Our lettuce crop is going to seed (the cilantro went long ago), the beans are winding down, and the last of the radishes are destined for the salad bowl. Yep, summer is almost over, and for parents everywhere that usually means one thing, school is just around the corner. Kids have had their fill of corn on the cob, hamburgers and hot dogs, and are just dying to get back to those infamously delicious and nutritious cafeteria lunches.
Oh how we wish it were true.
But the current Child Nutrition Act expires on September 30, and there’s potential to affect real change in the way school children are fed. We start with nutrition and public policy expert Marion Nestle’s school lunch manifesto in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The food revolution is upon us. Go into any school that has joined the revolution – many have – and you will see kids eating recognizable foods, helping themselves from salad bars, finishing what they take, all within the typical 30-minute lunch period. And nary a chicken nugget or soda in sight.”
Read more: Let the school-meals revolution begin.
Edible Communities is partnering with Slow Food USA to promote a national Eat-In on Labor Day, Sept. 7, 2009. Local food communities all over the country will sit down to share a meal with their neighbors and kids to send a clear message to Congress: It’s time to provide America’s children with real food at school. To find an Eat-In near you, or organize your own, visit Slow Food USA’s Time For Lunch Website.
A crucial step to improving school lunch is making fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible to school districts. The Farm to School and One Tray programs are leading the way, having assisted almost 9000 schools nation-wide, in their efforts to serve healthy school lunches. Farm to school projects provide benefits to the entire community: children, farmers, food service staff, parents, and teachers. The program supports the idea that students will choose healthier foods, including more fruits and vegetables, if products are fresh, locally grown, and picked at the peak of their flavor and if those choices are reinforced with educational activities. For more information, read Debra Eschmeyer’s editorial on the Ethicurean.
Food, Inc. the recent film by director Robert Kenner, also highlighted the need for improving school lunches. Check out the Hungry for Change Cafeteria to learn about healthy food choices in school lunches.
Edible Portland and Ecotrust have taken a leading role in changing school lunch policy in the state of Oregon. Read about their efforts here: Vote with your lunch money.
Edible Jersey recently profiled national food distributor Sodexo’s efforts to bring farm-fresh food to school cafeterias. Read about it here: On the Line: farm to school.
Look for more great stories from Edible Communities publications as we cover the school lunch revolution. Following us on twitter is a great way to keep up date! Edible Communities Twitter Feed.