When It Comes to Kids, Change Can't Wait

Last week, Michelle Obama made these remarks (VIDEO)
to a group of fifth-graders who had just harvested 73 pounds of lettuce
and 12 pounds of snap peas from the First Lady's Garden on the White
House Lawn:

Last week, Michelle Obama made these remarks (VIDEO)
to a group of fifth-graders who had just harvested 73 pounds of lettuce
and 12 pounds of snap peas from the First Lady's Garden on the White
House Lawn:

"To make sure that we give all our kids a good start to their day
and to their future, we need to improve the quality and nutrition of
the food served in schools. We're approaching the first big opportunity
to move this to the top of the agenda with the upcoming reauthorization
of the child nutrition programs. In doing so, we can go a long way
towards creating a healthier generation for our kids."

It wasn't Michael Pollan who said those words. It was the First
Lady. Coming from her, the phrase "big opportunity to move this to the
top of the agenda" is a call to action we cannot ignore.

When children are given the chance to plant and pick and cook food
that's both delicious and good for them, they're far more curious to
give it a try--and more often than not, they like it. When those
children are offered real food in the school cafeteria and at the
family dinner table, they eat it. They begin to ask for it.

Michelle has said that
when Sasha and Malia learned to enjoy real food, they started
"lecturing" her about what she should be eating and "what a carrot
does, what broccoli does" to our bodies. Her kids taught her to enjoy
real food. Kids can lead the way.

The National School Lunch Program provides a meal to 30 million
children every school day. By giving schools the resources to serve
real food, we can teach 30 million children healthy eating habits that
will last throughout their lives. That's a major down payment on health
care reform. By providing 30 million children with locally grown fruits
and vegetables, we can dramatically reshape the way this country grows
and gets its food. By raising a generation of children on real food, we
can build a strong foundation for their health, for our economy's
health and for America's future prosperity.

This year, the Child Nutrition Act, which is the bill that governs
the National School Lunch Program, is up for reauthorization. Unless
citizens everywhere speak up this summer, "business as usual" in
Congress will pass a Child Nutrition Act that continues to fail our
children. We can do better.

Our leaders in Congress have to hear that everyday people in their
districts refuse to accept the status quo. We have to tell them that
when it comes to our children and the legacy we're leaving them, change
can't wait.

That's why a group of us are organizing a National Eat-In
for Labor Day, Sept. 7, 2009. On that day, people in communities across
America will gather with their neighbors for public potlucks that send
a clear message to our nation's leaders: It's time to provide America's
children with real food at school.

To get the whole country to sit down and share a meal together
we're going to need the help of all kinds of people: parents, teachers,
community leaders, kids and people who've never done anything like this
before. We're going to need everyone to pitch in, starting
today--because with the President calling for health care reform and the
First Lady planting a garden on the White House Lawn, we've got an
opening to pass legislation that grants 30 million children the freedom
to grow up healthy.

We can do it this year, but only if we act now. It's time to get real food into schools.