Video: Michael Pollan, “School Lunch”

By WorldLink Staff | October 10, 2011 | 1 Comment

This week is National School Lunch Week, a time to celebrate school lunch programs, raise awareness, and take action to create a healthier food culture for the next generation. Throughout October we’re featuring voices from the movement for better school food, such as parents, food service workers, and food activists.

In this new video from Nourish Short Films, food journalist Michael Pollan advocates for a better menu for America’s children.

Better School Food

Schools play a key role in providing wholesome meals for kids and promoting food literacy. Parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers can work together to ensure healthy school food for our children. Here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Eat with your kids. National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day is this Wednesday, October 12. Visit your school’s cafeteria to better understand your child’s mealtime experience. See if you can volunteer in your school’s kitchen to support food service staff and get a behind-the-scenes view of the food prep.
  • Have conversations. Talks with students, cafeteria workers, and administrators. Find out what challenges your school faces, from kitchen equipment and staff training to sufficient lunch periods for students. The Lunch Box provides resources and tools to engage stakeholders at your school.
  • Activate students. If you’re an educator, work with students to create a questionnaire to evaluate the school lunch program and open a dialogue with administrators. See the School Lunch Survey in the Nourish Middle School Curriculum Guide for activities and ideas.
  • Advocate for healthy options. If you’re a parent or teacher, campaign to remove vending machines, processed snacks, fast food, and flavored milk, and make healthy options, like salad bars, available. See Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution for tool kits and ideas.
  • Take action. Last December President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, reauthorizing and raising the bar on the Child Nutrition Act. But the fight for healthy school food doesn’t end there. Write your elected officials to protect and expand healthy school lunch programs.

For examples of positive change, Marion Kalb discusses Farm to School programs and Chef Ann Cooper describes Healthy School Food. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more perspectives.

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  1. Carrie Beegle — 10.21.11

    I am a food service director at a small local school. We do a lot in our kitchens to make sure that the students are receiving healthy, nutritious and great tasting lunches. We purchase organic bibb lettuce from a local vendor that is run by physically and mentally challenged individuals. We go to the local farmers market and purchase farm fresh produce that we utilize in our meals. We menu items like fresh spinach salads, endive, swiss chard and sugar snap peas (which the students do not touch). We use farm fresh brown, cage free eggs from a local organic farm. We purchase apples, peaches and pears from a local orchard. We make all of our main line entrees from scratch. We recieved a Fuel Up To Play 60 grant for all of our schools (which no other school in ohio achieved) and purchased work out videos that students can sign out so they can utilize them at home instead of sitting in front of the television or computer. We will be rolling out a "Tot Chef" cooking school in which parents can come and get free cooking lessons with their child. We do all of this and more and yet with all the bad publicity schools have received lately, we are still looked upon unfavorably. I tried serving whole chicken to our elementary and the students wouldn't take it because it wasn't in a "nugget" form. We do our best to educate our students, but the education starts at home when the parents take their children through the drive through. We need to partner with our communities and all take responsibility. The cafeterias shouldn't be the scapegoats. Many of us work very hard to ensure the health and well being of the students we care for. Please do not put us all in the same "boat".

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