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Over the last few months, more than 17,000 kids, parents and ordinary citizens have sent letters to Congress asking legislators to invest in healthier food when they reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act this spring. 3,000 of those letters were hand-written (or hand-drawn, with crayons) and then mailed to legislators’ offices by post, with help from Slow Food leaders across the country.

Anna Green, one of the leaders of Slow Food High Desert in Central Oregon, worked with teachers and school administrators at La Pine Middle School to help eighty students write letters to U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. Anna scanned a few of the best letters and sent them to us in a PDF – click here to read them. As a teaser, here are a few of the best quotes:

“We want real grated cheese made in Oregon.”

“I think us kids diserve [sic] better food in school.”

“We shouldn’t have any more greasy food.”

And, my favorite: “If you improved the school food you would get higher test scores, which means more money for the school and teachers. If the school had more money for food some kids would not act out and not break anything. Plus if you help the school you don’t have to read any more of these letters.”

It’s inspiring to see kids speak up about school lunch, since they’re the ones who have the most at stake: this is their future, their health, their quality of life. That said, we all have a duty to help schools serve healthier food: as President Truman said in 1946 while signing the National School Lunch Program into law, “In the long view, no nation is healthier than its children.”

The tens of thousands of people who are involved in Slow Food USA’s Time for Lunch Campaign are hoping to see Congress pass a strong Child Nutrition Act that invests in healthier food, strengthens nutrition standards, and links schools to local farms. A form on the campaign web site makes it quick and easy for you to follow the lead of students at La Pine Middle School and write a letter to your legislators.