URBANA, Ill., (WCIA) — Healthier school lunches are on the way to cafeterias across the state. On Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill increasing healthier lunch options in schools.
Before, districts had to go with the company that was cheapest bidder. Now, under House Bill 4813, school districts have more freedom over making the decision.
Sola Gratia Farm in Urbana has been pushing to put fresh fruits and vegetables in front of students. They work closely with the Urbana School District.
“In that school district, at all schools, at least half if not more of students qualify for free or reduced price lunch. So we have a lot of kids with very low food access who are getting their best meal of the day at school,” Fiona Munro, the outreach and education coordinator at Sola Gratia, said.
She said she is excited to use this chance to teach students about nutrition and have field trips to farms. This new bill will also help farmers by giving them an opportunity to sell their goods to food service providers.
In a news release, the governor said, “Illinois students deserve healthy, sustainable food options at every turn.”
Earlier in June, Gov. Pritzker established the Healthy Foods Access Program, which expanded healthy foods to underserved areas of the state. This program allowed stores and markets to receive assistance through grants, loans and equipment.