1. Schools already provide breakfast and lunch to our children
From preschool through high school, wouldn’t it be an amazing transition if every child was served a wholesome, delicious meal, every day? Some families can’t afford or don’t have the time to feed their children whole foods—schools have taken on the role. Good food is a right, not a privilege. Providing it every day brings children into a positive relationship with their health, their community, and the environment.
2. Food is an academic subject
A school garden, kitchen and cafeteria are great places to learn. Our food traditions, biology and ecology can help bring alive every subject—from reading and writing to science and art. Celebrating our local food teaches children about our history and heritage.
3. Children learn by doing
Students in schools that improve school lunch and connect those changes with classroom learning and cooking and gardening classes scored higher on nutrition knowledge than those in schools with lesser-developed local foods programs. Recent studies show child preference for fruits and vegetables, especially those leafy greens or veggies that they recognize from gardens and taste in the raw, is clearly higher in schools that have a local foods program.
4. Schools support farmers and fishermen
School cafeterias are banding together to buy seasonally fresh food from local, sustainable farms and fishermen, not only for reasons of health and education, but as a way of strengthening local food economies.
5. Food is a common language, we all eat
A naturally beautiful environment, where deliberate thought has gone into everything from the classrooms to the garden paths to the plates on the tables, communicates to children that we deeply care about them and their future health and goodwill.
Sources: Compiled by Amy Crosby from sources incuding Chez Panisse Foundation; a report by the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California at Berkeley; and the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
Read AMIBA’s annotated Top 10 Reasons to Buy Local, Eat Local, Go Local.