Fourth Graders Boycott School Lunch

And it’s about time! (Seriously, when bloggers start asking whether or not we feed children like pigs, you know that something is dangeroulsy wrong with the U.S. school lunch program.)

In Madison, WI last week, a group of fourth graders who’d been learning about the Children’s Crusade and Martin Luther King decided to stage a peaceful protest.

What were they protesting?

Unhealthy and “gross” school lunches.

From the Slow Food blog:

Patricia Mulvey reports on the blog F is for French Fry that last Friday, a group of fourth-graders at Nuestro Mundo Elementary School in Madison, WI had planned to protest the unhealthy food served in their cafeteria by staying behind in class during recess and enjoying a home-cooked meal with fresh fruits and vegetables. Their “Real Food Picnic” – you might call it an Eat-In– was canceled, however, when the school district’s assistant superintendent alerted parents and administrators and asked them to discourage the event, citing concerns about food allergies, lack of supervision and the presence of news media.

How awesome is it that children, on their own initiative, organized a “Real Food Picnic”?

I’m saddened that the parents caved to the school district’s pressure. According to one of the children organizing the event, they had planned some really good meals for the protest and were hoping that lots of people would enjoy the fresh homemade food.  They also hoped the school district would feel the financial impact of selling fewer lunches on that day.

But the kids were not deterred. Instead of serving up alternative food, they’ve organized a letter writing and petition campaign. Plus, parents have requested a meeting with school administrators to discuss how to improve school lunches.

I just feel like cheering this kids on.

GO! KIDS, GO!

(photo by bookgrl)
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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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10 Responses to Fourth Graders Boycott School Lunch
  1. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet
    May 7, 2009 | 12:30 pm

    That’s so great. But it’s maddening that the school discouraged it from happening! Hopefully though, in the end, their school lunches will be improved through their petitions/meetings.

    Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

  2. charlotte
    May 7, 2009 | 12:38 pm

    That is just AWESOME!

    charlotte

  3. Raine Saunders
    May 7, 2009 | 1:48 pm

    Yes! This is one of my biggest hop button-topics and areas of interest – I’m glad there are protests about these lunches, it’s about time! When are we going to wake up as a society and make sustainable changes to our children’s food? They are our future! I’ve been working on an initiative in my city for the past year, we brought Two Angry Moms to Boise last fall and still have NO BUY IN from the school district! Even after I got up and gave a presentation to the school board with a slide show revealing all the horrible chemicals contained in the food our children are eating, with all the ill-health effects realized from consuming these chemicals, the superintendent stood up afterward and spewed out the following unbelievable commentary, “we are proud to bring nutritious lunches to our children and will continue to do so in the future.” I just wanted to wring our superintendent’s neck! Then,after the dietary supervisor from our district saw Two Angry Moms, she got up to give her commentary and said, “I’m so glad we’re one of the good guys!” Are people really that dense?

    If anyone is interested in school lunch initiative articles, here are some on my site:

    http://agriculturesociety.wordpress.com/2008/09/10/which-is-it-junk-food-is-good-for-children-or-it-isnt/

    http://agriculturesociety.wordpress.com/2008/03/30/meals-for-children-restaurants-and-school-lunches-are-lacking-in-nutrition/

    Raine Saunders

  4. Kelly the Kitchen Kop
    May 7, 2009 | 9:04 pm

    The topic of school lunches really gets me riled up, too. Along with the crap served in hospitals, not to mention the foods at a local soup kitchen we volunteer at. The needy are still given pats of MARGARINE, cups of pudding full of HFCS, iceberg lettuce with packets of trans fat/soybean oil (GMO) dressings…don’t get me going!

    I truly believe that all of us, bloggers and readers, have the power to make a difference! The more we change how the world thinks about food, the more the rest of the world will catch up. It took a while for trans fats, but people are starting to realize those are rotten. It’s happening now with HFCS. Soon everyone will start “getting it” when it comes to the truth about saturated fats and soybean oils, too.

    This is a great post – it would have been perfect for Fight Back Fridays! You probably have another great one ready for that…off to work on mine now!

  5. Elana
    May 7, 2009 | 11:13 pm

    Thanks for reporting on this, it would be a great story for the New York Times…

  6. peg
    May 8, 2009 | 9:19 am

    This is a topic of great concern to me also! After being a teacher for 25 years, it is so OBVIOUS that there is a HUGE problem with the children today. The food served by the cafeteria is disgusting! (Most lunches brought from home are disgusting too.) I am so proud of those children for trying to make a difference. However, the reaction by the school department to squash the idea does not surprise me. I’m sure what it all boils down to is “money and greed” on the part of someone, or a fear of being sued.

    Raine, I will definitely go check out those stories on your blog. Elana, you are right, it should be all over the news! Kelly, I hope you are right. The difference has got to start somewhere. Blogs seem like a good place.

    peg

  7. Elements for Life MLM
    May 11, 2009 | 12:56 pm

    heck yeah!! this is great, hope we get some raw lunches for our kids…

  8. Jennifer Heigl
    May 13, 2009 | 2:01 pm

    That’s AWESOME! How great that the kids were educated enough to understand – but how incredibly disappointing that it wasn’t supported by the school administration or parents. *le sigh* The fight to educate consumers continues…

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, too! This blog rocks! I’ll make sure to get up a ‘food renegade’ badge, too! :)

    Jennifer Heigl

  9. KristenM
    May 13, 2009 | 2:29 pm

    Yes, this is indeed AWESOME. And apparently it’s not the first such protest of it’s kind. If you read the article linked to from the Slow Food Blog, you can find out about a couple of other such protests orchestrated by kids around the country. It’s becoming quite the phenomenon.

  10. Anna
    November 25, 2009 | 6:59 pm

    That is so awesome, the last year at my high school. ONe of the girls organized a free peanut butter and jelly sandwich give away, to boycott the school lunch prices. Unfortunately the principal stopped her, because of health issues. Since she made the sandwiches at home.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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