Friday, August 28, 2009

Making Change--School Lunches

There are a number of schools which have made real changes in food service programs, providing fresh, local food to their students. Sadly, this is not true of our school district.

So, action needs to be taken to make change. I have been thinking about this for a long time and was very recently encouraged by a teacher expressing her own concerns and asking parents to get involved. It was just the push I needed to get moving.

First, I got the following resources from a couple of people I know online who have worked to make changes in their own schools:

Then, I sent a letter to the head of food services, district superintendent, and the school board.

Dear ******,

I am writing to express some of my concerns regarding food service at ***. I am a ******** mom of four kids: my oldest begins sixth grade at ***** this fall, my second 3rd grade at ********, and my third will begin kindergarten this year at ******. My youngest is 2 and a half. Feeding my family good, healthy food has always been a priority for me. I realize that in this economy, providing good quality food for thousands of children must be a difficult and daunting task. I struggle to manage to do this for four. It is very important to me, especially as food becomes more expensive and the economy remains questionable, that I do what I can to feed my children real, fresh food, preferably from local sources. I would like to see *** make this a priority as well. I know that other schools, with cooperation from their communities and local farms, have managed to do so without a great increase in costs, with surprisingly visible improvements in student behavior and well-being. It would seem that in this economy, when schools are responsible for feeding children what may be their best meal of the day, that it is extraordinarily important that all be done to make these meals as healthy possible rather than just filling bellies. This may indeed involve limiting choices for children rather than providing them with the option of a fast food lunch daily.

I also have been disappointed with the kindergarten snack program. My budget is tight right now, and it is difficult to pay a sum for snacks and frustrating that I am paying for things I either have in my home and am sending to school with older children or would not feed my children at all. For 50 cents a day, I could send fresh fruit, whole grain homemade baked goods without preservatives or other additives, yogurt, cheese and crackers, and a variety of other things. I realize that it provides an easy option for both parents and teachers, but I would like to either have the option of sending my own snack or working with other parents to take turns providing healthy snacks for our children.

Real, local, fresh food has been a priority for my family at home, and I see it becoming more important for lots of families. I am certain I am not alone in my wish to see **** providing the best possible food available for our children. It would seem that here in Michigan, where so many products are locally grown and produced, that we could work together to make this a reality which would benefit our children, our local economy, and our community as a whole. I would be glad to do whatever I can to help in this effort.


We'll see where this takes us. ;)

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