Did you know that school lunches were started as a hunger relief and feeding program for kids? Did you also know that North Carolina is one of the few states that do not provide any money for childhood nutrition or that the school lunch program is also tied to a commodity program for farmers?
Changing the school lunch to make it healthier is a surprisingly complex, controversial topic because there is no easy solution. It is an issue of money, history, policy, and children’s dietary choices.
If people are serious about doing something about improving the nutrition in schools, there are steps that can be taken at a local level. We can make an impact inexpensively on things like putting nutritional standards on items available a la carte or making a commitment to having your child buy lunch at school if it is healthy.
On November 10th Advocates for Health in Action is hosting two screenings of Lunch Line, a documentary that follows six kids in Chicago all the way to Washington DC in their effort to change their school lunch. I like this movie because it tells both sides of the story, and it shows people that if you want to change school lunches that there is a lot that needs to be done. It is my hope that this movie screening will give us a place to start having a productive conversation to help make school lunches healthier.
As an added bonus, Lunch Line’s the co-producer Michael Graziano will be available to lead a discussion following each screening. I had the opportunity to meet Michael earlier this year at a conference and was really impressed with his breadth of knowledge about the topic. He and his co-producer managed to portray complicated issue in a way that is entertaining and educational.
Purchase tickets by clicking here.
Laura Aiken is a community health specialist with WakeMed and is director of Advocates for Health in Action.