February 9, 2010
First Lady Michelle Obama today unveiled Let’s Move, her comprehensive approach to eliminating childhood obesity in this generation.
The morning began with President Obama establishing the Task Force on Childhood Obesity, a group of government agency representatives tasked with implementing an action plan to improve child nutrition and increase physical activity.
At noon, Tiki Barber hosted a White House event at which several of the speakers emphasized the role agriculture must play in improving the American food system. Will Allen of Growing Power in Milwaukee talked about the need for vibrant family farms to re-stimulate rural communities. Mayor Chip Johnson of Hernando, Mississippi talked about their successful new farmers’ market and Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville, Massachusetts credited Farm to School with improving their district’s school lunch program.
The Let’s Move initiative will focus on four main goals: increasing the useful information parents have about nutrition, improving the quality of food served in the nation’s schools, improving access to nutritious affordable food for all Americans, and increasing physical activity.
In conjunction with Let’s Move, USDA has launched the Food Environment Atlas, an interactive database that paints a picture of the food environment in communities across the country. It includes information on population, health indicators, food dollars in an area, and availability of farmers markets and farm to school programs. The Atlas may prove to be a powerful tool to support the Administration’s proposed $400 million in financing to eliminate urban and rural food deserts within seven years.
Let’s Move links to NSAC member organization Farmers Market Coalition’s website and today’s announcement promotes the additional $5 million the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) will receive in FY 2011 as a result of NSAC’s successful farm bill advocacy of mandatory funding for the program.
Companies that collectively provide 20 percent of the nation’s school lunches have pledged to make significant improvements in the lunches they serve, including doubling the amount of produce they use within ten years and increasing the use of whole grains. Some of these companies are already increasing produce selections with local sourcing.
Finally, the First Lady announced that the comprehensive child obesity work would be supported by the Partnership for a Healthier America, a new foundation that is to act as a bipartisan convener to bring together government, non-profit organizations and the private sector to achieve the goal of ending childhood obesity in this generation.
Categories: Local & Regional Food Systems