Across the world, milk consumption is rising drastically and school milk programs are one of the principle drivers of this increase. Governments and international institutions like the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) use events like World School Milk Day to raise awareness of school milk programs and to encourage schools and other institutions to do more to promote dairy. They work with the dairy industry to create future consumers, targeting the children of populations with no culture of milk consumption and high prevalences of lactose intolerance. Sustained efforts promote the corporate message that milk is necessary and that other foods are inherently lacking, erasing other sources of calcium, protein and other vital nutrients that are abundant in the diverse food cultures of this world.
Seed the Commons (seedthecommons.org
) aims to reverse this trend by shining a light on these practices and by bringing to the forefront the abundance of wholesome plant foods that exist throughout food cultures. No single food is mandatory, and nobody needs to consume a food that makes them sick to get the calcium they need. This is particularly important in San Francisco, where most public school children receive either free or reduced school lunches and where 85% of children in public schools come from communities of color where lactose intolerance is prevalent.
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the San Francisco Unified Board of Education address health disparities in its public school student population by removing fluid cow milk—currently the only source of liquid calories which may be served to children attending public schools in San Francisco—from its school meals in the following manner:
1. Resolve that school breakfast, lunch and any other meals or snacks served at SFUSD schools do not include fluid cow milk as a meal component.
2. To implement the resolution in point one, the SFUSD must adopt a policy of advocacy at a federal and state level so that schools meals are not required to include fluid cow milk as meal components.
3. Until the necessary advocacy in point two is successful, the SFUSD must identify unrestricted sources of funding that allow it to provide school meals that do not include fluid cow milk.