The U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying once again to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables in school.
USDA announced Tuesday that it will soon launch a new pilot program that will allow as many as eight states use USDA funding to buy local, unprocessed fruits and vegetables.
Kindergartners Ayden Williams-Parker and Ellie Nicholas add their lunch waste into a compost bin at Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. If the Obama administration has its way, kids in some states will have access to more fruits and vegetables. (AP Photo/The Herald-Sun, Christine T. Nguyen)
The pilot program is authorized under the 2014 farm bill, and it will allow states to use multiple suppliers of fruits and vegetables, although those suppliers will have provide items pre-approved by USDA. It will also let states favor their own local growers over other growers.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service has already invited states to apply for the program by September 30. FNS will host a call with interested state officials on September 10 to discuss the program.
The program represents the latest attempt by the Obama administration to ensure kids are eating healthy school lunches, even though many schools have rebelled against past attempts. Some schools have abandoned nutrition guidelines advanced by the administration, which have also led to complaints about hungry kids and kids throwing their vegetables in the trash.
USDA said the program will not only help local farmers, but will also help ensure kids are eating right.
"We are also excited about the opportunities created by the pilot and the quality foods it will help bring to our nation’s school children," USDA said.