What We’re Following: School Lunches, Part 2

An ever-present topic for discourse, school lunches are back in our radar with recent federal and state legislation concerning the nature of food that can be served in the school, by official means through the cafeteria, as well as through unofficial means such as teachers handing out snacks as rewards and student organizations raising money with the traditional bake sale and other food-based initiatives. At issue are the rights of parents to decided, and effectively control, what their children eat throughout the day, the ability of school officials and teachers to maintain a constructive educational environment, and of course, the means by which student groups will be able to raise funds for special activities. Some of this legislation has been in the public eye, at least locally, for years, but only now, as the moment of full implementation approaches, does it present the real-life implications of its strictures. Here is an overview of the past month’s dialog over the new rules.

Hands on High School Lunches

Unique High School Food: A look at the most creative combinations of food and high school education — Nina Fomufod, The Daily Meal

Unique High School Food SLIDESHOWThe Daily Meal
This pair of links highlights the innovations going on at high schools nationwide as they make greater strides in connecting students with the source of their food.  Students farm, cook, and study their food in various degrees.  Check it out if you want some good news from the school lunch front!

If You Don’t Sell It, Fewer Will Eat It: The Effectiveness of California’s Curbs on In-School Junk Food — Bettina Elias Seigel, The Lunch Tray
Does not allowing schools to sell junk food mean students will compensate for lost calories at home, or will they just eat less junk food?  This is the question at the heart of Seigel’s post, where she takes into account the findings of a recent study on the topic. 

New State Nutrition Law Bans Bake Sales During School Hours — Janet Hefler, The Martha’s Vineyard Times
 New Massachusetts bill strikes hard and fast at ‘unhealthy’ food in schools, at least during school hours.  Concerns arise, however, when it comes to celebratory events, and treats sent from home, not to mention the widely popular fundraising effort known as the ‘bake sale’.

Educational Accoutrements

School Kitchen or Janitor’s Closet? You Decide — Bettina Elias Seigel, The Lunch Tray
Here we have Seigel’s blog a second time, where she highlights the cramped and ineffective conditions available to many schools for school lunch preparation.  The question is dutifully asked: is this really enough room to make healthy meals for a whole school?

A Tiny Fish Called Tilapia is Bringing Big Rewards to School — Phyllis Coulter, myJournalCourier: Jacksonville, IL
A look at a rural Illinois high school that takes pride in its “Grow Your Own” initiative, as they raise tilapia and several vegetables for its own cafeteria, despite continual budgeting issues. They hope to one day grow enough to sustain not only their own menu, but also others in the neighborhood through donation!

Basic Food Education

Why Burgers Look Amazing in Ads — Jessica Chou, The Daily Meal
A quick slice of insight into what it takes to produce images worthy of fast-food ads. 

An Update on Pink Slime

BPI to Close 3 Plants, Blaming Pink Slime Uproar — Grant Schulte, Detroit Free Press
Fallout continues from the Pink Slime outrage of earlier this year, as we see the damage done to former food giant Beef Products Inc over the controversy, and a glimpse at how that affects the community as a whole.  Wherever you stand on this issue, this is sure to be an interesting read.

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