Speak Out on School Nutrition

Janet Poppendieck

Janet Poppendieck, author of Free for All, wrote a guest post last week on the Fed Up with Lunch blog, where blogger “Mrs. Q” chronicles her quest to eat a school lunch every day for a year.

Poppendieck reminded readers that right now there is a crucial opportunity to make a difference in the national school lunch program: “Right now, the Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation, the legislation that will control school food and other child nutrition programs for the next five years, is wending its way through Congress. Now is the time to tell your Senators and Representatives what you want to see as an end result. Now is the time to ask for enough money to do the job right”, she wrote. She also gave details on how to write a persuasive letter to your representative, and plenty of sources to find out more about school nutrition. Read the full post.

Poppendieck is speaking today at The California Endowment’s Oakland Conference Center in Oakland. The event runs from 12-2pm, and a moderated panel will follow her talk. More information here.

The Lesson of School Lunch

Janet Poppendieck, author of Free for All: Fixing School Food in America, spoke at the Second Harvest Food Bank School Lunch Nutrition Summit in Watsonville, CA, an event focused on school lunch reform.

The cafeteria is an important opportunity to teach students about what to eat, says Poppendieck, and when pizza and nachos are the norm, it sends the wrong message. She notes that the food industry spends 10 to 12 billion dollars a year on advertising food products to teenagers and children—roughly the same amount spent on the national school lunch program. She takes the audience through the ABCs of school food, and argues for free, healthy school lunches that teach important life lessons about a healthy diet and the value of eating together. Recalling her visit to Sweden, which has a free school lunch program, Poppendieck says: “I can tell you that it works.”

Update: Read a Washington Monthly review of Free for All, and a post in the Utne Reader’s Cafeteria Chronicles, a weeklong feature on childhood nutrition.

Janet Poppendieck: Fix School Food Now! from Second Harvest on Vimeo.