Impact on School Fundraising
Since the first of July of this year, those restrictions were extended beyond mealtimes into all areas of the school day. Any food that’s intended for students to consume at school must meet the sugar and fats specifications outlined in the bill, including food sold during on-site bake sales. Many have dubbed this new aspect of the bill “The War on Cupcakes,” a humorous nickname that undermines the important implications of the program. By ensuring that children eat better at school, they are being exposed to healthy eating alternatives and learning how to have a more complete diet. That said, the bill only covers snack foods intended to be consumed during the school day, and not a majority of junk-food based fundraising items such as frozen cookie dough, candy or pizza kits where the products are intended to be taken home (these remain exempt from the regulation).
FarmRaiser’s Two Cents
As a company that offers healthy alternatives to the sea of sugar and preservative-filled foods that are the norm for fundraising campaigns, many of our supporters and friends have assumed we’d be in favor of extending regulations to cover all food sold in fundraisers. In fact, the new rules set up a strange situation where schools are banning certain products on campus only to have students take home fundraising brochures filled with every imaginable variation of these same products no longer available for consumption at school–a mixed message that could undermine the effectiveness of the “Let’s Move” campaign in truly changing food selection and eating habits.
But is the answer more regulation? FarmRaiser could probably benefit from expanding the regulation. However, I believe the true power in our model is that we offer a healthy alternative. We want families to join the growing movement around eating healthy and eating local. In my experience, no one joins a group or a cause because they are forced to do so. So I think schools should be able to sell whatever they want to raise money for their critical supplies. Of course, any school that sees how well our campaigns align with the values and practices of their school wellness plans, not to mention the amazing local products (and profits) available through our campaigns, will jump at the chance to join our movement.