Updated: 04/18/2014 4:07 PM
Created: 04/18/2014 11:59 AM KSTP.com
By: Katherine Johnson
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Sen. Al Franken announced Friday that another $25 million of federal funds will be distributed to schools throughout the country to create a healthier and more reliable school lunch program nationwide.
Minnesota will get $465,000 to divide among schools in an effort to get more cooking done in the schools and to help students pay for free and reduced lunch.
The country has already invested $160 million to help schools make kitchen upgrades so students can eat a healthier lunch that was cooked on campus rather than a pre-packaged meal.
Vilsack says cooking onsite cuts down on both obesity rates and food costs when schools can pull from local farms.
"Hungry kids don't learn well," Vilsack said. "Kids who are concerned about their self-image don't learn as well, so this is a really significant issue for the country."
Many schools in Minnesota are making the change to cooking on campus, but others still need help. For example, all Minneapolis high schools have kitchens and cook lunch onsite at the school, but the elementary schools don't even have kitchens, so the buildings will one day need renovations in order to become a part of the healthy schools initiative.