BROOKLYN, NY (Sept. 4) If you're selling to the school lunch market, you can't help but notice that the only constant lately is change, and the pressure for even greater change continues to mount. Slow Food USA is among the big-name groups applying the pressure.
In June, Slow Food launched Time for Lunch, a national campaign to urge Congress to provide America's children with “real” food at school. One of the major milestones of the campaign will take place on Labor Day, Sept. 7, when more than 100 communities across the country will hold "Eat-Ins."
The events are designed to draw attention to the need for real, healthy food for the more than 30 million children who participate in the National School Lunch Program, which congress is set to reauthorize later this year.
"The way we feed our kids is a reflection of our values. We cannot in good conscience continue to make our kids sick by feeding them cheap byproducts of an industrial food system," stated Josh Viertel, president, Slow Food USA. "It is time to give kids real food: food that tastes good, is good for them, is good for the people who grow and prepare it, and is good for the planet."
According to Slow Food, nearly 32 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are considered obese or overweight, and one-in three born since 2000 is at risk of developing diabetes in his/her life time,. As such, providing schools with real food is a national priority, the group points out.
The Time for Lunch campaign is urging Congress to increase by $1 more per day per child the current allocation of $2.75, noting that less than half that amount ($1) goes toward actual ingredients while the balance covers labor, equipment and overhead costs.
The campaign also seeks to protect against foods that put children at risk by establishing strong standards for all food sold at school, including food from vending machines and school fast food. Lastly, the campaign is pushing for the government to provide mandatory funding to teach children healthy eating habits through innovative farm-to-school programs and school gardens.
To view the group's platform for updating the National School Lunch Program, visit http://www.slowfoodusa.org/timeforlunch.