A recent article in the Times Herald looks into the possibility of our schools buying food from local farmers. From the article:
“We’d love to do fresh, but it all comes down to the bottom line,” said Washingtonville Schools Food Director Robert Gellman.
That’s enlightened thinking. Yes, forget about the health of the children. And as the article points out, all that “cheap” industrially produced food (often the cafeteria suppliers buy up government surplus) is heavily subsidized. We recently ran an op-ed piece in our other mag, Hudson Valley Life, about the true cost of food.
Here’s another food director quoted on the subject:
The Newburgh School District receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for three of its schools, said Andrew Calvano, the district’s food services director, who adds that the jury is still out on whether it has made any difference.
“We can give kids all the fresh fruits and vegetables they want, but getting them to eat it is up to them,” he said.
No, Mr. Calvano. It’s not about “getting them to eat it.” It’s about teaching them what good food is, by example and in science and health classes. It’s about integrating that with discussions of the local economy, of their neighbors who farm for a living. It’s about taking a plot of unused grass on school grounds and growing a vegetable garden as part of an ecology class. Science, nutrition, health, economics, home economics, community, ecology, math, literature–it’s all right there. And all these food directors can talk about is the bottom line and making kids eat their vegetables! What imaginations.
Hudson Valley Parent will take an in-depth look at healthy school lunches in later this summer.