Letters for Lunch: Take Action for Healthier School Lunches with Slow Food USA
January 05, 2010
Today we have a guest post from our friends at Slow Food USA.
By Jerusha Klemperer, program manager at Slow Food USA
When you think about it, kids don’t
have that many opportunities to write a real letter anymore — maybe to
Santa, but that’s about it. Even Santa, I suspect, has a Blackberry.
Well, here at Slow Food USA we are encouraging kids to go slow, and to
send real, handwritten letters to their Congress people. So far more
than 2,000 letters have been sent, all asking for school nutrition
directors to be given the resources necessary to provide better school
This letter-writing campaign
represents the second phase in our Time for Lunch campaign. Phase 1 took place on Labor Day
2009, in all 50 states, when 20,000 people sat down together at public
potlucks in support of updating our nation’s school lunch program.
At these picnics — held in parks, on farms, in backyards and school
yards — communities came together in celebratory protest of a school
lunch program that is broken. They eat real, home-cooked food as a
demonstration of the delicious, wholesome food they believe should be a
part of the lunch served in public schools around the country.
Then, due to embattled and elongated
health care reform conversations in Congress, the reauthorization of
the Child Nutrition Act, slated for the end of September, was postponed
for one year. Word on the street is that they will get to it by early
spring. Never mind that health care and nutrition should be interwoven
conversations, that good nutrition is prevention.
We are diving into letter writing to
help our legislators draw connections between child health and child
nutrition. We also think it’s a great way to engage kids in the
democratic process, as well as a strong sign to our legislators of who
school lunch reform affects.
Obviously letter writers should
describe what it is they want, in their own words. If they are old
enough to understand the specifics of changes they could ask for, they
should do that. The biggest change, and the one that the legislators
really need to hear support for is increasing the reimbursement rate.
We are asking for $1 more per child per day.
Congress leaves school lunch so
underfunded that many schools have to rely on the overly processed
foods that set kids up for a lifetime of bad eating. It’s time to
provide America’s children with a school lunch that keeps them healthy
and performing well in the classroom.