Help us help our kids
MCW Farm to School Partnership
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Burgers, pizza, chips, and soda; too often that’s the typical school lunch menu for kids in Monterey County. Despite the efforts of a handful of forward thinking food service directors, fresh local vegetables are virtually invisible in most school lunchrooms in the world’s salad bowl.
Obesity is epidemic. A steady diet of fast foods are putting local children at a significant learning disadvantage, and further contributing to obesity and a lifetime of chronic health problems. The Surgeon General confirms that the problem is epidemic. Locally, the Monterey County Health Department says that over 35% of the children in some districts in Monterey County are experiencing the negative effects of being overweight.
Farm to School Partnership
In late 2003, Monterey County Weekly Community Fund launched the Farm to School Partnership through CSUMB’s Watershed Institute. In the last year the Partnership has organized educational forums, helped set food policy in local school districts, built several school gardens and hired a full-time program director. Future goals of the Farm to School Partnership include:
1. Improving school lunches using locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables
2. Introducing sound nutritional principles into the curriculum
3. Giving children hands-on experience in school gardens
4. Promoting respect for local growers and agricultural workers
5. Teaching waste reduction through composting and recycling
The kids need your help
Over the last year, the Farm to School Partnership has made enormous strides. From experience gained through introducing these programs to Monterey County schools, the Partnership has become a leading resource hub, policy development agency and educator. But there is much to be done to further develop these programs and make them available to every school in the county.
And here’s how you can help. The Monterey County Weekly Community Fund is asking the readers of the paper to help raise $60,000 to fund the Partnership for the next year. We have already raised $30,000. The Packard Foundation has generously offered to match all remaining donations, so please act now to guarantee that these incredibly valuable programs continue to germinate. Our kids will thank you.