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Ag secretary applauds lunch-program spending


SACRAMENTO -- Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross says USDA's expansion of funding for a school lunch program is "critical."


USDA says California will receive $10.8 million for its effort to put more farm commodities into school lunches.


USDA's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program helps low-income schools increase the helpings of fresh produce in school lunches. A student is to receive at least $50 worth of produce over a school year.


The program is "a huge step across the 'food desert' that impacts many low-income families," Ross said in a statement.


"Finding ways to give every child access to healthy food is critical," Ross said.


USDA says it expects to distribute $158 million in the coming school year. The extra cash could mean up to 950,000 additional students could be aided in 2011-12, CDFA said.


The program was expanded by the 2008 Farm Bill.


-- Wes Sander



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