Waste Factor

1356 Words6 Pages
The National School Lunch program spent over ten billion dollars providing school meals for the health and well-being of our nation’s children in 2011. The Washoe County School District (WCSD) estimates they will spend nearly 26 million dollars this year to support the Nutrition Services program. The new federally authorized lunch provision, entitled the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act has an intended ideal to make our school children healthier. Under it, the students of our community should benefit from the healthier and nutritious options proposed. However, from my experience as a WCSD kitchen manager for the past decade, I unfortunately see the reality of the program is quite different. Nearly half of the school child’s food ultimately culminates in the trash. The students are not eating the food as prescribed by the new menu; they are throwing it away. At times, I look around the cafeteria and wonder, am I feeding our communities children or am I contributing to our community landfill. In an attempt to create healthier and more calorie-balanced meals for students, the federal government and the school district has caused environmental, social, and nutritional dilemmas. One is compelling children to accept food without prior nutritional education, and by not allowing enough time to consume the food provided. Another issue is, by limiting the caloric intake for combating childhood obesity; the government has disregarded the needs of students that do not require calorie restrictions. Thirdly, there are the environmental issues instigated by dumping our waste resources in landfills instead of utilizing compost. The future of a successful and stable school lunch program depends on a functional change. The mandated methods we uti... ... middle of paper ... ...dren watch their older siblings throw away entire meals, their parents’ waste food at home and are following suit themselves in the contributed waste. The issue lies in a community that has failed to recognize the value of food, and lack of nutrition education. Children are more likely to value food if they have a part in the growing or preparation of it. To some children “food does not come from the ground, it arrives magically in bright frozen packages” (Bloom). Show children through agricultural education how thy can live healthier lives; rather than forcing them to eat a certain way during the hours of school. Educated children become knowledgeable adults, which then become health-promoting parents. By doing this, we are creating a generation of healthy adults who value food and nutrition. It is a beautiful cycle for the nation’s future of health and nutrition.
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