Recent Articles About School Food

After what appeared to be a welcome truce in the multi-year battle over school meals, we may need to brace ourselves for a new round of fighting.

Here’s the background. Congress reviews and reauthorizes federal child nutrition programs every five years, and the 2010 Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) made headlines for ushering in significant changes to those programs. Among many other provisions, it set new, greatly-improved nutritional standards for school meals, created meaningful curbs on school junk food sales, and made access to school meals easier for economically distressed kids. Read more

Scale is of the utmost importance in the tech world. If your idea is good enough, the theory goes, it should be something just about everyone can use. You can charge each person pennies, but eventually those pennies add up to real dollars.

Kimbal Musk, brother of billionaire and business magnate Elon Musk, is applying that principle to the food world. With his sustainable, locally sourced restaurant chain, the Kitchen, and his nonprofit, the Kitchen Community, Musk is making inroads into both local food systems and food education which he hopes can easily be replicated throughout the country and creates a new generation of farmers in the process.

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Around the country, schools have been working to serve more nutritious meals, with less highly processed food and more fresh fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, many of those schools are also stuck with outdated kitchens—the kind best suited to opening cans and reheating frozen chicken nuggets.

But unlike the recent controversy over federal school food nutritional standards, which attracted significant media attention and a lot of highly-charged partisan debate, school kitchen equipment is often an afterthought — even though it’s just as vital. Read more

First, the bad news: Native American children face approximately twice the levels of food insecurity, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes relative to all children in the United States.

The good news is that many communities are working to shift these statistics using traditional food, agriculture, and education. As Alena Paisano, a member of the Laguna Pueblo community who works with Farm to Table New Mexico, puts it: “These lessons go back hundreds of thousands of years. This is in harmony with our creation stories.” Read more

When my kids’ Houston school district instituted a free in-class breakfast program five years ago, it did so for all the right reasons. Over 80 percent of the students were coming from economically disadvantaged homes, and the district understood that hungry children simply can’t learn effectively. And while Houston had long offered free breakfast in the cafeteria before the first school bell, a variety of obstacles—parents’ work schedules, late school buses, even feelings of shame and stigma—had kept a significant number of hungry kids away. Read more

It’s 9:30 on a Wednesday morning in a third grade classroom at Hannah Elementary School in Beverly, Massachusetts, and Leilani Mroczkowski, Education Coordinator of Green City Growers, is pretending to be a radish. She’s squatting on the ground, holding her knees, with her long black dreads hanging down toward her dirt-caked work boots. Behind Mroczkowski, her coworker Hadas Yanay is standing on her tiptoes, with her arms stretched toward the ceiling. Read more

It’s that time of year again. Kids are headed back to school and their lunch is on our minds. School food has been a hot button topic since 2010, when First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move!, her hallmark program to end childhood obesity, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated its nutrition standards for school cafeterias. For the last five years, we’ve worked hard to shine a spotlight on this complex, highly political issue. In this month’s editor note, I’ll take a look at our stories as a quick primer of what you need to know. Read more

As millions of students around the nation return to school cafeterias this month, Congress will begin to make some important decisions about what exactly those students will be eating in the years to come.

The “Child Nutrition Reauthorization” (CNR) takes place every five years and shapes federal legislation that authorizes and funds the National School Lunch Program and other key child nutrition programs. But the CNR involves more than just pro forma approval of these long-standing programs. It also gives lawmakers an opening to review—and potentially alter—child nutrition policy. Read more