Closing the Gap & Food Sovereignty

This work on child nutrition complements other on-the-ground, faith-based food initiatives, and advocacy to build sustainable and just local/regional food economies, and includes labeling of GMOs in our food.

Along with Presbyterian Women, the Presbyterian Office of Public Witness, PHP is joining with two of our longtime partners, the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) to strengthen the Child Nutrition and Farm to School Acts.

You can help foster healthy children, healthy communities, and viable family farmers with these three actions:

  1. Advocate for a strong Child Nutrition Act. Encourage your House representative to defeat the damaging proposals in the current version.
  2. Add your congregation (and an organization) to the organizational sign-on letter to Congress regarding the Farm to School Act.
  3. Add your name to the Farm to School citizens sign-on letter.

Background

Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? (Luke 11:11-12)

What the Child Nutrition Act does

This single omnibus bill known as the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, or Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization for short (CNR) must be reauthorized every 5 years. CNR covers the federal child nutrition programs, such as the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Food, Summer Food Service, and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) programs. The last CNR expanded children’s access to nutritious meals and snacks, improved the nutritional quality for school food, supported healthier school environments, and increased nutrition and food system education. It also provided mandatory funding to the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, which helps combat rural unemployment by boosting farm income through increased marketing opportunities.

Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed, healthy food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. Farm to School is happening in all 50 states, with 23 million students engaged in 44% of the country’s schools. Farm to school has generated more than $385 million spent on local food.

Call on Congress to build on the success of farm to school by strengthening and expanding the program’s scope and by providing additional mandatory funding!

Why It Matters

  • Over 30% of all children in the US are overweight or obese, resulting in missed school days and poorer academic achievement; obese youth are also at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and psychological problems and incur $19,000 more in lifetime medical costs than children of a normal weight, totaling roughly $14 billion in additional medical costs for the country.
  • Native American communities face disproportionately high rates of overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Encouraging farm to school partnerships between tribal schools and tribal producers will increase consumption of nutritious traditional foods while also supporting Native farmers and ranchers.
  • Farmers and ranchers receive only 16 cents out of every dollar spent on food, down significantly from the 31 cents they received in 1980. Rural poverty and jobless rates are consistently higher than urban poverty rates.

For more information contact Andrew.KangBartlett@pcusa.org (502) 569-5388.