Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said today that Maine will be getting $111,000 in federal funding to help schools buy the kind of kitchen equipment they need to produce healthy meals using fresh ingredients. Schools around the state can apply for competitive grants to access the funding.
"School meal programs want to be able to buy more fresh food and more local food but they don't always have the equipment they need to do that. Unfortunately the trend has been toward processed, canned food that is simply heated up for lunch. That's resulted in some schools lacking basic equipment to keep food fresh and cook meals from scratch," Pingree said. "I know school budgets are tight so that's why it's important that communities get a little help in buying new kitchen equipment."
Pingree has fought for legislation and funding to help schools buy and cook more local, fresh food to serve to students.
A recent report on school kitchen equipment needs shows most school districts in the U.S. (88 percent) need at least one additionalpiece of kitchen equipment, and more than half (55 percent) need infrastructure upgrades to serve healthier meals that meet science-based nutrition standards.
The funding announced today, $37,000, comes after a previous grant of $73,000 that was made in December.