Amidst the ever-strengthening movement toward school lunch reform, voters in our nation’s capital made great progress toward that goal when they passed a tax on soft drink sales in the District this past May. The money from this tax would go toward the “‘Healthy Schools’ initiative, providing more money for school food, as well as funding local produce in school meals and establishing grants to expand school gardens and increase physical education,” as reported by Grist. But this story has changed a bit since May.
In attempts to reduce the $188 million gap in the city’s budget, Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has suggested that these designated funds be eliminated, and put toward that budget gap. Since it’s passing in May, the funds from the tax bill have been accumulating, payments to purchase every breakfast, lunch, and locally grown food component have been made, and this proposition would halt the distribution of these funds.
But many organizational activists in the D.C. area, as well as those nationally, have begun to voice their voices of opposition. Coordinator of the D.C. Farm to School Network, Andrea Northup, stated that "For the Fenty administration to champion the Healthy Schools Act as a model for the nation, and then to cut funding for the act, they have done a grave disservice to the children of the District of Columbia."
What do you think? If the plug is pulled on these healthier school lunch options today, will it ever be reinstated in D.C., or anywhere else?