Can't let School Lunch Week pass without noting a couple of very relevant trend stories from this week's Daily News. What kids eat, or don't eat, in school lunches is a topic that's gotten hotter than ever, and it's closely tied in with the Earth to Philly beat - or is that "beet?"
It's pretty universally accepted that school lunches need to be reformed, though exactly how is where the debate lies. Even the most basic propositions are up for grabs: Most people agree that boosting the presence of fresh fruits and vegetables and dialing down on the saturated-fat-heavy meat and dairy is a good idea, but unsurprisingly, the meat and dairy people beg to differ.
Various approaches to the problem from different quarters have yielded some creative solutions. A Philly-based team of producers has created a star-studded music & spoken-word CD, Healthy Food For Thought (disclosure: I contributed a poem that is read by Sara Hickman on one track), with all proceeds going to the New York Coalition For Healthy School Food, an organization that works diligently to help schools serve better, more healthful snacks and lunches. The NY team looks to fund efforts toward local and organic lunches, farm-to-school programs, school gardens and comprehensive nutrition policies. I would suggest this might be worth pursuing here in Philly, but doubtlessly someone somewhere will object to even these common-sense initiatives.
What everyone can agree is that all the food should be as fresh as possible, in sanitary conditions. As it turns out, most school cafeterias in Philly wind up not meeting that standard: