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Fast Facts about Sustainable Food

• President Lyndon Johnson enacted the 1946 National School Lunch Act as a “measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children.”

• Today the National School Lunch Program feeds 31.6 million children each day with meals supplied through the school cafeteria. 18 million of those children qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. (Food Research and Action Center)

One child in four is overweight or obese, and one in three will develop diabetes in his or her lifetime. For African-American and Hispanic children, that number rises to one in two. (Slow Food USA)

• School districts are reimbursed $2.68 for every meal served to a child who qualifies for free lunch. After paying for overhead costs, schools are left with only $1.00 to purchase food. As a result, most can only afford to serve highly processed foods that harm children’s health and keep them from performing well in school. (Slow Food USA)

• More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket. (Let’s Move)

• A recent USDA report showed that in 2008, an estimated 49 million people, including 17 million children, lived in households that experienced hunger multiple times throughout the year. (Let’s Move)

• The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17% more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70% population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day. The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, sufficient food. (Food and Agriculture Organization)

• It is estimated that 854 million people in the world suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition. This means that nearly 1 in 7 people do not get enough foodto be healthy and lead an active life, making hunger and malnutrition the number one risk to health worldwide – greater than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. (World Food Programme)

• A typical carrot travels 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table. (Pirog, Rich, and Andrew Benjamin. "Checking the Food Odometer: Comparing Food Miles for Local versus Conventional Produce Sales in Iowa Institutions." Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, July 2003.)

• Farmers' markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer. (Pretty, Jules. "Some Benefits and Drawbacks of Local Food Systems." Briefing Note for TVU/Sustain AgriFood Network, November 2)

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