"There is no food in your food."
-Constance (Say Anything)
Summer vacation from preschool means that I have been scheduling more play dates at parks. We have a standing play date on Monday mornings with some friends from preschool. I think we have been to three since school let out. Around 11:45 a really nice man comes around to announce that there is a free lunch for kids under 18 that is paid for by the mayor and that we were welcome to join. The first week he explained that he would really love for us to come because if he doesn't give away enough lunches then the program would be in danger of being canceled. I know from working in public schools how that goes - if you don't use it you lose it. I also understand the logic behind the free lunch program in the summer. It is targeted at the kids who qualify for free or reduced cost lunch in public schools as often those lunches they get at school are their main meal for the day.
I was a little skeptical of the lunches and by noon we are all fairly wiped out and need some down time at home so we haven't tried the lunch out yet. This past Monday, I was reminded of another reason why I don't want to partake in the free lunch. We saw a few girls come out with the bag lunch and they showed us its contents:
- Chocolate milk (made with high fructose corn syrup)
- Roast beef sandwich on white bread with florescent orange spreadable cheese (if you can call that cheese)
It is no wonder our kids are being diagnosed with diabetes and ADD - there is no food in their food! Their brains and bodies are not being nourished with good food. It is programs like the one at this park sponsored by the SF mayor that are trying to feed the kids that often go without food. Yet we are not feeding them food that will help them grown and think. We are not really even feeding them food that will help their stomach feel satisfied. I am reminded of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and I can't help but wonder how long it will take us to reinvent how we feed our children in our schools.