“Food, glorious food. I’m anxious to try it.”
Rising food prices are on everyone’s mind, from your next door neighbor to the Michelin-starred restaurant owner downtown. Short of dumpster diving or applying for government assistance, people have to get crafty. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why meat eating is way down–consumption decreased more than 12 percent since 2007. In a recent post NYTimes’ Mark Bittman details some of the reasons he thinks this is true, and significant, in how Americans are slowly changing their eating habits. Mostly for the better.
Then there are scrappy restaurateurs like Jeremy Ashby of Azur in Lexington, Kentucky, who beats the high cost of delivered produce by raiding his patrons’ backyards. Not really; Ashby actually sources more of his fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Why is this cheaper? He tells The Washington Post that “From Sysco, I have to buy a case [of tomatoes],” Ashby says. “From a local farmer I can buy two pounds and only pay for what I need.” Classic case of just-in-time inventory.
Dana Woldow, a contributor to Civil Eats offers a critical look at “miracle schools” where healthy eating programs are succeeding. The article exposes some of the vital components necessary to even come close to achieving any success. They are many, and they are daunting. Does the school have a fully equipped kitchen? How many of the students actually pay for their lunches? What is the success of collecting funds on charged meals? What are labor costs and does the school budget cover the increased labor it takes to prepare from-scratch lunches instead of reheating frozen meals? The list goes on and on.
Woldow’s intention is not to pour cold water on all school lunch program initiatives that are intended to make the food better. Rather, she is offering a rare, in-depth analysis of what it takes to truly change the way students eat on campus and that the “model schools” picked up by the media have a perfect storm of resources in place already that make such a program possible.