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June 6, 2014
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RFKM E-News 

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RFKM Members Offer Powerful Testimonies to School Board as Petition is Delivered

Comments from BOE Members and DFNS Director Indicate Progress on a Number of Petition Requests

RFKM members outside BOE meeting with signsOn Tuesday, June 3rd, parents and supporters of Real Food for Kids - Montgomery took to the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting at the Carver Education Services Center in Rockville, MD to demand improved food and nutrition for school children in MCPS. Additionally, RFKM co-director, Lindsey Parsons, delivered a petition with over 2,000 signatures addressing the top ten concerns of RFKM members. The petition, with signatures from 809 parents, 203 students, and 43 physicians, called for school lunches to include more scratched-cooked, wholesome meals with an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, or the option of an unlimited salad bar, and to eliminate the use of chemical additives, limit the availability of foods with high levels of added sugar, and offer, free unlimited water to school children with their lunches.

 

Concerned parents and county members presented their testimonies in front of Superintendent Joshua Starr and the Board, recounting their children’s experiences with school lunch and even their own personal struggle to find healthy options. Ashia Mann told the school board that her child is only allowed to buy lunch from her school’s cafeteria once per year, and that to her daughter, the food “tastes like going to the fair.” Caron Gremont, founder of First Bites, a local non-profit organization that works with preschools in the

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area to excite children about eating fruit and vegetables, talked about CentroNia, a public charter school in Washington, D.C. that is able to feed each child each day fresh, high-quality, oftentimes local food for just $3 per meal—one dollar less than the $4 per meal that MCPS serves.

 

Later in the meeting, following an update on the state of school nutrition by Director of MCPS Food and Nutrition Services, Marla Caplon, several board members expressed concern regarding the lack of easy access to water in school cafeterias. Caplon agreed to look into providing baby waters to children who couldn't drink milk or conducting a trial of water coolers and cups at several schools. Caplon also indicated that MCPS is slowly working to remove foods with dyes from their offerings, and that preservatives would also be reduced when their new facility comes online, which will allow for more preparation of scratch-cooked foods. Regarding RFKM's concern about lack of transparency about a la carte items, Caplon indicated that they would create a template for principals in the coming school year to share information with parents regarding a la carte options at each school. Board of Education member, Phillip Kauffman, told Caplon that upon investigation of five individual school web sites, he was unable to locate a listing of a la carte and snack offerings, and recommended the creation of a shared tool that schools could use to post these items to their web sites. Other issues mentioned during the discussion with Caplon indicated that BOE members had read and were seriously considering the requests from the RFKM petition. 


The meeting video can be watched here (Items 3 and 7).


Gazette coverage: Montgomery council, advocates push for healthy school foods 


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RFKM and the Washington Spirit

Mark your calendar for two fun nights with the Washington Spirit, Maryland's professional women's soccer team: Wed. July 2 and Wed. July 30. RFKM will have a table at these two 'Spirit Cares' nights at the
Maryland Soccerplex Stadium in Boyds, MD. Call (240)780-8582 for tickets or order online. Use promo code "RFKM" to get a $5 discount.

Screenings of Fed Up

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Produced by Katie Couric and Laurie David (the producer of An Inconvenient Truth), this movie tackles childhood obesity, challenges all our notions about what is really making too many of our kids overweight and sick, and addresses how we can stop it.

Location and times:
Friday, June 6, through next Thursday, June 12th at the Avalon Theaterwith a special screening on Tuesday, June 10th at 7:45 p.m., with Aviva Goldfarb of the Six O'Clock Scramble who will share some tips and recipes for kicking off your own FED UP! Sugar-Free Challenge in your home, or just reducing your family’s daily sugar consumption, cutting the sugar cravings, and decreasing your family's risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. 

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Useful Resources

Learn how to build healthier meal trays for Kindergartners or use it as an educational resource for other young children in school. Discover My Plate offers tips and information about healthier school meals and the importance of healthy choices with families.


Articles of Interest

"A Rainbow of Risks"

What are the dangerous impacts of food dyes? Most individuals understand the dangers of  Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2 and more, but did you know  they also have dangerous effects such as triggering hyperactivity and others symptoms of ADHD. The FDA knows these problems and have yet to do anything about it. Read more about the dangerous effects of food dyes and sign the petition to tell the makers of M&Ms and other candies to stop using artificial dyes.

Sign Petition to Stop Rollback of Healthy Changes to School Menus

On May 29th, The House Appropriations Committee voted to allow schools to change the new school meal standards if they showed an operating loss due to new stricter standards on whole grains and other recent changes. Please sign this petition to stop this rollback of healthy changes for our kids.

If you like the work we're doing and want it to continue, please support us!

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