Southland school districts welcomed the new federal child nutrition funding signed into law on Monday by President Barack Obama. For LA Unified, it means an extra $6 million a year for its school lunch program.
The new law adds $4.5 billion to child nutrition programs over the next decade. It also opens up eligibility for federally subsidized meals, promotes school gardens and sets new standards for all food sold at public schools.
The law also increases funding for innovated nutrition programs such as the one overseen by Arthur Cummins at the Orange County Office of Education. It reaches 10 school districts in Orange County.
"Staff will train teachers on how to integrate messages of nutrition into core curriculum and they also do outreach to parents who, of course, are an important part of bringing messages and lessons of nutrition to kids," Cummins explains.
Another program folds nutrition lessons into outdoor science projects. Cummins says county districts have been busy complying with a state law that requires school boards to adopt “wellness policies” to promote good nutrition. But he worries that as school districts lay off employees, there will be fewer people at schools to pass on lessons about healthy eating.