"In a nation where far too many people harm their health and the environment by eating poorly, public school lunch presents an enormous opportunity: right there, in the middle of the every child’s school day, driven by his own hunger and his own taste, lies all this time and energy set aside and devoted to food."
This panel will discuss the potential and challenges of creating a national policy around Edible Education - a means of educating all children about stewardship, sustainability and the connections between food, health and the environment- Slow Food Nation
Anya Fernald served as Program Director of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) for three years. At CAFF, she led three primary projects active in six regions of California: a Farm-to-School program active in over 90 schools; a social venture produce distribution company; and the California Buy Fresh, Buy Local Campaign.
Fernald came to CAFF after five years with Slow Food International. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Fernald spent a post-graduate year of study as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.
Katrina Heron was Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine from 1998 to 2001. Previously, she was a senior editor at The New Yorker and Vanity Fair magazines and an editor and writer at The New York Times. She is also co-author of Safe: The Race To Protect Ourselves In A Newly Dangerous World, which explored the uses and misuses of new technologies.
In addition, Katrina Heron is a director of the Chez Panisse Foundation, working with founder Alice Waters to create food education for children and support sustainable agriculture.
Van Jones, new co-host of CNN's re-launch of Crossfire and president of Rebuild the Dream, has been named one of our nation’s most constructive policy leaders. He is an environmental advocate, civil rights activist, and attorney.
Craig McNamara is the President and Founder at Center for Land-Based Learning.
He also is the owner of Sierra Orchards in Winters, California. He serves on the California Board of Food and Agriculture and is a founding trustee of UC Merced and a member of the UC Davis Dean’s Advisory Council. He won the Leopold Conservation Award in 2007.
As a Director of the Sustainable Food Project, Josh Viertel aids in directing Yale's transition to a local sustainable food program, oversees the Yale Farm, and works to cultivate awareness and enjoyment of a meaningful food culture on campus.
Alice Waters is a chef and the founder of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Cafe in Berkeley, California.
An advocate of local farmers markets and sustainable agriculture, she features organic and seasonal foods and promotes the power of growing, cooking, and sharing food.
She has also created the Chez Panisse Foundation, whose primary beneficiary is the Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.
Her books include the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook and, most recently, The Art of Simple Food.
@Vasil - Excellent point. My boyfriend grew up in a very health conscious household and so due to his 'refined' taste buds, he will eagerly eat anything that is put in front of him. I do think you also made a good point earlier on the ability of poor people being able to pay for such healthy meals. I think it would be hard for lower class people to be able to afford arugula salads and grilled low fat chicken on an everyday basis.
@ladyfox14:I understand your argument and absolutely agree with you on the benefits of physical education programs at schools. But my point here is that the most effective way to develop healthy eating habits, considering limited resources of the Slow Food Nation, is to start from the bottom up. Some experts on the topic compared formation of eating habits with a formation of character - the older a person gets the lesser he/she becomes susceptible to change. It might take a few generations until children at schools would prefer arugula salads to frozen pizzas, but one day they will teach their parents on what to eat. This is essential in transforming American food culture. One way to limit the junk food addiction is to develop taste for healthy foods from a very early age. In other words kids and future adults should eat healthy foods not just because it is healthy, but because they enjoy it.
@Vasil - I think we should start developing habits for healthy foods from kindergarten *and* educate adults at the same time. They go hand in hand. It's hard to enforce healthy eating habits at school if the parents aren't enforcing it as home as well. And in order for kids to continue eating the same healthy ingredients they do at home, they should have similar food options at school. I do think it's ok to serve to junk food at school because there is only so much healthy food a kid can take (we were all once kids). But kids should learn how to eat it in moderation. In addition, it would probably be good to take out vending machines (we didn't have those at my school, thank goodness) as well as enforcing a better physical education regimen. Like adults, not only do kids need to eat well, they need to run around and be active. And thank you for posting that new york article, it was an excellent read.
There's an interesting debate on whether we should start developing habits for healthy foods from kindergarten or educate adults first so they would raise their children in the Slow Food tradition. I agree with Alice that earlier is better. It is unlikely for a Fast Food Nation to transform into Slow Food Nation mostly because it has developed a taste for Big Mac and Pizza Hut. New Yorker has an excellent piece describing a challenge of adding fresh vegetables to one of the High School menus - kids would throw them away http://www.newyorker.com/archive/200...fa_fact_bilger .
Meanwhile, one of the speakers was absolutely right underlining growing tensions between green movement and poor people unable to pay extra for a healthy lunch for their kids. These are the issues our government has yet to address.
Listening to her talk about the food lunch gives me bad memories of what we were served from Elementary to High School. It was extremely difficult to ever find anything healthy and when we did it was barely edible. Schools definitely need to do something about this. It makes me cringe when I think back at how a typical lunch room tray would be fried chicken, tater tots and nasty canned green beans...ew. Serving this is no doubt largely contributing to the obesity problem.
Interesting emphasis on the temperature of the apple. Back in university when we did sensory testing of new apple varieties, the apples are stabilized at room temperature because cold storage temperatures mask off flavours. She is quite correct about the terrible under-ripe commercial fruit. A ripe plum is thing of beauty and never to be found in a store.