DC Council Approves the Healthy Schools Act

Thursday, May 27, 2010

First the bad news...
  • Nearly half the children in D.C. are overweight or obese.
  • In some parts of the District, more than 70% of residents are overweight or obese.
  • DC has the highest rate of adolescent obesity in the United States.

Depressing statistics like these were what motivated DC Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) to take action by introducing the Healthy Schools Act. The great news is that the DC Council recently passed and funded the Act!

The Healthy Schools Act aims to improve the nutrition, health and wellness of kids in DC. Key provisions of the legislation include:

  • Raising the nutritional standard and quality of school meals by bringing in more local fruits and vegetables to school cafeterias.
  • Tripling the amount of physical and health education taught in DC schools.
  • Establish school gardens as integral components of school and public charter schools.

    The last provision is key to improving the health and nutritional status of DC school children, because we have consistently seen that kids become more enthusiastic about eating fresh, nutritious food when they are involved in the growing process.

    TGC shares the goals of the Healthy Schools Act (especially since we are based in DC), and the DC Council’s decision to pass it is a crucial first step to improving the nutrition, health, and wellness of DC school children.

    Sign the Petition to End Hunger Now

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    FAO recently launched the 1 Billion Hungry online petition: http://www.1billionhungry.org/. The 1 Billion Hungry campaign aims to bring attention to the more than 1 billion people around the world who suffer from chronic hunger. Please join us in getting mad that 1 billion people in the world are hungry and sign the petition.

    Photos from the worldwide campaign are available on the 1 Billion Hungry Flickr page.

    You can also watch videos on the 1 Billion Hungry YouTube channel through this link.

    Finally, you can read FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf’s Huffington Post blog on the campaign here.

    The Growth of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Farmers frequently consider weeds to be the most serious threat to their harvest. Some experts estimate that weeds cause $95 billion a year in lost food production at a global level.

    A recent New York Times article examines the problems caused by the rise of herbicide-resistant weeds.

    For years farmers across America used the herbicide glysophate, also popularly known as Roundup, to effectively deal with weeds. However, the excessive use of glysophate has led to the growth of herbicide-resistant weeds.

    Ten glysophate-resistant weeds have now been detected in at least 22 US states, infesting millions of acres. To deal with these persistent weeds, farmers are increasingly using more herbicides that cause even more damage to the environment.

    We are glad to say that the TGC vegetable gardens do not suffer from the same problem, and that they do not contribute to excessive use of herbicides. The EarthBox’s mulch cover prevents weeds from taking root, so it eliminates the need to use any herbicides.