You Read it Here First: School Lunch Controversy on TV

April 10th, 2008

This post about school lunch attracted the attention of a TV reporter, who came out to interview OrganicMania about the state of school lunches. You can see the results here. (Just go to the segment filmed on 8 April, 16:05 minute mark.)

At the close, the reporter notes that school officials said they will not introduce organic food because of the expense.

I don’t know of a single parent who approves of the school lunch program. Why won’t school officials consider creative ways to improve school lunch, rather than dismissing suggestions because of cost?

Here are some ideas:

– What about getting “Big Organics” companies to subsidize organic milk? Other companies subsidize their products in an effort to target a growing market, so why not engage the dairies in an attempt to get hormone-free milk in the schools?

– How about charging a subsidy on top of the organic lunch to subsidize the Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program? Parents who disapprove of the nutritional content in school lunch are already paying a premium to make lunch at home. The school system could use its purchasing power to negotiate discounts on higher quality ingredients that would match what parents are making at home. Not only would parents pay less, but they would gladly save themselves the time and trouble of making lunch at home if their children were assured of healthy, nutritious, fresh meals with organic ingredients where they count most (the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” plus milk and carrots would be a great start!)

– What about rallying behind the innovative “Farm to School” program, which connects schools with local farms to deliver farm-fresh food to the public schools?

If you live in Montgomery County, Maryland and would like to learn more about nutrition in the schools, please attend a Montgomery County Council of PTAs meeting on nutrition and physical activity, to be held April 22nd from 7 pm to 8 pm in the auditorium at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville. Kathy Lazor, MCPS Director of Food and Nutrition Services, will talk about nutrition issues and MCPS initiatives. (She is the official interviewed in the TV segment).

OrganicMania will report on this meeting, because the issues discussed there will be relevant not only to Montgomery County, but also to parents facing these issues in their local schools.

What do you think of school lunch? Please leave a comment and share!

And for more info, check out these older OrganicMania posts here, here and here and this great post from Expatriate’s Kitchen.

(And speaking of Expat, she’s running a great carnival at Eat.Drink.Better).

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Green Savings Tip for School Lunch

April 2nd, 2008

When it comes to school lunches, finding healthy, organic foods that won’t break the bank and that are packaged sustainably can be quite a chore.

Juice packs are all the rage with kids. But did you ever look at the pile of juice boxes and plastic straws left over after lunch? What a waste of packaging and natural resources! Not to mention the expense of those little boxes! They’re certainly not cheap.

It’s not a good idea to save money by compromising on non-organic juice, particularly if it’s apple juice your child is drinking. Apples are heavily laden with pesticides, and childrens’ bodies are very sensitive to the chemical load of pesticides.


What to do? You can save money and reduce waste by purchasing a large container of organic apple juice and a re-usable juice box or thermos. Plus, you can dilute the apple juice with water to make it an even healthier treat for your child. Diluting with water also makes that large bottle last longer, making it less expensive. Works for me!

And just to make it even easier for you….here’s a link to a printable coupon for 75 cents off a large bottle of Santa Cruz organic juice. If there’s a Whole Foods near you, check out their house brand of 365 Organics – they’re considerably cheaper than the name brands, although with this Santa Cruz coupon, you’ll need to compare prices at your local store.

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

How to Get Organics and Healthier Foods into the Schools

March 4th, 2008

On Friday I had my first look at the public school my son will attend. While waiting for the open house to begin, I picked up a lunch menu. What I saw shocked me.

Pizza twice in one week? A choice of a hot dog or pizza? And needless to say, no organic milk. And this in a school district that prides itself on its “healthy choices.” McDonald’s is healthier…at least they sell salads and vegetables that are not fried!


If the schools were able to figure out how to get soda pop and candy and commercial advertising and TV into the schools, how come they’re having such a hard time figuring out how to get even a smattering of organics and healthier options into the schools?

This is part one of a series of posts about getting healthier foods in the schools. Please check back Friday for the second post in this series! In the meantime, please leave a comment and share your experiences with school lunches.

— Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania