Friday, January 28, 2011

Fearless Food Policy

Fearless Food Policy
How do we change the ways that our schools prepare and acquire the food that is served to our children?
Those of us who are of a certain age can remember walking home (or to Grandma's) for lunch until the "new" school was built with a cafeteria. And in the kitchen of the cafeteria, the women who worked there arrived early in the morning and actually prepared real food to serve at lunch time. Granted, there were the loaves of white bread, and the fruit cocktail and the overcooked canned vegetables. But the cooks also took pride in their own "recipes" that were popular with the kids.
By the time my kids were in school, almost everything served in the cafeteria came from a box or the freezer. I've always wondered exactly what is a wiener wing? And that trend continues in the school cafeteria today.
A malfunction of the refrigerator at the school where Arthur teaches yielded boxes and boxes of frozen "fresh" vegetables and fruits and he rescued it from the dumpster to add to our compost pile. I was shocked to discover that the highly processed "baby" carrots and the "fresh" apple slices in their little plastic pouches had made the journey across the country from California's Central Valley to a little school in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
As part of our planning for our transition to organic, we've investigated marketing of our produce. Wouldn't it make perfect sense for our students to have access to carrots and apples from their own communities?
One knowledgeable member of our Transition Team discouraged us, citing the governmental rules that, in effect, make it nearly impossible to meet the "standards" of policy.
So how do we change that?

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