You probably haven’t heard much about it with the presidential election sucking up all the oxygen, but US lawmakers are mulling one of the nation’s most important and influential pieces of food legislation: a once-every-five-years bill that sets the budget and rules for school meals. And it hasn’t been a very appetizing process.
In a recent episode of Bite—the new podcast I host with colleagues Kiera Butler and Maddie Oatman—the excellent school lunch analyst and blogger Bettina Elias Siegel lamented that there’s no push to increase our miserly annual outlay on the lunch program, which serves about 30.5 million kids each school day. Currently, we spend about $13 billion in federal dollars on it each year—equal to about 2 percent of annual defense spending. That leaves cafeteria administrators with a bit more than