Sep 7: "Time for Lunch" Eat-in & Day of Action

"Time for Lunch" Labor Day Eat-In in Mellon Park: A national campaign to get real food into school lunch programs. Slow Food Pittsburgh will jump on board on Labor Day, Sept. 7 with a "Time for Lunch" Eat-In.

More than 200 chapters across the nation
will join us in inviting civic groups, educators, PTA groups, clergy,
school garden and urban agriculture advocates, growers,
local officials and legislators to sit down together
to have this
important conversation
getting real food into school lunch programs.

We are spreading the word to our friends, families and neighbors too.

This will be a moment to send a clear message to our nation's leaders that our children deserve better school lunches.

COMMUNAL PICNIC: We will sit down together on Labor Day,
Monday, Sept. 7, 1-4 pm, in Mellon Park.

BRING: a chair, a potluck dish to share, your plate, implements and a cloth.
We will have some tables. More folding tables are welcome.

Friends and neighbors.

This is a National Eat-in and Day of Action.

That means that we also want to make a dramatic statement,
so our campaign gets noticed.

We will all use our cell phones to call legislators during the event, phone numbers
and talking points provided. All will be asked to sign the Slow Food petition:
I believe that change can't wait: It's time to provide
America's children with REAL FOOD at school.

Online signup:

What you can do now:
--Forward this email.
--Read the "Time for Lunch" Policy Platform detailing actions legislators need to take.
or here:
Slow Food's Time for Lunch Policy Platform
Every school day, we have an opportunity to build a strong foundation for our children's health by serving them real food at school. Children who grow up enjoying food that is both delicious and good for them learn healthy habits that last throughout their lives. Each year that we fail to satisfy our children's right to real food is another year we deny our children good health, we diminish their ability to learn and we close the door on their opportunity to succeed.
The need for real school food has never been greater. Today, one in four children is overweight or obese, and one in three will develop diabetes in his or her lifetime. In the face of this crisis, our schools are financially struggling to feed children anything but the overly processed fast food that endangers their health. For many children, school lunch is their only guaranteed meal of the day. Right now, those children are forced to choose between going hungry and being unhealthy.

We can do better.

The National School Lunch Program provides a meal to more than 30 million children every school day.
By giving schools the resources to serve real food, we can grant 30 million children the freedom to be healthy. By teaching children to eat well, we can make a down payment on health care reform. By providing children with locally grown fruits and vegetables, we can support local farmers and create green jobs in our communities. By purchasing local food, we can stop wasting oil on transportation and start curbing global warming. By raising children who enjoy real food, we can start laying the foundation for America's future prosperity.
This fall, the Child Nutrition Act, which is the bill that governs the National School Lunch Program, is up for reauthorization in Congress. By passing a Child Nutrition Act that works for children, our nation can take the first step towards a future where no child is denied his or her right to be healthy and where every child enjoys real food.

That's why it's time for Congress and the Obama Administration to:

Give schools just one dollar more per day for each child's lunch. Under the National School Lunch
Program, the USDA reimburses schools for every meal served: $2.57 for a free lunch, $2.17 for a
reduced-price lunch and 24 cents for a paid lunch. Since these reimbursements must also pay for labor, equipment and overhead costs, schools are left with only $1.00 to spend on food. How can schools be expected to feed our children and protect their health with only a dollar a day? It's time to build a strong foundation for our children's health by raising the reimbursement rate to $3.57.

Establish strong standards for all food sold at school, including food from vending machines and
school fast food.
At most schools, children can buy junk food in vending machines, at on-campus stores and in the cafeteria as "a la carte" items. These overly processed, high-calorie "fast" foods sneak under the radar of federal nutrition standards. They undermine the National School Lunch Program's investment in children's health and allow food companies to profit from selling obesity. It's time to take the first step towards making real food the standard by approving Rep. Woolsey's and Sen. Harkin's Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009.

Fund grants for innovative Farm to School programs and school gardens. This spring, 30 fifth-
graders joined Michelle Obama in planting a vegetable garden on the White House lawn. "What I found with my kids [is that] if they were involved in planting and picking it, they were much more curious to give it a try," Mrs. Obama says. Every child deserves the opportunity to learn healthy eating habits at school.
n 2004, a section was added to the Child Nutrition Act to provide schools with grants to cover one-time grants that enable them to purchase local foods and to teach lessons on healthy eating in kitchen and garden classrooms - but Congress never appropriated funds for it. This year, it's time for Congress to guarantee $50 million of mandatory funding for Farm to School programs.

We also ask that Congress and the Obama Administration:

Establish financial incentives that encourage schools to buy food from local farms for all child
nutrition programs.
Buying fruits and vegetables from local farms is an economic engine for creating jobs in our communities, rebuilding rural economies, and supporting family farmers. By shortening the distance food travels - from farm to table - it also saves oil and ensures school foods are as fresh and healthy as possible.


Train underemployed Americans to be the teachers, farmers, cooks, and administrators our school cafeterias need. We can't serve real food in schools without investing in school kitchens and the people who prepare and serve lunch. This spring, President Obama signed the Serve America Act, which expanded Americorps and reinforced his call for Americans to serve their country. Right now, our nation has an opportunity to train young and unemployed Americans to be the teachers, farmers, cooks and administrators we need to ensure the National School Lunch Program is protecting children's health.

President Obama has called for an end to childhood hunger by 2015; let's answer that call by putting Americans to work building and working in school kitchens nationwide.
Greg Boulos or Barrie Mars barriemars@comcast.net______________________

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