MARYLAND

Council members want students to get unlimited fruits, vegetables

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(WJLA) - Two Montgomery County Council members want students to have unlimited access to fruits, vegetables, and healthier items at lunchtime.

Tonya Aranguren, a mother of two, applauds the idea of less processed food, more fresh food made on site, and unlimited fruits and vegetables in Montgomery County schools.

“I think it’s a good idea,” she said. “Fruits and vegetables are essential. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t want to include it in the lunch.”

Real Food for Kids - Montgomery, a coalition of parents, advocates, and council Council members, are joining forces to push for a change.

“We asked that the school system make sure that students have access to fresh drinking water all day, that they have access to fruits and vegetables at lunch, that not all menu items are what most of us would consider junk food items like burgers, pizza, chicken fingers,” said George Leventhal, the Vice President of the Montgomery County Council.

Council members argue that even water can be hard to come by in schools with fountains deemed hazardous. They want the county to be a model for better school food.

Montgomery County is known for its farms and growing concentration of stores that emphasize the best in fresh fruits and produce. But when it comes to unlimited fresh foods that have to be transported and consumed quickly and more cooking on site, the superintendent’s office says the big hurdle remains cost.

At the Whole Foods on Willard Avenue in Chevy Chase, shopper Shawn Gatewood says it’s time for fresh thinking on affordable options to go fresh and local.

“Many farmers markets have programs that support low income families."

A spokesman for Superintendent Joshua Starr says progress is already being made, noting an additional $560,000 was spent last year alone to boost not only fruits and vegetables, but also whole grains and lower sodium in all Montgomery County public school meals.

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