More than 31 million children in the U.S. consume most of their daily caloric intake at school. For many children, it may be the only food they eat regularly each day. But improving the quality of school lunches offers an effective way to ensure that half of what children eat is healthy, nutritious and sustainably grown. School lunch programs that source organic, local, nutritious and sustainable foods impact children's health and also the health of our planet. Food Tank has compiled a list of 16 school lunch programs making strides to improve children's health.
1. The Baltimore Public School System, Baltimore, Maryland
The public school system in Baltimore was the first to adopt “Meatless Mondays," which benefit students' health as well as the environment. BCPS serves locally grown fruits, vegetables and milk, and teaches its students how to grow their food at Great Kids Farm, a 33-acre teaching farm.
2. The Berkeley Unified School District, Berkeley, California
The Berkeley Unified School District is committed to serving nutritious, delicious and locally grown food to students. All processed foods, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, refined flour, dyes, nitrates, additives and chemicals are banned. Local, organic milk is served throughout cafeterias in addition to organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
3. The Burlington School Food Project, Burlington, Vermont
The Burlington School Food Project provides free breakfast and dinner to 4,000 students in the Burlington School District. The project is dedicated to serving local food from farms in the area and was chosen as a model Farm to School program by the USDA in 2010.
4. Farmhouse Café and Bakery, El Prado, New Mexico
The Farmhouse Café sponsors school garden projects, which serve more than 450 meals a day at participating schools and teach children how to grow vegetables and make healthy food choices.
5. The Finnish National Board of Education, Finland
Finland was the first country in the world to serve free school meals dating back to 1948. School meals are designed to support students' health and to give them energy for their studies. Local fish, vegetables, fruit and grains are featured on students' plates to form tasty, colorful, balanced meals. Finnish law requires that half of the plate be filled with fresh and cooked vegetables.
6. The French Ministry of National Education, France
School children in France are required to sit at the lunch table for at least a half an hour to eat a full meal. Fried food, foods high in fat, ketchup and sweets are all limited. Meals are well-balanced and include vegetables, a warm main dish, cheese and usually fruit for dessert. The government charges families on a sliding scale, which averages US$2.56–3.12.
7. The Healthy Schools Campaign, Chicago, Illinois
More than 350,000 students in Chicago public schools eat healthier food thanks to the Healthy Schools Campaign. Produce is regionally grown and chicken is raised without antibiotics in nearby Indiana.
Rome has an incredibly progressive school food program. About 150,000 meals are served daily at 740 public schools. Ninety-six percent of meals are made from scratch and 70 percent of ingredients are organic. Much of the produce and meat is local or regional and menus reflect the seasonality of crops grown in the region.
9. The Good Earth School Lunch Program, Marin County, California
More than 4,000 children in twelve schools throughout Marin County participate in the healthy, organic and nutritious Good Earth School Lunch Program.
10. Kitchen Garden Project, United Kingdom
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched the Kitchen Garden Project to teach primary school children in the U.K. how to grow, cook and consume fresh and local produce. The Kitchen Garden Project believes that introducing children to fresh fruits and vegetables at a young age is crucial to developing life-long healthy eating habits.
In Japan, school lunch is referred to as Shokuiku, which translates to food and nutrition education. The free school lunch program aims to promote mental and physical health and is based on government-established nutritional criteria. The program encourages sustainability by promoting environmentally friendly food production in local communities, encourages table manners and celebrates the enjoyment of eating.
12. Shelby County Nutrition Services, Tennessee
More than 110,000 students are served breakfast and lunch daily at Shelby County public schools, where Nutrition Services focuses on providing nutritious, healthy food to improve educational achievements. Nutrition Services are connected with the Farm to School Movement, which aims to serve healthy meals in school cafeterias, provide agriculture and nutrition education, improve student nutrition and support local and regional farms.
More than 800,000 school children in the public school system in Seoul receive hot, healthy lunches at school. The healthy and nutritious meal reflects Korean cuisine. Students are served protein, rice, kimchi (pickled vegetables) and other vegetables on the side.
14. The Sitka “Fish to Schools" Program, Sitka, Alaska
The Sitka “Fish to Schools" Program aims to enhance students' understanding of local seafood resources by including locally-caught seafood in the school lunch program. Students also receive education about the local fishing culture.
15. Urban Sprouts, San Francisco, California
Since 2006, Urban Sprouts has partnered with schools throughout San Francisco to provide garden-based education in which students experience planting, growing, harvesting and consuming crops directly from the school garden.
16. Wellness in the Schools, New York, New York
Wellness in the Schools (WITS) encourages healthy eating, environmental awareness and fitness as a way of life for public school kids in New York City. WITS forms partnerships with school leadership, teachers, chefs, coaches, parents and kids, to develop and implement programs that provide nutritious foods, environments and opportunities for kids to play, learn and grow.
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
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While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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