The Organic Trade Association yesterday announced the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by the Senate Agriculture Committee. Their press release focused on an amendment that adds a pilot project to offer healthy organic food in school feeding programs. As an organic manufacturer we applaud the OTA’s efforts to lobby for organic programs, however, this announcement fails to see the forest for the organic trees.
The real news here is that Congress is finally waking up to the reality that we are feeding our kids to death. This action acknowledges that the high calorie, low nutrition processed foods that pass for lunch at most schools is contributing to the obesity epidemic we face today. And they are offering significant dollars to upgrade the menu. While current nutrition programs receive about $16 billion annually, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 provides an additional $4.5 billion over ten years for expanding and adding programs that:
- Help Schools Improve the Nutritional Quality of School Meals
- Create National Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in Schools
- Promote Nutrition and Wellness in Child Care Settings
- Connect More Children to Healthy Local Produce through Farm-to-School Programs
- Strengthen Local School Wellness Policies
- Support Breastfeeding in the WIC Program
- Improve School Food Financing
The OTA release expresses it well, “As we all recognize, the health status of our children is crucial to the well-being of our nation’s future, and the food that they are fed in schools is key to that status.” These words ring true whether or not the food is organically grown.
Click here to read more about the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 http://ag.senate.gov/Legislation/CN%20budget%20framework-%20nutrition.pdf