Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke this past Tuesday at the National Press Club luncheon to highlight the Obama’s Administration priorities for the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. His remarks included a plan to increase school meal reimbursement by $1 billion; while this plan is far from perfect it is certainly good news to hear that both the President and the USDA are interested in improving school meals. The addition of $1 billion in additional reimbursement only adds up to about 10 cents more in lunch reimbursements; this is still not enough to make a difference, especially in CT with Governor Rell attempting to make cuts in the funding we receive from the State.
Sunday 2/28/10 I am flying to DC to meet with the USDA. I will be meeting with Under Secretary Kevin Concannon and his team; Concannon is the USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. We will be discussing the positive changes that have taken place in New Haven Schools thus far; while they may seem small to you and I, compared to what is happening in other districts nationwide they are huge changes. It’s time to put New Haven on the national radar for school food and let everyone know that IT CAN BE DONE!
Also while in DC I will be meeting with Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Rep. Chris Murphy. We will be discussing New Haven School Food but also discussing the need to increase the funding for school meal reimbursements to $1.00. In addition I will be asking for Congress to provide more funding for school breakfast, kitchen equipment, training programs and to provide additional funding to districts that work with local farms. Local farms are the backbone to our country; they are engines for economic vitality, in both rural communities as well as urban areas that benefit from jobs created by vibrant local and regional food systems. Good food leads to good nutrition and good health.
Joining me in these important meeting will be John Turenne, President and founder of Sustainable Food Systems, LLC and former Executive Chef at Yale. John was one of the lead innovators in sustainable food practices during the creation of the Yale Sustainable Food Project and continues as a leading innovator in bridging the gap between conventional and sustainable dining programs
Lastly I was just informed from the White House that I will be meeting with Chef Sam Kass; the personal chef to the President and his family and an advocate to serving healthy, real food in schools. Chef Kass is working closely with Mrs. Obama on the Let’s Move Campaign, a group of community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms and dads in a nationwide campaign to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity. www.letsmove.gov
To facilitate our efforts to increase funding please visit http://www.lunchboxadvocates.org/ffff/issues/alert/?alertid=14663986 and send an action alert to Congress and to the USDA asking them to increase funding to One Dollar More a Day for Healthy School Food.