Friday, August 29, 2008

The Future of School Lunches

It time to speak up and we don't have much time, so act fast to make sure your voice is heard! The Child Nutrition Act (read about it here) – a major piece of federal legislation that helps determine school food policy and resources – will begin reauthorization in 2009.

The federal government and the USDA wants your opinion and is accepting public comments on the reauthorization of this act, but you have to comment by October 15, 2008.

So, what do we want?

We request the USDA to start to make changes by doing the following:
  • Increase funding for school meals and provide incentives for schools to offer healthier foods.
  • Increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Improve nutrition standards for school meals so they align with the most recent dietary guidelines.
  • Establish standards for food sold in schools outside of the school meals programs such as that sold at snack bars and cafeteria a la carte lines.
Personally, in addition, I want my boys to be able to choose from fresh in-season produce, hormone and cruelty-free meats and dairy, whole grains and balanced menus. I also want the "fast foods" to disappear from the menu. My middle school aged boys can actually purchase whole pizzas brought in from an outside chain, Bosco brand cheese breadsticks (for a meal?!?!), nachos with fake "oil" cheese, canned fruits in HFCS, lemonade that contains 0% fruit juice, chicken nuggets using processed meat by-products, salad dressings that have a higher fat content than a Big Mac, gatorade and donuts. Sound appetizing? I must tell you, to a 13 year old boy with $5 in his pocket, it's pretty hard to resist.

What can you do?? Well, it's very simple. Simply log on to this site and enter your comments which will be reviewed by the USDA. Has speaking up ever been so simple?? I think not! And, if you're really pressed for time, simply highlight, copy and paste the bolded text above and place it into the comments section of the site.

Please don't delay, you only have until October 15th, 2008. Pass this along, tell your friends, post it at your school, spread the word through your PTA or neighborhood. Your children will thank you!


Mother Earth said...

you have made if very simple for anyone to have a say and participate in this much needed reform -

excuse me we are operating on legislation from the 60's ??

PS thanks ever so much for the name/url function

Jennifer Taggart said...

Great post and reminder to participate in the process to get what we want!


Diane MacEachern said...

Thanks for the reminder to weigh in. As much as I advocate for individual consumer behavior, it makes a difference when thousands of citizens focus their attention on an important issue like this one.

Green Bean said...

I just came back from Slow Food Nation and I cannot tell you how important it is to speak up on this issue. Time and time again, when the panelists at two different seminars I attended (these are people like Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle) were asked what we, ordinary people, can do, one of the top things mentioned was get better food at schools. This is a huge step and one we need to take.

Thanks for the heads up. I'll leave my comments and then post about this next week. We need to remember that as important as it is to vote with our forks, it is important to use our voice as well. Let's speak up and get this done.

eco 'burban mom said...

Mother Earth: EXACTLY! An act from the 1960's is governing food policy in 2008? Crazy!

JT - Thanks, Jennifer!

Diane - That's my hope! Thousands upon thousands of parents demanding fresh food and healthy choices can't be ignored!

Green Bean - Yes, we need vote with our voices, and our forks. That's a nice statement. Vote and vote often I say!!

Jeffrey Peel said...

Your readers may be interested in a project sponsored by McCain foods in the US. We have created an online questionnaire and blog that allows parents to discuss the quality of food served in schools. To date dozens of parents have completed our questionnaire. We'd welcome more participation from your readers.

The link below provides more information about the questionnaire and blog.

Jeffrey Peel
Quadriga Consulting Ltd