It seems as though the school lunch program, which has come under close scrutiny of the public in the last few years, is now starting to receive some real mainstream attention. Those faithful to real and traditional foods should not be surprised by this, but recent news reports reveal why this topic is just now beginning to get such heated press.
This report from CBS News explains why. Apparently now school lunches are falling lower on the quality charts than even fast food restaurants. Somehow, even this headline jarred me into thinking – wow, does it really have to come to this to get people to wake up and make some effort to improve the overall state of our children’s lunch program? Just seeing what individuals like Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard project in Berkeley, CA, Chef Ann Cooper, Toni Geraci, chef and director of the food service director of the Baltimore City Public School System, and many others have done should both inspire and motivate people everywhere to get on the truck and start making changes. Our children are worth it!
Food Democracy Now – making a difference
With this failing grade comes the emergence of an important player in food activism – Dave Murphy, founder of a food advocacy group Food Democracy Now, which he runs out of his home in Clear Lake, Iowa. In the fall of 2008, this web site was created and he was able to obtain the support from important leaders in food activism circles like Wendell Berry, Bill Niman, and Alice Waters.
He’s an activist I can really admire because he accomplishes goals by starting grass-roots efforts, online petitions, and action alerts. He’s made it easy for the average person to get involved and make a difference – which is great because it’s easy to feel powerless and as though “I can’t make a difference by myself”. It’s something many of us believe in and can related to.
Murphy has resolved to take on the federal government and make changes in food where it counts – fundamental changes in policy and methods of how food is grown, to convert industrial systems over to sustainable models for raising, growing, and selling food everywhere – including school lunch programs.
His realistic approach to the movement is realistic in that he knows change won’t happen overnight. But with persistence, the effort will pay off. He is fully aware the challenges in fighting huge, multi-billion dollar agri-business corporations who have the right connections and resources at every turn.
Success relies upon the unity of grassroots organizations and other related interests — health insurers, senior citizens and teacher lobbies. All share a common desire to regain a better state of health by education and activism by healthful eating, and have a reason to join the battle. “If you want to change the ballgame, you have to address the policies that are responsible for the system we have in place,” Murphy said. “If you change policy, the market will change.”
Remember, the importance of nutrient-dense foods for our children is critical. We’d like to see the following changes made in school lunch rooms across America:
- real, organic, whole milk, cheese, and butter being served, with no hormones/antibiotics/pesticides/chemicals
- grass-fed meats from pasture-raised animals and poultry
- eggs from pasture-raised hens
- organic fruits and vegetables
- remove processed grain products and replace with whole, sprouted and soaked grains
- remove processed, industrial foods containing chemicals, pesticides, and genetically-modified ingredients
Get involved! Sign the petition and make a difference!
Please sign this important petition from CREDO and Food Democracy Now page to let Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture know that you support his willingness to investigate this matter and bring an end to processed, industrial foods being served to our nation’s children.
Watch this excerpt from ‘Two Angry Moms‘ where Baltimore’s Toni Geraci talks about how he’s changed the face of school lunches in his district. So inspiring!
Your voice really can make a difference in the way children eat lunch. Join celebrities and others who are fighting for our children’s future. Do you have any stories to share about changes you’ve made or witnessed in your own school district?
This article is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays Carnival. Please visit this site and read the other real food posts listed there.