Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Schools must lead healthy foods effort

Here's a smart, inspired idea to create some jobs through a National Culinary Corps to improve school meals for kids.

However, we have a friendly amendment. If the National Culinary Corps is established, workers should get real Living Wage pay, and not Americorps stipend wages. Better to cook on your feet, then beg on your knees.

We also applaud the loan forgiveness idea, as many students have been enticed to pay top dollar for culinary schools and colleges, only to be bitterly disappointed with low wages and crappy working conditions. That would not fly in a fair economy.

From the San Francisco Chronicle

Schools must lead healthy foods effort
By Ann Cooper,Beth Collins
Sunday, August 30, 2009

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that of the children born in the year 2000, 1 out of 3 Caucasians and 2 out of 3 African Americans and Hispanics will contract diabetes in their lifetimes. As a result, that generation will be the first in our country's history to die at a younger age than their parents. Time magazine reported recently that as a nation we are spending more than $147 billion a year on diet-related illness, much of it attributable to diabetes and much of that preventable."

"Together these facts are the health care crisis of our lifetime."

"As a nation we have in large part stopped cooking in our homes, and this is no different in our schools. Over the decades that we've been reheating as opposed to cooking, we've lost much of our culinary skills, which means that we need to teach our school food-service workers to cook again."

"Switching from chicken nuggets and Tater Tots to roast chicken and roast potatoes means that we need culinary 'boot camps' to train our cooks and perhaps a National Culinary Corps, based on AmeriCorps, where culinary students can work off their student loans by cooking in schools."

Ann Cooper and Beth Collins are partners in the Food Family Farming Foundation and creators of the Lunch Box Project. Contact them at and Contact us at

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