USDA, How About More Farm to Table in School Lunches?
Marketplace.org featured a great article on this very topic in late fall of 2014; which is a far cry from what many children are served during lunch at school.
Of course, the idea is great, but how would it be paid for? It’s obviously far more economical to serve highly refined, mass produced food versus farm to table and according to the article, California public schools serve 560 million lunches a year, so it’s no small number.
Plus, it’s not as easy as just deciding to change the menu in any particular school as school lunch is bound by federal requirements and a strict budget.
So what’s the answer?
According to Alexandra Emmott, Oakland, California’s Unified School District’s farm-to-school supervisor stated in the article, “Sometimes the district balances the extra cost over the course of the lunch calendar, or hits the price point by replacing a second piece of chicken with, say, red beans and rice. It involves some creativity, but this type of thinking is starting to catch on.”
A perfect example is illustrated by what Chef Jamie Oliver is doing with his Food Foundation, whose mission is “to replace processed junk food with freshly cooked meals in schools all over America. They’ll be made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients and cooked from scratch by properly trained cooks in well-equipped kitchens.”
We’ve got to all do our part to make a positive impact wherever and however we can. Jamie even offers a ‘toolkit’ on his site which helps outline the steps to get involved, including:
Get the facts. See for yourself what’s being served on the breakfast and lunch trays and in the snack lines. Find out what’s working and what’s not.
Find support. If you think things need to be improved, find other parents in your school who feel the same way and work together.
Start your campaign. Get informed and make a plan, make friends with your school
nutrition director and ask for their help and support, go to PTA meetings, get the kids involved, send emails, make noise, track change and share your progress. Take every opportunity to keep discussions about school food on everyone’s agenda.
Let your school, and the USDA know that it’s not a matter of sitting back and expecting them to snap their fingers and make a change; rather, if we approach it collectively and move forward with a plan of attack together, that’s where the real progress lies.
After all, you can catch more flies with honey, and honey is Paleo…sort of…