We don't usually equate "summer vacation" and empty stomachs. Did you know child hunger and food insecurity often peak in the summer? An overwhelming majority of children who receive free meals at school aren't as lucky once school lets out.
Inciting grassroots involvement in food system issues is critical -- yet, until the pink slime debacle, consumer uprisings have mostly eluded the movement. Why did this issue create such a powerful consumer reaction?
New York City is dead last among 26 large urban areas in school breakfast participation, even though 74% of the city's public school students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Enter the city Health Department, which wants to halt plans to serve more morning meals at school.
The USDA's announcement that school districts will be able to opt out of an ammonium-hydroxide treated ground beef filler known as both Lean Finely Textured Beef and "pink slime" is not exactly inspiring confidence.
Three fast food giants -- McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell -- have discontinued their use of "Pink Slime." But while fast food customers can vote with their dollars, students must passively consume whatever the federal government sees fit to feed them.
A recent story claimed that a preschooler in a North Carolina school was forced by a state inspector to give up her packed lunch and take a school lunch of chicken nuggets. Something didn't smell right to me.
These changes help our kids see that we aren't just telling them to eat better -- we as a community are willing to invest in the food they are served at school to help them grow up as healthy, smart, and strong as they can.
Beyond the traditional lessons on reading, writing, and math, schools across America are now teaching their students about another crucially important subject that will build the foundation for the rest of their lives: nutrition.
We can't prevent every conceivable tragedy that might strike our kids at school. But in the case of a choking, physically demonstrating the Heimlich maneuver to school food service workers as part of their regular training hardly seems burdensome.