LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) "I'M IN" campaign, an all-inclusive program designed to raise awareness about the District's healthy meals to help fight childhood obesity and to encourage student attendance, is proud to support Board District Six Member Nury Martinez's vision to put forward a Good Food Procurement Resolution before the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education. Shared during a dinner with 200 LAUSD officials, educators, parents and students at Cardenas Elementary in Van Nuys, Martinez's resolution, developed in partnership with the L.A. Food Policy Council, outlines the District's efforts to ensure that its 700,000 students have access to nutritious and wholesome food that are locally sourced with sound environmental practices. The announcement comes on the eve of Food Day, where cities around the country, including Los Angeles, celebrate a movement for healthy, affordable, fair and sustainable food.
"I am proud of this resolution," says Martinez. "As a member of the board of education, I feel it's my responsibility to have the infrastructure in place so that the District can ensure Good Food policies."
As a Good Food leader in the community, LAUSD pledges in the resolution to prioritize nutrition, affordability, geography and sustainability. The District procures over $100 million annually in food and food supplies. LAUSD serves more than 650,000 meals per day, with 109 million meals served during the 2011-2012 academic year alone.
"LAUSD has been a national leader in providing delicious and nutritious school food, and Board Member Martinez's resolution solidifies the District's commitment," says LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy. "Our meals meet and exceed USDA guidelines and the Institute of Medicine's nutrient recommendations."
To further show its commitment to food access this year, LAUSD introduced Breakfast in the Classroom. The program, with a three-year implementation throughout the District, aims to provide students with the nutrients necessary to be ahead of the class from the start of the school day. Also this year, students at close to 540 school sites will have access to the District's Supper Program, meals which are served immediately after school until 4 p.m.
"More than 80 percent of our student body qualifies for free and reduced price meals and a significant number of them live in poverty," says David Binkle, Interim Director of Food Services at LAUSD. "Families face a constant struggle against hunger and we believe that the Breakfast in the Classroom and Supper programs provide all students, no matter their economic status, the nutrients necessary to do well in school."
Studies show that providing well-balanced meals not only fight childhood obesity. They are also key to students' academic successes. Students who don't have proper nutrition have shorter attention spans and lower test scores in school.
Since 2011, LAUSD has offered generous portions of fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy products and whole grains that are sourced locally, the majority within 200 miles of the District. LAUSD has reduced salt, added sugars fats, and oils as well as eliminated artificial additives in all its school meals. It has even eradicated the use of Styrofoam during food service for a better environment.
LAUSD is a part of the Urban School Food Alliance that includes New York City Department of Education, Chicago Public Schools, Dallas Independent School District, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Orange County Public Schools in Orlando. The school districts exchange best practices when it comes to good food policies, local procurement and sound environmental standards.
SOURCE Los Angeles Unified School District