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Improving School Lunch

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
In 1946, when President Truman signed the School Lunch Act, he said, “In the long view, no nation is healthier than its children, or more prosperous than its farmers.” If that was a statement of purpose rather than merely a rhetorical flourish, then the School Lunch Act has failed.

Today in America we have steadily rising rates of childhood obesity, and if you were born after 2000, you have a startling one-in-three chance of developing early-onset diabetes. Meanwhile America now has more prisoners than farmers, and among those few remaining farmers the average age is 57.1 and rising. The equation becomes quite simple to understand: No farmers equals no food.

In an effort to raise awareness and rally support behind changes to the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, Slow Food USA has created the Time for Lunch campaign. This campaign is calling on Congress to provide the resources schools need to serve real food for lunch. Those involved in making the day-to-day dietary decisions for our children do not have the adequate resources to provide healthy, nutritious, and yes, tasty food for our kids. This must change. It’s time to invest in children’s health, protect against food that puts children at risk and teach children healthy habits that will last through life.

All the talk in Washington right now is on health care reform, and that’s a good thing. But no matter what solutions they craft to meet America’s health care needs, their system will be bankrupted by skyrocketing rates of preventable illnesses that began when we started using our schools as a dumping ground for agribusiness surplus and as a proving ground for corporate marketing to our children. With the red herring of providing the “freedom to choose,” the conglomerates who peddle edible food-like substances have weaseled their way into what is, for many children, the most important (indeed sometimes only) meal of the day: lunch. They tell us the kids should be allowed to choose between a salad and a Twinkie, milk and Coke. And schools fall for this because their resources are constantly being cut, and the junk food pushers offer a cheap and easy way out.

Under the National School Lunch Program, the USDA reimburses schools for every meal served: $2.57 for a free lunch, $2.17 for a reduced-price lunch and 24 cents for a paid lunch. Since these reimbursements must also pay for labor, equipment and overhead costs, schools are left with only $1.00 to spend on food. How can schools be expected to feed our children and protect their health with only a dollar a day? It’s time to build a strong foundation for our children’s health by raising the reimbursement rate to $3.57.

That amounts to an increase of $5.4 billion over an academic year. Serious money to be sure, but when obesity-related healthcare costs are $147 billion annually, it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with an extra buck a day for our children.

Senator Harkin and Congresswoman Woolsey are to be commended for their efforts in this area. Their Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009 will put a stop to food companies profiting from selling obesity to our kids. We need more though. We must fund grants for Farm to School programs and school gardens, simultaneously improving local economies, supporting local farms, and raising our children’s awareness of where food comes from and why it’s important.

We can even create jobs by training unemployed and underemployed Americans to be the teachers, farmers, cooks and administrators that our school cafeterias need. President Obama has called for an end to childhood hunger by 2015; let’s answer that call by putting Americans to work building and working in school kitchens nationwide.

This Labor Day you can help by joining or organizing an Eat-In, a National Day of Action being coordinated in communities all over the US. Details are at Time For Lunch : Home : Slow Food USA.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
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post #2 of 11
A dollar per person per healthy balanced meal is quite doable in just food costs. We've had these discussions before driven by food stamps numbers.
post #3 of 11
IMO schools meals are on the way out. No-one wants to take resposibility.

In 1987 Our system in the UK said make all school cooks qualified chefs and sent them on day release to college for 4 years. I was loving it. By 1991 they decided that kids could manage on pre-formed dinoburgers and scrapped the education of their cooks.

At the time i was cook-in-charge of a large secondary school training kitchen. I immediatley enrolled for a 1year full time time course and handed in my notice.

The school system doesnt give ^% for the health of your kids. They are a business. like any other. And again, IMO the sooner you get your kids away from them the better
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #4 of 11
OK, Bughut.
BUT, some parents will NEVER make the effort to send their kids with nutritious lunches.... what about them? Or the free school dinner kids?

Thank god for Jamie Oliver. Even if his efforts seem to have been in vain... SOME of his ideas will rub off, I hope!
post #5 of 11
You know, its funny that you say this. We let our daughter have hot school lunch as a special treat! Its all just junk food so she begs for it. Normally she goes with a lunch we pack her that's balanced and still easy to prepare.

A sandwich made with whole wheat bread, herb yogurt cheese spread, and some grilled chicken... Yum and she even likes it to boot!
post #6 of 11
There was a time, Ishbel, when the school meals system was fullfilling a need and providing children with nutritional lunches. They may have been stodgy and often overcooked, but in general, they were served fresh and gave them something the parents often couldnt provide. I remember hearing, back i the day, "at least they get a proper meal at school"

The following rant is re. uk school meals. Both experience and heresay

I know from bitter experience, that many primary schools dont now have kitchens and they get lunches sent in. Our place used to send them. Even fried food went into hot boxes.

I decided to go with the delivery guys one day, just to see what happened at the other end... For a start, the ancient aluminiun hot boxes were not heated first. and were not doing their job properly... The food was set out at service looking absolutely awful.
Portion control went out the window. As staff, lollypop ladies, caretakers cleaners were given lunch before the kids. ( they were not catered for) So, a 28ptn tray now fed only about 20. But it was squeezed to feed 28...Often the kids at the end of the queue got less than a full meal. It was atrocious. I put in a report, and nothing happened.

Free meals or paid for children, need and deserve a good lunch. But the reality is that the primary schools dont deliver. High schools are losing the battle rapidly, as the kids prefer eating out. They get better value for money at the bakeries and fast food outlets, as they all compete for their custom.

BTW. There are many families who NEVER eat nutritionally. they dont expect anything from the shool meals system and quite honestly IMO thats exactly what they get.

I say good for you Jamie you had a go. Theres still hope.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #7 of 11
Around half of all children take their lunch to school – that’s 5.5 billion packed lunches every year. Unfortunately, many of them are unhealthy and malnurish.
Meanwhile, young children shouldn’t eat too many fibre-rich foods, either, as these may fill them up so much they can’t eat enough to provide them with adequate calories and nutrients . Some of us let our children eat junk food at school because we wouldn't able to give them

nutritious meals when they went school.

post #8 of 11
It's fine to say "pack your kid's lunch" if you don't like the school lunches.  But more often than not they are just packed with pre-packages, fatty, sugary, salthy things.  Easy for soemone to just chuck it all in there and say "Here's your lunch", and feel worthy.

What bollocks.  Parents need to care.  If a child were a car, many would never get a licence to drive
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #9 of 11
When i was a kid in the US (50s and 60s), our state (massachusetts) required certain standards for menus - some were ridiculous, of course, like "chinese pie" a layer of hamburger, a layer of corn and a layer of mashed potatoes - but in the end there was always some sort of protein, some sort of vegetable and often fruit.  It was illegal to serve any drink except milk.  Look at the schools now.  They sell candies and cheeze curls and crap, they are sponsored, i say sponsored! - by coke and pepsi, they make no attempt whatsoever to make a balanced meal. 
A friend of mine said her daughter sent her own daughter to school with a peanut butter and banana sandwich and the other kids made fun of her for eating "health food"!  When i was a kid, peanut butter and banana was fun food. They took cheeze curls for lunch!
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 11
1st, a child's education is the parents responsibility not BIG G!  The responsible parent is concerned if a child is learning or not, and will either help their child learn or find sources to help their child learn.  Are there parents who are not capable of this sure, but there would be a lot less parents incapable of raising their child if they had learned while they were in school life and its rewards start with personal responsibility, not by depending on the government.

As for school lunches.  It is another form of wealth redistribution, again caring parents don't need to be told how or what to pack in their child's lunch box.  I can still rem. my lunch box (it was a Robin Hood metal box with thermos), mom put bologna, chicken, tuna, peanut butter, ham, turkey sandwiches, with a fruit and a veggie, everyday.  My mom didn't graduate from high school, her mother died when she was 5, and was raised by a dad with 3 sons and daughter.  In other words no one taught her how to raise her kids, she loved us and wanted to do what the best was for us.

If School Lunches were such a necessity why don't private schools have the same problems?  We lived in So.Calif. when our 3 kids were born. My wife substitute taught and after one year of teaching in every elementary school in the school district we lived in. She came home after one year and said there is NO WAY I am putting our kids in any of those schools. So we ate the bullet and put them in private school. We could barely afford to pay the monthly tuition, but our kids still had a good lunch every day. Yeah there was maybe a week were all they got every day was a PBJ + fruit because money was tight. Did that hurt them, ONe graduated from UCLA with honors, our daughter just graduated last year from Sacramento State with honors and is getting her special ED teaching crediential, and the 3rd is finishing his 2 yr and working radiology career path.

Government waste and bureaucracy is killing our kids and turning out 3rd class citizens who rank 31st internationally in education. 25% are dropping out of school and not graduating. Obesity is NOT the problem, and neither is school lunches! It's not about feeding their belly, its about feeding their minds. Public schools are failing at both tasks. It isn't greedy companies selling bad food, the door was opened by greedy corrupt bureaucrats who hold the key to lunch supplier contracts getting sweetheart deals that lined bureaucrats pockets, otherwise if those bureaucrats were health conscience how could lousy food get into the cafeteria? Sure budget constraints have whittled the lunch money, and the quality of junk kids are fed, that money is needed in the class room, parents will have to adjust and send lunches with their kid. Parent who can't afford lunches, then give them store credits they can use where they buy their groceries. (What kind of credits? The Gov. can cut their cost to 1/3, a needy parent buys their groceries from a primary grocery store that store will give 1/3 the price off approved for school lunch products, the mfg will give 1/3 off, and the gov pays the other 3rd, and issues tax credits to both the grocery store and mfg. So if 2/3 kids now getting school lunches provide (from parents their own lunch) and the remaining 1/3 whose parents can't afford go on the 3rd program, the cost for school lunches will have been cut to about 21% of the original cost. Lame you say? Won't work? Is the BS we now have working?

Drop all school lunches, pass a law that each kid has to arrive at school with a min. standard lunch. Put the burden back on the parents where it naturally is anyway. 

Q.  Can you guess for private schools k-12 what is the occupation group with the highest percentage of kids enrolled....????
[b]↓

answer





answer




answer




answer




↓[/b] Teachers / Educators
You are being conned... to support a system that even the teachers won't put their own kids into.
post #11 of 11
Here is Jamie Oliver's speech about the American school lunch system when he was awarded the TED award.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIwrV5e6fMY

I've taught in Harlem for several years.  I can tell you without a doubt that neither I nor any other teacher has ever gone near the lunches in the school cafeteria.  The food is disgusting.  And I am amazed how the lunch programs are able to find the tiniest raggediest little apples and oranges they so-call fruit.  Most parents in low-income neighborhoods like the one in which I teach depend on schools to feed their children breakfast, lunch, and after school snacks for free.  It's frightening to think that so many meals of these childrens' day is so unappealing to eat.  I would never.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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