Michelle Obama’s campaign, Let’s Move!, in association with the USDA, has a new contest asking anyone who is interested (students, teachers, parents, chefs, etc.) to submit original recipes for inclusion in national school lunches. The recipes must be healthy, and need to fall into one of the following categories: Whole Grains, Dark Green and Orange vegetables, or Dry Beans and Peas.
From now through Dec. 30, interested participants must form teams consisting of a chef, a school nutrition professional, at least one student currently enrolled in grades 4-12, and at least one parent or community member. The recipe will be prepared in the school’s cafeteria, and the students will provide feedback and vote on the dish.
If the team makes it past this round, then 15 semi-finalists will be chosen and judges will visit the schools to determine the deliciousness (and healthfulness) for themselves. Winning teams will get to prepare their dish at the White House kitchen, and will also get cash money — up to $3,000.
The “Let’s Move! toward healthier food in school” contest is, of course, a great way to advocate for veganism. And as vegans, we probably have the skills and/or resources to take those food categories and make some I-can’t-believe-this-is-healthy type foods. Each time I enjoy my homemade “cheesy kale chips,” for example, I think of how much kids would love them. Even if you don’t wind up as a finalist in the contest, simply by cooking for your community’s school, you can raise consciousness of the variety and delectability of plant-based food. Feeding people tends to also be an ideal outreach moment; why not add to your food giveaway a pamphlet giveaway too, perhaps a good old-fashioned Vegetarian Starter Kit?