Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Acting up

[photo courtesy of Katherine Bryant, DC Farm to School]

Hooray! Lots to celebrate in recent weeks in terms of improving school food -- both in our nation's capital and around the country.

Just yesterday, my favorite president (okay, well, he's in the top three -- Lincoln and FDR are tough acts to follow) signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, giving more funding to federal school lunch programs, boosting both the variety and the quality of food in schools, and facilitating local farm to school networks and the development of school gardens. It was signed right in the auditorium of nearby Tubman Elementary School, where I've spent the past 4 Wednesday afternoons as a volunteer food educator teaching kids how to make healthy snacks! Too bad I wasn't there for the signing, but it's for the best: there is no way I would've been able to keep myself from hugging the President and First Lady.

But that's not all. Last week, with the help of many, many e mails and phone calls from my fellow DCists, the DC Healthy Schools Act was passed, allowing for similar reforms on a local scale that the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act does nationally. Better food at last for DC schoolkids! Thank goodness! You'd think a 6-cents-per-child increase would be no big deal, but it is. I do believe I've mentioned the atrocious food at the public charter school where I used to teach. (It will remain nameless to protect its identity, but really, from what I've heard from teacher friends at other schools in town, the "food" there is comparable to other District schools.) Oh, and mandatory testing of water for lead in school drinking fountains? Yeah, it's about time that was enforced.

This is not to say that the implementation of these important programs comes without a price: SNAP (aka food stamp) programs have taken a cut to fund the former (federal) program, while the welfare program in the District will be curtailed to finance the latter (local) program. Still, I think both pieces of legislation are major victories, if bittersweet ones, along the road to school food reform.

Oh, and speaking of the road to food reform, check out this Washington Post article, hot off the presses. Looks like sustainable food education, production, and distribution in the DC metro area is about to get a little more interesting, come spring....

1 comment:

  1. now if we can just find an Ibti niche in all of this goodness! keep up the good work kiddo ;)



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