Way back in January of this year, the USDA proposed new nutrition standards in the national school lunch and school breakfast programs. One of the standards requires ¾ cup of vegetables per day for grades K-8 and 1 cup of vegetables per day for grades 9-12, with no more than 1 cup of starchy vegetables per week.
Starchy vegetables include peas, legumes, and potatoes.
The food industry immediately began a campaign to defend the potato from what they saw as an attack. They worried that potatoes would soon be banned from schools.
So far, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is holding the line on the reduction of potatoes in schools. Ketchup is not a vegetable right now and french fries are still limited to one cup per week. The Fearless Campaign has a form set up to make sending a thank you note to Tom Vilsack simple and quick.
I think it’s a good idea to send a thank you note, phone call, or email whenever a public official – elected or appointed – does something you agree with on an issue that matters to you, whether it’s school nutrition, GMO labeling, or something else entirely.
Polite notes of disagreement are important, too. It may not change an official’s vote on something, but they’ll know where the public stands on the issues they vote on.
Image by Gudlyf, used with Creative Commons license.