All the heat wasn’t in the kitchen on March 17, when a group of chefs, led by AWA supporter Chef Bill Telepan, wore their traditional white jackets to Capitol Hill to push for increased funding for school lunches. Chef’s Day of Action, coordinated by the NYC Alliance for CNR (Child Nutrition Reauthorization), brought together celebrity chefs and school lunch reform advocates to urge Congress to provide an additional $4 billion in funding per year for school food programs. The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act comes up every five years and this year President Obama has asked for an additional $1 billion per year. The Senate, however, is considering only authorizing $500 million per year—half of what the President has requested. Even $1 billion wouldn’t make much of a difference to the 30 million school children who depend on the National School Lunch Program for meals. And when you consider the size of the budget—$3.7 trillion—it’s pocket change. $1 billion only equals 17 ½ cents per day per child. The government reimburses schools $2.68 for fully subsidized lunches. The chefs say much more is needed to really make a difference. An increase in funding to $4 billion will provide an additional $0.70 per child. “We need school lunches to be about the best food, not the cheapest food,” says Chef Bill Telepan, who is also a board member of NYC’s Wellness in the Schools. “This is what we practice as chefs and we have a responsibility to bring the best food there is into schools.”
We are excited to partner with Slow Food Nation in the first-ever American gathering this Labor Day weekend in San Francisco. Slow Food is a vibrant movement of people who advocate food systems that are good, clean and fair-goals we also support in our promotion of high-welfare husbandry. We will be involved in many events throughout the weekend, and will continue to post these on our blog as they develop.
Sunday, August 31, 2008: Join us for a fund-raising “Slow Dinner” for Animal Welfare Approved, to be held at Woodward’s Garden-a San Francisco gem known for its intimate hospitality and expert preparation.
The evening provides the opportunity to hear from some outstanding farmers, including Animal Welfare Approved farmer Will Harris (White Oak Pastures; fifth generation grass-fed cattle farmer). These stewards of the land will share their experiences in practicing humane husbandry, and explain how tradition and innovation have shaped their farming practices today. The reception and dinner will feature wine donated by Beringer, a California winery known for its commitment to sustainable agriculture, and will include light hors d’oeuvres. Tickets for the Reception and Slow Dinner are purchased separately. To purchase tickets for the Slow Dinner ($125), please contact Julie Munk at (703) 836-4300. A contribution of 15% of every ticket sold will benefit the Animal Welfare Approved program. If you can’t make it to San Francisco, keep checking our blog and stay tuned for the next newsletter.