School lunch reform is ready for harvest

Not to be outdone by her husband’s remarks to the American Medical Association, the First Lady held her very own press conference from the White House Kitchen Garden, just a few days after the President spoke about the connection between healthy eating and healthcare. Her speech – ostensibly a thank-you-and-stick-with-it message to the Bancroft students who assisted with the first stages of the garden – got fairly wonky on policy details and made an impassioned argument for reforming our nation’s food system. Michelle Obama talked food deserts, childhood obesity, local foods, and urban gardens with a group of 5th graders. If kids can understand these issues, hopefully Congress won’t be far behind. Looking ahead to this fall’s reauthorization of the Childhood Nutrition Act, perhaps the stars (or the Sunburst Pattypan squash) are aligning. There’s work yet to be done, and the First Lady’s speech is inspiration to begin:

“But government also has a role to play in this, as well.  For so many
kids, subsidized breakfasts and lunches are their primary meals of the
day.  It’s what they count on.  It’s where they get most of their

And the USDA’s National School Lunch Program serves approximately 30
million meals each year to low-income* children.  And because these
meals are the main source of consistent nourishment for these kids, we
need to make sure we offer them the healthiest meals possible.

So to make sure that we give all our kids a good start to their day
and to their future, we need to improve the quality and nutrition of
the food served in schools.  We’re approaching the first big
opportunity to move this to the top of the agenda with the upcoming
reauthorization of the child nutrition programs.  In doing so, we can
go a long way towards creating a healthier generation for our kids.”

You can read the full text of the First Lady’s remarks here on

If you follow the Youtube link to the source video, you can also find related clips about the White House Kitchen Garden.

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