Get your kids' school to serve local, organic milk.


Milk is a vital part of young children's diets, but childhood is a sensitive growth period for the brain and for the reproductive and immune systems. "Conventional milk comes with a high toxic load," says Gina Solomon, a scientist with NRDC's health program. This can put kids at a higher risk for cancer, thyroid and reproductive troubles, and reduced IQ scores.

What milk, then, should your kids drink? As reported here, it is important to serve organic milk to kids and pregnant mothers, and the very best milk choice for everyone is low-fat, organic and local. Switching to organic milk at home is simple, since you make the purchasing decisions. Getting your children's school or day care to switch over shouldn't be too much harder, but it may take a bit of time, and you should be prepared. Ask for a meeting with the director and/or the head of the cafeteria to discuss what kind of milk is served. Come ready with facts about the health and environmental benefits of organic.

If school officials would like to know more, offer to help research distributors of dairy products from local and organic farmers. They might be interested to know of the USDA's Farm to School Program, which connects schools (K–12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias; improving student nutrition; providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities; and supporting local and regional farmers. Who knows? Once they are comfortable with the idea of serving organic milk, they may be interested in adding other organic products.