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The origins of Boulder's school food makeover: Nowhere to go but up

Intrepid school-lunch reporter and parent-turned-school-food-activist Ed Bruske has hit the road again, this time traveling to Boulder, Colo. Check out Ed's previous reporting on Washington, D.C. and Berkeley, Calif. public schools' food at the Cafeteria Confidential: Behind the Scenes in School Kitchens series homepage. Sylvia Tawse, Boulder parent, entrepreneur, and school-food activist Photo: Ed BruskeAfter putting four kids through Boulder, Colo. schools, Sylvia Tawse was tired of talking about changing the district's lousy food. She wanted to do something about it. "I had been packing lunches for my kids for 17 years. Once a month, I'd go have a lunch …

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Boulder schools remove the stigma from free school lunches

Intrepid school-lunch reporter and parent-turned-school-food-activist Ed Bruske has hit the road again, this time traveling to Boulder, Colo. Check out Ed's previous reporting on Washington, D.C. and Berkeley, Calif. public schools' food at the Cafeteria Confidential: Behind the Scenes in School Kitchens series homepage. POS devicePhoto: Ed BruskeIn addition to the food prescribed by the federal government for subsidized meals -- meat, vegetables, grains, milk -- many schools offer a wide variety of fast-food items on the theory that these will boost sales and help finance struggling food-service programs. These foods can be sold separately ("a la carte") or even …

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Remaking school meals in Boulder

He's back! Intrepid school-lunch reporter and parent-turned-school-food-activist Ed Bruske has hit the road again, this time traveling to Boulder, Colo. Check out Ed's previous reporting on Washington, D.C. and Berkeley, Calif. public schools' food at the Cafeteria Confidential: Behind the Scenes in School Kitchens series homepage. Casey Middle School in Boulder, Colo. Photo: Ed Bruske The new nachos feature actual cheese, rather than an edible cheeselike substance out of a can. Lunchtime at Casey Middle School, and kids were jostling in the food line: giggling, pushing, horsing around as usual as they waited to be served the day's entree -- …

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Americans hate feeding poor children at school

Elementary school children in southeast Washington, D.C., eat their lunch. Photo: Eugene Menbane/Bread for the WorldAlong with a story today about D.C. schools beginning a program to feed dinner to some 10,000 needy children at school, the Washington Post polled readers about whether they supported the move. Nearly half -- 46 percent -- said it's a bad idea. They wanted to know: Why should schools spend money -- some $5.7 million in this case -- to feed hungry children who should be eating at home? If you're wondering whether racist stereotyping is alive and well in the nation's capital, just …

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A modest proposal for Congress: Ditch the extra funding for school lunch

First Lady Michelle Obama is reportedly wrestling with at least 100 House Democrats who would rather not pass a re-authorization of the nation's school meals program if it means taking money from food stamp recipients. The Senate approved the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which would increase spending on child nutrition programs by $4.5 billion -- including a 6-cent-per-meal boost to the rate the federal government reimburses school lunch -- but said the only way to fund it without adding to the deficit was to remove $2.2 billion from the food stamp (now known as SNAP) program. Re-authorization of the Child …

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Do Berkeley school gardens get an A or a C for motivating kids?

Alice Waters and MLK Jr. middle school students in the Edible Schoolyard.Photo: Edible SchoolyardSupporters of school gardens were positively giddy last week over news that a three-year UC Berkeley study of a garden and cooking initiative in Berkeley, Calif., schools had shown that it made students more eager to eat vegetables and choose healthy food. Berkeley restaurateur Alice Waters, through her Chez Panisse Foundation, has done pioneering work and invested considerable funds in the idea that children exposed to gardening and cooking will develop healthier eating habits. According to researchers at the university's Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center …

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What Does Berkeley's School Garden Study Really Mean?

Supporters of school gardens were positively giddy with news this week that a three-year study of a garden and cooking initiative in Berkeley, Calif., schools had shown students more eager to eat vegetables and make healthy food choices. But a closer look at the study shows that these positive results were attributed almost exclusively to fourth and fifth graders in two Berkeley elementary schools, and that students as they moved into middle school not only made little further progress, but actually regressed, even though they spent more time in gardening and cooking classes. The message seems to be that unless …

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Mixed results from the Edible Schoolyard

Elementary school children regularly involved in gardening, cooking and nutrition education are more likely to develop a taste for fresh fruits and vegetables--even leafy greens--and will more eagerly help make fresh meals at home, but those gains come to a screeching halt as kids get older and move into middle school, where they often backslide. Those are the mixed results of a three-year evaluation of the "School Lunch Initiative" undertaken by Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Foundation in Berkeley, Calif., schools. Performed by researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, and easily the most ambitious examination to date of an integrated school garden and …

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A new front in the chocolate-milk wars

A Washington Post columnist has come out in favor of chocolate milk in school. I opened the Post this morning to find former metro reporter Petula Dvorak whining about the things schools have banned this year, but most of all flavored milk. She even takes a poke at British chef and school-food reformer Jamie Oliver for actually praising the decision by D.C. schools to take chocolate and strawberry milk off the menu. Won't kids collapse in a heap of osteoporosis if they can't have their chocolate milk? Dvorak moans. What harm could a few extra teaspoons of sugar possibly do? …

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Save school lunch from snack-happy government standards

Want some fatty liver disease with that? Typical breakfast in a D.C. public school before the district changed its policies.Photo: Ed BruskeThe biggest news about the Child Nutrition Act pending in Congress isn't increased funding, or more vegetables and whole grains in school meals. The reason we need this bill passed now is to save children from government standards that are destroying kids' health. Every day, I visit the cafeteria in my daughter's elementary school here in the District of Columbia and watch a quiet struggle unfold. It's the same battle schools fight all over the country: trying to provide kids the calories the U.S. …

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