School Lunches


The bad food news of 2011

We continue digesting this year’s food politics coverage below — only this time we take account of the things that didn’t go so well. (Tired of bad news? See the year’s good food news instead.) 1.  Food prices have gone up, and more people need help feeding their families The fact that 46 million people — about a seventh of the U.S. population — now receive food stamps (i.e. help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)) should be enough to tell us that something is wrong with America’s food system. But thanks to the way public food assistance is …


A dollar badly spent: New facts on processed food in school lunches

Photo: USDA I want to draw attention to an eye-opening investigative report on school lunch that has gotten a bit lost in the holiday shuffle. In a collaboration between The New York Times and the Investigative Fund, reporter Lucy Komisar delved into the billion-dollar business of the national school lunch program and found some unsettling news. Komisar looked at two less-examined aspects of the school lunch program. The first is the practice of taking up to $1 billion of “surplus” fruits, vegetables, and meats that the USDA supplies to the program and, rather than cooking them into healthy meals, turning them …


Sorry Mrs. O, but jumping jacks aren’t enough

At a recent summit on childhood obesity, the first lady announced a shift in her well-known Let’s Move campaign — away from food reform and toward an increased focus on exercise. Instead of “forcing [children] to eat their vegetables,” she told her audience, “it’s getting them to go out there and have fun.” Yes, you heard that right. The first lady actually said that eating vegetables is a chore. And that playing is a preferable focus for her campaign because it’s easier. In February 2010, when the first lady announced a campaign to “end childhood obesity within a generation,” I …