The guidelines suggest a darker side to cuddly figures like Cap’n Crunch, the Keebler elves. Could they go the same way as Joe Camel, the cartoon figure used to promote Camel cigarettes that was phased out amid allegations that it was meant to entice children to smoke?
The city just awarded grants to 29 public schools to establish or expand school gardens, adding to the 300-ish gardens currently in operation. The goal, according to director of garden-boosting nonprofit GrowNYC, is "to have a garden or access to a garden in every public school in the city." They've got a ways to go -- there are 1,600 schools -- but NYC mayor Bloomberg says he's committed to the initiative.
Following Congress' recent re-authorization of the nation's child nutrition law, the USDA announced a new rule encouraging schools to source more of their produce from local farms.
That could help local farm economies and get more fresh foods on kids plates. Now, schools just need to learn how to cook that fresh produce so that kids will actually eat it. Or maybe we need to work more with kids, who normally aren't so wild about vegetables.
Unfortunately, many schools facing budget cuts are moving in the opposite direction. Instead of learning how to cook food from scratch, they're outsourcing their cafeteria operations to big food service companies that specialize in feeding kids processed convenience foods.
A bill has been introduced in the Michigan state legislature that would require all public schools there to privatize basic services like school meals, custodial work and bus fleets.
A case study in how this happens is playing out in the Dallastown School District near York, Pa., where the school board recently voted 5-2 in favor of contracting with food-service provider Chartwells. Officials say the deal will save the schools nearly $1 million over the next five years.
"It's really a no-brainer," said Supt. Stewart Weinberg. "We as a school district need to look at reducing costs."
With states across the nation slashing funding for education, could this be the future of school food? But we thought it was supposed to be getting better....