Coalition Report

Melissa Vatterott,
Food & Farm Director
Coalition for the Environment

Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act: An Important Bill for Children’s Health and Local Farmers

Federal child nutrition programs are important investments in the health and development of children across the United States. You may be surprised to know that these programs are also great opportunities for small-scale, environmentally-responsible farmers to sell their products into new markets. MCE is thrilled that this may be the year that Congress finally updates its outdated child nutrition laws. Congress typically revisits the child nutrition programs every five years and passes a new omnibus bill known as the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act or “Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization” (CNR) for short.

Right now, both chambers of Congress are considering two important bills to include in the final omnibus bill for CNR – the Kids Eat Local Act (H.R. 3220 in the House and S. 1817 in the Senate) and the Farm to School Act (H.R. 3562 in the House and S. 2026 in the Senate). The month of September is the time to call your members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor both of these bills!

The Kids Eat Local Act will support farm to school efforts by making it easier for schools to source locally grown and locally raised farm products for their school meals. The Farm to School Act will increase the funding available in the USDA’s Farm to School Grant Program – a program that has helped more than 33,600 schools nationwide improve their meal options with local food!

Both of these programs can benefit the Children and farmers in the St. Louis Regional Foodshed, which MCE defines as the 150 mile radius around St. Louis.

Call today to let your federally-elected officials know these two bills are important and ask them to co-sponsor both bills.

Unsure who your federally-elected officials are? Visit https://house.mo.gov/legislatorlookup.aspx to locate contact information for your federally elected officials (as well as information for your local and state elected officials).

For more information about the St. Louis Regional Foodshed or MCE’s work on federal food and farm policy, please visit our website www.moenvironment.org.