Saturday, March 20, 2010

Time for Lunch Campaign

I'm not a mother (yet), but as a girl who grew up having to participate in the "Free Lunch" program, this issue hits close to home for me. My school lunches in grade school were typically pizza, hamburgers, chicken nuggets (not breast meat), and french fries. On the days I had breakfast at school there were donuts, muffins (not homemade), french toast dippers (pre-packaged frozen variety), biscuits with gravy... you get the picture. Just thinking of these foods make me shudder, and my stomach hurt. The sad part is, many years later nothing has changed for the better, it's worse.

I recently signed a petition for the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization after watching the movie Food, Inc.. I was so moved by the movie - which I highly recommend - that I signed up to Take Part for this cause. So when I received an email from Slow Food USA a couple of days ago about the Time for Lunch Campaign, I didn't hesitate to check them out and email my legislators to voice my support.

Here’s their key message (taken directly from the campaign website):

It’s time to give America’s kids a healthy future.
  • Child obesity is spiraling out of control, and our kids, our economy, our health care system and our quality of life are at risk.
  • Our best opportunity for fighting obesity is to ensure that every child has access to fresh, wholesome food every school day.
  • Right now, Congress gives schools $2.68 per lunch, about $1.00 of which goes towards buying ingredients. As a result, schools have to rely on the cheap processed foods that are fueling the obesity and diabetes epidemics.
  • With an additional $1.00 per lunch, schools would be able to serve real food, buy whole ingredients and cook meals from scratch.
  • President Obama’s budget adds $1 billion per year to child nutrition programs. That’s an important step forward, but it’s not enough to give America’s kids a healthy future. Not when Congress spends over $13 billion per year subsidizing processed foods, and when obesity costs our nation $147 billion per year. Congress should add at least $1 billion to child nutrition programs, and recognize that until we give schools $1.00 more per lunch, we’re putting the health of America’s children at risk.
  • Congress should also pass mandatory funding for Farm-to-School programs, which link schools to local farms, create jobs in local economies and give schools the resources to update their kitchens and plant school gardens.
  • Finally, Congress should strengthen the nutrition standards for all the food sold at school, including the food sold in school vending machines and as “a la carte” items in the cafeteria.

Learn more about the campaign at Also, from this website you can easily email your legislators to tell them you support schools serving real food. Please take less than 30 seconds to voice your support!

Another supporter for this cause is Jaime Oliver who is starting a food revolution to be aired on ABC starting Friday, March 26th at 8 PM EDT. His show is called Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution. The first episode will also be shown as a sneak preview tomorrow night, Sunday March 21st at 10 PM EDT.

You can also sign Jaime's Food Revolution Petition by clicking the image below.
 Check it out, voice your support, get involved, or donate!

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