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USDA grants to support schools in meeting new meal requirements

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced new grants to support schools as they strive to serve healthy food, provide nutrition education, and create an environment focused on healthy eating and physical activity.

"When we serve our children healthy school meals, we're making a critical investment in their academic performance, their physical health, and their future," said Merrigan. "Today's announcement reflects our ongoing commitment to provide states with the tools they need to build a healthy school environment. Providing nutrition education resources, extending training and technical assistance to foodservice professionals, and building community support helps ensure that every child in America has a chance to succeed."

Funded in support of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the Team Nutrition training grants will assist schools in meeting the new school meal requirements, encourage HealthierUS School Challenge participation, support students' nutritious choices by structuring the cafeteria environment in a way that encourages the selection of healthy foods, and promote healthier environments to align with the Local Wellness Policy requirements established in the Act.

USDA is awarding approximately $5.2 million in 18 states and one territory including: Alaska, $242,847; Arizona, $319,772; Florida, $311,; Guam, $330,344; Hawaii, $233,016; Idaho, $245,120; Illinois, $500; Iowa, $348,335; Kansas, $349,715; Michigan, $333,420; Missouri, $342,609; Montana, $349,924; New Jersey, $324,151; North Dakota, $247,580; Ohio, $345,849; Utah, $41,540; Washington, $222,508; Washington, $46,772; West Virginia, $346,515; and Wisconsin, $203,056.

Funding will be made available for the period of Sept. 30, 2012, through September 30, 2014, to assist state agencies in achieving the Team Nutrition goals. States must apply Team Nutrition's three behavior-focused strategies:

--Provide training and technical assistance to child nutrition foodservice professionals to enable them to prepare and serve nutritious meals that appeal to children.

--Provide fun and interactive nutrition education for children, teachers, parents, and other caregivers.

--Build school and community support for creating healthy school environments that are conducive to healthy eating and physical activity.

To learn about the new meal standards, go to www.fns.usda.gov/healthierschoolday. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including school meals programs, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work together to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.

Date: 10/15/2012



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