approved sweeping changes in the school lunch program, including an expansion of an effort led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to multiply links between local farms and school lunch counters.

The fully paid for, bipartisan $4.5 billion childhood nutrition bill, which will be conferenced with a counterpart bill nearing action in the House, will renew and expand federal support for school lunch programs to reach more at-risk children and to improve lunch counter nutrition in several ways. Leahy called it an “historic investment in nutrition programs,” noting that it also delivers on a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to counter child obesity. The current charter for federal support for child nutrition programs expires Sept. 30.

Working with a bipartisan group of senators, Leahy — long a leader on hunger and child nutrition issues and the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee – pushed Senate leaders to make the bill a high priority.

Leahy said, “I’m pleased that the Senate took a lengthy stride toward improving the health of America’s children by passing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. These major improvements in the school lunch program target two of the greatest threats to the wellbeing of all American children: hunger and obesity.”

The school lunch enhancements include:

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