School Food Matters – Join Our Campaign

Long Beach Fresh’s petition to the LBUSD Board of Education, which peaked 1,000 signatures, asks for leaders to pledge “Good Food Values” in Long Beach Schools. The petition comes amidst many community organizations demanding LBUSD re-consider the ways in which their policies can boost racial and social equity.

The community-based organization brings together a broad coalition of residents, diverse entrepreneurs, educators, parents, youth, and urban agriculture organizations to figure out the best ways to create a fair food system in Long Beach. The petition is part of Long Beach Fresh’s campaign to encourage better food policies within the city, and is geared around four values:

Healthy, active living
Innovative food education
Local, sustainable, and fair food sourcing
Fresh, nutritious food access for all

Long Beach Fresh co-director Tony Damico explains how “the cascading crises of social inequity, hunger, and Covid-19 have made school food more important than ever for youth, our environment, and local economies as we strive toward equity. We’re asking LBUSD for a deeper commitment to exploring creative solutions with us, embracing values that our communities have worked together to define. From there, real policies can come about that produce long-lasting food security”

For many local youth, a school meal is the only complete meal they may receive, given that more than 38% of locals experience food insecurity in our city’s lower income neighborhoods. These impacts have certainly worsened during Covid-19, while LBUSD has made significant changes to be sure healthy food is accessible during school closures and online learning.

As a food policy council, Long Beach Fresh believes we can extend the commitment to healthy, nutritious food access into creating a more equitable and fair food system that’s mindful of farmers, animals, the environment, and young people’s taste buds.

So what’s next?

Long Beach Fresh is hosting a School Food Townhall to lift up youth voices to show what young people appreciate about school food, and what they’d like to see improved.

Initially planned for October 21, the event was delayed to increase participation. This page will be updated with the new date.

To submit a video message with your experience, feelings, and hopes for school food, contact LB Fresh by November 1st, or message us on Instagram. Video messages must be recorded in advance for the broadcast.

Long Beach Fresh’s School Food Workgroup meets monthly to plan the campaign, so please contact LB Fresh if you’d like to get involved on a regular basis, too.

In addition to the public petition and townhall, Long Beach Fresh is now calling for local community-based organizations, small businesses, and faith-based organizations to sign on to a letter of support that will be delivered to the Board of Education. [Letter in English | Letter in Spanish]

This call for a commitment to shared values comes after five years of development by local food accelerator non-profit Long Beach Fresh, and reflects the types of goals also set forward in the rapidly growing Good Food Purchasing Program. The push for a commitment also comes alongside controversial proposed changes in federal nutrition requirements and new State funding to create community partnership and sustainable purchasing from family farms, efforts the LB Fresh is well poised to support.

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