By Meagan Lloyd, HSC intern
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to taste fresh, local fruits and vegetables prepared at our annual Cooking up Change healthy cooking contest! High school culinary students prepared delicious and healthy dishes that featured local kale, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples and more.
It was exciting to learn that Chicago Public Schools students have access to these fruits and vegetables through the farm to school program and that in addition to supporting healthy eating, this program is supporting local farmers.
Seeing and tasting the dishes prepared from these local ingredients at Cooking up Change emphasized how important it is to support farm to school programs and increase access to local and regional foods. Earlier this month, Congress introduced legislation that would do just that! The Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act [pdf] would allow children greater access to fresh, healthy food by enabling schools to use some of their school lunch dollars to purchase local and regional foods.
The Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act not only supports healthier school food, it would also expand access to healthy foods for the general public and for vulnerable populations by supporting the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition program and improving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant access to farmers’ markets.
This is exciting news for schools, local farmers, and the general public and we encourage you to show your support for this important legislation by sending a letter to your representatives in Congress. Our friends at Healthy Food Action have set up an online tool that lets you easily take action. Click here to send a letter.
Let your Congress members know that you support increased access to local and regional foods and want to see more of these ingredients end up on students’ plates around the country.
Plus: Check out more news and updates in the Farm to School section of HSC's blog!