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Real Food for Kids is committed to collaborating with school communities to elevate the quality and character of school food; developing and delivering programs that advance literacy in nutrition and health; and engaging students, parents and schools in building a culture of health that spreads to their homes and communities.
In 2010, a group of parents in Northern Virginia united in a mission to improve the quality of food served in Fairfax County Public Schools.
Like many school districts across the country, FCPS had transitioned in the 1970s to cafeteria models that relied on highly processed, shelf-stable foods, that could be warmed and served, but that, despite meeting USDA standards for meals that could be served to students, contained high levels of additives, dyes and preservatives. The lack of quality, taste and appeal had led to declining participation rates; students receiving free-and-reduced meals often discarded unwanted food, leaving them hungry.
Concerned about the alarming rise in childhood obesity and diabetes and the decline in healthy nutritional habits being formed in many communities, Real Food for Kids was created, advocating to bring about change that ensured what students were eating in the cafeteria connected with health lessons in the classroom, supporting the development of strong health habits and good food choices.Today, Real Food for Kids has been recognized as one of the most successful parent advocacy organizations working in this space. Our work has always been based on collaboration, bringing solutions to this complex problem forward with diverse stakeholders who also believe that school food can be a catalyst for change in our communities.