This Sunday, October 16th is World Food Day, and there is no better time to celebrate GGI’s client Camden City School District and their strides to provide students access to healthy, nutritious food.
The Rockefeller Foundation showed support for Camden’s very own Arlethia Brown, Senior Director of School Nutrition, applauding her for her work with The Common Market.
Camden City School District is located in one of America’s most food-insecure cities. Overseeing School Nutrition for 30 schools in Camden, New Jersey, Arlethia is tasked with providing 10,000 students with healthy, nutritional meals.
Camden was once a successful industrial city of over 70,000. Today, one-third of the city’s population struggles with poverty. They also have the lowest access to fresh food in all of New Jersey, so Arlethia’s improvements in the school district’s cafeteria programs are impressive to say the least.
Diseases linked to unhealthful diet and lifestyle choices, such as diabetes and cancer, are the leading causes of death in the United States. Children spend the majority of their developmental years in school – prioritizing healthy, nutritional meals in schools is critical to the health and cognitive well-being of students, among other sustainability priorities.
At GGI, we work with district like Camden to ensure that every kid has access to and consumes the most nutritious and culturally appropriate foods available through nutritionally-balanced school meals and beyond.
In order to reduce the exposure of toxins to children, all school nutrition programs should encompass:
- organic food,
- non-Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs),
- locally sourced food,
- whole foods, with a high-nutritional value, while
- eliminating processed foods, and
- reducing & eliminating packaging and serviceware the contain harmful toxins.
Not only are healthy, nutritional meals a priority for schools – there are additional sustainability and environmental impacts achieved through a clean food supply, including:
- locally sourced foods required less packaging (solid waste) and less transportation (greenhouse gas emissions)
- organics reduce pesticide usage (less water pollution)
- plant-based meals reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- zero-waste partnerships and programs (reducing solid waste)
In Camden, the district has been focused on many of these priorities, especially buying locally sourced foods, increasing options and access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and providing nutritional education to students. Ms. Brown notes that “she couldn’t do all she does for her schools without the incentives now facilitated by The Common Market.”
Taking it a step farther, the Rockefeller Foundation programming is not just focused on a clean food supply for schools, but also making sure communities benefit from these programs as well:
“The Common Market is creating a multi-year food procurement initiative to direct food purchasing dollars locally and equitably. The initiative [provides] opportunities for Black farmers and other underserved growers, while increasing access to healthy food in schools.”
Noah Cohen-Cline, Director of the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation shares,
“Shifting food purchasing dollars creates value beyond the school lunch tray. Prioritizing racial equity, environmental sustainability, and thriving local economies creates more resilient supply chains and shared prosperity for farmers, food workers, and small businesses.”
Alongside GGI, congratulate Camden City School District in celebration of World Food Day on October 16th- promoting “worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all, leaving no one behind.”
Consider a donation to the Go Green Initiative so that we can continue to work with CCSD to support Arlethia’s efforts to provide healthy school meals in Camden.