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A Wellness Policy for the 21st Century

Last week the Sacramento Bee ran an op-ed about work undertaken by Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) and community partners in revising the district wellness policy. The op-ed, co-authored by Amber Stott of the Food Literacy Center and Debra Oto-Kent of Health Education Council, mentions Valley Vision, as we have had the privilege of facilitating this process through funding by The California Endowment (TCE). TCE is so supportive of this work that they have funded us for another two years with a primary focus on implementing the policy.

Having a wellness policy is a requirement of all districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program. Updating the district’s 11-year-old wellness policy is also a federal requirement.

Most of the revisions in the draft under consideration bring SCUSD’s policy in line with current federal and/or state regulations. Some of these regulations, particularly those around fundraising, create challenges at the high schools where fundraisers have often been conducted using food that does not meet federal nutrition standards. Valley Vision is committed to working with district staff and students to address this issue, including finding healthier, but equally – or more – profitable fundraising opportunities so that students can have the fullest high school experience possible.

Working with the school district is one of my favorite projects – the district staff I work with are so dedicated to the well-being of the 45,000 students they serve and very appreciative of the resources their community partners bring.

The policy went to the Board of Education last Thursday for a first reading and will be voted on at the August 17th meeting. Keep up with us by subscribing to Valley Vision’s food and agriculture newsletter, Food for Thought, which goes out on a monthly basis to over 1,500 food and ag leaders across the Sacramento region and Northern California.

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Robyn Krock is a Project Leader managing Valley Vision’s food and agriculture portfolio.

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