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Jen Christensen is a CNN Investigative Producer. She recently spoke with Alice Waters, chef and owner of Chez Panisse, and founder of The Chez Panisse Foundation, which "envisions a school curriculum and school lunch program where growing, cooking, and sharing food at the table gives students the knowledge and values to build a humane and sustainable future."
Chef Waters shared the following statement with CNN.
"50 years ago the President of the United States was worried about the health of this nation. So he inspired a program in the public schools that touched every single child, and it was very expensive to build tracks, to buy equipment and teachers, but it became part of every childs’ experience in school."
"Now we’re worried once again, about the health of our children. Really worried, and so we need to go back into the public schools and bring a curriculum of edible education!"
"Now what I am envisioning, is a program that brings children into a new relationship to food, in a very positive way; so they’re engaged in the growing and the cooking of their own school lunch. Now I think of this as a stimulus plan in a way, because when you create a criteria for the buying in the schools it’s supporting the farmers, and the ranchers and the dairy people that are local."
"And so it brings the community together. They feel supported by the schools and the schools are nourished by the farmers and the ranchers. The second point that’s very important is that the parents are reassured that they’re children have a wholesome and delicious school lunch so they don’t have to worry about it and they don’t have to pay for it, so it gives money to them. And lastly, it’s a stimulus for children to learn stewardship of the land, about how to feed themselves for their whole lives, and also how to come around the table and communicate with each other, because it’s pleasurable to be here and to talk to their friends. And this, these are the values –really the bedrock of our democracy."