Friday, May 27, 2022

Play

High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.

Play

Education Secretary Cardona calls for action after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to U.S. and its allies.

Play

High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

ND Organizers: Keep School Lunches Healthy

Play

Wednesday, January 26, 2022   

First in a two-part series this week on access to healthy school meals.

The pandemic has put a spotlight on food insecurity, including access to healthy meals in public schools.

In North Dakota, community organizers warn about possible changes to nutritional standards for these meals. Federal efforts continue for Child Nutrition Reauthorization, which is tied to the National School Lunch Program. Along the way, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., has pushed for relaxing standards, such as blocking reductions in sodium levels.

Courtney Schaff, a project manager under grant from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is leading community organizers around the state to ensure higher nutrition standards are in place. She said there's research showing their effectiveness.

"Evidence-based nutrition standards in school meals has reduced the prevalence of childhood obesity and instances of diabetes," she said.

Her team is working with groups such as the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition to build support for higher standards and healthy meal access. Under the Obama administration, a phased-in approach was implemented to make school lunches more nutritious, but recent years have seen attempts to roll back the changes. Some have argued the healthier standards have been difficult to implement, and that less-tasty meals could hinder participation in school-lunch programs.

With the pandemic exacerbating food insecurity for tribal communities, said fellow organizer Melanie Moniz, a member of the MHA Nation, now isn't the time to make school meals less healthy. For many Indigenous families she works with, she said the program is a lifeline.

"The meals that children receive in school are the only access that they have to healthy, nutritious food," she said.

Groups such as Prairie Action have joined organizers in calling for current standards to either be maintained or strengthened. Hoeven's office has said his efforts still allow for healthy meals but give more flexibility to administrators.

Aside from providing more nutrition for kids, researchers who looked at healthy meal consumption in California schools found a connection to improved academic performance.

Disclosure: Prairie Action ND contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …


Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …

Environment

This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …


There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …

Environment

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021