Schools Across Virginia Increase Focus on Fresh Produce for Lunches

RICHMOND—Updated federal guidelines are increasing the demand for fresh produce and transforming lunches in schools across the country.

The updated school lunch rules went into effect in July and are the first change in the standards in 15 years.

The guidelines increased requirements for fruits and vegetables in school lunches from the previous one-half to three-fourths of a cup of both per day to the new requirement of three-fourths to one cup of vegetables plus one-half to one cup of fruit per day. Schools must offer a variety of vegetables, including a weekly serving of dark green and red or orange vegetables and legumes.

“I hope that as many school systems as possible will utilize locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to meet their students’ nutritional needs,” said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Hopefully this will create new opportunities for farmers who may want to use high tunnels to extend their fresh produce growing seasons or begin packaging and processing local produce for use outside the fresh market season.”

The new guidelines also will help support the mission of the Virginia Farm to School program and will allow greater opportunity for Virginia-grown products to take a starring role on school menus, said Leanne DuBois, state coordinator of the Virginia Farm to School program for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The program is an effort to increase the amount of fresh and nutritious Virginia products offered in schools and to promote opportunities for schools and farmers to work together.

Nov. 5-9 will be the fourth annual Virginia Farm to School Week. Schools and farmers across the commonwealth will celebrate with menu items like apples, broccoli, sweet potatoes, beef, milk and more. Some schools hold special events that include visits by farmers, farm art contests and other activities.

A recent survey of school nutrition directors throughout Virginia, sponsored by VDACS, Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Education, revealed that all participants have knowledge of the Farm to School program and 70 percent have participated in a previous Farm to School Week.

Eighty-five percent of survey respondents said they serve local food in their school divisions; 46 percent have developed a purchasing relationship with a local farmer; and 30 percent plan to develop such a relationship within the next year. As for problems in sourcing local food,

50 percent said seasonal availability of local foods within the school calendar year was their biggest challenge.

via Virginia Farm Bureau


  1. Another View, you confound me–over and over, again.

    What, in the name of goodness, can be wrong with teaching children to eat healthily and responsibly? That’s what education (whether public or private) IS: giving our children the tools to make informed choices for the pursuit of their life, liberty and happiness.

    • Another View says:

      It is not up to the government schools to teach our children how to “eat healthily and responsibly”. That is the parents’ responsibility.

      Or should parents just turn children over to the government following birth? Do you believe that government knows best?

  2. And, then, the other thing is: your complaint just doesn’t make logical sense from a taxpayer, economical, financially-responsible stance. The school board has to make SOME kind of decision on what foods are offered to students in school cafeterias (i.e., how to spend tax payer dollars in the cafeteria). Would you rather the school board give students 1) healthy choices, 2) unhealthy choices, or 3) healthy + unhealthy choices? As a tax payer, I believe it would be more economical to give students either choice 1 or 2. I would choose 1.

    • Another View says:

      Assuming that there will be government schools, and assuming that government schools should serve lunch to students, it would be fine for the School Board to make decisions regarding the cafeteria. IT IS NOT however proper for the federal government to be involved with those decisions, which was my complaint. IT IS ALSO NOT proper for the federal government to be involved with education, period.

      No one is suggesting that children should not eat healthy food. But it is a fallacy to believe that citizens need Washington, D.C. to dictate such decisions and choices. Washington, D.C. is not our Mecca, to which all citizens must face, bow and pray to, so many times each day. It is supposed to have a very limited effect on our daily lives. It is not supposed to be omnipresent, involved in every aspect of our lives.

  3. Shared lunch with my grandchild last week at Cooley and all items that were supposed to be hot were not even warm. The gravey on the open faced sandwich appeared to just been poured out of the can. You would think the new company in charge would at least make a better show when adults show up. Sad. Questioned why the lunch is packed from home most all of the time and now I know why!

  4. Bob Brawley says:

    Fresh food is food not spoiled. so canned food is fresh though embalmed with salt. Cold storage food looks fresh and is not spoiled but often times has a mealy texture and is anything but fresh. but indeed its not spoiled

  5. It’s funny, 30 some years ago, there were little old ladies in the cafeteria that made almost everything fresh that day. Beans cooked in bacon and all kinds of good stuff. And lo and behold, there weren’t nearly as many fat kids in schools as there are today, despite the lack of “good food”.

    Maybe it’s not so much the food, but the lack of parents making ther kids get outside and run around. Much easier to let Nintedo babysit I guess.

    They also tried this mess in Los Angeles. The kids ate the Turkey Hot dogs and threw away the rest of the “good food”, resulting in much more food waste than ever before.

    • Those little old ladies as you call them, were opening cans 30 years ago. Not much was made fresh.
      30 years ago, one parent worked. Today both parents have to work to make ends meet. The food geared to kids is full of fat, but easy for the kids to heat and eat.
      The food didn’t have as much junk in it as it does now. The only choice we had to drink was milk or water.

      • Both parents have to work. They choose that route becasue we have a greedy society. At that time is when parenting became obsolete as well. We are a society that is killing ourselves. No one to blame but ourselves.

    • You are so right!!!

  6. Douglas Stewart says:

    The USDA has been determining the content of school lunches for decades both through standards for free/reduced meals and through its overall subsidy structure. That genie is already out of the bottle. The federal government has its hands all over school lunches — might as well make sure they are healthier and better tasting than stale cold pizza.

    • Another View says:

      That’s the problem. The federal government should not be involved in school lunches. It is unconstitutional, and just plain bad policy. Why should a governing body in Washington, D.C. be dictating lunch standards for schools located in the 50 states and multiple localities? It makes no sense.

  7. Roscoe Evans says:

    Thankfully, the “constitutionality” of federal agriculture and education programs is not adjudged by a Clarke County, Virginia, literalist mossback, but by a federal court system.

    Unfortunately though, politics remains a more important decisionmaking component of the school lunch program than health and nutrition. I recall being force fed milk, and chocolate milk, too, not so much because kids needed or wanted it, but because it was a politically savvy way to accomodate the dairy industries.(I did not care personally. I loved milk, especially at 3 cents a shot.) And, how can we forget Dr. Ronald Reagan’s administration deciding that for political, rather than nutritional purposes, ketchup and pickle relish would henceforth be “vegetables,” making it easier and cheaper for school lunches to meet vegetable standards in the programs of the day.

    The school lunch program is well justified under the Constitution, just like the transcontinental railroad, the land grant college system and the homesteader laws, national defense education loans, national defense highway construction, and the federally regulated commercial aviation system.

    For those of you who yearn for the CSA, you are out of luck. It never was, and never will be. If it had been, your “lunch program” would have been moon pies and RC Cola, 5 days a week.

    I’m grateful that I grew up with Italian lunch ladies: they made everything fresh. Beans and bacon might be nice, but “fresh,” they’re not.

    • Another View says:

      Please cite that Constitutional provision that authorizes the school lunch program. It should be a snap for such a learned scholar such as yourself.

      Because if you read the Constitution, you will note that the word “education” is not contained therein. Nor are the words “school” or “lunch”.

      Indeed, in the case of United States v. Lopez, both Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy–VERY MODERATE justices both–explicitly noted that education was a matter for the States, NOT the federal government. How ’bout that?

      And the CSA was, for a short time. Go back and read your history books.

      Read more. Learn more. Open your mind. Eat a Moon Pie.

  8. Roscoe Evans says:

    You’re too much of an intellectual weenie for me to waste time dillydallying over your literalist inanities, but I will note this:

    You pretend not to believe in the case law that interprets the Constitution, and continue to make believe that matters not mentioned in the document cannot be authorized by it. Well, that’s still just claptrap. We would not have had the first railroad tracks across the U.S. if your opinions about federal authority were prevalent.

    The needs of our world are bigger than the minds of a few dozen 18th century men (most of whom were ignorant of the laws of science), could imagine; and our Constitution, thankfully, has grown to deal with those needs.

    Education is a legitimate function of the federal government. The federal government authorized land for the states to set up their land grant colleges; and one hundred years later the federal government authorized the National Defense Education Act, that provided loans for college students. The federal government has authorized hundreds of millions (why stop there: billions and billions) of dollars to educate students, to establish laboratories, to purchase equipment, and to fund research.

    Our society would be miserable if the federal government had not funded education, transportation, research, commerce, regulation, and science.

    As for the Justices you note, they were wrong. And, the Court’s been wrong too. Its not infallible. It’s just final. It makes mistakes, it admits it, and it reverses itself. You ought to reverse yourself, too.

    The CSA was a political fiction of a seditionist, slave-owning South. Gone with the wind, so to speak. And thankfully so. There was something perverted about it.

    I hate moon pies.

    Finally, a quick look at the Constitution shows no mention of aircraft carriers, the Apollo Program, television, cameras, computers, or Yellow Fever. How’ did the feds deal with them? Unconstitutionally?

    You lost the health care act case, even after telling us that it would be a snap for such a learned fellow as yourself.

    Because, if you read the Constitution, it says nothing about an affordable health care act, now, does it?

    • Another View says:

      Oh the hypocrisy! You laud constitutional case law, until I cite it. Then it’s wrong. Outstanding!

      You are wrong on the law. You are wrong on the Constitution. You cannot name any authorization for federal involvement in education, you reject case law stating that it is not a federal function, and yet you contend that it is a federal function! And you call me an “intellectual weenie”? Ha!

      Our society would not be “miserable” absent federal funding of “education, transportation, research, commerce, regulation, and science.” Read your history. The great inventions of our time–airplanes, automobiles, trains, steamships, light bulbs, radio, camera, television, computers–were invented and funded by private sources. P R I V A T E ! ! !

      And you contend that there would have been no transcontinental railroad without the federal government? W R O N G ! The Great Northern Railroad was a transcontinental railroad and a wholly private enterprise. Moreover, it was the only railroad not to go bankrupt. You see, the federal government was just as bad in investing in the 1880s as it is today with Solyndra, GM, and Chrysler. The federal government is not supposed to invest in industry, and fails when it does.

      I did lose the Obamacare case. So did the American people. But it still is unconstitutional. And next year, President Romney will sign legislation repealing it. And thank you for admitting that the Constitution does not authorize federal interference in health care.

      But you don’t care about the Constitution, because you are an anarchist. You believe that the ends justify the means. You are not constrained by mere law. Which is how you can justify lying if it suits your purposes. God’s law? The heck with it if you, Roscoe Evans, deem it irrelevant. This is the Left’s hubris, that it knows better than God, than we the people, than anyone. Because you are smart and we are dumb. What a sad, pitiful worldview. It will bite you in the end.

      The Confederacy was real, noble and principled. Brave men died for the protection of their homes and the security of their liberty. That you can so easily dismiss it as “perverted” reflects poorly on you. Clearly you are both ignorant, and without any sense of honor or duty. But then again, you have repeatedly indicated your willingness to don the chains of security in exchange for liberty. Your views are un-American in every sense.

      Perhaps you should learn to love Moon Pies. That might change your decidedly negative outlook. You should sit down with a good book, perhaps something light by P.G. Wodehouse, drink an R.C. Cola, eat a Moon Pie, and enjoy the moment. Then, after you have relaxed, reflected and changed your attitude, you can tackle something with heft, such as history. You can learn the truth about this country, the South, and the wonderful heritage that we enjoy.

      Stop hating America. Start loving America. Eat a Moon Pie. Drink an R.C. Cola. Cheer for the Atlanta Braves. Love–not denigrate–your fellow man.

    • Ahhh, so now “Roscoe” considers himself to be an “intellectual”, and is above all of us.

      Why don’t you find somewhere else to wither away your days that more suits your “intellectual” stature? You are obviously wasting your precious time with the “Common folk”.

      Take your vorpal sword elsewhere.

  9. calls someone an anarchist & un-american, then preaches about loving, not denigrating, your fellow man.learn the truth about this country? and then specifies the south with the term “wonderful” attached to our heritage? i’ve lived in the south my whole life, and though my education was from the government – i know there isn’t much “wonderful” about our history. they must teach sugar coating in private school.

    av needs to invest in a delorean and find a way to get his butt back to 1787. obviously that’s where he lives, in his mind. his skills of social cognition are seriously lacking, especially with his unhealthy affinity for paranoia. honestly, most of the remarks he makes here get ME a little paranoid. i feel like soon he’s going to snap..

    • Another View says:

      I am actually quite content. I love my fellow man, but defend American values and my home against all comers. Roscoe Evans and his brethren are enemies of all that is good about this country. They attack self-reliance, liberty and freedom, preferring to impose the modern day slavery of the welfare state.

      So sad to learn that you are a self hating Southerner. Because the truth is, the South is the history and backbone of this country. The South is more self reliant, more jealous of freedom and liberties, and more patriotic than any other region of this country.

      The United States was founded in the South. The American Revolution was led by Southerners, both in Congress and on the battlefield. Our greatest generals and fighting men were/are from the South. Our greatest authors are from the South. The finest cuisine is Southern. Truly American music is from the South.

      How sad that you do not appreciate the rich heritage which would otherwise be yours. Yet it begs the question; why do you stay in a place you hate and of which you are ashamed?

      • you misunderstand (go figure). my love for my people and my past isn’t something that needs to be justified by your “truly american” rants. my southern heritage is that of the white working poor and some dude with the last name of adams (wonder who). what a mix huh. my people and the people you’d love to forget, love to erase. your love of the south is quite romanticized and ignorant, showing how far removed you are from the “takers” who built the infrastructure you can’t wait to dismantle. there is nothing patriotic about your character and nothing charitable in your ideologies.

        • Another View says:

          There is no one I’d love to “forget” or “erase”. You know nothing of my knowledge, you assume. Your accusation that I am “ignorant” is just that–ignorant. But my knowledge and love of the South includes the plantation owner and the hardscrabble farmer, the textile mill owners and the workers, blacks and whites, men and women.

          And the truth is that the South is not a story of “takers”, nor did the “takers” build anything. By definition, the “takers” give nothing to society. Indeed, the “takers” are a modern invention, beginning with Roosevelt, enlarged by Johnson, and enlarged further by Barack Hussein Obama. “Takers” are just that–t a k e r s. They contribute nothing.

          I am both charitable and patriotic. And my love and knowledge encompasses my entire heritage.

          My view of a prosperous society does not not depend upon a dependent class to make myself feel better. I want folks to succeed, not subsist. I waste little time building myself up as being “compassionate” and “charitable” because a nameless, faceless tyrannical government extracts taxes from some to supposedly aid others. I know the difference between charity and welfare. Do you?

          • well – you’re right about one thing av, the truth is that the south IS NOT a story of takers. you’re the one throwing that caste about, not me. the south is a story of common toil, pain, suffering, and sacrifice. i don’t believe in the existence of “takers” – you do.

          • Another View says:

            “Takers” do exist. I never said that the South was composed of them. But “takers” are everywhere; “takers” include GM, Solyndra, folks on unemployment, disability, WIC, student loans, SS, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.

            We need to curb, and then eliminate, the welfare culture that has been built in this country. It is destructive.

      • Hmmm…seems the Pilgrims in Plymouth, MA, and such notable patriots as John Adams, Ben Franklin, and John Hancock might object to your over-generalization of where the US was founded.

        The South is more self-reliant? Really? By what metrics? “More patriotic” and “more jealous of freedom and liberties”? Again, really? By whose definition…yours? Those are opinions you offer up, not facts.

        Greatest generals and fighting men were/are from the South? What about the 54th Massachusetts Regiment? Those who bled at normandy came from all over America, not just the South.
        * Eisenhower was of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and raised in Kansas (not a Southern state).
        * Grant was born in Ohio, by way of Pennsylvania.
        * Pershing was bornn in Missouri, a slave state that didn’t secede from the Union, so not a Southerner.
        * Same for Omar Bradley.
        * Patton came from California, not Southern.
        * Ethan Allen was from Vermont.
        * Great Southern generals = Washington, Stonewall Jackson, Lee, Early.

        So…again, by what metric do you define “greatest generals and fighting men”? You tritely toss out whatever pops up in your rabid brain to defend your weak positions, and they carry the rhetorical weight of a piece of tissue paper.

        • Another View says:

          First English Colony–Jamestown, Va.

          Author of the Declaration of Independence–Thomas Jefferson, Va.

          President of the Constitutional Convention–George Washington, Va.

          Author of the Bill of Rights–George Mason, Va.

          First President, Father of the Country–George Washington, Va.

          4 of the first 5 Presidents–Va.

          Largest number of Presidents–Va.

          George Marshall–educated at VMI

          George S. Patton–educated at Staunton Military Academy and VMI

          Largest percentage of men to participate in wars–name one, it doesn’t matter–the South

          You forgot Mosby and Stuart

          Faulkner, Williams, Welty, Percy–American authors, from the South

          Jazz–the South

          Gospel–the South

          Best College Football Conference–the SEC

          Cuisine–the South, hands down. Barbecue, Low Country Seafood, Corn Bread, Biscuits, game

          Greatest Golfer of All Time–Bobby Jones, Ga.

          Decoration Day/Memorial Day–started in Mississippi

          And need I point out that despite overwhelming advantages in munitions, food supplies, manufacturing, transportation, population, money, and a Navy, it took the United States four (4) years to defeat the Confederacy?

          Greatest Percentage of Regular Church Attendance–the South

          Where Do folks regularly reject the communist overtures of folks like Barack Hussein Obama? The South