Top | Sift

The school-lunch system

(article, Culinate staff)

Confused about school-lunch subsidies? A recent New York Times op-ed laid it all out, detailing just how agribusiness turns cheap, healthy, whole foods into expensive, processed junk that's then fed to schoolkids, all paid for by tax dollars:

bq. The Agriculture Department doesn’t track spending to process the food, but school authorities do. The Michigan Department of Education, for example, gets free raw chicken worth $11.40 a case and sends it for processing into nuggets at $33.45 a case. The schools in San Bernardino, Calif., spend $14.75 to make French fries out of $5.95 worth of potatoes. 

Reporter Lucy Komisar added that school districts hand off their foodstuffs to private corporations on the theory that it's cheaper than employing unionized kitchen workers and running full kitchens. But the schools actually save very little money, while private corporations rake in profits — a situation that the Ag Department, and some states, are tackling legislatively, trying to recoup those lost tax dollars. 

And, of course, the kids are eating food that's not really food at all.