Top | Sift

The school-lunch activists

(article, Culinate staff)

In January 2010, one anonymous elementary-school teacher decided to eat public-school lunch with her students every day for a year. She kept a blog, Fed Up With Lunch, about the experience. As USA Today noted:

bq. She secretly photographed the meals, ate them and then described the taste and texture of heavily processed chicken nuggets, an unusual peanut butter and jelly sandwich that made her sick, mystery meats and reheated vegetables. She developed a following of thousands of people.

Now, of course, the blog has become a book calling for change, and the teacher has revealed herself to be Sarah Wu, a speech pathologist in Chicago's public schools:

bq. "With the blog, I really wanted a public record of these meals that I couldn't believe were being served to kids," she says. "I thought the book would reach a wider audience."

One nationwide effort at reforming school lunch got underway this fall. FoodCorps — a domestic, food-focused branch of AmeriCorps founded in part by "King Corn" filmmaker Curt Ellis — assigned 50 "agtivists" to school districts around the country. 

The program, Grist reported, "places young leaders in limited-resource communities for a year to deliver nutrition education, build and tend school gardens, and work on bringing local food into public school cafeterias."

As Jane Black noted on the Washington Post website, getting kids not only to try fresh whole foods but to like them can be an uphill struggle. But having advocates in the schools every day might, in the long run, make a difference.