A Recipe for Healthier Kids

Two-thirds of school children eat a National School Lunch Program lunch, consuming one-third of their total daily calories from that meal. The food in that meal travels between 2500 and 4000 miles before reaching their plates.
To make matters worse, over 31 percent of the Nation's children age 10 to 17 are either overweight or obese, according to a 2007 study compiled by the National Survey of Children's Health.  The School Lunch Program is feeding our kids food that is making them unhealthy and, at the same time, failing to support America's family farmers and ranchers as much as it could.

The importance of Farm-to-School initiatives could not be clearer.  Farm-to-School efforts provide healthy food choices for children, while creating economic opportunities for local farmers.

School may be out for summer, but before long students will be back in the lunch line. Across the nation educational workshops designed for food service directors, farmers, and other interested community members, are being conducted that demonstrate ways to serve fresh, healthy food to students while helping forge connections between schools and local farmers.

For more information on farm-to-school activities and trainings in your state, visit http://www.cfra.org/renewrural/farmtoschool.  The Center for Rural Affairs will endeavor to share information there about farm-to-school initiatives and related educational and training opportunities.

The school kitchen transition need not happen overnight, but it needs to happen. We owe it to our children, ourselves, and our communities.

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