18 Comments

  1. I agree with Jenn that it’s not at all surprising, and quite appalling. I also think I need to push for the charter school my kids will be going to next year to start gardens. It will be the school’s first year and I know they’re still getting ideas.

  2. I think that is really crazy that they don’t let the children eat fresh home grown produce, yet it is perfectly acceptable for then to eat crap like a lunchable that has about as much nutritional value as an old shoe.

  3. When I read the bit on pesticides I thought, “Oh, cool, so that must mean the school only serves organic produce.” But then I read further and it made no sense whatsoever. It isn’t surprising though, which is the saddest part. I’m not positive but I want to say that we grew food we were allowed to eat at some point during my grade school education.

    I am not a fan of homeschooling in theory but shit like this makes me reconsider.

  4. I applaud you, Amy, for taking on this issue, and being critical of school lunch policies. It does seem absurd that students can’t eat the produce they’ve grown.

    I would like to encourage you, though, to de-couple the issue of children’s body size from their nutrition. Research shows that the two are not necessarily connected in a straightforward way – or at least not in a way that can be changed just by eating more vegetables. I believe in good nutrition for EVERYONE, fat and thin, and I think we’re much more likely to succeed in achieving better nutrition if we don’t alienate fat kids. (I use “fat” in the descriptive, not pejorative, sense, as is the practice in the size acceptance community.)

    You might want to take a look at the material recently released by NAAFA on the bullying of and discrimination against fat kids:

    http://issuu.com/naafa/docs/naafa_childadvocacy2011combined_v04?viewMode=magazine&mode=embed

    And, as a general proclamation, nothing beats the inimitable Kate Harding’s writing: http://kateharding.net/2008/07/08/on-problems-to-be-solved/

    I hope this material is useful to you. Thanks for your blog – it inspires me all the time.

  5. That’s a real head-scratcher, isn’t it? One of the problems with education is that few people, especially school administrators, are unwilling to rock the boat for any reason, even with perfectly good educational (and sustainable!) ideas are hiding in plain sight.

  6. I just stumbled across your blog and find it really inspirational! I’m socially progressive and a bit ‘crunchy’ as well, mixed in with a touch of the old-fashioned :)

    I think school gardens are not only a great educational tool but also potentially very empowering for kids. In a world where food democracy is under increasing thread, I don’t think the effect of growing your own food on your consciousness is to be underestimated.

    All the best,
    This Good Life

  7. This is just appalling. Standards are there for a reason, sure, but people need to be able to exercise good judgment, too. Chicago in particular suffers from so many disparities in access to healthy food, especially produce, and it’s a shame that a sustainable solution isn’t more readily embraced and celebrated! I’m so glad you’re tackling this issue, and I hope the visibility serves as a corrective, too.

  8. I read (and loved) Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” several years ago, and got online immediately afterward just to see what kinds of solutions progressive schools were finding in order to get local produce (including produce grown on school grounds) into lunchrooms. Government regulations (and USDA economics… so yes, as you quoted, “Politics and money”) frequently make it nearly impossible. This story is a discouraging addition to that mix, but it’s nice to see some schools cited that are, in fact, including their students’ grown produce in the cafeteria’s salad bar (etc). It can be done.

    I do see a promising potential solution with regard to the Chicago schools’ protocol. The fact that the food must be sent home with students or given away provides a workable loophole, at least, into cultivating a connection to healthful, homegrown food in the students who’ve participated in the garden project; sending the food home with the students will mean that they’ll bring the conversation (and some desire to cook/prepare their goods) home… thereby extending the benefits of this element of their education into their family lives. In a country where few families eat together, and pre-packaged foods are the dinner time norm, this would at least provide an example of an alternative way to eat (and, ultimately, live) that those students’ parents might not otherwise consider.

    Btw, since we’re talking (local, healthy) food, check out the recipes on my site: http://www.alt-mama.com/1/category/recipes/1.html

    Thanks for the great article!

    Taylor Alt-Mama

  9. What a waste. All the eating habits they could be changing if they allowed the garden’s bounty to be tasted and enjoyed by the students.

  10. That’s a lousy excuse for wasting a lot of fresh and healthy food, why even bother the kid grew a garden they can’t have for lunch. They have to consider this greatly, even though they can bring the veggies at home it would be nice to see this vegetables in the lunchroom as they will learn to enjoy eating the veggies they grew.

  11. We had a garden project in high school where we went into the urban neighborhoods and planted garden beds for the community.

    those skills and values have helped me with my ultrasound supplies business. It’s always good to do something and give back. Additionally, when you plant something, you know exactly what you are eating, so it’s promoting healthy eating.

  12. Its crazy that they won’t allow it…of course it wasn’t grown in a lab!! I just read about a CPS speech path that created a blog of her year long experience on the school lunch! YUCK!!!





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