More than $30 million in USDA grants will help schools train food service professionals and obtain the equipment needed to prepare and serve healthier school lunches, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Friday.
The grants will support the implementation of Smarter Lunchrooms, a strategy that uses behavioral cues to encourage students to eat healthy food options during school meals.
"These grants will help schools obtain better equipment and additional training for their hardworking school food service professionals," Vilsack explained in a USDA statement. "We're working to do everything we can to support schools as they work to provide kids the nutrition they need to learn and develop into healthy adults."
USDA provides the funding to states, which then competitively award grants to school districts in order to purchase necessary equipment, giving priority to high-need schools where 50% or more of the enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced price meals.
These USDA grants are only open to state agencies administering the NSLP, SBP, the Summer Food Service Program, or Child and Adult Care Food Programs.
Through a competitive grants process, Team Nutrition training grants will be funded for the period of September 30, 2015 - September 30, 2017. State agencies may apply for up to $350,000.