June 12, 2014

Extending the season

This seems to be school food week at Goat Rope. For some time, I've been blogging about and otherwise working on expanding free meals for kids in high-poverty schools through the federal Community Eligibility Provision.That program goes national this year, which means that wherever you are in the US, Gentle Reader, you can start bugging your school board to do the right thing.

Think about it: the way we deal with school meals through a free, reduced and paid system is out of line with how we do everything else. We don't charge some kids to ride the school bus or get classroom instruction or to play sports. Why should meals be any different? Hungry kids can't learn and there is a growing realization that good nutrition needs to be seen as just a part of the school day.

The US Department of Agriculture announced today that it was extending the deadline for school boards to apply for the program. Previously, the deadline was June 30; now it's August 31st. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that over 28,000 US schools are eligible for the program. The USDA says that around 8 million kids go to those schools.

That means there are thousands of good little fights that can make a real difference for kids and families--plenty to go around. Let's win some.

June 11, 2014

More on food

At this stage in my life, I didn't expect to focus on things like school food any more, but there you have it. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, folks around the country are pushing to get more schools to feed all students for free by taking advantage of the federal Community Eligibility Provision.

That's not the only thing going on in the food for kids arena these days. First, here's the good news: WV is once again kicking off the summer food service program at over 400 sites in the state. As my friend Rick Goff, head of the state Office of Child Nutrition says, "hunger doesn't take a summer vacation."

The bad news is that Republicans in the US House want to gut nutritional standards for school food programs. As in hello to more salt, fat, processed food and high fructose corn syrup.

I'm not sure what circle in hell my good friend Dante would put such people in, but I imagine it would be a really nasty one.

June 10, 2014

Food matters

Between road trips and mishaps, I have been a terribly inconsistent blogger. This post isn't much of an atonement but it's all I've got at the moment. Here goes:

Around the country, school boards are grappling with the decision of whether to expand free meals for students in schools with a high percentage of people living in poverty. This item on New York's deliberations and reservations was carried on NPR. It looks like NYC is skittish, although I imagine they'll eventually come around.

The program in question is the Community Eligibility Provision of the 2010 US Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. WV became eligible for the program in the 2012-2013 school year and expanded it the following year. I've been working to encourage holdout counties into implementing the program. So far, at least one county school board has voted to do so.

You can read more about it here. The deadline to sign up for the program for the next school year is June 30.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE BOOK STORE, Thomas Picketty's mammoth Capital in the 21st Century has generated quite a bit of buzz and angered many worshipers of the market god. Here's a review by a friend of mine. Note how generously he fed the trolls.