Carrots v. Cupcakes: An Olympic question | Civil Eats

Carrots v. Cupcakes: An Olympic question

The carrots with which we entice our children to perform well have morphed into colossal sugary carrot cupcakes, as highlighted in the Los Angeles Daily News this morning. The article portrays the debate over the appropriate incentives to get children to read as pitting one responsible party against another. Whose job is it to keep our children healthy — government, parents, or public/private institutions such as libraries?

The answer is D: All of the above. We are responsible as a society to give the best possible future to our children. I’m involved with two organizations that work toward that goal. With 30% of our school children overweight, we need programs such as Farm to School to plant lifelong eating habits in our kids, to help them appreciate real food that will nourish their minds and bodies. And as Moira Beery, the California farm-to-school coordinator at Occidental College’s Center for Food & Justice, says, “Pizza parties in and of themselves aren’t bad, but we have to be deliberate about examples we set for kids.”

While the Olympics race on in China, the USDA is holding its own tryouts of sorts right now with listening sessions to discuss the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which affects school lunch programs, WIC, and much more. Groups ranging from children’s health advocates to sustainable agriculture nonprofits are speaking up for universal access to healthy food, higher reimbursement rates tied to meal quality, and mandatory funds to support farm-to-school programs. Sessions in Georgia, Illinois, and Colorado are coming up (see schedule). You can also submit comments on the Act electronically up until October 15.

The greatest return on investment we can make as a nation is feeding our children nourishing, good, fair, and clean food that will fuel the best bodies and create an environment for better learning, which will in turn build a healthier community and stronger nation.

Go for the gold, America!

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This post was originally published on Ethicurean
Images by rachel is coconut&lime and color line.

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Debra Eschmeyer, Co-Founder and Program Director of FoodCorps, Farmer, and Communications and Outreach Director of the National Farm to School Network, has 15 years of farming and sustainable food system experience. Working from her organic farm in Ohio, Debra oversees the FoodCorps program development for service members working on school gardens and Farm to School while deciphering policy and building partnerships to strengthen the roots of FoodCorps. She also manages a national media initiative on school gardens, farmers’ markets and healthy corner stores. Read more >

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  1. There still is time to submit comments to the USDA regarding the Child Nutrition Act. We have a tool which allows you to send a letter automatically.

    For information on the Child Nutrition Act Reauthoriziation we have created a website. You can send a letter to the USDA here:

    http://www.healthyschoolscampaign.org/childnutrition

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