VERMONT SCHOOL NUTRITION ASSOCIATION RESPONDS TO
JAMIE OLIVER’S “FOOD REVOLUTION”
School nutrition advocates encourage a balanced view of new ABC series
April 1, 2010 (Burlington, VT) – Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution,” a new series on ABC television, takes a hard look at eating habits in Huntington, West Virginia – including food served in schools. Huntington was named the unhealthiest city in America according to a report published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The same report labeled Burlington, Vermont as the healthiest city in the nation. The Vermont School Nutrition Association (VT SNA) works to promote the school food service profession statewide, and is encouraging a balanced view of the new series.
“Jamie Oliver’s ‘Food Revolution’ is not a wholly accurate reflection of the school food environment in Vermont or elsewhere,” according to Doug Davis, Food Service Director of Burlington Schools and Executive Committee member of SNA-VT. “Although there is considerable room for improvement in school nutrition programs, Vermont schools have been nationally recognized for incorporating fresh and local foods and improving nutritional quality of meals - all while meeting complex federal regulations and working on extremely tight budgets.” All meals served through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast program (SBP) must meet established nutritional guidelines. Schools are modestly reimbursed for meals served to children through these programs. “Federal policies like low reimbursement rates, and the variety of foods offered through the USDA commodities program can make it difficult for schools to serve the healthiest options. Food quality in Vermont’s school meal programs varies by community, and it is a community responsibility to support food service directors in serving healthy, whole foods. SNA-VT recognizes that school food professionals need training and support to build skills and allow programs to cook whole, fresh food and cook from scratch, for example. School meals are just one part of the community wide effort required to educate kids about good nutrition, support Vermont farmers, and draw connections between our communities, classrooms and cafeterias. Vermont school meal programs and meal programs throughout the country, strive to nourish our children and communities – not to be impediments to learning or health,” says Davis.
The National School Breakfast and Lunch programs also play an important role in managing childhood obesity and preventing hunger among low-income families. “Last year, over 8.8 million lunches and 3.5 million school breakfasts were served to Vermont school children,” says Sarah Robinson of the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger (VTCECH). “School meals are a critical part of the community food security safety net that allows low-income Vermont children access to healthy food both at school and at home,” notes Robinson. According to VTCECH, studies indicate that children who participate in school meals have improved health and academic performance indicators, compared to their non-participating peers. According to Robinson, “School meals may be the only source of consistent and balanced daily nutrition for the 36% of Vermont schoolchildren who rely on free or reduced price school meals. Vermont school nutrition allies hope that ‘Food Revolution’ sparks a dynamic and ongoing community conversation about how Vermont schools nutrition programs can promote the success and health of Vermont schoolchildren.”
For more information call or email Sarah Robinson of the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger at 802-865-0255 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug Davis, Director of Burlington School Food at 802-864-8416 or email@example.com
About the Vermont School Nutrition Association: The Vermont School Nutrition Association (SNA-VT), is a statewide professional organization that works to build respect for school food service as a profession, promote the importance of school nutrition in Vermont schools, be the voice for school nutrition, and facilitate education and networking among food service professionals to promote and maintain strong, independent school food service programs.
About the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger: The Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger is a statewide nonprofit organization that works with state agencies and community groups to develop sustainable hunger solutions. Since 1993 the Campaign’s outreach programs have substantially enhanced Vermont’s nutrition safety net and increased access to nutritious foods. www.vtnohunger.org