Minnesota bill would provide free milk to students who bring lunch from home

Also in this week’s legislative update: A Oklahoma bill would encourage farm-to-school efforts in the state and Hawaii and Tennessee consider implementing universal free meals at school.
Milk cartons
A bill in Minnesota would provide free milk to students who bring their meals from home. | Photo: Shutterstock

It’s been an active week at the state level when it comes to school nutrition legislation. A new bill in Minnesota would provide reimbursement for schools that serve milk to students who brought lunch from home, an Oklahoma lawmaker wants to increase farm-to-school efforts in the state, and Hawaii and Tennessee are considering implementing universal free meals at school.

Here’s the latest in school nutrition legislation.

Minnesota bill would offer milk to students who bring meals from home

A bill introduced in Minnesota would allow schools to provide students with a free carton of milk even if they brought their lunch from home.

SF 3912 would reimburse schools for every half-pint of milk served to students who bring their own meals.

If passed, the bill would go into effect fiscal year 2025. A companion bill has also been introduced in the House.

The state currently offers school meals to all students free of charge.

Oklahoma lawmaker places a focus on farm-to-school

A lawmaker in Oklahoma is looking to increase the amount of local ingredients in school meals.  

Senator Jessica Garvin has introduced SB 1473 which would set up a farm-to-school grant program in the state, offer farm-to-school resources and training for school nutrition operators and farmers, and provide leadership at the state level to encourage school nutrition programs to incorporate more local ingredients into meals.  

The bill has already passed the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and is currently in the Appropriations Committee.

Nationally, farm-to-school continues to grow in popularity. Along with providing farm-to-school grants through its Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invested $60 million in farm-to-school commodity purchasing and recently partnered with the Urban School Food Allianceto help schools overcome procurement challenges, including sourcing locally. 

Hawaii and Tennessee consider universal free school meals

Lawmakers in Hawaii and Tennessee have introduced bills that would set up universal free school meal programs in their respective states.

In Hawaii, HB 1775 would provide every public school student in the state free breakfast and lunch at school starting next school year.  

The state introduced a similar bill last year, but it was held in the House.

Similarly in Tennessee, HB 255 would require that schools in the state provide free breakfast and lunch to all public school students.

See what states currently offer universal free meals using the map below:



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