Middlebury Flatbread Kitchen- Friday and Saturday March 12 & 13, 2004
Tonight’s menu and baking are dedicated to:
Public School Food
The Making of Cinderella Cuisine….Part I
Free public education has been an integral part of our society for more than two hundred years. As a result of its enormous success, we have asked our public schools to carry an increasing share of the responsibilities of preparing one generation to successfully follow the next. One of these new responsibilities has been to feed our children. Because of public school food programs a lot of kids, some for the first time in their lives, get enough to eat. The importance of this responsibility has largely gone unrecognized by our schools, and undervalued by children, parents and society at large.
A hot list of commonly eaten foods that routinely have pesticide residues above currently understood safe levels (for adults) includes: rice, strawberries, milk, corn (including corn chips, popcorn, and corn cereals), wheat (bread and cereals), bananas, green beans, peaches, apples (including applesauce and juice), raisins, nectarines, carrots and cherries. Many of these are picked before they are ripe so they can be trucked around the world. The foods that we do produce here in Vermont are often sourced from out of state simply because we can get them cheaper. Would we rather save money than support our neighboring farms? The economics that drive these kinds of foods in our public schools is based on what can only be understood as a kind of penny wisdom, pound foolishness. And all of us, but especially our children, will pay for these food choices . . . with our health, and the well-being of our environment.
Children, our children, all children, are especially susceptible to pesticide residues in food. To understand this we must first understand that children are physiologically different from adults. Their respiration is faster than adults. Relative to their weight, they eat and drink more than adults. The fact that children are still growing makes them more susceptible to the ill effects of chemical residues. And finally, because children have longer life expectancies than adults, their exposure periods are longer.
What kind of lesson in community do we convey to our children if we conclude that it is inappropriate to support our local farms through food purchases? What kind of civics lesson is demonstrated when our children observe that the Department of Education could seemingly care less about the Department of Agriculture’s goals to support Vermont farms and farmers? What kind of economics do we teach if we say to our children that we cannot afford to do right by their health? What kind of language do we offer our children if we tell them we do not care enough? To be continued next week…..
Organic/Local Foods for Public Schools Benefit Bake, March 19 & 20
$8 for every flatbread sold goes to ACSU food programs to support local and organic foods in our schools.
All are welcome – Please come!
Thank you for coming tonight.
Love, Jen (paraphrasing George)