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Urban School Food Alliance announces USDA cooperative agreement to support innovation in school food purchasing

Filed Under: News, Press Releases

As schools and communities nationwide celebrate the contributions of school nutrition programs during National School Lunch Week and National Farm to School Month, the Urban School Food Alliance is excited to announce a new partnership with USDA to provide trainings and tools to school districts that will help them purchase high quality foods, while keeping costs low.

“The Urban School Food Alliance appreciates the opportunity to work with USDA to improve the school food procurement process for all stakeholders,” said Dr. Katie Wilson, executive director of the Urban School Food Alliance. “With procurement practices laying the foundation for obtaining fresh, healthy food served throughout our nation’s schools, we look forward to developing and implementing new tools to push for a more efficient and sustainable food system that includes supporting local economies.”

The partnership builds on the Urban School Food Alliance’s existing efforts to strengthen and streamline school food procurement practices for school districts of all sizes. Since its inception in 2012, the Urban School Food Alliance has led the way by using the collective volume of its members to drive transformative change in the marketplace. These achievements include creating a compostable round plate to replace polystyrene trays, adopting and sharing standards to antibiotic-free poultry products, and developing tools and resources to support districts in leveraging the power of local procurement.

Through the new agreement with USDA, the Urban School Food Alliance will:

  • Develop new tools to educate school districts on best practices for purchasing school foods.
  • Organize an advisory group of school nutrition stakeholders to create an action plan that will address challenges with school food procurement through the development of targeted trainings and resources.
  • Develop an interactive bid template that will help standardize procurement processes in school nutrition.

“USDA is committed to giving students the nutrition they need to reach their full potential by empowering schools to continue serving delicious, healthy meals,” said Secretary Vilsack. “There’s no better time to announce these new efforts to support schools than during National School Lunch Week and Farm to School Month, as we acknowledge the critical role that school meals play in a child’s life. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue doing everything we can to ensure schools have the tools they need to keep serving the highest quality meals to kids across America.”

The Urban School Food Alliance has existing trainings and resources to begin sharing with school districts immediately, and the development of new tools and the advisory group are both expected to begin in early 2024.


About Urban School Food Alliance

The Urban School Food Alliance is a collaborative of the largest school districts in the United States, committed to improving the quality of food served in schools and increasing access to healthy, delicious meals for all students. Founded in 2012, it creates sustainable and equitable school food systems that support the health and well-being of students. To learn more, visit www.urbanschoolfoodalliance.org.

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