Conscientious Cook: Local Food for Local Schools

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“The processing of our food is profoundly disgusting, and the accumulation of packaging fills a giant barrel at my school every day.”

That’s a quote from 5th-grader Aden Kahr of Olympia, Washington. Yes, 5th-grade – quite well-spoken for such a young man! Aden has diabetes, and he has some opinions on his school lunches…

In yesterday’s Seattle PI article, we read how Aden takes a turkey sandwich, fruit and carrots to school every day, unlike his friends at a south Seattle elementary school who don’t have that choice. For them, the free lunch program offers burritos, pizza, and other processed foods.

Seattle is currently evaluating a bill to get more local food into school cafeterias and connect local farms with schools. It’s sponsored by unlikely bedfellows: the environmental community and the conservative Washington Farm Bureau.The bill would connect local farmers with schools and help fund better foods in low-income schools – foods like fresh, local fruits and vegetables.

This is similar to the issues that farmers are raising in New York – see the article from October: Local Carrots with a Side of Red Tape.

It’s also a good reminder to be on the lookout for bills and issues like this in our own local communities; what is the food like in the schools near you?