now that you're all following the hot lunch lady...

i'll tell you a little story.

you know how some things just seem to fall into your lap? i was out driving yesterday, radio off, kids asleep in the back (car drives are priceless for that), and i was thinking about the hot lunch lady and her plight, as i had just watched the speech by jaime oliver that she had linked to on her blog. i was at a red light and happened to turn my head a bit, and a van caught the corner of my eye. the writing on the van grabbed my attention immediately, as it read:

children's choice: local. sustainable. hot lunch.

got home and headed straight for google. learned about a program in my area that provides parents with an option for feeding their kids at school. instead of relying on government-funded garbage, and in lieu of packing a bagged lunch, parents can pay this independent company what amounts to roughly $1 more per day and provide kids with nutritionally balanced (and often organic) meals.

to be straight, atherton and danville are extremely high-income areas in the san francisco bay area. families living here, even without the children's choice program, are generally more than able to provide their kids with nutritious food on their own. a program like this does little to help the kids who are on free breakfast and lunch provided by tax dollars--children who have parents who can't easily give them access to good food. i don't live in a wealthy are such as danville, but i don't live in a super-low-income area either. we're floating around in the lower middle of things. and the van was in my neighborhood, which tells me we're not outside the market based solely on where we live.

a couple things worth noting:

~ if the cost of gourmet hot lunches in compostable packaging costs parents roughly $1/day than regular hot lunch, one would think significant changes to standard hot lunches could be attained without breaking the bank. unless of course food companies, big business and government-funded lunch programs are all twisted up in each other. you know, hidden agendas and all the rest. that would never happen, would it?

~ i love that this program is exposing kids to good food. whether it's the rich kids or the poor kids getting exposed is a whole different story all together. but putting that fairness issue aside, i think that kids (and people in general) are more likely to eat foods that they're familiar with. you can't blame kids for not liking fruit when they've only been exposed to apples and oranges for their entire lives.

side note: i had brussel sprouts for the first time ever tonight. no kidding. being a generally healthy eater, i don't know why i've never had them--just never made it into the repertoire, i guess. but we had them tonight and i found them quite good--sauteed with olive oil, cabbage and garlic. lucy wasn't much of a fan, but than again, lucy didn't want anything except bread for dinner tonight. she's usually pretty open to trying green stuff--so we'll be sure to cook them again soon!


Soyager said...

That's an awesome program!

It seems simple to ask if one company can provide GOOD food so cost-effectively, then why can't schools? However, everyone who is using the Children's Choice program is PAYING into it. Consider if Children's Choice had to provide food for the same amount of children, but only, say, 20% of the people paid full price. Obviously, either the price would have to go up (not gonna happen) or the quality of the product would go down (more than likely). This is the case in public schools where the majority of students are receiving lunch for free. I suppose I would question MORE why government-funded school lunch is even provided in well-to-do areas...

Family Time said...

Try eating brussel sprouts raw with some nice vintage cheese. Very very yummy. I also like to chop up the brussel sprouts and serve it as salad for my girls.