Alice Waters: “No Lunch Left Behind”
March 28, 2009
For sharing with the Living Small community: Alice Waters and Katrina Heron’s op-ed on school lunch in the NYT.
Waters, the czar of eating Small and local, and her pal Heron say scrap the National School Lunch Program, which has been providing food subsidies to schools since the mid-’40s, and which, they claim, doesn’t usually subsidize food. Waters and Heron want lawmakers to build the program from the ground up, almost literally — they want to see farm-to-lunchroom-table practices put in place, round and healthy meals prepared for our nation’s youth, as Ann Cooper enacted in the Berkeley (Cali.) School District.
The cost: Waters and Heron say that “it could be done for about $5 per child, or roughly $27 billion a year, plus a one-time investment in real kitchens. Yes, that sounds expensive. But a healthy school lunch program would bring long-term savings and benefits in the areas of hunger, children’s health and dietary habits, food safety (contaminated peanuts have recently found their way into school lunches), environmental preservation and energy conservation.”
Sounds reasonable from a financial standpoint, right? But from a food perspective: where to start? Sure, California’s got it fairly easy: everything grows there, year-round. But how can local, balanced meals find their way to schoolkids in, say, North Dakota in the middle of winter? Would the subsidy cover the cost of trucking fresh produce from the Plains to the Great White North? And what about the carbon cost of that kind of mass transit?
Ah, the circuitous environmental warren. Do you see a solution?
School lunch photo via Nourish the Thought.