I had the great pleasure of hearing Ann Cooper, author of Lunch Lessons and Bitter Harvest speak this week at the 5th Annual Naturally Boulder Days Conference. She is the self proclaimed "renegade lunch lady" and indeed she is. Her mission is to change children’s relationship with food in the hopes that she can reverse some of the horrible statistics facing American youth.
Chef Ann has been working diligently with the Chez Panisse Foundation to help restructure and revitalize school lunch. She is not only inspiring but also gives a great presentation, making you wonder how we have allowed the USDA and commodity foods to get so deeply imbedded into our kid’s lives. When you realize that only 50¢ of the $1.50 that goes to school lunch at your local public school goes to the actual purchase of food, it’s no wonder that fast food chains are becoming the only option as the supplier of the food.
One of the best ideas she has (and she has quite a few) is to have lunch AFTER recess. I know my kids inhale their lunch so that they can rush out to recess. I’d like to think that they could take some time to chew but apparently lunch cannot compete with four square. Cooper also mentioned a recent study (which is on her blog) that links Gatorade consumption to an increase in kidney stones among children as young as five (scary stuff). Flavorista sends thanks to Chef Ann Cooper, a food visionary, looking out for our children!