Saturday, March 13, 2010

Join Us

Parents for Better D.C. School Food arose out of the D.C. Farm to School Network. If you've been paying attention to these things, you may have noticed one group conspicuously missing from the school food debate in the District of Columbia: parents.

We think parents really care about the foods their children are consuming, especially when D.C. is listed as having the eighth highest rate of childhood overweight and obesity in the country. Yet as we've discovered, the food served in the city's public schools is some of the worst our nation's food system has to offer, high on industrially processed government commodity products, loaded with chemical additives and frequently injected with sugar. Truly, it is just cheap convenience food.

Our goal is to replace industrially processed convenience foods in our schools with fresh ingredients, preferably grown locally on farms right here in the Washington, D.C., area. To do that, we support the D.C. Farm to School Network, the Healthy Schools Act currently pending before the D.C. Council, as well as direct interaction with school food service officials.

There is strength in numbers. If you have not done so already, please join our Google group. In just the last couple of weeks, we have already drawn 30 members to the group. That is where we inform members about what we are doing, organize and plan strategy. You can also become a "fan" of our Facebook page. We already have 55 "fans" who can exchange comments and receive a link to the posts on our blog.

And do subscribe to our blog--Better D.C. School Food--either by e-mail or through a service such as Google Reader. In our blog, we examine local school food issues on a daily basis, show you pictures of the food being served in our schools and analyze school food for nutritional content.

You can also become a contributor to our blog. So far we've published 17 posts on topics ranging from the benefits of healthful fats and questions about serving Pop Tarts for school breakfast, to the food issues presented by two daughters in public school and strategies for getting young children to try different foods. We also share recipes: Peanut butter pancakes, anyone?

We urge you to become involved. Parents need to make their voices heard on the school food issue. No one has a bigger stake in this discussion. We urge you to visit your child's cafeteria, get to know the food service workers there, sit in on a meal and talk to the kids about eating healthful foods. You can change the way they eat for the better, and make a positive impression that will last them into adulthood.

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