If you read this blog at all regularly, you know that I am very interested in almost everything to do with food. I spend a lot of time thinking about where my food comes from and how to prepare meals that are healthy, tasty and appetizing.
I am lucky to live with someone who shares my love of good food and of cooking and to have other family members who feel the same way. My sister-in-law is even a personal chef with two food-related blogs of her own (here and here).
Though I am certainly not a chef, my love of cooking and my concerns about food consumption and production intersect with my professional life, particularly when it comes to thinking about how to help children and young adults learn to eat well and to know more about where their food comes from. I am also interested in how to more closely link schools with local food sources.
My interest in these issues hasn’t gone unnoticed; today a good friend sent me this link to Ann Cooper’s Renegade Lunch Lady website and that inspired this post.
In my own efforts to address these issues, I’ve been inspired by Alice Waters’s exceptional Edible Schoolyard Project to work with teachers to explore the feasibility of planting school gardens and to develop lesson plans that connect food and nutrition with the content taught in social studies, health and biology classes;
I’ve participated in school-university partnerships working to develop programs that make it easier for schools to buy food directly from local farmers;
and I’ve served on the advisory board for a School-based Health Center that addressed concerns about the kinds of snacks and drinks available for purchase in school vending machines.
There are many challenges to this kind of work: changing kids’ attitudes towards food, making it possible for schools to utilize local food sources instead of relying solely on federal subsidies, enlisting the help of school lunch personnel and finding ways to involve parents and community members in these efforts are just a few.
Given what’s at stake they seem like challenges worth overcoming.