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The Mid-City CAN Food Justice Momentum Team met with San Diego Unified Food Service Director Gary Petill (crouching, blue shirt and tie) and Board Member Richard Barrera (light blue shirt, hands folded) on March 24 at the Revere Center. Team member Bilal Muya (crouching, black jacket) said the meeting was important because, “We want to see halal food in the school. We want to see more protein, including fish on the menu.” Mid-City CAN photo

The Mid-City CAN Food Justice Momentum Team met with
San Diego 
Unified Food Service Director Gary Petill (crouching,
blue shirt and tie) and Board Member Richard Barrera (light
blue shirt, hands folded) on March 24 at the Revere Center.
Team member Bilal Muya (crouching, black jacket) said the
meeting was important because, "We want to see halal food
in the school. We want to see more protein, including fish on
the menu." Mid-City CAN photo

On March 24, a group of Mid-City CAN Food Justice Momentum Team members met with representatives of the San Diego Unified School District, including Food Service Director Gary Petill and Board Member Richard Barrera, at the Revere Center.


The district representatives agreed to the group’s goals of including more of the following items in school lunches:

  • fresh, organic produce from City Heights farmers
  • a pilot program starting in City Heights schools for a certified halal meat option and labeling certified halal foods. Halal is an Islamic term that designates food –often meat – and its preparation as permissible for Muslims to eat.
  • a healthy fish option

 Bilal Muya, co-chair of the Mid-City CAN Food Justice Momentum Team, describes the meeting and the group’s goals:

By Bilal Muya

The purpose of the trip was to have a face-to-face meeting with Gary Petill and Richard Barrera. This was a major meeting. We went there to exchange some thoughts, to be able to see what they have done in school, also to present what our campaign is demanding. It was really important to meet with them. It was well presented by the team, for them to see that there is really a need in the community.

We are the Food Justice Momentum Team. We are a group of residents and parents sitting down and discussing issues that are affecting our children – school lunches. We want to see halal food in the school. We want to see more protein, including fish on the menu. Our team is decorated by diversity. We have people from the Somali community, Ethiopian community, Bantu community, Vietnamese, Latinos and others from all over the place. Those are the ingredients we are carrying in our team.

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