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The School Lunch Revolution's Resolution!

Chef Ann Cooper, aka "The Renegade Lunch Lady," is the author of Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children. The Lunch Box Project has one resolution for 2010: that no child will ever be hungry at school and that every child will have access to a healthy, delicious breakfast and lunch every day at school! It just seems like a day doesn't go by without a print, blog or news story about school lunch. As far as I'm concerned this is good news/bad news. Good news because there's so much interest in these issues; bad news because so little has actually been accomplished to make positive change for all of our children. We at the Lunch Box Project are working hard to help make positive change a reality! We've been to Washington DC a number of times and met with Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Dr Janey Thorton, Under Secretary of FNS (oversees the National School Lunch Program); Matt Yale, Chief of Strategy for Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education; and Sam Kass, assistant Chef of the White House and the person taking the lead on school food for Michele Obama. I am more optimistic than I've ever been that there's a true desire to fix school food and guarantee that all of our children are not only well-nourished but that the food we're feeding them is sustainable and delicious. There's just so much to feel positive about:
  • The White House Garden and Hoop Houses
  • The USDA's "Know Your Farmer Know your Food" program
  • The Institute of Medicine's recommended school nutrition standards
  • The Kellogg Foundation committing a significant amount of their resources to at-risk children and their food
However, even with all of that progress, we have the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) in 2010 and with that in mind we are dedicated to segueing The Lunch Box from a beta site to a launched site ASAP, and we've made some great progress. The following are some of the changes that have either already happened or will happen in the next couple of months:
  • Forty new recipes have been tested and will be uploaded in January
  • Our blog is up and running and we're posting numerous posts every week
  • New videos have been produced and will be live on the site by February
  • We're launching a write-in campaign for CNR in January and February
  • Lots of new content has been catalogued and we'll be posting new items all through January and February
  • We're presenting the Lunch Box at a number of venues in the coming months including the School Nutrition Association, Google and at an Ohio Farm to School Conference.
So as we're all working on our New Year's resolutions, I hope you can join us in assuring that all children are well fed in schools. Please participate in our write-in campaign, visit our website often, and please feed your children the best possible food every day! Chef Ann Cooper is on a mission to ensure that every child in America receives healthy, delicious food every day in school. Her work has already transformed the school lunchroom experience for tens of thousands of children. She will share her methodology and tools through The Lunch Box, which has the power to help all schools to make simple, yet revolutionary changes to their lunch programs.