Sunday, January 19


The idea that children in public schools should be fed something that's good for them instead of whatever's lying around the warehouse (i.e. tons of surplus meat and dairy commodities) is finally pervading the mainstream, as pundits in various districts take up the cry. The New York Times finally got on board on Monday, with an overview of the latest trends, pointing out the fights over vending machines, the imperative to get kids to eat more plant-based, and less animal-based, foods and some groundbreaking efforts to connect school cafeterias to small farmers. But like most such reports, this one merely scratches the surface, throwing up a bunch of possibilities then throwing up the hands: Who knows what the answer is? Meanwhile, researchers in the latest Preventive Medicine magazine confirm that it's not our imagination - U.S. schools are failing in nutrtition. For example, the average school lunch contains as much saturated fat as is recommended for a whole day's worth of eating. And the poorer the school district, the more fat in the food. But again, this only describes the symptoms of the problem. Mother Jones, typically, gets more directly to the root: "School lunches are loaded with fat -- and the beef and dairy industries are making sure it stays that way." The article, only a portion of which is online, explains how the problem is at the core of the mission of the National School Lunch Program, which in addition to feeding schoolkids "is designed to subsidize agribusiness, shoring up demand for beef and milk even as the public's taste for these foods declines." Yes, your taste for it may decline, but yet again, the amount you pay to perpetuate this dying institution remains as high as ever.
UPDATE 1/17: Britain urged to follow Italy's example and serve high quality organic food to school kids. Maybe we could do some urging here...

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