Thinking outside of the lunchbox
We’ve all heard the frightening statistics on the current state of public school lunches. Produced en mass, most school lunch programs use food that is processed, genetically modified, and contains high-starch ingredients. Rarely are organic options available.
However, with child obesity on the rise and pressure to make our school lunch programs healthier, organic school lunches are beginning to gain momentum. First, there are many avenues you can take to help make your child’s school lunch healthier on the home front while working to incorporate organic into your local school district.
Encouraging schools to partner with area farmers and organic community gardens is a great way to introduce organic foods. It can also become a hands-on way for students to learn more about organic farming and gardening practices while gaining an understanding of where their food comes from and what happens to it before arriving on their plates.
If you decide to approach your local districts about incorporating organic, look to the models set by forward-thinking states including California, Wisconsin, and New York. Schools in these states have been successful in initiating organic lunch programs in certain districts including Seattle, Berkeley, Santa Monica, and Palo Alto. Additionally, with help from organic yogurt company Stonyfield Farm, schools in Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, and Connecticut are offering vending machines stocked with only organic treats. Because the increased cost of organic foods is often a concern, one suggestion to school officials is to simply eliminate dessert from the menu, a cost-cutter that can make offering students organic lunches an affordable option.
There are organizations behind making healthier school lunches.
Here are a few links: