A Film That Can Help Reform School Food ProgramsPosted May 23rd, 2013 by Margaret Poindexter
We all know that childhood obesity numbers are staggering. But just how staggering are they?
One out of every three kids in the U.S are now classified as overweight or obese! And one of the most astonishing contributors is the food served in many school cafeterias.
What does it take to reform school meals so that they are more nutritious and tasty for our kids, and also more sustainable for our communities?
Cafeteria Man is a 65-minute documentary about one school district’s move toward a healthier and more sustainable food program. The film is an inspiring portrayal of the possibilities, as well as a realistic view of the challenges of transforming school food, and the importance of local leadership from parents, students and others to overcome these challenges.
Cafeteria Man follows chef Tony Geraci’s ambitious efforts in Baltimore City Public Schools, a large urban district that serves 83,000 students. Responding to student complaints about the unappealing, pre-plated food being served, Baltimore hired Geraci as Food and Nutrition Director of the city’s schools. Chef Geraci launched a sweeping, multi-faceted plan to transform not just what students eat, but their whole relationship to food. His vision included student-designed meals, locally sourced foods, nutrition education in the classroom, and school vegetable gardens.
The film traces Geraci’s reform efforts in Baltimore over the course of two years. Viewers see him working with a broad base of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and local farmers. They witness what it takes to get local produce and freshly prepared food on school plates. And they watch as inner city youth plant and harvest vegetables at the district’s new 33-acre teaching farm, and develop job skills through a new culinary training program.
Specialty Studios invites you to host a screening of Cafeteria Man to spark collective discussion about what’s possible in YOUR community and to inspire local change. Organizing a screening event can help bring together the different constituencies you need to make change in school food programs — parents, students, sympathetic staff, childhood health organizations and local farmers.
Learn more about the film and how to host a screening in your community at www.cafeteriaman.com.
Use the free downloadable event & school action guide and publicity materials to help you organize an effective screening, and find the resources & tools you need to radically improve the quality of food served in your school or district.
Add HEALTHY school food alternatives, and even school gardens, and guess what?
Not only will our children’s health improve but, according to the California Department of Education, over 77 percent of students in environment-based education programs, such as school gardens, scored higher than their peers across all standardized tests, had higher grade point averages, and greater self-confidence and social skills.