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New York City School Food: Past and Present

New York City was among the earliest of the urban school districts to implement a consistent school lunch program in the United States. More than 50 years prior to its formal integration into city schools, New York City’s Children’s Aid Society began a school lunch program in 1853. These and other scattered volunteer and non-profit efforts were taken up nationwide by municipal school boards and integrated into the larger efforts to address the growing nutritional needs of America’s urban schoolchildren.

As a federally funded school food program evolved from its inception in the first half of the 20th century to become a permanent fixture in the educational landscape across the country, the NYC school food program became a leading influence in the country’s experiments, failures, and successes in school food service. School and city officials sorted through the wrong ingredients for school lunches and exposed the detrimental effects of decreased funding for school lunch programs. Read more

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