The nice weather is here and with the nice weather my thoughts turn towards food. While my thoughts did not have to go too far (I am always thinking of food it seems), I am currently thinking a lot of about gardening and families whose food situation is less than ideal.
Perhaps you are aware of First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiatives with healthy eating and exercise if not NPR has a recent report. Shortly after moving into the White House, she had the formal, manicured South Lawn dug up, and planted a vegetable garden. As the garden has produced vegetables for her family, White House dinners, and others in the community, she has hoped to encourage Americans and particularly young people who are facing an obesity epidemic to eat better and live healthier lifestyles. Her current book called American Grown chronicles the garden throughout the seasons and examines the history of American gardening. You can also visit the ‘Let’s Move’ Web Site. Perhaps you are into the whole locavore or eating local food movement. Perhaps you are trying to save money by planting a garden. We all seem to want our children to eat healthier. We all want more quality time as a family. Perhaps this book with its interesting anecdotes and ruminations can act as a springboard for your own family garden.
On a related, but different note, more families than ever are struggling to simply feed their children. During the school year, millions of American children rely on the federally funded free and reduced school lunch program to help meet some of their nutrition needs. Come summer, this need is more likely to go unfilled. While there are summer food programs offered through the Dept. of Agriculture, such things as stigma; bringing children to the school building during summer; and the price of transportation and gasoline have been factors keeping children away from them. A new pilot program being offered in select states often with the United Way has been somewhat of a solution as reported in an NPR story. It is a food truck that brings lunches to children within their communities. If you are interested in seeing if there is a food truck or simply a summer lunch program in your area, you can call The National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3- Hungry. Pass the number along to others you feel might benefit if you are lucky enough not to need assistance.