✓ Free for All: Fixing School Food in America (California Studies in Food and Culture) º Download by Ð Janet Poppendieck Definitely dry, but really interesting if you re fascinated by school lunches It s pretty detailed foray into every aspect of school lunches from reimbursement rates to nutritional standards to the policy fights over the years Starts with the history of national school lunch program in the early 1900s and details how the great depression and wwii fundamentally shaped the system as well as the cuts in the 80s, the war on fat in the 90s, and budget cuts throughout.
I learned quite a bit and enjoyed the stories and anecdotes throughout How Did Our Children End Up Eating Nachos, Pizza, And Tater Tots For Lunch Taking Us On An Eye Opening Journey Into The Nation S School Kitchens, This Superbly Researched Book Is The First To Provide A Comprehensive Assessment Of School Food In The United States Janet Poppendieck Explores The Deep Politics Of Food Provision From Multiple Perspectives History, Policy, Nutrition, Environmental Sustainability, Taste, And How Did We Get Into The Absurd Situation In Which Nutritionally Regulated Meals Compete With Fast Food Items And Snack Foods Loaded With Sugar, Salt, And Fat What Is The Nutritional Profile Of The Federal Meals How Well Are They Reaching Students Who Need Them Opening A Window Onto Our Culture As A Whole, Poppendieck Reveals The Forces The Financial Troubles Of Schools, The Commercialization Of Childhood, The Reliance On Market Models That Are Determining How Lunch Is Served She Concludes With A Sweeping Vision For Change Fresh, Healthy Food For All Children As A Regular Part Of Their School Day Whatever Jamie Oliver says, better school lunches are not simply a matter of districts being willfully ignorant, or Americans just being addicted to tator tots and nachos Poppendieck picks apart the myriad and overlapping restrictions, reimbursement, regulations and legal constraints on school lunches, not to mention the economics of allowing soda machines for sponsorship, farm subsidies, the low status of lunch ladies in school budgets and the resulting deskilling, peanut allergy complications, the design of multipurpose rooms many kids cite the miserable, loud lunchroom as a reason not to eat , stigmas of reduced price lunches and the almost mind boggling charge of the cashier to keep track of what gets reimbursed as what and under what program.
I can t remember how I stumbled upon the blog, Fed Up with Lunch, but it s a fascinating look into what one school district calls food For the last seventy school days or so, I ve read about one school s lunch and looked at the pictures posted It s a horror show no really The food doesn t resemble anything I d eat, think about eating, remember eating, or would serve to my worst enemy I ve been out of school for over twenty years and had no idea that the nations children through school lunch programs were eating over processed commoditized crap It s really disheartening, though not surprising when you consider how the American diet and palette have shifted with the introduction and mass commercialization of extremely processed foods and high fructose corn syrup.
Anyway, Janet Poppendieck wrote a guest blog a few weeks ago, and I was prompted to buy her book, Free for All It s a very comprehensive and interesting history of school lunch in America focusing on how free and reduced lunch have intersected with nutritional guidelines as well as schools using food as a money making endeavor While highly readable, I would encourage Ms Poppendieck to consider a shorter paragraph style Page long paragraphs made taking in the information of a chore than it should be.
Fundamentally, the author advocates that all schools provide free breakfast and lunch for all students It would, she says, eliminate the stigma of the free and reduced lunch program as well as make meals and nutrition part of a child s regular school day and habits After reading her book and considering her arguments, I fundamentally disagree I m horrified by the foods that are served in school processed, fortified grains, factory farmed meat, pasteurized, homogenized and sometimes sweetened, shelf stable milk Not only would I never eat these items, but I would never want these foods fed to my child I m truly sorry that poor children in our school districts are served this utter garbage, but expanding the garbage food to children would not make the system better I would never want my son to believe that fast food items are normal for daily consumption pizza, hamburgers, potatoes disguised as vegetables, fruit juice, processed fruit, etc Further, I don t want America s dominant belief in the lipid hypothesis spread any further than it is Serving these kinds of foods in homes, restaurants, and schools has led to obesity, diabetes, and all sorts of modern illnesses Spreading that further could only have devastating consequences.
Until these issues are fixed and it s unlikely in a country where the government gets nutritional information and excess commodities from corporations , I cannot advocate school lunch be free for anyone The cost is just too high.
Definitely dry, but really interesting if you re fascinated by school lunches It s pretty detailed foray into every aspect of school lunches from reimbursement rates to nutritional standards to the policy fights over the years Starts with the history of national school lunch program in the early 1900s and details how the great depression and wwii fundamentally shaped the system as well as the cuts in the 80s, the war on fat in the 90s, and budget cuts throughout.
I learned quite a bit and enjoyed the stories and anecdotes throughout This book has been incredibly informative Learned a lot on a topic that I knew nothing about until now.
This book has been incredibly informative Learned a lot on a topic that I knew nothing about until now.
Well researched and written, this books explained some facts about school lunches I did not know.
hmm well there were errors that a good editor should have caught before publishing, and it was repetitive, but on the whole, worth the read if nothing else I have a much better idea of the complexities of the national school lunch program.
I knew a lot about our food system, and a fair bit about our agricultural system What I didn t know a lot about was how those two joined together into our school food program Jamie Oliver was right our school lunch program is broken possibly irreparably so However, he is also naive about just why it is broken and why it is not an easy fix.
Poppendieck explains how today s school lunches are the culmination of over a century of policy and legislation that were put into place for a variety of different reasons There are competing goals in place supporting the US agricultural system, providing a market for surplus food, ensuring adequate nutrition in school children, fighting hunger, etc It was especially eye opening to learn just why children are served monochromatic fast food, and why that would be difficult to change The answer isn t simply just give them better food It s tied into a large suite of requirements schools are required to meet regarding nutritionally content, servings, what counts as reimbursable, who qualifies for free or reduced lunch all with the eye of the bottom line Tie that in with stigma children can be relentlessly cruel and administrative red tape, and the end result is a program that is deeply flawed.
Fascinating and disheartening at the same time The title Free for All points to what Poppendieck concludes is the solution to ensuring that hungry children can eat without jumping through hurdles both socially and logistically I m less convinced that is a workable solution for a number of reasons first being the appropriations necessary to fund this and the reluctance failure of Congress in this financial climate to spend any money not towards defense.
It also doesn t solve the problem of the quality of the food being served in schools Poppendieck acknowledges this and points to several programs around the country that are working on sourcing locally, cooking from scratch, etc But there is heavy reluctance in the vast majority of schools to adopt such measures, and in many schools an impossibility due to infrastructure Still, a very compelling and much needed book It certainly got me thinking.
Alright, so I skimmed through a lot of this and bailed out early Truth is, if you re pretty well versed on the state of food these days, the agricultural laws and outcomes of those laws that got us in the mess we re in, there s not a ton of new info to get out of this book Most notably, the history and laws pertaining to school food specifically were a departure from the generalized food centric books I tend to read, as well as the mess that is keeping school lunches in line with the tangled mess of nutritional guidelines, exempt student lunches and picky eaters that populate school cafeterias Bottom line If you read the relevant news articles as they pop up on similar issues, Poppendieck won t deliver you any epiphanies, but she ll certainly flesh out your understanding of the complicated world of school cafeterias.
This is a good book, but crazy dense and not a quick read I learned a lot about the history of school food and the competing concerns in delivering it I was happy to see that she covered all the reasons I wouldn t eat in the cafeterias a student, and still won t as an adult who works in the public school system I know my district likes to say that it makes good, yummy food, but it simply isn t true I love her examples of systems that work and her suggestions for change based on her research and experience I saw some other reviewers were upset because her recommendations appear political, but I really think that is of a commentary on our current political climate than the book She is careful to say that these are things she thinks will work, but that she doesn t have all the answers It does clearly become a question of which values you support, though.
I was very excited to finally get a chance to read this book There isn t any earthshattering new information in here for me I was pretty surprised that one of initial reasons for the National School Lunch Program was as a response to the US military s concern that soldiers were malnourished in WWII The reason I was surprised was because just last year, the military was concerned that recruits are too fat, out of shape, and unable to meet health requirements If the military s needs were able to get the NSLP, then hopefully they can change it too.
Poppendieck s solution for fixing school lunch is a bit weak in my opinion She spends most of the book educating the reader about its history and current challenges Her solution is universal free lunch, hence the title Free For All But she only spends 40 pages making suggestions, and nothing is specific.
Whatever Jamie Oliver says, better school lunches are not simply a matter of districts being willfully ignorant, or Americans just being addicted to tator tots and nachos Poppendieck picks apart the myriad and overlapping restrictions, reimbursement, regulations and legal constraints on school lunches, not to mention the economics of allowing soda machines for sponsorship, farm subsidies, the low status of lunch ladies in school budgets and the resulting deskilling, peanut allergy complications, the design of multipurpose rooms many kids cite the miserable, loud lunchroom as a reason not to eat , stigmas of reduced price lunches and the almost mind boggling charge of the cashier to keep track of what gets reimbursed as what and under what program.