Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LOCALS Lead Food Revolution in SLV Schools

LOCALS, a real grass roots organization, is helping our schools deliver fresher, healthier lunches and raise nutrition awareness.

While the second season of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution begins tonight on ABC, a local organization has been working since 2008 to help the SLV School District build a stronger more sustainable nutrition program.

The SLV Local Organic Children's Advocates for Lunches in Schools (SLV-LOCALS) was the brainchild of Felton mom and author Sue Kuivanen.  Along with Joni Martin, Deidre Rogers, Tim Welch and others the group has been working in cooperation with Kimberly Clark, Food Service Manager for the SLV School District to provide a healthier lunch program for our children.

The students have already benefited from their efforts:  More and more fresh and organic fruits and vegetables are being served, food cooked on-site from scratch has increased and less and less processed and pre-cooked food is being used.  Also the schools are incorporating nutrition education throughout the curriculum to reinforce healthy eating habits.

A second annual health expo is in the works.  Last year, science students from the high school organized a day long event in the Felton cafeteria featuring two dozen interactive exhibits for the elementary school students to learn about what goes into processed food, good hygiene and the benefits of a healthy diet.

SLV-LOCALS also helped the district’s Student Nutrition Services develop a “Farm to School” program that involves local farmers providing low-cost, and in some cases free, fresh organic produce for student lunches. Members also take turns “gleaning” at local farmer’s markets to help the cafeteria keep their food costs lower.  The district has also switched to whole grain breads, hormone-free milk and other healthier menu items.

Still, there is much work to be done.  In addition to educating students and parents about healthy nutrition there is the problem of the cost involved in good food.  Fast food is cheaper and too often, more popular.  We all need to get involved in order to sustain and improve the school nutrition program.

For more info about the food and nutrition program at the schools visit: http://www.slv.k12.ca.us/nutrition/index.html.  To get involved with SLV-LOCALS visit their Yahoo group: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/SLVLOCALS/.  Read Sue’s book Parent’s Diet Handbook.   For information on Jamie Oliver: http://www.jamieoliver.com/foundation/ or his Food Revolution, http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/activists

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