Local communities in Los Angeles recognize these risks and are taking matters into their own hands. At Washington Elementary School in Compton, the school garden is maintained by students in an after-school program called The Gentlemen's Scholars Club. Run by campus security Roosevelt Long, the program stresses the importance of healthier food for kids and changes toward better school food.
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act into law. The bill, which funds child nutrition programs and free lunch programs in schools for the next five years, employs a progressive set of new standards as part of a reauthorization of the decades-old Child Nutrition Act. The revisions include giving USDA the authority to set new standards for food sold at schools, including vending machines; authorizes funds for the new standards for federally-subsidized school lunches; and provides resources for schools and communities to utilize local farms and gardens to provide fresh produce. Food activists like Tamara Braun of Revolution Foods are employing these new standards with innovative gardening and local food production to supply L.A.'s youth with the best nutrition possible.
Outside school gardening and revised lunch menus, farm-to-school programs like the 4H Club are building a healthier future for our youth. Nico Anduze, Executive Director of L.A. Food Heroes, as well as Yvonne Arceneaux, Council District Representative for the Richland Farms area, both tout such programs for building important skill sets in students; many in the 4H program for instance have moved on to work in the agricultural industry.
Click the thumbnail images above for interviews with Tamar Tamler, Director of Partnership Development at Revolution Foods; Nicholas Anduze, Executive Director for L.A. Food Heroes; Yvonne Arceneaux, Councilwoman for District 13 in Los Angeles; and Julia Cotts, Executive Director of the Garden School Foundation.
More resources for educating youth and improving childhood nutrition:
- A Los Angeles Primer
- Arrival Stories
- Block by Block
- Engaging Spaces
- Green Justice
- I Am Los Angeles