Child Nutrition is moving: now is the time
to speak up for healthy school food!
The Child Nutrition Act, the legislation that determines school food policy and resources, will be introduced in the House of Representatives at any moment today. Senate leaders have already introduced their version of the bill, a version that includes some excellent policy provisions but does not include adequate funding to make fundamental change for school food that really supports health and learning.
The introduction of this bill in the House signals movement on an issue of vital importance to children's health and our food system. It comes after many months of advocacy from parents, students, teachers, food service directors, health professionals and community leaders across the nation:
On March 2, HSC hosted a Day of Action for healthy school food, when five students from Chicago presented the healthy lunch they designed for the Cooking up Change healthy cooking contest at a Capitol Hill briefing. Cooking up Change National Honorary Co-Chairs Christie Vilsack (wife of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack) and Karen Duncan (wife of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan) also spoke up for healthy school meals at the briefing. Students across the US have been writing letters as part of Slow Food USA's Time for Lunch campaign. Ann Cooper has been working to rally every voice in support of increased funding for school meals. Advocates have been pointing out the connection to social justice. And of course Jamie Oliver has been bringing attention to school food issues among audiences who weren't previously involved.
Today is the day to build on these months of action.
Be part of the movement for healthy school food by joining the Child Nutrition Day of Action hosted today by HSC partner Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). As activists from all over the country visit Capitol Hill, you can participate from your own home by calling or emailing your representative.
To call the capitol switchboard, dial 1-800-815-3740, ask for your representative in the US House, and ask that the reauthorization include:
- Increased funding for the school meal program, at minimum the $1 billion per year for 10 years that President Obama has proposed.
- Increased quality of meals served in the school meal program; including less use of highly processed foods which are high in fat and sodium, increased fresh and high quality fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, and reduced overall sodium content.
- Strengthened nutrition standards for school meal programs and competitive foods.
- At least $50 million mandatory funding for Farm to School programs.
As the Child Nutrition Act is reauthorized once every five years, this is a critical oportunity to shape the future of school food, particularly in light of First Lady Michelle Obama's call to end childhood obesity in a generation.
Let's all speak up to ensure that a well-funded
reauthorization is passed this year. Thank you
for being part of this important effort.