Posted on Tue, March 09, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
0 Comments | Categories: Events, Farms and Farming, Food Justice, Policy, School Food, Take Action,
by Emily Dagostino, Slow Food Chicago volunteer
Wee toddlers scribbling in crayon, kids and teenagers tuned into the trouble with today’s school lunches, and parents advocating for the well-being of their children were among dozens of Windy City denizens who penned letters at a recent event asking Congress for increased funding for school lunches.
It was great, says Slow Food Chicago board member Ryan Kimura. We received about 40 letters, but I felt the impact was stronger than that. Sara Gasbarra, Green City Market Sprouts Program Chair, agreed: I think the event was a total success!
Green City Market and Slow Food Chicago teamed up to sponsor the Kids Write to Eat event on February 27 as part of a ramping up of outreach efforts for the Time for Lunch Campaign that began with Slow Food Chicagos annual meeting in January. Since then, dozens of volunteers have emerged ready and excited to help spread the word. Teachers have approached Green City Market and Slow Food Chicago about bringing the letter-writing campaign back to their classrooms, and volunteers have redoubled efforts to reach out to like-minded organizations in the Chicago area to find new ways to tell our collective story.
In the next week or so, representatives from Slow Food Chicago, Green City Market and Common Threads plan to hand-deliver the kids (and parents) letters to the Chicago office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill. They hope to use the meeting to discuss with the senators staff why childhood nutrition and healthy lunches are a priority and to request the senators support.
In the letters, 6-year-old Alyssa, 7-year-old Quinton and 13-year-old Taisha asked Congress to please serve healthy food in their schools. Not only would it help them concentrate but it gets you going at recess, Quinton wrote.
An academic advisor for a Chicago high school wrote on behalf of his young children, a 3-year-old and 6-month-old, asking Congress to spare them the types of meals his students have to endure, comprising highly processed, high calorie, salty, reheated food. Additional funding for better food, he wrote, would improve classroom climates, and create better students with better lives.
Several students from Chicagos Golder College Prep wrote letters. Fifteen-year-old Gabriella summed it up:
Healthy food is extremely important because many students are becoming obese. I believe the main reason for this is the unhealthy lunch served at their schools. In my opinion healthy food is important because many children will suffer both physical and emotional problems. Obesity statistics will increase by the years if you do not put a stop to this. So my request to you is to please consider serving healthier foods at schools, because later on it will be too late.
Check out some of the Kids Write to Eat letters on Flickr.