Today we have a guest post from our friends at Slow Food USA.
By Jerusha Klemperer, program manager at Slow Food USA
When you think about it, kids don’t have that many opportunities to write a real letter anymore -- maybe to Santa, but that’s about it. Even Santa, I suspect, has a Blackberry. Well, here at Slow Food USA we are encouraging kids to go slow, and to send real, handwritten letters to their Congress people. So far more than 2,000 letters have been sent, all asking for school nutrition directors to be given the resources necessary to provide better school lunch.This letter-writing campaign represents the second phase in our Time for Lunch campaign. Phase 1 took place on Labor Day 2009, in all 50 states, when 20,000 people sat down together at public potlucks in support of updating our nation’s school lunch program. At these picnics -- held in parks, on farms, in backyards and school yards -- communities came together in celebratory protest of a school lunch program that is broken. They eat real, home-cooked food as a demonstration of the delicious, wholesome food they believe should be a part of the lunch served in public schools around the country.
Then, due to embattled and elongated health care reform conversations in Congress, the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, slated for the end of September, was postponed for one year. Word on the street is that they will get to it by early spring. Never mind that health care and nutrition should be interwoven conversations, that good nutrition is prevention.
We are diving into letter writing to help our legislators draw connections between child health and child nutrition. We also think it’s a great way to engage kids in the democratic process, as well as a strong sign to our legislators of who school lunch reform affects.
Obviously letter writers should describe what it is they want, in their own words. If they are old enough to understand the specifics of changes they could ask for, they should do that. The biggest change, and the one that the legislators really need to hear support for is increasing the reimbursement rate. We are asking for $1 more per child per day.
Congress leaves school lunch so underfunded that many schools have to rely on the overly processed foods that set kids up for a lifetime of bad eating. It’s time to provide America’s children with a school lunch that keeps them healthy and performing well in the classroom.
For more details about how to get involved, go to our web site, or download this one-page guide.
photo credit: Elzed