On June 10, the Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) co-hosted the first annual Healthy Food Fuels Hungry Minds conference at Harvard University to discuss how to improve the quality of food in schools. Those attending the conference held diverse roles from school administrators to health experts to parents to school food service workers. Many attendees discussed the importance of getting rid of “kid food” in schools and instead serving our children “true food,” a term coined by Minneapolis public schools to describe flavorful, nutritious menu items in lieu of the stigmatized “healthy food” term.
As a third-year law student that previously had only a rudimentary knowledge of school food, I left the conference feeling invigorated. I realized that everyone, including me, has a role in creating positive changes in the school food environment and that we can create change on multiple levels: at an individual school, within a school district, and through state and federal policies.
FLPC Director Emily Broad Leib focused her presentation on how federal policy change affects school food, highlighting the upcoming Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). The current CNR, the 2010 Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act, will expire in September 2015. Advocates are pushing for a wide variety of improvements to school food regulations, including: increased funding for reimbursable meals, food literacy programing, kitchen equipment grants, kitchen staff training, and farm to school grants.
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