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Kids Write to Eat at Green City Market

By Megan Tempest in Food on Feb 25, 2010 4:20PM

Public awareness of the dismal quality of our nation’s school lunches has grown immensely in the last decade. Yet despite modest improvements, and the admirable efforts of many, the National School Lunch Program is still in dire need of reform. Currently school districts are reimbursed $2.68 for each meal served to a child who qualifies for free lunch. After addressing overhead costs, schools are left with $1 per meal to feed a child. Due to lack of resources, the likes of processed chicken-part patties are a frequent menu item and fried potatoes in the form of tater tots continue to hold “vegetable” status. Sad but true.

This Saturday, Green City Market is teaming up with Slow Food Chicago, to hold the Kids Write to Eat campaign. Kids will be empowered to take an active role in improving the quality of their lunches by writing letters to their legislators.

We asked Lyle Allen, Executive Direct of Green City Market, why they partnered with Slow Food Chicago to support this program:

“Green City Market's mission is to improve the availability of a diverse range of high quality foods; to connect local producers and farmers to chefs, restaurateurs, food organizations and the public; and, to support small family farms and promote a healthier society through education and appreciation for local, fresh, sustainably raised produce and products. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work together with Slow Foods to help all Chicagoans, especially children and families, understand the importance of eating better and living a healthier lifestyle. "

The event will be held from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. upstairs in the Nature Museum North Gallery. They’ll have plenty of crayons, pens and paper on hand, so all the kids need to do is show up and get busy drafting their letters. Children of all ages are encouraged to participate. Letters will then be sent to members of Congress just as they prepare to reform the Child Nutrition Act, the legislation which governs our nation’s School Lunch Program, this coming spring.

Here’s the official policy platform of Slow Food USA’s Time For Lunch program:

1. Invest in health. Find the funding to give school lunch programs $1 more per
child per day.

2. Protect kids from the junk food sold in vending machines, cafeterias and
school stores
. Approve the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch
Protection Act of 2009.

3. Link schools to local farms, and teach healthy eating. Guarantee $50 million for Farm to School programs.

Visit the Time for Lunch Campaign to learn more and to submit a letter to your legislator directly through their website.