Childhood Nutrition & Farm To School
Repeating the common sense refrain of “a hungry child cannot learn” across Vermont and the country, Senator Leahy has long advocated for childhood school nutrition programs as a necessary step to addressing the issues of community health and poverty. Leahy supports the improvement of nutritional standards for school lunches to ensure that all students, regardless of economic background, have access to healthy meals. Building on Vermont’s leadership in promoting locally-produced sourced foods, Leahy is a leading advocate for linking local farms and the classroom, through Farm to School initiatives.
With food insecurity on the rise, more than 30 percent of all children in the United States struggle with obesity, resulting in poor health and learning and behavioral difficulties in school. The National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs, in addition to the Farm to School program, are critical steps to addressing this unfortunate cycle. Leahy believes we will raise a healthier generation of children by providing schools across the country access to well-balanced meals, nutrition education, and lifelong lessons about local food systems.
A champion of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Leahy this year continued the bipartisan tradition of working toward the day that no child goes hungry by introducing the Farm to School Act of 2015 with Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). This bill empowers children and their families to make informed food choices, and recognizes the value in connecting local agriculture and schools as a way to boost local economies.
In May, Leahy lauded the success of this program by visiting Milton Elementary School, joining the students for a locally-sourced lunch, and advocating for his bipartisan, bicameral Farm to School Act of 2015.
In October, Leahy received the Chef’s Roast Action Award from the Chef Action Network (CAN) and Food Policy Action (FPA) for his work on childhood nutrition.