Ah, autumn! The leaves are starting to change color. The air is crisp and clear. School is back in full swing, with all of the excitement and change it brings each year. My family is still adjusting to the new schedule.
School lunch is a hotter topic than ever, it seems, and there are more ways to get involved and make change than ever before. Last spring we were sharing information about what kids eat at school, telling our kids we were sorry about school lunch, excitedly watching Jamie Oliver's show, and asking parents to eat with their kids to experience school lunch first-hand. This year, we're celebrating the work of Chef Ann Cooper and Whole Foods with their Salad Bar Project, celebrating Farm 2 School Week in Minnesota (starting today!), supporting the national Let's Move campaign, and giving high fives to the Minneapolis and St. Paul food systems for taking strawberry milk and corn dogs off the menu.
It's amazing to see the energy around the issues of school lunch and childhood obesity. Many of us have acknowledged that good food and exercise are our children's rights, not privileges, and that our society can't afford to continue down the path our industrial food system has set forth. Kids who eat good food learn better and cost our health care system less. As communities, we are demanding something better.
But what are we doing in our homes? I've heard from parents who have committed to packing school lunch every day, started growing their own food, begun eating lunch with their kids at school on a regular basis, and started volunteering to help with school breakfast. I know people who are working on initiatives to bring more local food to schools, finding ways to get their kids on farms more often, and lobbying their school boards to make change. The times they are a-changin' -- thank goodness.
In honor of Farm 2 School week, Simple, Good, and Tasty is hosting a new contest asking you to make a good food resolution for this school year. How will you help your children connect to their food, make better choices, exercise more, or get healthier this school year? I'll start things rolling with my own:
I promise to pack at least one new food item in my kids' lunch bag each month, something fresh and tasty that they might like, or at least try. I also promise to go to school and eat lunch with my kids at least three times this year.
That wasn't so hard, was it? These are things I feel confident that I can do, and that I know will have a positive impact on my family's physical and mental health. Now it's your turn.
Here's what you need to do:
- In the comments section below this article, tell us your good food resolution for this school year. You can write as much or as little as you want.
- Come back to this website next Monday, September 27, to read everybody's resolutions.
- Vote for your favorite resolution anytime from Monday September 27 to Saturday October 2. (If more than 20 are submitted, SGT's editors will select our favorite 20 to be voted on.)
- The person whose resolution gets the most votes will walk away with our grand prize, one year of free organic milk from Organic Valley.
A few other things:
- This contest is not limited to parents. If you can commit to helping children eat better during this school year, we want to hear from you.
- Anyone who lives in the U.S. and doesn't work for SGT can win. If you work for SGT, then you're already a winner in other important ways!
The Grand Prize - One Year of Free organic Milk from Organic Valley!
For this contest, we're thrilled to be partnered with Organic Valley, a Wisconsin-based co-op of more than 1600 dairy farmers focused on providing all sorts of high quality organic products. Since 1988, Organic Valley has worked tirelessly to promote organic food and the co-op model, and they continue to actively promote healthful living and good food for kids. For more information about the company and what drives them, read our interview with Organic Valley's Chief Marketing Officer Theresa Marquez.
We're looking forward to reading your good food resolutions already.