Our Food System is Failing Our Kids

Pueblo’s District 60 in Colorado is one of very few school districts serving kids healthy food. District 60 beef and pork are purchased from Ranch Foods Direct in Colorado Springs.

Hi Mike, I am noticing a really horrible trend: as the Meatless Mondays school campaigns gain traction in 40 countries around the world, spreading the false information to kids that all meat is unhealthy and unsustainable, we’re seeing childhood health plummeting… Rates of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes are soaring. Fatty Liver Disease has evolved from a disease mostly affecting elderly and alcoholics to now affecting 5-10% of children.

And this is not from over consumption of beef. It’s from overeating processed foods, largely in the form of unhealthy snacks, which make up over 25% of kids’ daily calories. A simple walk down the snack aisle aimed at kids clearly illustrates that our kids aren’t munching on nutrient-dense goodies.

Corporations spend large budgets on marketing their hyper-palatable and addictive foods directly at children, many of which are overfed yet malnourished at the same time. Children today are more likely than ever to suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, and anemia. And those who are food insecure can also suffer from impaired cognitive and brain development, resulting in lower IQ, reduced verbal skills, and impaired executive function.

At the same time, there is a strong anti-meat narrative targeted at kids, including initiatives like Meatless Mondays and Vegan Fridays in the NYC public schools. Not only does this program limit access to nutrient-dense food, it also sends the message to impressionable young people that meat and other animal products are bad.

We need to do something about this urgently. I started the Global Food Justice Alliance to try to expand access to nutrient dense foods. I am really excited to announce our latest campaign to do just that. In Tacoma Public Schools, 71.84% of students are enrolled in Free & Reduced Lunch. GFJA is partnering with the Backpack Program at St. Leo Food Connection in Tacoma, WA. The program provides backpacks with two days of food so children can come to school on Monday well-fed and ready to learn. The program also provides snacks and/or take-home items during the week to ensure kids have something to eat once they leave school.

Until December 31, 2023, all donations will be used to purchase and send Paleovalley’s 100% grass-fed beef sticks to the Backpack Program. This program serves more than 1,400 students EVERY WEEK and your donations will support these kids by providing them with nutritious snacks to support their brain’s growth and development. This Giving Tuesday, click here to join GFJA in sending nutritious food to kids in need and supporting our advocacy work to expand access to nutrient-dense foods! Each dollar provides kids with nutritious meat sticks and supports GFJA’s education and advocacy program to spread the word about the benefits of meat and livestock! Plus, GFJA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, meaning your donations are tax deductible. Anyone giving $250 or more will receive a letter for the IRS documenting their donation.  

Click here to donate now. Thank you for your support!

Diana Rodgers
Executive Director, Global Food Justice Alliance

P.S. – Do you know someone who is interested in expanding access to nutritious food? Send them this email so that they can join the backpack program too!