Organic Vegetarian Chili, Carrot Apple Soup, Roasted Local Beet Salad, Salad du Jour, All Natural Beef Chili, Brown Rice, Steamed Zucchini and Grapefruit Slices
The above shows the solution can be delicious. How wonderful that you and the President can provide local, fresh and healthy foods for the First Daughters, but what about kids in the rest of the country? From your previous neighborhood on the south side of Chicago to your new community in Washington, D.C. with the highest childhood obesity rates in the country, the nutritional divide that stymies the development and potential of youth is an open wound.
The average school cafeteria unfortunately operates on the lowest common denominator of cost, not quality. The USDA currently reimburses schools $2.57 for every free lunch it serves and lower amounts for reduced cost and full price meals. This leaves about one dollar to cover actual food costs, once labor and overhead costs are factored in. What do you expect food service directors to feed our kids with on a $1.00?
Thankfully, kids, parents, food service staff, teachers, farmers, school administration, and other community members have a taste for change and have been working to incorporate fresh, local product—no matter the perceived barriers—through what is called “farm to school” programs.
The farm to school movement has not waited for the federal government to make children a priority. There are over 2,000 known programs in 39 states as reported by the National Farm to School Network, a joint project of the Center for Food and Justice at Occidental College and the Community Food Security Coalition.
Even though I promote from scratch cooking, you don’t have to start from scratch in your platform.
The Child Nutrition Forum, a collaboration of many groups, including, National Farm to School Network, School Nutrition Association, Food Research and Action Center and School Food FOCUS, has a statement of principles that outlines key issues to champion immediately.
From there you can delve into an extensive menu of ideas such as establishing a national farm to school grant program or strengthening nutrition standards for school meal programs.
On February 26, I invite you to attend one of two Congressional briefings on farm to school and hear directly from those working every day for a healthy America.