This week we have been focusing on the Farm to College efforts around the country. Today, we shift our focus to K-12, where what is served in the lunchroom is also a) up for grabs and b) vitally important. Been in a school cafeteria lately? If you have you’ve seen that it is dominated by junk food, and reheated calorie-laden, carb-o-rific meals. A horrible school lunch is a lost nutritional/health opportunity, and a lost educational opportunity.
Last week you may recall that Debra Eschmeyer wrote a letter to Michelle Obama, letting her know about the upcoming reauthorization of the Childhood Nutrition Act, and calling for her interest and participation (the Childhood Nutrition Act establishes the guidelines for school lunch among other things). In order to take advantage of this moment, today as we post this, the Community Food Security Coalition, the National Farm to School Network, and School Food FOCUS are holding briefings on the Hill–with both the House and the Senate–to make the case for “supporting policy solutions that restore the right of all children to access good food in school; that educate and inform communities about healthy food and its impact on the wellbeing of children; and that connect farmers, school districts, food service companies, and great ideas to the food system delivering school lunch.” To read their excellent CNR briefing, click here and stay tuned for outcomes and reporting back on their day on the Hill.
Also, make sure you read Alice Waters’ and Katrina Heron’s Op-Ed in last week’s NY Times, in which they call for a radical overhaul of the school lunch program, saying “without healthy food (and cooks and kitchens to prepare it), increased financing will only create a larger junk-food distribution system. We need to scrap the current system and start from scratch. Washington needs to give schools enough money to cook and serve unprocessed foods that are produced without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. When possible, these foods should be locally grown.”