In preparation for the reauthorization, Slow Food USA (www.slowfoodusa.org) launched Time for Lunch, a national campaign developed to send a message to Congress to provide funds so America’s children can eat healthy at school.
As of press time, 281 Eat-Ins were being organized on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7, in communities across the country, including one on the front lawn of Maui’s Baldwin High School from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Eat-Ins intend to draw attention to the need for quality food for the nation’s 30 million children who participate in the National School Lunch Program (part of the Child Nutrition Act).
Currently, our schools lack the resources to serve students the healthy food they need. According to Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel, “We cannot, in good conscience, continue to make our kids sick by feeding them cheap byproducts of an industrial food system.”
Debra Lordan · Editor/General Manager
With nearly 32 percent of our children considered obese or overweight, and one-third in jeopardy of developing diabetes, providing schools with the ability to offer nutritious food should be a national priority. And just a dollar a day may keep the doctor away.
Schools are currently reimbursed $2.57 for each meal served to a student who qualifies for free lunch, but less than $1 goes toward ingredients. The Time for Lunch campaign is asking people to contact their legislators and tell them to allocate $1 more per day per child for lunch. The campaign also seeks to establish standards for all food sold at school, including food from vending machines and fast food.
Lastly, the campaign is pushing for funding to teach children lifelong healthy eating habits through innovative farm-to-school programs and school gardens. Instilling good habits at an early age is a down payment on healthcare reform.
We could also grow our own stimulus package if cafeterias were able to purchase Maui-grown fruits and vegetables, local proteins like beef and tofu, and other value-added products, providing an economic engine for creating jobs and supporting businesses and farmers.
Stop by. Show your support. Sign the petition. Bring a homemade dish to the Baldwin potluck (a zero-waste event). And write a letter to Congress and let them know Maui supports real food in schools and a healthier future for our keiki.
And if you don’t think our government needs your input, just remember “Ketchupgate.” In 1981, Congress cut $1 billion from child-nutrition funding—so the USDA attempted to classify ketchup as a vegetable to cut costs.
The way we feed our kids is a reflection of our values. Yes, we have catching up to do regarding our investment in the health of our children.
Call 243-2290 for more information.