Our September book club selection is Food for All: Fixing School Food in America by Janet Poppendieck.
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 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