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July 15, 2022 – Today FoodCorps, a national nonprofit that partners with schools and communities to nourish children’s health, education, and sense of belonging, released a new report called Nourishing Futures for Every Student, which outlines key policy recommendations from education and school nutrition professionals ahead of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. In the report, FoodCorps provides actionable insights and calls on the White House to include key topics, such as food education, in the conference agenda this September.
The report includes four core policy recommendations to help provide kids with nourishing meals, food education, and culturally affirming experiences with food that celebrate and nurture the whole child, especially for children of color who face disproportionate inequities in health and education. The report also highlights stories of the impact of food education and school meals for all, gathered during four focus groups that convened education and nutrition professionals from schools across the country.
The policy recommendations to the White House include:
- Prioritize food and nutrition education resources as an investment in our children’s health and well-being by placing dedicated food educators in schools.
- Provide school meals for all and allow school nutrition professionals to focus on feeding children, not doing paperwork.
- Invest in school kitchen equipment upgrades, school gardens, and scratch cooking resources.
- Create a talent pipeline to ensure our nation’s schools are attracting the next generation of school nutrition and food education leaders who reflect the cultures and identities of the communities they serve.
“With the eyes of our nation’s leaders on hunger, nutrition security, and health this fall, we cannot overlook schools and the policies guiding the nutrition and food education that millions of children receive there,” said Curt Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO of FoodCorps. “The first White House nutrition conference held over 50 years ago resulted in the expansion of essential food policies like SNAP, school meal programs, and WIC [Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children]. That’s why we are working hard to ensure expanding food and nutrition education is included in this year’s conference – because we’re talking about the future of America’s food systems and health for decades to come.”
Ellis also serves on the Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, a group of diverse, independent, nonpartisan stakeholders that inform the goals and policy agenda of the conference.
The White House Conference will explore innovative proposals to improve equitable food access and affordability, empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices, support physical wellbeing, and enhance nutrition and food security research. The President called on stakeholders to submit their ideas, stories, and recommendations to help inform the conference agenda.
In line with the recommendations, FoodCorps advocates for policymakers and stakeholders to advance specific legislation, including the School Food Modernization Act (S. 876, H.R. 4379), Food and Nutrition Education in Schools Act of 2021 (S. 1421, H.R. 4282), and Kids Eat Local Act of 2021 (S. 1401, H.R. 2896).
The report is the product of the #TimeForFoodEd campaign, in which FoodCorps hosted listening sessions with education and nutrition leaders from across the country. Participants emphasized the necessity of school meals for all, making nutrition and food education part of the school day, upgrading school kitchens, and increasing the representation of Black, Indigenous, multiracial, and people of color (BIMPOC) leadership in school nutrition careers. FoodCorps also launched a grassroots petition, currently signed by more than 1,300 supporters who urge President Biden to support placing a food educator in every school.