Just hours ago, the Center for New York City Affairs hosted “School Food Matters: Hunger, Obesity and the Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act,” a great panel discussion on the state of school food in New York City. Especially as this very week, Congress is holding the first hearings on the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. This is a huge opportunity for school food reform, as the Child Nutrition Act dictates how schools approach the goal of feeding kids. The old act (from 2004) expired last fall, and the current hearings in congress will look at whether or not the school food system is working, and how we can make it better. There are petitions all over the internet, and sites that tell you how to contact your legislators, to let congress know how badly school lunch needs to be improved. This is a huge deal, Internet.
Anyway, the Center for New York City Affairs put together this great event just this morning, with a panel discussion featuring some big names in education and food from NYC and elsewhere. The topic of conversation was how to ask congress for what we want, and how to convince congress that a strong Child Nutrition Act is vital to the future of the country, and you can be sure WOYP was there taking notes on the whole thing.
The panel consisted of Kevin Concannon, the undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services in the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Eric Goldstein, the chief executive officer for the New York City Department of Education, Office of Nutrition and Education (he was in What’s On Your Plate?); Jan Poppendieck, professor of sociology at Hunter College (City University of New York) and author of Free for All: Fixing School Food in America; Jonathan Stein, general counsel for Community Legal Services (CSL) of Philadelphia; Jim Weill, the president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC); and Fred Mogul, the healthcare and medicine reporter for WNYC Public Radio, who acted as moderator.
The conference covered a huge range of issues, so our plan is to post in-depth about a few of them in the coming days. If anyone was actually at the conference, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Once we start posting our takes on the issues discussed this morning, we hope that people will respond with their own comments, and the blog can turn into a continuation of the discussion at the conference.