As the Urban School Food Alliance (the Alliance), we represent seven of the largest school districts in the nation (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas, Orange County in Orlando and Broward County in Fort Lauderdale), feeding more three million elementary, middle school and high school students every school day. As many as 90 percent of the children in our districts qualify for free or reduced-priced meals.
The Urban School Food Alliance deeply values, along with USDA, the health and wellbeing of the children we serve. We, as large districts, have been able to meet and continue to support the nutrition standards set by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. We also realize that smaller school food programs with limited resources struggle to meet certain aspects of the Act. The flexibility outlined by the Secretary of Agriculture will be a great benefit to most of the nation’s school food programs.
As leaders of large urban schools, the Urban School Food Alliance will continue to partner with the USDA in the K-12 arena by leading in reducing food costs and by setting standards and volume procurements as appropriate. We will ensure school meals provide the highest standards of quality and nutrition for the nation’s children. We will continue to champion food programs that include antibiotic-free initiatives and the elimination of unwholesome ingredients in the food supply. We will persist in helping the environment by employing sound environmental practices and by increasing the use of compostable items in school food service.
We look forward to continuing our close partnership with the USDA to enhance “The Greatest Hidden Treasure in America”- the school meal experience – all with the goal of improving student health and fostering their academic success.