The day after the meeting I went back to my son's school and asked for a tour of the cafeteria. The cafeteria manager took me through, explaining in detail district policies.
First, let me tell you, it was the cleanest kitchen I've ever seen. I worked in food service for 15 years and know kitchens.
Second, there were large boxes of beautiful green pears, cups of sliced cucumbers, and bags of fresh oranges and grapes.
All the kids in the school are served in plenty of time.
That's not to say that this system is a complete success. I'd like to do a survey of how food comes into the school. I suspect the following:
- LAUSD meals
- lunches from home
- junk food from local stores
- food ordered delivered
- junk from black market sales (backpacks)
- snacks from the student store
It would be interesting to figure out creative ways to positively impact these outlets.
In addition, though the kids must select fresh fruits and vegetables, many of them go immediately into the trash. I'd like to place one or two large fruit baskets to collect the whole fruit. They could remain available to children throughout the day and perhaps go to a food bank in the evening. The school could not do this, but a volunteer could. It seems a crime to teach kids how to throw good food in the trash.
There is an environmental club, and a vegetarian club, at the school. I want to see if together we might be able to occasionally offer different fare - salads, vegetable wraps, vegetable sushi. At least we could occasionally have classes to learn how to prepare these.