California governor champions whole grains in school budget

May 17, 2007
Hats off to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for adding $8.5 million in the new California state budget for "integrating fresh produce, whole grains and other healthy choices into school meals."

In his final budget revision announced May 14, 2007, the Governor explained that "the many nutrition standards currently underway and on the horizon" require that adequate education and technical assistance be provided at the school site level so that healthy foods and meals are delivered to students, teachers and staff.

The Governor's office added that this is consistent with his "lifelong support of physical fitness and healthy lifestyle," which "emphasizes the need for strong nutrition programs." Obesity prevention for both kids and adults is the Governor’s overall goal, and healthy eating is a key part of his comprehensive health care reform proposal. This approach is a natural for California, since the state is the U.S. leader in agricultural production.

Members of the Whole Grains Council praised Governor Schwarzenegger's action and expressed their hope that the Legislature would support his proposal.

"It's wonderful to see a Governor putting his money where his mouth is about something as important for growing bodies as whole grains," said WGC Vice Chair Mike Bittel of King Arthur Flour.

Former WGC Chairman Mike Orlando, a San Diego resident and member of a farm family that has been producing Sunnyland Mills whole grain bulgur in Fresno since 1935, praised the Governor. "He's a responsive and forward-thinking leader, " said Orlando,."He makes me proud to be a Californian when he goes to bat on the importance of good food for kids."

WGC Board member and Oldways President K. Dun Gifford also lauded Schwarzenegger. "The dream that became the WGC reality was born in San Diego in 2002, and it's wonderful to see a strong governor like Mr. Schwarzenegger pick up the whole grains cudgel on behalf of his state's young people."

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