By Debra Eschmeyer, cross-posted with the UEPI News & Commentary blog of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College.
“Hey, USDA, what’s up with three meals a day?”
“Hey, USDA, how can I learn if I can’t eat?”
“Hey, USDA, imagine I’m your kid!”
Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the Chicago USDA Listening Session on the Child Nutrition & WIC Reauthorization Act with the Great Lakes National Farm to School Network. The session opened with a three minute video on the Milwaukee Summer Feeding Program with a voice over by Sherrie Tussler from the Hunger Task Force and she then concluded with 22 seconds of questions posed by children.
Kudos to Sherrie and the Hunger Task Force for using their allotted 3.5 minutes to visually show how this federal policy is impacting communities. You blew us away.
Open to the public, the session enabled whoever pre-registered to speak up for the changes necessary to the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service, Child & Adult Care Food Program, WIC, and more. Testimony was provided by food service staff, a mother of seven children, farm to school advocates, vegetarian crusaders, anti-hunger groups, Departments of Education, Action for Healthy Kids, American Dietetic Association, National Farm to School Network, and others…not to mention the National Pork Board, American Commodity Distribution Association, and the Schwann’s Company (the largest supplier of pizza and frozen entries for school lunch).
Some requests included:
- Mandatory funds for local foods in school meals
- Increased reimbursement rates
- Training for food service to prepare whole foods
- Kitchen Facility Grant Program
- Farm to School Grant Program
The transcripts won’t be available until mid October, and I’ll make sure to share them when available, highlighting what the different groups requested in their testimony to the USDA.
Until then, please watch the videos!
Photo credit: White House site for the National School Lunch Program
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