DCPS parents: do you want school food to improve?
I am a DCPS parent and am working with a few other working parents to ask for improvements to school food. We are just getting started with some efforts at the policy and implementation levels.

There is an immediate opportunity to make a difference! The Healthy Students Amendment Act is making its way through the city council this fall, and we feel that it could be enhanced to become much more significant and impactful. We are letting our council members know.

Below, you can read the collective letter 167 DCPS parents/families from over 32 DC public schools addressed David Grosso (who heads the Education Committee), and see exactly what we are after in this context.

It's not too late to lend your voice and get involved--as much or as little as you would like.

You can manifest your interest by filling out this form. Also feel free to send me a message directly if this sparks your curiosity: emilie.cassou@gmail.com.

We will be engaging in more efforts soon, so please be in touch!

Emilie Cassou

Email address *
First name *
Your answer
Last name *
Your answer
What school are you from? *
Other DC school(s) your family is attending?
Your answer
Grade level(s) *
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Are you potentially interested in joining a small group of parents advocating specifically for less processed, more plant-centric meals (noting that there is no commitment)? *
Would you like to receive occasional updates about parental efforts and chances to chime in from a distance (such as signing a collective letter)? *
Send us your ideas, comments (including about other school food improvements you are interested in seeing or advocating for, promising avenues you see, and more)
Your answer
Letter to David Grosso (delivered 9-17-2018)
Dear Chairman Grosso,

Many of us parents of DCPS are excited that the DC Council will soon be considering an amendment to the Healthy Schools Act. Using this opportunity, we would like to see DC legally commit to doing the following.

(1) Embrace the Good Food Purchasing Program indicators to set measurable performance targets for its school lunch program—lending credibility to the existing law’s commitment to procuring food sustainably.

(2) Commit to phasing out antibiotic-treated animal foods by a target date, recognizing the dangers of drug resistance and thin justification for their continued prophylactic use in animal farming (antibiotics save the industry less than a penny per pound of meat).

(3) Offer, at every lunch, at least one tasty, cooked entree made from minimally processed plant-sourced foods, free of all animal products, to mitigate climate and conventional pollution, cut food costs, and save animal and human suffering related to mistreatment and chronic disease.

(4) Take steps to establish a central kitchen that facilitates the production of from-scratch meals with minimal additives, allows better public control over the quality of ingredients, and facilitates more and better educational programming for DCPS employees and communities around sustainable food systems and healthy diets.

While each of these changes makes sense on its own, together they will exponentially enhance the quality of DCPS’ school food offerings while cutting costs. With them, DCPS can “walk the talk” on sustainability, teaching leadership by example, while helping our children onto a path of lifelong healthy eating.

Thank you for acting on these priorities to help us improve the health of our children and communities, and to follow through on the city’s existing school lunch commitments.

Sincere regards,
DCPS Parents (see names below)

***You can take action now, on your own, by asking council members to enhance the Healthy Students Amendment Act (time-sensitive)***
Feel free to make the following language your own:

"Dear Councilmember _____________,

I am a DCPS parent and writing in relation to the Healthy Students Amendment Act. I am generally supportive of the HSAA, but believe it can be significantly enhanced to benefit all children in DC.

As introduced, the bill requires DCPS to provide a vegetarian option at every meal, and many parents including myself would like that requirement to be to serve a cooked, plant-based entree that is minimally processed and free of all animal products including cheese at every lunch--and one that has been tested for desirability among kids from a variety of backgrounds.

All kids would benefit immensely from such an option being integrated into daily lunch menus and normalized. Current menus (especially the vegetarian fare) center too heavily on processed and animal products, including cheese, which contains more fat and salt than potato chips and is the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet. These products are closely tied to heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health conditions that are now taking root in childhood.

We can do better by our kids, especially since making this change also has the potential to increase participation in school food, cut costs, and help financially.

Thank you for proactively supporting an amendment to the HSAA, so that school food can help every DC child reach their full potential.

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