Co-hosted by Slow Food Santa Cruz
Update: We are pleased to announce that Congressman Sam Farr and Assemblymember Bill Monning will address the community!
Help us raise awareness around the importance of providing real food—not “food product”—in our schools by joining neighbors, community leaders, teachers, friends and families at a BringYourOwn brown-bag lunch, featuring Congressman Sam Farr, Assemblymember Bill Monning, Mayor Cynthia Matthews and Cynthia Hawthorne, Santa Cruz City Schools Trustee and healthy foods advocate. Kids activities, as well as information and petitions will be available. Over 290 eat-ins will take place on Labor Day in all 50 states, as communities gather to speak out for real food at school.
Students in Santa Cruz City Schools elementary and middle schools are already experiencing real food. Thanks to the efforts of the district’s Wellness Committee and new leadership in the Food Service Department, strong community support and a visionary school board, students came back to school this year to fresh, healthy, appealing food provided by Revolution Foods. This is just the first step toward comprehensive change in our community schools, from Kindergarten through high school.
We are in good company here in Santa Cruz. From the White House to Congress; the USDA to local farms; medical experts to “lunch ladies” – many are speaking out in favor of bringing whole, real food back to our schools. Over time, school nutrition has slipped into a cycle driven not by a focus on healthy food, but by convenience and at times, by profit: “commodity foods” for school lunch programs provide an outlet for agricultural surplus nationwide, and lucrative contracts support large processing companies. Taste, nutrition and sustainability have been low priorities. This dynamic is poised for change, with support growing from the USDA, the Obama administration and Congress. But it will take all of us, speaking together, to ensure that agenda for better school food moves forward. Santa Cruz is on the cutting edge of this important trend.
As so many education and nutrition experts have said, it is time to align what we teach with what we serve. Our schools teach good nutrition in the classroom and the life lab, but do not model it in the cafeteria. We cannot continue to provide food that contributes to rapidly rising rates of childhood obesity and diabetes. Just as we strive to equip our students to become lifelong learners, we’re finally getting serious about supporting lifelong health through healthy foods, physical activity and nutrition education. A nourished child is an active learner.
Can’t join us on Labor Day? Sign the petition.