September 29th, 2010
05:45 PM ET
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Editor's note: all week, CNN Newsroom, Rick's List and Eatocracy are teaming up to take a look the effects our dining choices have on our minds, bodies and wallets. Tune into CNN Newsroom daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET for on-air coverage and join in the discussion here on Eatocracy. ALL COVERAGE

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."

CNN Health - Schools struggle to feed kids healthy food

"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."

Alice Waters on revolutionizing school lunch

"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."

Read all of Eatocracy's school lunch coverage, including what Top Chef's Tom Colicchio has to say



soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. justpeachy

    I was with you until the Supersize Me, which is a completely biased documentary, and PETA is a organization of lunatics.

    October 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  2. Sarah

    As a parent of a young child in public school, I agree, school lunches leave much to be desired. And, I agree, it needs to change. However, there are lot of ways for parents to help their children make healthy choices. School lunch menus are published in advance (in my school district the entire year is published in July). Sit down with your child and talk about what choices they can make so their meal is healthy. Help them understand the importance of selecting raw veggies. If the school isi serving fruit drenched in syrup, send an apple or an orange. Young children will generally listen if their parents help guide them. I have seen first hand that children with a solid base for making good choices will continue to make good choices.

    October 4, 2010 at 11:35 am | Reply
  3. Kevin

    "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."

    She obviously knows absolutely nothing about the history of physical education in the United States. (almost every single state had mandated intensive phys-ed and exercise in the public schools by the 1880's- they wanted to ensure that the kids were fit for the military when they graduated!)
    If she's so completely wrong about such a basic and easily researchable item like this, what credibility do we give to the rest of her argument?

    October 4, 2010 at 10:42 am | Reply
  4. Tom in NY

    Anyone interested in learning more on how disconnected from reality Alice Waters is ought to read Anthony Bourdain's "Medium Raw". He devotes an entire chapter to her and the real world implications of what she's shoveling.

    October 4, 2010 at 9:49 am | Reply
  5. David

    Great ... let's take kids out of academic classes, when they already lag academically and are behind other nation's kids in learning, and have them spend time growing and cooking food. While it is not an all bad idea, the problem is ... that this nation's students WOULD fall even further behind in education.

    It is good enough to educate students on healthy eating in their health classes and Phys Ed classes.

    October 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Reply
    • Dave_R

      That's right; classes in nutrition, biochemistry, mathematical calculations of caloric intake, and fat/carbohydrate ratios, biodiversity, organic ecosystems, and sustainable production/harvesting are all detrimental activities, that provide nothing for societal development.

      Lat's focus our current efforts on more formidable items, like Call of Duty and Guitar Hero.

      Perhaps you haven't experienced a "modern" physical education class, where table tennis is an optional activity for those who feel tennis is too taxing on their obese frames. I'm not exaggerating here. I've seen it.

      Culinary arts is now relegated to 8 weeks instruction in middle school.

      October 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  6. SC Steele

    The food stamp program needs to be re-vamped. Just like non-food items cannot be (or should not be) purchased with EBT benefits, so should cookies, sodas,pre-packaged dinner entrees,ice creams,popsicles,potato chips, all sugar cereals whether name brand or store brand and candy. There are probably dozens more I could name but these are the ones that come to mind now. If children are not taught to eat in a healthy manner in the home, it will be dang near impossible to teach that in a school cafeteria setting. There should be no ala carte dining in any school unless that school has a high concentration of practicing vegetarians or vegans.

    October 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Reply
    • justpeachy

      I couldn't agree more!!!

      October 4, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  7. Pat of California

    Maybe the solution is to offer more nutrition education to the kids and they will in turn bring up the subject at home. I don't remember me or my kids ever getting a course in nutrition in the elementary grades, where learning about eating healthy should start. In fact, students go through school with most of them not knowing how food affects their bodies and organs. Heck, some medical doctors don't know enough about nutrition to give their patients the right advice about their health. Education is the answer, not offering farm programs which cannot work.

    October 2, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Reply
  8. Jaime

    I am a teacher. I witness what the kids prefer to eat in their lunch, and what is thrown away. Despite being some of the most economically disadvantaged students in my state, the kids throw away SO MUCH- and it's usually the healthiest stuff. In many cases, it's the healthiest foods the students are not used to. Whether it's because of welfare programs the parents use, leading them to stretch those dollars to buy foods that are processed and cheaper OR it's because the parents were not raised with an appreciation for healthful foods and therefore do not promote that thinking at home- CHILDREN ARE NOT COMING FROM HOME ENVIRONMENTS THAT PREPARE AND CONSUME THE MOST NUTRITIOUS FOODS. Teachers and schools can do only so much; a large part of a child's education and lifestyle begin in the home.

    October 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  9. witch1031

    Alice Waters is a tool. Anthony Bourdain called her out for her BS in his latest book and he was dead right.

    October 1, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  10. Ric

    Some seem to be criticizing Alice Waters for stating the obvious (i.e, school food is usually not healthy) and then for not having a solution. I don't think you should kill the messenger when the news is bad, even if the news is unwelcome. In my humble opinion, the solutions must be local. If the parents don't care what their children eat, so be it; I just don't want to hear any whining when their children develop diseases which could be diet related (e.g., type 1 diabetes) or are overweight. The menus at most schools are cost-driven and school boards go with the cheapest bidder for contract reasons. I don't think it's too much of a leap to assume that the contractors are going to look for whatever way is available to make the most profit. The solution is cheap food with little nutritional value and high fat content. If we don't feed children nutritious food, how can we expect them to perform in an optimal manner? I would postulate that there is a relationship between their food and test scores. (I'm also of the opinion that parents, not teachers, are more to blame for declining test scores. I would also speculate that the parents' attitude toward learning has a great deal to do with test scores,)

    Back to the subject at hand. I would heartily recommend that anyone interested in this topic rent two movies: Food, Inc. and Super Size Me. This will give you a better appreciation of how food is prepared in America. If you really want to know more, go to Peta.org and see what the inside of a farm factory looks like and how humanely animals are slaughtered. This will very likely interfere with the next BLT you attempt to ingest.

    On a last note, I am appalled at how little is taught to children on the subject of nutrition. If you think about it, each child will probably eat between 700 – 1100 meals a year (assuming they eat 2 to 3 meals a day. If you multiply that times the average life expectancy, the number of meals they will consume is probably over 50,000. I would think they should be well equipped to decide what to put into their mouths; I am afraid they are not.

    October 1, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Reply
    • Dawn

      You had me in agreement until you brought up PeTA.
      Eco-terrorists are still terrorists no matter what they're defending.

      October 2, 2010 at 11:04 am | Reply
    • Kevin

      I agree... I was with you right until you brought up PETA.
      Try looking up the horrific facts on the PETA run animal shelter (actually, slaughterhouse for pets would be a better term!) and then see if you ever trust anything that comes out of these hypocrites mouths ever again.
      For those of you with weak stomachs, the cleaned-up, gore-free and condensed version is that one of the founders of PETA is a crazy lady who thinks that all domesticated animals are "unnatural" and should be killed off. She's made it her personal crusade to kill off as many as possible (thousands per year since the late '70's) and her "shelter" has used sneaky and dishonest tactics including outright lying to get pets away from their owners and put them to sleep (according to reports, usually after telling the owners that they already have a new family lined up for the pet!)
      According to their own numbers, PETA kills off 99.37% of all healthy animals received- as opposed to the SPCA national averages of 50% for Dogs and 70% for cats.
      PETA has also issued official statements condemning "no-kill" shelters. (look it up for yourself!)

      October 3, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Reply
      • Ric

        I am not advocating your joining PETA or saying that everything they do is beyond reproach. However, there are several videos at their site which show how "humanely" we treat animals. If you don't like the reference to PETA, ignore it. If you want a more sanitized version, watch the movie "Temple Grandin". (I don't believe that the movie is too graphic, but it will give you an idea of how beef is prepared,)

        If you prefer, read almost any book on vegatarianism or veganism and you will generally find statistics and descriptions of how meat is prepared. This will make you cringe. If you have been following the news stories about antibiotics in our food and the FDA's response, you have seen the tip of the iceberg. (Did you know that about 40% of all the antibiotics in this country are used in our farm factory system?) Some dismiss vegetarians and vegans as "kooks" or "crazy". If for no other reason, look at what you are putting in your mouth from purely a selfish viewpoint Ignore completely the ethical or religious reasons. If you're not watching what goes into your body. you are running the risk of a shorter life of less quality. If that's what you want, keep eating unconsciously. And one can apply what I just said to our schools. Our children cannot be expected to perform at an optimal level if we continue feeding them a fat-, salt- and sugar-rich diet. Stand in front of a bank and vending machines sometime and just look at all of the food choices and asking yourself: "Which of these is nutritious?" (If you're lucky, you might find some dry roasted, unsalted peanuts.)

        If you do nothing else, try to find the nutritional information the next time you go to a McDonald's. They sometimes have a nutritional breakdown chart or pamphlet. Frankly, I am dismayed that parents take their children here. But the parents are at a severe disadvantage given the billions (yes, billions) that McDonald's spends advertising to children. Some parents take their children here merely to get the toys. What a great reason to buy "food"!

        October 4, 2010 at 10:48 am | Reply
    • justpeachy

      I was with you until the Supersize Me, which is a completely biased documentary, and PETA is a organization of lunatics. And

      October 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • justpeachy

      Oh enough about the stupid toys in Happy Meals, they are not the problem nor are toys the reason kids are fed so much fast food, it's lazy, permissive parents who give into their childs every whim.

      October 4, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  11. Dawn

    lol, I love how people like to fight this like it's the freaking Nazis or something.
    She's talking about growing things, people! Y'know, the most basic, fundamental, necessary process in the ENTIRE WORLD. "Oh no! My baby ain't gonna grow no potato in no dirt! Gimme them Doritos! Our children need to be lernin when they ain't on the Playstation!"

    This convenience culture really pisses me off anymore. If it doesn't come directly from Uncle Sam or the grocery store, then it's somehow below people to pursue it. Someone suggests doing something healthy, teaching healthy skills and behaviors, and people try to demonize her for it? She might not have all of the logistics planned out to the T, but she's doing a whole hell of a lot better than any of you naysayers.

    Your kid would be really lucky to be involved in a program like this.
    But I guess it's easier and 'cheaper' to keep them fat and stupid. Can't have that apple rolling too far from the tree!

    October 1, 2010 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • Alison

      Did it occur to you that maybe the people you are referring to shun farming because they don't know anything about it? And maybe they work 3 or 4 jobs to keep their family from starving (losing their house, etc) and can't make the time to learn about how to "grow no potato in no dirt" or whatever that derogatory statement was supposed to mean.

      Tolerance, dear Dawn. It's all about tolerance.

      October 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • Dawn

      Ignorance is no excuse for the way people are lashing out at this woman. No one is saying that people have to grow stuff at home, they're talking about growing food at school. That's the entire point of the program, to try to reduce this kind of ignorance. Being able to grow food at home is just a bonus (which, by the way, just takes soil, water, sun, and a seed- isn't rocket science).

      Ignorance isn't something that should ever be tolerated.
      Hence the program!

      October 2, 2010 at 11:03 am | Reply
      • JTF

        Growing food "just takes soil, water, sun, and a seed"? Having been a farmer in the past, I'm falling all over laughing at YOUR ignorance, Dawn. What, you've grown a few radishes in the backyard? Do you have ANY notion of how much land and how much work would be involved to grow enough food to feed a school full of kids for an entire academic year? When are the kiddies going to weed, cultivate, fertilize, mulch and otherwise tend their gardens? What about northern schools where the kids are on vacation for most of the growing season and the ground is frozen a good part of the school year? Maybe you think the schools should produce their own dairy products too. Let the kids witness what has to happen before milk is available – the dairy animal must be bred and then give birth. Perhaps they'll be able to see a birth where there are complications and the choice must be made between the mother and the calf/kid! Then they can learn how to milk the dairy animal and homogenize and pasteurize their own milk! Then they can launch on making butter and cheese. To keep a school full of kids in milk will require quite a dairying operation. When they'll get around to academics, I don't know, but they'll learn what time consuming and backbreaking (to say nothing of heartbreaking when it takes more than "soil, water, sun, and a seed" to successfully farm) work it takes to bring food to the table.

        Really, Dawn, perhaps you have a little kitchen garden – perhaps you even garden on a grander scale and preserve food for the non-growing season. To presume that a school is going to be able to grow sufficient food to feed all the kids lunch every school day is not only absurd, it is insane. Sure, let the kids find out how vegetables are grown, but to expect the student population to farm on a sustainable scale – for this is what is being proposed – is ridiculous. From what I have seen posted on Internet forums, virtual illiteracy is a terrible problem in the USA. It would be much better if people accepted the fact that the schools are failing to do what they are meant to do – educate – and get their drawers in a twist over that instead of fussing about school lunches. Don't like the school lunches? Brown bag it and have control over what your kids eat. Don't expect the schools to teach farming, or a bunch of kids to produce enough food to make lunch with for nine months! And don't twitter on about growing food being a simple matter of "soil, water, sun, and a seed."

        October 2, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Reply
      • copout

        Yes, it's hard!
        So lets forget all about it! There's certainly no way we could do something that's hard, or different from anything else we do!

        Kids have plenty of time at school when they could be out cultivating a garden. They can be out cultivating a garden while learning about, say, biology. Or chemistry. Or home economics! I can't even remember most of the classes from when I was in elementary school, because they were mostly WORTHLESS.

        And yes, it takes a little more than seed, sun, whatever. But not much. They need plenty of time out there if they're going to keep a good garden, to keep weeds down, fertilize, water. But say you have a class of 20 kids, out for an hour, maybe 6 classes in a day? You can get quite a bit done, and they still won't have to miss the all-important class that they're going to forget in 5 minutes anyway. It's not going to be perfect, but it's still better than chicken nuggets. But I guess it's better to keep kids separated from their food. Don't teach them where milk comes from, heavens forbid! Much better to keep them eating things they don't know about, like ground up fish and chickens and cows, and let them find out about it later. Also, no one ever said that it was necessary for kids to drink dairy, or have cheese. That's kind of something we put in there because it's easy to come by, and because lobbyists want it there. Not because they need it, by any stretch of the imagination.

        But by all means, kids are too stupid and unproductive to be able to do anything but sit on ass in a classroom all day while someone who barely graduated high school tries to teach them that Columbus discovered America. Don't bother trying to fix the problems, it's much easier to blame people for things going wrong than to take them into our hands and make them right.

        And YOU wouldn't sound quite so absurd if this hasn't already shown that it CAN work (at least to a very good degree), and IS beneficial.

        October 3, 2010 at 10:50 am | Reply
      • Cali

        america keeps getting more and more useless. worthless. fat. dumb. entitled.
        Sad.

        October 3, 2010 at 11:24 am | Reply
  12. RabiaDiluvio

    Appleton Central Alternative Charter High School in Wisconsin did it right–they gave student nutrition a radical overhaul and the benefits they have been seeing in student achievement and attitude are amazing.

    Elsewhere in the country the issue is that they can't get any 2 people to agree on what constitutes a healthful lunch. They look at the USDA pyramid (a joke and everyone knows it) and aside from that there are no real guidelines except a vague concept of lowering fat content and including "whole grains." There really isn't a push to make the food more nutritious so much as less bad and the result is idiotic at best.

    October 1, 2010 at 7:22 am | Reply
    • TheLeftCoast

      Elsewhere in the country, they're getting it right, too:
      http://www.revfoods.com/

      October 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Reply
    • JTF

      Thank you for your words about the USDA pyramid, which is an absurdity – the problem is, a lot of people don't think it is, including dieticians. Far too many people are trying to follow the durn thing, overloading themselves with so many carbs a day that it's no wonder obesity and diabetes II are on the rise.

      October 2, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  13. bobincal

    "Some people need facts and numbers." No kidding Alice! Its called scientific validation.

    September 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      Thank you!

      October 3, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  14. TheLeftCoast

    Cal just finished a 3-year study about the efficacy of the program:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/23/MNBI1FHT33.DTL

    September 30, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Reply
  15. Ken Rich

    Alice Waters sure has some good ideas, if you're a fabulously rich person in California. Where, praytell, is my kid's school in New Jersey supposed to find the 'local farmers' in January, when it's 25-degrees outside with 6 inches of snow cover? Oh right, the school is supposed to feed the students from its well-stocked root cellar. I consider it a victory if my 8-year old will eat sweet potatoes once a month. Good luck getting him to eat them every day for the entire winter. I won't even get into the absurdity of suggesting local 'ranchers' in the urban/suburban Northeast. Once again, it must be nice to live in sunny California like Alice, sleeping on a mattress stuffed with money while a servant peels you a (free-range, locally-grown, organic) grape.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • Amy

      While I agree that it is not entirely realistic, your comment about " I consider it a victory if my 8-year old will eat sweet potatoes once a month" really hurt the rest of your post in my eyes. I have 5 children, and I do not allow them to be so picky that it would be a victory to get them to eat root vegetables once per month. Children are only picky when they are allowed to be. Everyone has foods they do and do not like, but "picky" children who will hardly touch vegetables only do so because they are brought up being allowed to be that way. You are the parent, not the child. Don't let your child make the rules!

      September 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Reply
      • Alison

        God Bless You for saying it and saying it well! I'm behind you 100%. I've seen parents who were allowed to be picky eaters as children, then permitted their children to be picky because they think it's the norm. Tsk, tsk. It's not normal! Your child doesn't know from birth what's good to eat and what isn't! It comes from the example parents set. Set a bad example and there's a high probability that your child will pick up your bad habits.

        October 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Reply
      • justpeachy

        Well said, my brother and I were told we weren't in a restaurant and that what my mother cooked and put on the table was the only option.

        October 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Reply
      • a girl

        AMEN, Amy!!!

        October 4, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • s

      Amy is right. If your kids are that picky you are doing a bad job. You probably shouldn't have reproduced in the first place if you allow your children to poisin themselves the way you do. Do them a favor and put them up for adoption.

      October 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Reply
    • JTF

      Do your picky eight year old a favor: offer him nothing but nutritious foods, including sweet potatoes. Clear your house of chips, pretzels, processed foods, flavored drinks, soda, candy, commercial baked goods and all the other garbage that people feed their kids nowadays. Not trips to McDonald's or Krispy Kreme, or all the other purveyors of junk. Nothing but lean meats, basic dairy products, healthy carbs (no white bread) and fresh fruit and well prepared vegetables. Yes, he may snivel and whine and say he won't eat. He may turn up his nose for a while and put on a scene. Hold fast. When he is hungry enough, he will eat, and he will find that these nutritious foods actually taste good. Picky eaters are not born, they are created by their parents, who are too busy trying to be their child's friend to tend to the unglamorous side of parenting – seeing to it that your child learns good habits, even if it makes the child unhappy temporarily. Your boy won't starve if you hold fast to the decision to feed him nothing but healthy food – and he will be thankful to you one day, when he can understand that being allowed to eat garbage is abuse, not a parent's insistence that a healthy diet be maintained in the home.

      October 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  16. Kay

    tiredofcopouts. The school does have a responsibility to OFFER a decent meal at lunch time for purchase. I declined the $30 per week hot lunch offered at my child's pre-k and instead send him with a bag lunch every day but for those paying for the hot lunch, they deserve to be fed a decent meal. Not what amounts to fair food. Just like you don't want schools to baby sit the children, I should not have to attend with my child, holding his hand, to be sure the school isn't putting him in harm's way or offering him unhealthy choices. Isn't that a part of teaching? Helping children make healthy decisions?

    September 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  17. AnnBChrist

    Growing up in an underdeveloped country as children we were given a small bowl of split pea soup, protein in a readily accessible form like a hardboiled egg and a small piece of toast for breakfast or lunch (sometimes an apple wedge or small fruit was added).
    It satisfied our hunger, was tasty, nutritious and we didn't feel hungry again until school was dismissed. The whole meal could not have cost more than about 50cents per child even in today's terms.

    When we arrived in the States I was surprised that the school meals, while being much more flamboyant (mac n cheese, hot dogs, scooter pies and milk (for 25 cents extra)), and tasty didn't really satisfy our hunger throughout the day and they probably cost quite a bit more. What those school meals did was make us want to eat more food, probably due to the tantalizing salty/sweet tastes.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  18. tiredofcopouts

    How about parents start feeding their own children and let schools do what they were intended to do... teach and not babysit! Why is it left to other people and the government to step in and cover what is really a basic obligation of bringing a child into this world?

    September 30, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Reply
    • AnnBChrist

      most schools in other countries do provide meals for students

      September 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Reply
    • Chip

      tiredofcopouts – I totally agree with your sentiment that parents should be responsible for their own kids. The problem, which is far broader than school lunches, is: what do you do about kids whose parents are unable or unwilling to care for them? Your declaration, however true, doesn't address that problem. Doing nothing is exactly the right message to send to parents (and it might even get some of them to improve their parenting), but it will leave many kids behind through no fault of their own. And their problems, eventually, become everyone's problems...

      September 30, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  19. Julie

    This interview sounds great but not realistic. Eating local foods from the farmer's, ranchers and dairy's is very expensive – where would that money come from? Most schools don't have kitchens so the lunches would have to be outsourced and delivered to the schools – what does that do for the environment, and what is it saying to the kids? It does sound great and at the same time far-fetched. Yes, something has to be done...at some point there has to be a realistic voice and real changes made.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Reply
    • Julie

      http://www.inspiredhomechef.com

      September 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Reply
    • TheLeftCoast

      This is a replicable healthy food lunch program, launched in Berkeley, now going national:
      http://www.revfoods.com/

      September 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  20. bobincal

    " they don’t have to pay for it". Well somone does. Alice was a wingnut when I knew her in 1961 and her years in Berzerkely have hardly improved her thinking.

    September 30, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  21. Linda

    School kids are a captive audience. Schools should stop offering greasy salty burgers, pizza, nachos, etc. Start offering a salad bar, grilled or baked chicken and fish..C'mon, it's not rocket science. And school administrators and teachers are acting in loco parentis (in place of parents) during the shool day. Why can't they improve student eating habits the same way prents do–by not offering unhealthy choices. Kids who really want junk food can still have it–just not during school hours. OK, this is probably going to cost a little more than the current way of doing things, but it's an investment for all of us that will show real dividends in lower rates of childhood obesity and the accompanying diseases, and better learning environments for kids.

    September 30, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  22. justpeachy

    Where will the money come from to implement this wonderous plan? They have already cut most of extra curricular programs from the public schools and besides most parents couldn't care less about what their kids are eating at school. If parents were that concernced about the food in the cafeteria and didn't agree with the menu/choices etc. they would send their kids to school with a brown bag lunch.

    September 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  23. done

    Alice Waters is a national treasure.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • Valerie

      This message has been brought to you by Alice Waters herself.

      September 30, 2010 at 11:57 am | Reply
      • justpeachy

        hehehe

        September 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • robot chop

      i like chef waters quite a bit. but does jamie oliver's food revolution ring a bell?

      October 1, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Reply
  24. english

    It always amazes me that the writers here don't know the difference between they're and their. Maybe they were too focused on their school lunch and not focused enough on school.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • grammar

      Exactly. At that point, I stopped taking the article seriously.

      September 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Reply
      • JTF

        That's where I stopped paying attention as well – just as I stopped paying attention during the video when Ms. Waters referred to "the Presinint of the United States". My own grammar and syntax are often far from precise, but when very basic rules of spelling and word use, which used to be taught by the second grade, are broken in an article written by a professional journalist, I'm outta here. The same for someone who considers herself a spokesperson for her cause. Try not to sound like a word-slurring drunk, Ms. Waters, and I might just listen to what you have to say. You don't have to mimic Sir John Gielgud, just get the marbles out of your beak!

        October 2, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Reply
    • Sue

      Like the comment below that reads "Eating local foods from the farmer's, ranchers and dairy's".

      The epidemic of pluralizing nouns with an apostrophe-s is driving me crazy....

      October 1, 2010 at 10:23 am | Reply
      • Augusta

        It's because English has become a second language in our country, having been replaced by texting and lack of grammar. And yes, apostrophes drive me crazy, as well. Not everything is about possessive case!

        October 1, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Reply
    • a girl

      You do know that Ms. Waters didn't write this, right? A CNN clerk did. The video is of Ms. Waters speaking. A clerk at CNN transcribed it.

      October 4, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  25. JC

    I want to point out that "many" is a foolish and relative term. In my experience, virtually every school I have attended, visited, or at which I was employed had marginal lunches at best in terms of calories, fat content, nutritional value, sugar content, and especially salt content. More than one district had declared ketchup to be a vegetable. The lowest bidder supplies the food, and the school districts find a way to justify their actions under federal mandate; a simple process, since there is very little oversight at the individual school level. Some districts have even prevented cafeterias from adopting in-budget improvements or alternatives to the food presented, fearing suit under the non-competition clauses in the bidder's contracts. Maybe things in Maryland are good, but the rest of the country is a cafeteria jungle; or maybe, the rest of the country is a cafeteria jungle in part because conditions in Maryland are so good?

    September 30, 2010 at 10:55 am | Reply
  26. jay

    No wonder this country is falling behind the rest of the world. So many people, like the ones posting on this article, shoot down every idea to better our society and fix its problems. This country has become a bunch of fat, can't do, intellectually lazy whiners.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:35 am | Reply
    • Chuck

      It didn't strike me so much as an actual idea but as a sermon. I don't disagree with Alice Waters in principle at all – but how do you implement this? I want everyone everywhere to eat great healthy food. So what?

      October 1, 2010 at 1:52 am | Reply
    • Rick

      IMHO Alice Waters is is nutcase. But being charitable, put your money where your mouth is and don't just SAY something should be done, DO something to make it happen. And, yes, I do know that she has worked with local schools to develope such programs. But on a one-school-here one-school-there approach. Try scaling that to a whole district. Try having sustainable local foods where there are no farms nearby. You get tired of whiners, I get tired of people who want to tell the rest of the world what to do without offering ANY concrete ideas on how to acomplish it. Here is my great vision for the future, YOU go do it! What arrogance!

      October 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      You simply wave a magic wand and say "bippity-boppity-boo!" and all these thing just magically happen without the need for money or infrastructure....I thought everyone kew that! (/end sarcasm)
      Heck.. I'd be happy if our schools simply managed to actually teach the kinds how to read, write and do arithmetic, let alone anything else.
      A local suburban highschool here in the Houston area is graduating students- including at least one "honors" student- that are functionally illiterate (as evidenced by the fact that so far in the past 18 months I've had three of them that needed someone to help them to fill out standard employment forms to work as a waiter/waitress here at my restaurant because they didn't understand the long words like "compensation", "mandatory" or "appearance"...needless to say, they didn't last long)

      October 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  27. TobyK

    Okay ... it sounds very nice. Does she have a plan as to HOW to pull this off? No? I thought not.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:12 am | Reply
  28. JR

    Alice Waters likes the sound of her own pompous voice. Nice restaurant but she should stick to cooking eggs in shovels.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:02 am | Reply
  29. The_Mick

    I would point out that MANY school systems have first-class nutrition through their school lunch programs and have had them for decades. One example is Anne Arundel County, MD, centered on Annapolis. All 12 public (about 2000-student) high schools and all of their feeder middle and elementary schools are controlled by ONE nutrition board, which determines the meals, determines the design of the kitchens, etc, and orders the food for the whole county. In the 90's, spent time at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and their nutrition researchers were quite pleased with that school system's nutrition plan.

    September 30, 2010 at 7:35 am | Reply
    • Dave_R

      Ah yes, the great AACO school lunch program, in which I observed students purchasing cheesesteak subs, hold the veggies, Hawaiian Punch, and deep-fried potato rounds dredged in ketchup and mayonnaise.

      There are healthy alternatives, of course, but with the luxury of buying al la carte, many students choose the less healthy, and might I add, less expensive options.

      Of course, you don't have to take my word for it... Take a tour of the cafeteria at Glen Burnie High to see for yourselves.

      And CNN is most welcome to document the trip.

      September 30, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Reply
    • RabiaDiluvio

      This is an example of a good lunch program? Dude, I had more than enough experience with the food served through those cafeterias to tell you that you could get less trans fat at McDonalds. The only school I have seen do it right is the Appleton Central Alternative Charter High School in Wisconsin. By removing crap from the menu they saw a radical improvement in the behavior of the students.

      October 1, 2010 at 7:14 am | Reply
    • Jennifer

      School lunches are nutritionally well rounded on paper when you count it in a protein, carb, fruit, sugar, dairy etc aspect. Yet when it comes to actual servings it is very interesting what certain state funded nutritional programs consider to be a complete meal or even the items they qualify in certain categories. Ketchup for instance in certain schools is considered a serving of vegetables. Serving a small first grader and large fourth grader the same size muffin that is about 1/4 of the average dunkin donuts size muffin is considered a meal. If you are given a piece of bread with your yogurt for breakfast that meets the carb requirement for that meal. Also a serving of juice is considered a fruit when it is very clear that no fruit juice packs the same nutritional value as an actual piece of fruit. There are many things that are suspicious about school lunch. Meals should be health and enjoyable so instead of cutting back serving size maybe uping the quality of ingredients so that students can have a decent meal that is nutritional and not go hungry. Its the difference between giving a child an entire turkey burger, steamed broccoli and some apple sauce as opposed to serving them 1/4 of a big mac and a handful of fries- even though they both pack the same caloric and fat intake per-say which teaches the child the right choices versus limiting quantity....just from a teachers perspective.

      October 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Reply
      • Hometown Postville

        I agree Jennifer. I'm in Iowa and although the new "Healthy Kids Act" has it's good points, portion size leaves a lot to be desired. In many cases, the school lunch is all the nutrition these kids are going to get all day. In our high school, the result has just been that kids are bringing junk to school regardless instead of purchasing it in the machines like they used to do. Cooking from scratch is economical for ingredients but more money is needed to pay more cooks to make it that way. It makes me sick to see kids ooowing and aaahing over things like plastic wrapped muffins because they have nothing better to compare them to. Most kids nowadays barely know how to make instant pudding and even more would never think about touching fresh fruits and veggies unless it was drowning in high fat dips. It all boils down to funding. The healthy kids act is just a masquerade for downsizing USDA school food budgets!!

        October 1, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Reply

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