You want to celebrate Oklahoma food on a gorgeous autumn afternoon? You want to share good food with family and friends amongst the lush canopy at the Harn Homestead? You want to sip on quality Oklahoma beer and wine while enjoying breezy guitar melodies?
By all means, join us at the 5th Annual Slow Food Picnic and Harvest Festival!
Sunday, October 11th, from 4–7 pm
Learn more here.
Telling excerpts from School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America’s Favorite Welfare Program, by Susan Levine.
“Poor children formed the major target for food industry advertisements and new school lunch products. But paying children were still critical to school lunch budgets. To maintain a solid cadre of paying students, school cafeterias offered what they assumed the market desired. Lunchroom operators basically capitulated to the appeal and the lure of the consumer market in order to keep students—whether paying or free—in the lunchroom. In the mid-1990s, for the first time, federal rules allowed nine fast food chains to operate in schools…. Schools also began to offer ‘brand days’ in which the fast-food chains competed with one another for children’s lunch money. Brand-name products and fast foods promised to keep school lunchrooms financially solvent. Indeed, by the year 2000, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that one in five schools participating in the National School Lunch program had brand-name fast foods in their lunchrooms…. Food-service industry advertisers viewed school lunchrooms as the perfect place to create and solidify brand loyalty.”
“Neither the schools nor the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service could compete with the marketing appeal of the private industry—or with the new products offered on trial in school lunchrooms. When it came to brand names, product advertising, and education materials, school lunch professionals were complicit partners. The American School Food Service Association regularly consulted with food-service companies and advised them on how to bring their products into compliance with USDA nutrition guidelines.”
“In 2004, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine warned of an impending obesity crisis among American children. School meals, the physicians feared, contributed to children’s ‘over consumption of calories, fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar.’ Finding child obesity to be at ‘an all-time high,’ the committee ominously predicted that this generation ‘may be the first to have shorter lives than their parents.'”
“In crafting a national School Lunch Program, legislators convinced themselves that they could subsidize agricultural markets and at the same time ensure the nutritional well-being of the nation’s children…. While policy makers and legislators alike boasted that the National School Lunch Program was intended to protect the nutritional health of all children, no one was willing to appropriate the funds it would take to actually carry out that goal. The competing agendas that have shaped school lunchrooms over the past half-century reflect larger fissures and tensions within American public policy.”
Food is pleasure, culture, and community. It is also fuel. Congress will reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act this fall. Let your legislators know that you want them to do what it takes to ensure schools can afford real food.
Every 5 years Congress reauthorizes the National School Lunch Program. It’s a chance to shape the eating habits of students: what they eat and how much they eat. This year the National School Lunch Program is set to be renewed once again. And the battle— which is fought every 5 years— is coming to another juncture.
Go here to see some all-too-typical photos of what passes as school lunch. Well-rounded meals are not monochromatic.
Get involved. Start by attending the Slow Food OKC Eat-In on September 7th.
Don’t have kids? Think shoddy school lunches aren’t your problem? Give this a read.
In the last few decades, as school budgets have been cut, our nation’s schools have struggled to serve children the real food they need. In many communities, including our own, school lunches are the main (if not the only) meals that many children eat each and every day. In a time of soaring childhood obesity and diabetes rates, the funding for these school food programs gives schools no choice but to feed children in ways that neither promote their health nor teach them what good, “real” food is.
Where & When
While I was attending a conference in San Francisco I happened across this oasis one night on my way back to the hotel from a restaurant. My feet were killing me and I was sleep-deprived, so I told myself I would come back and explore. I’m so glad I did. I was full of superlatives as I lumbered around this most beautiful, most unexpected agrarian conglomeration.
Established in 1975, the Fort Mason Community Garden overlooks San Francisco from Fort Mason, a former Army post. Organic practices are strongly encouraged and pesticides are forbidden. The 125 garden plots are 100 square feet, on average. The land is tiered, which adds drama to the garden. It was so neat to look at all diverse plots and personality. Some are for growing food, others for flowers, or a combination. Some tidy; some unruly and exotic. There’s even a zen garden. Members are required to plant at least two seasons per year. While the garden feels like a secret, the community knows its value: the membership waiting list is four years long.
Everett Price maintains his plot on a Sunday morning. He’s been a member of the Fort Mason Community Garden for 20 years. He and his wife Alice wish they could bring their dogs along; alas, dogs are not allowed.
More photos here.
Soon I’ll start profiling community gardens in the OKC metro. Please leave suggestions in a comment. If you want to profile a community garden for the Slow Food OKC blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Indians and the Slow Food Movement
Excerpt:“Today, genetically modified crops, biopiracy, environmental degradation and the growing distance of tribal members from traditional food production and consumption threaten many of these indigenous food products.”