By: Renée Farias
September 28 is World School Milk Day
Every year on the last Wednesday in September, many countries around the world celebrate World School Milk Day, recognizing the health benefits of school milk and the school nutrition programs that provide milk directly to students. World School Milk Day was declared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in September 2000 and this year schools and organizations across the globe, including Dairy Council of California, join to celebrate on Wednesday, September 28, 2022.1
Milk is an Important Part of School Meals
As a whole, minimally processed food, dairy milk brings significant value to school meals. Milk and dairy foods’ unique package of nutrients, including vitamin D, calcium and protein, help to bridge the nutrient gaps that currently exist in children’s diets.2 This contribution is important to all children, but especially those in marginalized and underserved communities who are already struggling to access healthy foods.
During the 2022-23 school year, California implemented the nation’s first statewide Universal Meals program, which ensures all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, are eligible to receive a free nutritious breakfast and lunch each school day.3 Programs like this can help achieve nutrition security by increasing students’ access to nutritious foods, like milk, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, to support optimal growth and development.
Activate Your World School Milk Day Celebration
Dairy Council of California invites you to join the global celebration on World School Milk Day! Get started with the World School Milk Day Activation Guide, which includes fun activities and resources to engage students and encourage school milk consumption. Download the activation guide to:
Advancing Nutrition Security in September and Beyond
September also marks Hunger Action Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness of hunger in the United States, and the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, set to occur on September 28th, coinciding with World School Milk Day. At the conference, the White House will announce a national strategy to end hunger, improve access to healthy foods and support physical activity. The last conference that addressed these issues was organized over 50 years ago and led to the creation and major expansion of crucial food assistance programs, like school meals.4
Collectively, these events offer an opportunity for nutrition advocates to work together to look for sustainable solutions that enable children, families and communities to access the nutritious foods they need for good health and to achieve nutrition security. Join us in our efforts to teach and inspire healthy eating habits and make healthy, wholesome foods accessible to all by engaging in the Let’s Eat Healthy Initiative. Visit HealthyEating.org/Join to learn more.
Renée is the Community Nutrition Adviser for California’s Central Valley region.
This annual date draws attention to the school foodservice programs that promote childhood nutrition by bringing dairy milk to school cafeteria.
For many children, school meals may be their best source of nutrient-dense foods due to the National School Lunch Program + School Breakfast Program.