Chicken fajitas. Cuban black beans. Sauteed corn and summer squash.
These are just some of the dishes you’ll find at The Lunch Box Project, an online guidebook to help schools serve healthier meals to our children.
The website is part of the “School Food Revolution,” a movement that began with Chef Ann Cooper and supported by organizations and businesses such as the Chez Panisse Foundation and Whole Foods Market. Their goal is to encourage schools to steer away from the usual lunch fare of hotdogs, chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers and to start offering locally grown fruits and vegetables, whole foods and other healthier alternatives.
“The way we feed our kids is a reflection of our values,” Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA, said in a press release. “We cannot, in good conscience, continue to make our kids sick by feeding them cheap byproducts of an industrial food system. It is time to give kids real food: food that tastes good, is good for them, is good for the people who grow and prepare it, and is good for the planet.”
This year, Slow Food – an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting sustainability and connecting farmers, cooks, educators, students and others who care about food and the environment — launched “Time for Lunch,” a national campaign to provide kids with real, healthy food. Locally, members of Slow Food Spokane River have organized an Eat-In next Monday, on Labor Day. The gathering is designed to raise awareness of the kinds of meals served to the more than 30 million children who take part in the National School Lunch Program, according to this story from Down to Earth Northwest.
The Eat-In also will give participants the chance to learn more about the Child Nutrition Act, which Congress is expected to reauthorize this year. Slow Food is asking lawmakers to allocate more money toward school meals. Schools receive a cash reimbursement for every meal that’s served, but less than $1 of each meal is spent on actual ingredients, according to Slow Food USA. Instead, the money pays for labor, equipment and overhead costs. A petition from The Time for Lunch campaign wants Congress to allocate $1 more per day per child for lunch. It also wants the government to establish standards for all food sold at school, including vending machines as well as provide funding to teach children healthy eating habits through farm-to-school programs and school gardens.
Here’s some info about the local Eat-In:
TIME FOR LUNCH: An Eat-In for Better Child Nutrition
WHAT: A community potluck organized by Slow Food Spokane River to raise awareness about government funding and the quality of food in school lunches
WHEN: Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
WHERE: Comstock Park’s picnic area, Spokane’s South Hill
OTHER INFO: Event includes hands-on activities for kids and an opportunity for parents and others to learn more about Time for Lunch. People can sign a petition calling for Congress to provide schools with the resources to serve real food for lunch. The gathering takes place just before the annual Spokane Symphony concert at the park. Participants can bring a blanket or chair, a reusable plate, cup and utensils and a potluck dish to share. Water and lemonade provided. For more information, contact Karen at email@example.com or (509) 570-4541.
What do your kids eat for lunch at school?