Slow Food Seattle Books: September 8 – Food for All: Fixing School Food in America by Janet Poppendieck

Food for All: Fixing School Food in AmericaOur September book club selection is Food for All: Fixing School Food in America by Janet Poppendieck. RSVP on Facebook too!

We’ll be meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 8th. Roy Street Coffee and Tea is located at 700 Broadway East. Limited free parking is available in the lot below. This will be an active, open conversation and all are welcome – please come even if you haven’t had a chance to finish the book!

How did our children end up eating nachos, pizza, and tater tots for lunch? Taking us on an eye-opening journey into the nation’s school kitchens, this superbly researched book is the first to provide a comprehensive assessment of school food in the United States. Janet Poppendieck explores the deep politics of food provision from multiple perspectives–history, policy, nutrition, environmental sustainability, taste, and more.

Drawing from extensive interviews with officials, workers, students, and activists, she discusses the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs and turns a critical eye on the “competitive foods” sold in cafeterias. How did we get into the absurd situation in which nutritionally regulated meals compete with fast food items and snack foods loaded with sugar, salt, and fat? What is the nutritional profile of the federal meals? How well are they reaching students who need them?

Opening a window onto our culture as a whole, Poppendieck reveals the forces–the financial troubles of schools, the commercialization of childhood, the reliance on market models–that are determining how lunch is served. She concludes with a sweeping vision for change: fresh, healthy food for all children as a regular part of their school day.

Janet Poppendieck

Janet Poppendieck

Janet Poppendieck is Professor of Sociology at Hunter College, City University of New York. She is the author of Free for All: Fixing School Food in America; (University of California Press, 2010); Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement (Penguin, 1999); and Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression (Rutgers University Press, 1985).

“In her extraordinarily well-thought-out, beautifully written, sympathetic, and compelling book, Jan Poppendieck makes clear that Free for All has two meanings: how pressures to reduce the cost of school meals put our children’s health at risk, and how best to solve this problem–universal school meals. Anyone who reads this book will find the present school lunch situation beyond unacceptable. Free for All is a call for action on behalf of America’s school kids, one that we all need to join. I will be using this book in all my classes.”–Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics

It’s Time for Lunch in Seattle


Dear Slow Food Seattle Members and Supporters of Slow Food USA,

Remember this date: September 7, 2009. We’ll look back on that day as the moment when people across America took a stand about the food our children eat at school.

As you know, children who grow up enjoying food that is both delicious and good for them learn healthy eating habits that last throughout their lives. Those habits can start at school – but only if we give schools the resources to serve real food instead of the overly processed fast food that endangers their health.

To make that happen, our leaders in Congress need to hear that when it comes to our children, change can’t wait.

That’s why we’re organizing a National Eat-In for Labor Day, Sept. 7, 2009. On that day, people across America will gather with their neighbors for public potlucks that send our nation’s leaders a clear message: It’s time to provide our children with real food at school.

To get Congress’ attention, we’re going to need the help of all kinds of people: parents, teachers, community leaders, kids and people who’ve never done anything like this before. We’re going to need everyone to pitch in.

A toddler visits the Orca K-8 school garden in South Seattle

A toddler visits the Orca K-8 school garden in South Seattle

But the people we need most are Slow Food members and supporters. You’re the front line of the food movement, and we’re counting on you to tell your friends, to contact your legislators and to organize Eat-Ins for Sept. 7.

Please be sure to communicate with Slow Food Seattle leadership at info@slowfoodseattle.org and let us know if you need help promoting your event.  If nothing else, please tell us about your plans.  We want Seattle to come to the table on this one! 

Visit this link to get started:
http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/campaign/time_for_lunch

The Slow Food USA campaign web site will guide you through the process, and our campaign team is here to provide support. We’ll give you everything you need to get involved, starting today.

And we mean today—because with the President calling for health care reform and the First Lady teaching kids to grow food on the White House Lawn, we’ve got an opening to pass legislation that gives kids the opportunity to grow up healthy.

This fall, Congress will be debating whether to update the Child Nutrition Act, which is the law that determines what kind of food kids eat at school. By giving schools the resources to serve real food, we can make sure that the legacy we’re leaving our children is a future filled with opportunity, security and good health.

We can only do it if we act now. It’s time to get real food into schools!

For more information, and to join our campaign, go to www.slowfoodusa.org/timeforlunch