The National Plant-Based Youth Steering Committee is a group of youth advocates from diverse backgrounds and places across the United States. The group strives to center the experiences and voices of students who are disproportionately affected by climate change and are reliant on school lunch programs. This is the second year for the program, which was founded by the Healthy Future Students and Earth Coalition in 2022. The youth selected to participate in the National Plant-Based Youth Steering Committee are committed to advocating for healthy, plant-based lunch options in schools.
For under-served students throughout the United States, reduced or free breakfast and lunch programs comprise a large percentage of daily nutrition. In light of this, the Youth Steering Committee and the Healthy Future Students and Earth Coalition are committed to promoting the introduction of nutritious, plant-based foods to school cafeterias nationwide.
Recently, members of the Youth Steering Committee visited Washington, D.C. where they met with legislators regarding their objectives. The members hoped to promote plant-based meals, advocate for change to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and discuss policies regarding food security and Climate change. During their meetings with legislators, members introduced six bills including the Healthy Future Students and Earth Act. This act would set aside ten million dollars of funding that would be awarded through grants to schools that introduce plant-based options.
Youth Steering Committee members also met with the United States Department of Agriculture to encourage the governmental entity to establish a youth advisory council. Additionally, they lobbied the USDA for bills that would Support farm reforms, slow factory farming expansion, and help move the nation away from harmful industrial agriculture practices.
Although the Youth Steering Committee’s visit was historic, some members were disappointed by the results. Nevertheless, the Youth Steering Committee will continue to advocate for changes to be made regarding current food systems.
Food insecurity affects an estimated nine million children in the United States every year. These children and their families may rely on school breakfasts and lunches to meet nutritional needs. Sign this petition advocating for Universal School Lunches!
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