School Food and Existential Crises
by Doc Hall
This is a nice chat with Alisa Simpson, school lunch administrator in Portage, MI, near Kalamazoo. She peels back the tangled web in which school lunch programs are caught as various interests compete to influence what kids eat, and how long they have to do it (18 minute lunch periods).
Alisa is frustrated. So is everyone deeply concerned about child nutrition that is also involved with school lunches. The schools waste a lot of food, while many children don’t eat nutritious offerings when they are provided. Why? School lunch programs break open the scabs on a good many social issues in the broader society.
During the chat, se had ideas, but were in no position to try any of them. School lunch programs are hamstrung by regulations from far off places. Just some of them cover what children should learn in school, and why. Any learning about nutrition is certainly minimal, and knowing better does not always translate into doing better. There’s more to learning than just absorbing “facts.”
The conversation could have hived off into much more, but didn’t. Sanitation in school lunch areas is one of those. Just presenting the best verified facts about nutrition is another. Except for politics, no other area of American life is subject to more obfuscating BS than nutrition. And yet, few factors more strongly influence our quality of life than nutrition.