Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Time for Lunch

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Photo Courtesty of Max Lau

It’s time for lunch. Or rather, it’s time to reform the school lunch program in this country. On Fat Tuesday, it’s apropos to direct you to my favorite celebrity chef at his recent TED Prize winning speech, wherein he announces that in the 18 minutes it will take for him to deliver said speech, 4 Americans will die “through the food that they eat.” This is certain but avoidable death. And this a shameful body toll in a country as rich in science, resources and real food as our own. America’s children deserve better.

As a chef, eater, foodie, writer, thinker, friend, citizen, American, lover of children and lover of food, I urge you to take action today to use your voice, your vote, your time, to volunteer with Slow Food USA and help reverse this cycle of death and disease we’re teaching our children with every processed lunch we serve. If you’re in New York City, join me next Tuesday, February 23rd at Jimmy’s No. 43 for the Slow Food NYC Volunteer Training Program. It’ll take just one hour of your time, and you’ll be officially registered to attend Slow Food events as an advocate for food change. Or read the letter below from Slow Food USA and take but a moment to follow the links and send an urgently needed message to your state’s legislator to demand that he or she take up this Congressional call to pass the Child Nutrition Act. Do your part to put real food on the table and Eat it Up!

Dear friends,

More than 31 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program. Many consume as many as half their daily calories at school. Helping schools serve real food may be the most promising way to end child obesity – but it simply can’t happen unless Congress invests in healthier food and the Child Nutrition Act.

Will you send an email to your legislators to help schools serve real food?

As an organization, Slow Food gets involved in policy when we see big problems with America’s food system that can only be solved if citizens speak up. Teaching children to make good food choices will require hard work from parents, schools, non-profits, the private sector and government. But an enormously important step is to ensure that the National School Lunch Program isn’t undermining those efforts, and is instead serving kids the healthy food they need to grow up into able, productive adults.

On a conference call this week, USDA Secretary Vilsack said that the most important thing citizens can do to get healthier food into their local schools is to urge Congress to pass a strong Child Nutrition Act. This issue has broad public support, he said, but it isn’t appearing in the national media – so we need to make sure Congress gets the message.

That’s where you come in. Now that Michelle Obama is leading the charge, Congress will begin updating the Child Nutrition Act this month. If legislators hear support from citizens back home, they’ll have the opportunity to invest in healthier food, strengthen nutrition standards, and equip schools to buy local and cook meals from scratch.

Photo Courtesy of Slow Food NYC

Photo Courtesy of Slow Food NYC

So please take a minute to email your legislators today.

Thank you,
Gordon Jenkins
Advocacy Manager
Slow Food USA

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