BROOKLYN, New York – Aug. 31, 2009 – Slow Food USA (www.slowfoodusa.org), today announced that its Time for Lunch campaign (www.slowfoodusa.org/timeforlunch) will be conducting more than 280 Eat-Ins (part potluck, part sit-in) to send a clear message to Congress to provide America’s children with real food at school.
The Eat-Ins, taking place in all 50 states, make up a National Day of Action on Labor Day, Sept. 7, to publicly kick-off the Time for Lunch campaign. Thousands of people will share food in a public demonstration to show support for the need to invest in children’s health, protect children against food that puts them at risk and teach children healthy habits that will last through life.
“It will be a picnic, a potluck and a virtual march on Washington. It will be a day when America shares food it believes in and demands real food for our children,” stated Josh Viertel, president, Slow Food USA.
The campaign will continue to advocate for changes to the Child Nutrition Act throughout the fall to ensure that Congress passes legislation that gives kids the opportunity to grow up healthy. Congress is expected to take action on the legislation before the end of the year.
The Time for Lunch campaign is part of a growing movement to enact federal food policy that benefits Americans’ health, especially the health of our children. Slow Food USA chapter leaders have been working diligently to reach out to other organizations, schools, local PTAs, churches, legislators, and community and fraternal organizations to bring as many people as possible to the table on Labor Day. More than 40 percent of local Eat-Ins are being organized by other organizations – or concerned citizens – that support the goals of the campaign.
Organizers will be collecting petition signatures to show elected officials that voters in their district demand change, as well as asking attendees to send letters and postcards to their legislators during the Eat-In. To date, more than 15,000 people have signed the Time for Lunch petition.
Additional Eat-In highlights include:
• Rep. Lynn Woolsey, champion of pending child nutrition legislation, and Rep. Barbara Lee, head of the Congressional Black Caucus, will both be attending Eat-Ins.
• Eat-Ins in Marksville, La., and Dover, N.H. are planting new school gardens and repairing and planting greenhouses as part of their Eat-Ins.
• The school nutrition director in Klukwan, Alaska is organizing an Eat-In on a Native American reservation to highlight the community’s extraordinary effort to revamp its school lunch program.
• The Eat-In committee in Asheville, N.C., built momentum for their Eat-In by organizing cooking classes during the summer at schools in low-income neighborhoods.
• Los Angeles Eat-In organizers partnered with a youth empowerment group to get local high school students knocking on doors and talking to local businesses to get them involved in their Eat-Ins.
The Time for Lunch campaign is asking people to contact their legislators and tell them to invest in the health of our children by allocating $1 more per day per child for lunch. The USDA currently reimburses schools $2.68 for each meal served to a student who qualifies for a free lunch, but most of this covers labor, equipment and overhead costs – with less than $1 going toward actual ingredients.
The campaign also seeks to protect against foods that put children at risk by establishing strong standards for all food sold at school, including food from vending machines and school fast-food. In addition, the campaign is pushing for the government to provide mandatory funding to allow schools to teach children healthy eating habits by establishing farm-to-school programs and school gardens.
To show your support, sign-on to the Time for Lunch petition, or for details on how to attend an Eat-In in your area on Labor Day, visit our web site at /timeforlunch. A copy of the policy platform is available at /index.php/campaign/time_for_lunch/the_platform.
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