Slow Food USA Pushes to Help Schools Serve Real Food

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Time for Lunch Campaign Plans to Send Thousands of Letters to Congress Calling for Big Changes to the Upcoming Child Nutrition Act to End Child Obesity and Diabetes

Slow Food USA today announced that its 90,000 members and advocates are rallying the public to tell Congress to get serious about combating child obesity when legislators update the Child Nutrition Act. Last week, President Obama proposed adding $1 billion per year to the legislation, and today the First Lady launched a new child obesity initiative, which aims to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation. Both set the stage for Congress to begin debating the bill this month.

“President Obama’s proposal to add $1 billion per year to the Child Nutrition Act is an important step forward, and we need to push our legislators to make it happen,” stated Josh Viertel, president, Slow Food USA. “That said, it is not enough to reverse the most troubling trend in our country: one third of America’s kids will eventually suffer from diabetes because of the food we feed them. And yet Congress currently spends more than $13 billion per year subsidizing the production of the very same foods that are making kids sick. We need to address the core causes of obesity, and invest in healthier food for our nation’s children.”

Right now, Congress gives schools $2.68 for each lunch served, of which only about $1 goes towards ingredients. President Obama has proposed adding $1 billion per year to the Child Nutrition Act, but the money will need to be split up between many critical programs. At most, schools would receive an additional 20 cents per meal, which falls short of what they need to serve a healthful lunch with sufficient fruits, vegetables and whole grains. School nutrition directors and advocates agree that this would cost at least $1 more per lunch. Hence Slow Food USA is asking citizens to tell their legislators to add at least $1 billion to the Child Nutrition Act, as well as to strengthen nutrition standards and help schools start farm-to-school programs.

“The math speaks for itself,” continued Viertel. “Obesity and diabetes cost our nation $263 billion per year, about half of which is paid for by taxpayers. And yet school lunch is so under-funded that most schools can only afford to serve the cheap processed foods that fuel obesity and diabetes. Investing in healthier food is the right thing to do for our kids and for our economy.”

The Time for Lunch campaign web site makes it quick and easy for anyone to send emails to their legislators. Slow Food USA has set a goal of sending 100,000 emails to Congress.

About Slow Food USA

Slow Food USA is a non-profit organization working to create a just and sustainable food system. Slow Food USA has 225 volunteer-led chapters across the country, representing more than 90,000 members and advocates. The organization creates youth programs to bring the values of eating local, sustainable and just food to schools and campuses; preserves and promotes disappearing foods and food traditions; and advocates for food and farming policy that is good for the public, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet.

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Brian Sinderson
Slow Food USA
718-260-8000 ext. 135
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