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Slow Food Eats In for School Lunch Reform

Slow Food president Josh Viertel presides over the first eat-in in Chicago to support school lunch reform. (Slow Food)

Slow Food has long promoted the pleasures of the table. Now it's lobbying for them. On Monday, the organization will host nearly 300 "eat-ins" to support its campaign for more healthful school lunches.

"Time for Lunch" is Slow Food's first national political campaign. The eat-ins -- part potluck, part sit-in -- aim to rally awareness and action about what Slow Food sees as the sorry state of the school lunch.

With Congress set to reauthorize childhood nutrition programs, Slow Food is asking Washington to allocate $1 more per student per day for lunch. The organization also wants Congress to establish nutrition standards for all food sold in schools, fund farm-to-school programs and school gardens and offer incentives for schools to buy local.

(That's a tall order. With the deficit set to reach $1.6 trillion in 2009, sources on the Hill say it is unlikely Congress will be able to eke out anything more than a small increase to reimbursement rates. The legislation, which is set to expire Sept. 30, will also certainly be delayed for several months.)

Response to the eat-ins has far exceeded expectations. Initially, Slow Food president Josh Viertel hoped for 100 events. At last count, 294 had been scheduled, in every state. And the first eat-in already has taken place. On Aug. 26, the Chicago Slow Food chapter held its meet-up -- the only day it could reserve Daley Plaza. Several hundred people, some dressed in corn and salt and pepper shaker costumes, showed up on a rainy summer day.

Slow Food's Washington DC chapter is organizing two public eat-ins:

Elsie Stokes Whitlow Charter School
3700 Oakview Terrace NE
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact: Kate Hill

City Blossoms Girard Avenue Children's Community Garden
1480 Girard St. NW
2 to 4 p.m.
Contact: Lola Bloom

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  September 3, 2009; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Food Politics  | Tags: Slow Food, nutrition, school lunch  
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