US to introduce free school meals for all

29 September 2022
The Biden-Harris Administration has proposed ‘a pathway to free healthy school meals for all’.
Front cover of the Biden-Harris Administration National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

The Biden-Harris Administration National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health has been published, aiming to end hunger and increase healthy eating by 2030 to reduce rates of diet-related disease. It covers a broad range of interventions and recognises the various inequalities and barriers to access faced by the American population.

The strategy leads with a proposal to revolutionise school food. The Administration will ‘advance a pathway to free healthy school meals for all’, starting with a targeted expansion to nine million more children by 2032. Not just about expanding eligibility, the strategy emphasises the importance of meals being high quality and being a way to engage children with healthy food.

As though they had read the asks of the School Food Review, Biden and Harris also plan to increase access to local and regional food systems. Further investment is planned for the school nutrition workforce, as well as for training and equipment to ensure school meals are cooked from scratch.

Accompanying these plans to improve provision, the document also lays out proposals for additional holiday provision, expanded nutrition education, and activities to drive take up of meals by removing barriers to access.

The White House’s plan recognises that ‘elevating school meals is a key strategy to improve our nation’s health and would benefit all children—importantly, it would significantly strengthen the school meals program for those children who rely upon it the most.’ This clear reasoning should be heeded on this side of the pond, where politicians could learn from this progressive strategy.

The strategy can be read in full here.