Each school day in New York City, the Office of SchoolFood of the New York City Department of Education services over 860,000 meals in NYC public elementary, middle, special education, high schools, charter and some non-public schools.
For many of these children, school meals may be their only meal of the day and thus, their primary source of nutrition. However, the most recent studies have shown that school meals don’t always meet the Federal nutrition standards or support children in making healthy eating choices. Changing the way we feed children in school will directly impact the health and well-being of our city’s most vulnerable children. As rates of poverty, hunger and diet-related diseases increase, particularly with respect to children, it is critical that we work to provide greater access to healthy food in schools.
What we’re doing
The NYC Food & Fitness Partnership is committed to improving the food our children eat in schools. Our goals in this area include:
- Increasing school food reimbursement rates.
- Increasing regional food procurement.
- Increasing access to gardens for at least two more schools in our focus community.
- Empowering youth to be agents of change.
One way we are doing working towards these goals is by empowering parents with the knowledge about the NYC School Food system and supporting them to be better advocates in their children’s schools. These sessions are designed specifically for parents to help them articulate their desired changes within the school food environment and gain the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the system and advocate for change.
Resources and Education on Starting School Gardens: NYC Food and Fitness Partnership in collaboration with Brooklyn Food Coalition, Adopt-a-Farmbox, and Grow to Learn NYC will be hosting Small Steps Leads to Big Ideas!, a workshop for school staff, community gardeners, and parents interested in starting a school garden or maintaining their existing school gardens. School food advocates, teachers, and businesses that have experience with managing successful school gardens will share lessons learned. NYC Food and Fitness will use this workshop to identify potential school partners.