Aug 13 2014

Cafeteria Man, Tony Geraci, On the Importance of Healthy School Lunches and Public Education

In most public schools in the US, particularly in poor areas, children rely on school lunches for their only full meal of the day. A typical school lunch can consist of previously frozen chicken nuggets, a packet of Cheetos, and a sugary soda. But, over the years, communities began transforming their food systems, making the connections between personal health, the environment, and agriculture. And, some schools realized that school lunches provided teachable moments for children, in addition to an opportunity to improve child health.

To that end, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed into law four years ago, rewriting the nutritional guidelines for public school meals. The argument against the law, made primarily by the School Nutrition Association (SNA) and its supporters in Congress, was that students do not like healthy food.

Two new studies have proven otherwise, finding that kids by and large actually like to eat real food. Now, as Congress gets ready to reauthorize the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, the SNA, which has doubled its lobbying dollars, hopes the new standards will be rolled back.

GUEST: Tony Geraci is the Executive Director of the Memphis City Schools Nutrition Services. He is also the subject of a documentary called Cafeteria Man which profiles his tenure as the Baltimore City Public Schools’ nutrition director. Cafeteria Man will be showing on some PBS stations and is available on DVD

Cafeteria Man airs on Tuesday August 12 on KLCS in Los Angeles and on Sunday, August 24 on KVIE in Sacramento.
Visit cafeteriaman.com for updated broadcast listings and to purchase DVDs.

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