Monday, March 15, 2010

School lunch...

Creative Every Day/Flickr Project 365 photo for 3/15/2010:

Remember...there is a theme this month...
...I'm just not "telling" you what it is...
...I'm "showing" you!

Got it yet?

Pictured...corn syrup and this month's menu for the school cafeteria.  

When I walked the school pantry to look for gluten-free options, I was amazed at the number of foods that contained high-fructose corn syrup.  
I quickly realized that gluten was the least of our troubles when it came to the cafeteria food. I was told it would be too expensive to provide real/whole foods.  

There are viable options to artificial, fructose-laden, and nutritionally-deficient foods in schools and heck, while we are at it -- providing those options 
opens up a whole new world of learning! 

Here are some resources to do just that:
Green Mountain Farm to School 
REAP Farm to School
Chef Ann Cooper
Farm To School
Connecticut Farm to School
Mud Baron
The Lunch Box
and I couldn't resist:
The Case Against Chicken Nuggets as a School Lunch

Please note: I believe in balance.  I believe in cake as much as I believe carrots.  I believe in yummy, delicious treats and that butter is a health food.  I believe labeling foods as good and bad and restricting creates a whole slew of problems that don't arise if we are relaxed about food and providing a range of items instead of lists of forbidden foods.  I believe we should be focused on fitness, not fatness.  I get cranky when, in the interest of health, a school tells me that I can't send in a home made cupcake to celebrate a milestone, but they serve tater tots, chicken patties, and French toast sticks and call it a nutritious lunch.  

(I also think less (as in NO) homework would allow my young, 
elementary aged kids to go outside and play much more than they are currently able!)

~ I implement this all imperfectly 

and I am learning all the time ~

I'm just saying: 
I do think it would be vastly wonderful if we were providing REAL food in our schools -- sometimes in the form of a vegetable, sometimes a cookie.   

And, great if the ingredients came from a local farm.  

And, even better if students had a hand in growing and preparing that food within a whole learning context.  There is a tremendous curricular opportunity in farm to school and school garden programs for kids to get out of their seats 
and get connected to their world.

"Rural is beautiful" is right there on our town's website.  
With a photo of a cow.  
And a farm.  
Seems pretty natural that we would have a farm to school lunch program.  
Let's garden, let's farm!  

A farm to school program would not only energize and nourish growing bodies, farms, and our community it would honor our children (and families and teachers) by energizing and nourishing the whole "educational ecosystem" with some real-life, hands-on, project-based, creative and enduring learning.

Maybe I should have photographed a soap box for today?