So what do food people do when they want to make a statement? They do it with food, naturally. Slow Food USA has organized "Time for Lunch," a campaign to draw attention to school food. Around the country, almost 270 pot luck "eat-ins" are planned on Sept. 7, in schools, community gardens, parks, homes and other spots. One goal is to get 20,000 people to sign a petition to the federal government asking for changes in the school food programs.
“We want to tell the story of America coming together to demand food that’s good for their kids,” said Slow Food’s president, Josh Viertel.
For Viertel and others, that means more fresh fruits and vegetables and more federal money for schools to buy food -- many child nutrition advocates would like to see $1 a day per child more -- reimbursements are now less than $3 for each free lunch a cafeteria serves.
One of the Los Angeles events will be at 4 p.m. at Fancifull Fine Food and Baskets, on Melrose Avenue near Larchmont. Computers will be available for people to sign the Slow Food petition, and there will be cooking demonstrations for children by Homegirl Cafe. People are asked to bring a dish to share.
Other eat-ins are planned in Elysian Park, Culver City, Highland Park and elsewhere around L.A.
Many educators now see the cafeteria as a part of a child’s learning, and food services officials are listening to students’ opinions about food they’re served, said Matt Sharp of California Food Policy Advocates. And decision-makers are tying what kids eat at school to their long-term health and to the costs of treating conditions associated with obesity, including high blood pressure and diabetes.