My last post, before the haze of a holiday weekend set in, focused on the reauthorization of The Child Nutrition Act in 2009. I asked readers to comment on the USDA's public comment website to make their voices heard. We want fresh fruits and vegetables! We want increased funding! We want standards for "snack line" foods! And, then I got to thinking. I asked all of you to comment, I commented, but then I stopped there.
Today, energized by a sunny holiday weekend spent with my children, I realized I could do more. Did you comment? Do you want to take it a step further? To quote someone very politically relevant - YES, I CAN! Today I wrote a letter to every member of the school board as well as my children's school principals and some powerful PTA women that I know that can really get the job done. It was so simple and so quick. Visit your school's website, scout out the email addresses and type a quick letter. No time to write the letter? Here - take mine! Just don't tell the kids how quick and easy plagiarism can be!
Dear Members of the Board,
My name is (your name here), a mother of x, y, z attending the (ABC) Consolidated Schools. I am writing you today to request your attention to an important matter:
The Child Nutrition Act - a major piece of federal legislation that helps determine school food policy and resources – will begin reauthorization in 2009. Amazingly, this act has been unchanged since the 1960's and besides being outdated, it doesn't address many issues facing students today, such as: obesity, diabetes, cholesterol levels, allergies, working parent households, religous beliefs and many other factors not present in the 1960's. In addition, the current act doesn't contain any standards for so-called "snack-line" foods such as brand name items, fast food chain selections, sodas and marketing gimmicks.
The good news is the USDA and the government are accepting the public's comments on the reauthorization of this act, but the comment period ends very soon - October 15, 2008. I understand this email is reaching you during the busiest time, right at the beginning of a new school year. However, I am only asking for a moment of your time to pass the word along to your fellow colleagues, the schools and their PTAs and the food service department.
For those who are limited on time, simply visit the website I provided below and enter your comments. The website address:
A basic set of comments are as follows (please feel free to cut and paste these comments into the comments section if you wish!):
- Increase funding for school meals and provide incentives for schools to offer healthier foods.
- Increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Improve nutrition standards for school meals so they align with the most recent dietary guidelines.
- Establish standards for food sold in schools outside of the school meals programs such as that sold at snack bars and cafeteria a la carte lines.