Thursday, 8 December 2011

Pour It On: Next Steps On Milk

Pour It On: Next Steps On Milk
Thu 01 Dec 2011
Story by Jessica Tully
Thanks to the sheer determination of our nearly one thousand Food Revolution milk leaders nationwide, the stranglehold of flavored milk on school cafeterias is declining. As Jamie said at the founding of this Food Revolution campaign, "Flavored milk, the chocolate and strawberry milk which is served for breakfast and lunch at school, is sweetened with sugar that kids don’t need and just adds extra calories to an otherwise healthy drink." Most powerfully, it is something we have the power to change right away.
Building Momentum Over Time

As we download stories of action from every corner of the country, one tactical message becomes clear: the best results happen when a band of community members join the effort. "Our greatest strength right now has come from key members of our community (nurses, health and nutrition teachers, doctors, students, concerned parents of students, etc.) who have voiced their opinion by signing our petition and expressed gratitude that finally, hopefully some positive change will come to school nutrition in our district," said David Jones, a culinary arts teacher from South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Many milk leaders advise that joining Local Wellness Committees, PTOs, or really any type of parent group, helps attract motivated and informed allies. It is easier and whole lot more fun to work in a group. And a coalition already has relationships with the district business office and food services feels like an ally to school nutrition staff. They can help them update outmoded procurement practices and get innovative about buying and promoting wholesome, pure milk.

As Hazel Ito in Honolulu, HI reports: "In our school, the formation of a Wellness Committee (comprised of school officials, teachers, after school care providers and parents) has proved to be our greatest strength. The committee only started this school year, and already we are tackling how to look after the well-being of our children in a very holistic way."
Milk Week

Keeping the "Milk Week" spirit alive throughout the year is a great way to build student awareness. At Battlefield High School in Haymarket, Virginia, the "PhD Club" decided to call for a Flavored Milk Week of Action "on every second or third week of the month" reports Jaehoon Lee, a club officer. "We hope to see a gradual preference change to white milk," she went on to say. The unique power of student-led campaigns is that there is no waiting for school officials to catch up with the times. Instead, students encourage one another to take control of their own nutrition by choosing pure milk over chocolate at their school meals. The challenge is for schools to take their lead.

It's never too late to join the Flavored Milk Week of Action group, just email us here to receive free planning materials and fact sheets, join our FB group here or visit our Milk HQ web page to download materials and find other great resources. We encourage all Food Revolutionaries to use the holiday time and lead up to Winter Break to talk to one another - in passing in town, online, or in formal meetings - about what's possible in your own schools.

As Jamie said in his show:
"Take away science. Take away surveys. If you dip food in sugar, then they will eat more of it. What's next - if you want to give them a bit of apple it has to be a toffee apple?"

Flavored milk is a key step in rethinking the school food environment.

About the author: Jessica Tully is an artist and a California based Field Organizer for the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution.

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