The main item on the menu for a Lawrence second-grade class on Tuesday was the value of what they were eating.
Rick Martin, the executive chef at Free State Brewing Co., served up a hearty lesson for the Deerfield School students.
“It’s been a couple generations that we’ve really lost the association with our food coming from soil and its origins,” Martin said, “and I think it’s important for kids to know what they’re eating.”
The meat of his talk focused on the need to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, which governs school meal programs.
“I want to make more parents, teachers (and) people in the community aware of what it means,” Martin said about the act, “and how it can impact what our kids are eating in schools based on nutrition and maybe even incorporating local foods through our local farmers and growers.”
Lawmakers are scheduled to look again at the Child Nutrition Act in early 2010. Martin agrees with Slow Foods USA, a nonprofit group, in wanting to add several provisions to the act. One suggestion is to find funding to give school lunch programs $1 more per child per day.
“That would give each individual school a lot more power to make these lunches better,” Martin said.
After discussing healthier lunch options, the second-graders wrote letters to members of Congress from Kansas asking them to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act.
“I believe that the importance is that they are in second grade, and they have like 10 more years of eating school lunches,” said Pam Mitchell, a Deerfield second-grade teacher. “Sometimes it takes a letter-writing project or letter writing to people that are making decisions to make a difference.”