USDA cancels successful school nutrition program for poor kids in Philly

Trays terrible: As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the USDA might last week, the agency has just gone through with plans to end a well-regarded Philadelphia school breakfast and lunch program, citing budget cuts. Known as Universal Feeding, the program allows more than 120,000 students in poor schools to eat free meals without having to fill out applications, and has a much higher participation rate than other, bureaucracy-heavy programs. Blogger Tom Laskawy hit Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary Janey Thornton hard last week for her casual dismissal of the program, and follows up today on the latest political developments over at Grist: "The good news here is that the hue and cry over the cancellation makes it far more likely that Universal Feeding will be written into law (instead of only being a pilot program in a single city)." Meanwhile, on Obama Foodorama, Eddie takes the administration to task in uncharacteristically sharp-tongued fashion: "Whatever the impetus, eliminating the Universal Feeding Program is simply bad policy, particularly now, when the economy is still precarious, unemployment is high, and more families than ever before are turning to soup kitchens and food banks for sustenance."

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