Making Locally-Grown School Lunches a National Priority

From The Sacramento Bee, a profile of Chef Alice Waters and her current crusade to make food grown at school gardens a part of every American school lunch:

“Since so many kids don’t eat at home with their families, it is up to the public school system to reach each child in a meaningful way,” Waters said. “With our program [The Edible Schoolyard], because students grow the food they eat, they learn about where food comes from, about actions and consequences of eating well, about the importance of stewardship of the land, and the civilizing and socializing effect of the table.

“When children cook the food they have grown, they want to eat it. There is a lot of pride involved. But it is more than good food they hunger for; they are hungry for someone to care about them. They want to learn about traditions, culture and where food comes from.”

It’s a great idea that’s working at the Berkeley school where Water’s Chez Panisse Foundation funded the effort. Taking this to a national level is beyond the foundation’s means, though, and Waters has gone to Washington to demonstrate the idea to interested politicians:

Waters was invited to take her Edible Schoolyard idea to Washington, D.C., over the summer. She set up a garden on the Mall in front of the Smithsonian Institution and invited legislators to go have lunch with the children.

“It was a wonderful, relaxed opportunity to talk to them about bringing good food to our children,” Waters said. “I explained that we can’t afford not to teach children about eating wholesome, fresh and seasonal food.”

Kudos to Waters — this is a great idea that deserves to be replicated.

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