Los Angeles Unified and five other major urban districts are banding together in an effort to provide healthier school meals at lower prices, the Los Angeles Times reported. Together, the six districts serve 2.5 million meals daily and spend $530 million annually.

Districts in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Orlando, Fla., joined L.A. Unified in announcing last week that they will work together to make wholesome food and eco-friendly practices, such as biodegradable trays and utensils, a national standard. Each district has been assigned a specific project. New York, for example, is working on lowering prices for organic, free-range chicken. Los Angeles is in charge of communications efforts.

The new Urban Food Alliance is responding to concerns about the growing rates of diabetes and obesity among youth that are attributable to high fat, sugar, and sodium diets. David Binkle, L.A. Unified’s food services director, told the Times that the alliance marks the biggest step yet to transforming school meals. The districts are hoping other districts will join them. They say that San Diego, Oakland and Houston have expressed interest.

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