During a recent roundtable meeting with local school officials, including National School Boards Association Board Director Neil Putnam, United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue learned firsthand how the department can best support efforts to improve our nation’s school meal programs. The meeting, which allowed for local school leaders to voice comments on the importance of making school meals more nutritious, is the latest in USDA’s efforts to help make school meals more attractive by giving back control to those who know students best-- local school leaders and food professionals.
“I appreciate U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s interest in hearing directly from locally elected school board members who are on the front lines of providing affordable nutritious meals to students,” said Putnam. “In my view, increased flexibility and decreased regulations will help local school districts reduce food waste and costs and will increase student participation in school meal programs,” Putnam continued.
Later this year, the USDA plans to release the final ruling on its Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains and Sodium Requirements, as well as continue to meet and receive feedback from local voices and school meal participants on how to help with reforming school meal programs.
“School officials have expertise critical to the conversation of school meal reform,” said Secretary Perdue. “USDA is committed to giving schools the common-sense flexibilities they need to serve nutritious meals kids want to eat.”
Read more about the roundtable and the USDA's efforts here.