PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Students at Reiche School in Portland were showing off their gardens and the amount of local food in their school lunches to a top official in the Obama administration Monday.
Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited the school with Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. Reiche currently devotes 30 percent of its school lunch menu to locally grown foods, and it's hoping to increase the amount to 50 percent. Merrigan says she's hoping to encourage more school districts to find ways to incorporate local foods into their menus, too. "I don't think our bureaucracy has always been as kind as it could be in helping innovation in school meals. And that has changed," she said.
Congresswoman Pingree has a proposal that is currently in the Farm Bill stalled in Congress that would make it easier for school districts to spend federal dollars on local foods. Her Republican challenger, Jon Courtney, says he also supports that idea.