Last year, California committed to providing free school meals to every student. The state’s universal school meals program will begin next school year, when the USDA will stop reimbursing districts for providing free meals to all students as its done since the start of the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, districts were only reimbursed for feeding students who were enrolled in the National School Lunch Program.
The USDA will put $60 million towards “farm-to-school” grants, which schools and districts can use to establish supply chains with local farms, plant school gardens, create new menu items to include local ingredients, and for other efforts to connect students with the sources of their food.
The USDA is also putting $100 million towards establishing a Healthy Food Incentive Fund, which will support efforts to improve the nutritional quality of school meals.