Sunday, October 19, 2008

Food, schools, and our children's health

The other night I attended a showing of "Two Angry Moms" at Timberline High, followed by a presentation of panelists, including the nutritionist from the Boise School District. The film is powerful and I recommend it to anyone who's concerned about the food we make available to children in the schools. As the title suggests, it's enough to make you angry.

I first came across the intersection of food and politics while working as a writer/editor at a major educational publishing house many years ago. I was working on a nutrition curriculum, to be distributed to schools throughout the country, that was underwritten by the USDA. I learned quickly that we couldn't write anything that might offend sugar farmers or cattlemen--in other words, it was verboten to discuss limiting the consumption of sugar or beef.

Retiring Rep. Margaret Henbest (D-Boise) has done some terrific work in the Legislature with respect to trying to improve the nutritional choices we offer our children in schools (see here and here and here). I hope to continue where she left off. This issue of food speaks to some of the biggest "macro-issues" of our time: national security, public health, and local, sustainable economies. And our schools have an obligation to provide our children sound nutrional choices. If this somehow creates funding shortfalls because Pepsi Co. and others won't put as much money back into schools, then we as a state are obliged to be creative about other sources of revenue.

To get involved with this growing movement here in Boise, contact local "angry Moms" Raine Saunders (869.8860) or Tracy Pingel (286.6122) for more information.

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