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State of the Union on School Lunch: Nutrition as National Defense and Fiscal Health

Don’t make us tighten our belts on child nutrition programs while the girth of the nation grows. The government spends $1 million per soldier in Afghanistan, yet barely spends $1 on the food in a school lunch.

When President Obama addresses the nation in his State of the Union, he will outline his priorities for 2010: jobs, the deficit, and health care reform. The President will then call for a three-year freeze on domestic programs. Will a program created to “promote the health and well-being of the nation’s children” survive the freeze? Read more

Feed Your Children Well

The Child Nutrition Act is up for reauthorization by September 30. This is a federal government policy that sets the rules and standards and uses tax dollars to—among other things—provide a daily reimbursement for school lunches. Right now this amounts to $2.57 for a free lunch, including labor and ingredients. It is nowhere close to what most school districts need to put healthy foods on our cafeteria tables and reward all the people who make that possible. Congress will soon consider adding one dollar per meal to the reimbursement, and this still might not be enough. Read more

Why a Twenty-Something Should Care About School Lunch

For many twenty-somethings like myself, issues like school lunch can be murky and distant. I’m not eating school lunch; nor do I have children who are eating school lunch (nor will I in the foreseeable future). When I think of school lunch, I mostly envision a Wonder Years-style cafeteria line, complete with mystery meat (or is it called Salisbury steak?) and a scoop of mashed potatoes. Not so bad, not so good, but unchanging and unchangeable. Right? Wrong. Read more

Wisconsin Fourth-Graders Boycott School Lunch

Patricia Mulvey reported on the blog F is for French Fry that a group of fourth-grade students at Nuestro Mundo Elementary School in Madison, WI had planned to protest the unhealthy food served in their cafeteria by staying behind in class during recess and enjoying a home-cooked meal. Their “Real Food Picnic” – you might call it an Eat-In – was cancelled, however, when the school district’s assistant superintendent alerted parents and school administrators and asked them to discourage the event, citing concerns about food allergies, lack of supervision and the presence of news media. Read more