Let’s Move! Chefs Move to Schools

I’ve been following the Obama administration’s “Let’s Move” campaign for a while now. Led by First Lady Michelle Obama, it’s the effort to end childhood obesity within a generation – no small task given our trends in America! I signed up to receive email updates on the work and the headline below came through on Friday.

Essentially, the First Lady is calling on chefs to offer their services to local schools to help improve the taste, variety, and healthfulness of food served in schools while working within the schools’ dietary guidelines and budgets.

My reaction? BRAVO! This initiative reapplies the successful Jamie Oliver Food Revolution idea which I’ve blogged about here, in an incredibly smart way. I love how this leverages the local presence and often extreme local influence of chefs to help community schools, just like Jamie did in Huntington, West Virginia. The program will be run by the US Department of Agriculture but its success really rests upon the active participation of an eventual ARMY of chef volunteers. I am so hopeful that chefs will step up to serve their communities in this meaningful way. Don’t you just wonder which fabulous local chef will assist YOUR child’s school in this effort?

The fact is, more than 31 million students participate in the National School Lunch program and more than 11 million in the National School Breakfast program – for many children, the bulk of their nutritional needs must be met through this no cost or low cost school-provided food. Amping up the nutritional quality as well as the taste of those meals could go a long way toward rebuilding a nation of people who understand and appreciate fresh, quality food. And of course, the healthier school food is, the bigger impact it can have on reducing childhood obesity in the near term.

i can’t wait to see how this idea plays out across the country!

Here’s the text of the email from the Let’s Move office…would love to hear what YOU think!

Announcing “Chefs Move to Schools”

Posted May 14, 2010

By Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and the Food Initiative Coordinator

Since the groundbreaking of the White House Kitchen Garden more than a year ago, local students have spent time on the South Lawn of the White House planting seeds, harvesting vegetables and learning about health and nutrition along the way. Through the garden, the First Lady started a discussion on the role food plays in living a healthy life. The discussion grew into the Let’s Move! campaign and like the garden – we just keep on growing.

Today, I’m excited to announce the “Chefs Move to Schools” program – an opportunity for chefs around the country to adopt a local school to help solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. In the words of the Mrs. Obama:

We are going to need everyone’s time and talent to solve the childhood obesity epidemic and our Nation’s chefs have tremendous power as leaders on this issue because of their deep knowledge of food and nutrition and their standing in the community. I want to thank them for joining the Let’s Move! Campaign.

“Chefs Move to Schools” will pair chefs with schools in their communities to bring fun to fruits and vegetables, and teach kids about food, nutrition and cooking in an engaging way. And by working with school food service employees, administrators and teachers — chefs can help deliver these messages from the cafeteria to the classroom. After hearing fifth graders cheer for broccoli, I know firsthand that chefs can have a huge impact on kid’s health and well being.

Chefs and schools that are interested in participating can sign up here or through www.LetsMove.gov.

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