The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing $60 million in farm-to-school commodity purchasing and $100 million to create a new healthy food incentive fund.
The investments are part of a larger framework released by the USDA intended to help strengthen the supply chain and combat inflation.
The $60 million portion will be distributed as grants to help states and territories with local procurement in school nutrition programs. The $100 million will go toward helping school food authorities improve the nutritional quality of school meals.
Supply chain challenges have plagued school nutrition professionals throughout the pandemic. In a survey released by the School Nutrition Association late last year, over 98% of respondents said that they struggled with menu items being unavailable in sufficient quantities, supplies and packaging being unavailable in sufficient quantities, and menu items being discontinued by manufacturers. Some schools that have turned to local procurement say that they have been able to receive products more reliably compared to working with bigger distributors.