When schools put a portion of their food budget toward local food, there's a big (and unexpected) benefit.
According to the USDA census of schools that have incorporated local produce into their lunch programs, the kids at those schools ended up eating healthier meals and throwing less food in the trash.
More good news is that the number of schools buying local has increased nearly 50 percent since the last survey, and that nearly $600 million was spent on local food in the 2013-2014 school year. Part of the success, some school administrators say, is that it fosters a connection between the kids and the veggies on their lunch trays, which gets them excited and interested in trying new things.
So while this is all great progress, keep in mind that this number represents just about 20 percent of the food budgets for these schools. Most of the food still comes from more traditional suppliers. But it's a good (kid-sized) step in the right direction.
→ Read more: As Schools Buy More Local Food, Kids Throw Less Food In The Trash from NPR