WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Jamie B. Raskin, David Trone and Glenn Ivey (all D-Md.) today announced $2.9 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding for Maryland schools to purchase local foods and beverages for school meal programs.
The federal investment comes from the USDA’s Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program. Through the program, the Maryland State Department of Education will partner with the Maryland Department of Agriculture to procure local and nutritious foods from regional farmers and processors to use for school lunches. Meals will vary depending on each school district’s regional specialties.
“With this significant funding we can strengthen our local food distribution system; support small businesses and disadvantaged farmers; expand economic opportunity in Maryland; and ensure our kids are fed the fresh, nutritious foods they deserve at school,” said the lawmakers. “It is obvious that without farms, there is no food. With the pandemic disrupting supply chains across the country, this initiative will both ensure a more resilient supply chain for our farmers and also instill an early appreciation for agriculture in our students, all while providing fresh, healthy options for our kids.”
The Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program was authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act. The program will prioritize historically underserved producers and processers in Maryland.