The Shame of School and Hospital Food

Of all institutions, these places should be feeding their charges well. Why aren't most of them, and what can we do about it?
Hospital Food


Hospital food as it is in the United States today may actually hinder the ability of a patient to recover.

In addition to nationwide efforts, there is also more grassroots work being done, including Alice Waters’ brainchild The Edible Schoolyard. Originally a small movement founded by Waters at just one school in Berkeley, Calif., the Edible Schoolyard concept is inspiring in its simplicity, growth, and efficacy. Kids — especially city kids — are too often removed from the growth and preparation of their food. This project takes farm-to-table ideals and brings it into the classroom: Edible Schoolyard programs have access to gardens, on or near school grounds that the students tend themselves, and from which they learn to cook clean, healthy meals.

The project has officially expanded to seven different cities, and they build and share lesson plans, recipes, fundraising help, and more information with any school or group interested in developing a garden program themselves.

There is more evidence that school lunch programs are becoming healthier and better for kids, although we may be off to a slow start.

“Obesity, malnutrition, and foodborne illnesses are still rampant issues in schools all over America, which is horrifying,” Dr. Verma notes. “The number-one meal served to kids in schools? French fries and chicken fingers. Processed food is much cheaper to serve as compared to fresh and healthy foods. The National School Lunch Program has been under-funded, but the Obama Administration has asked for over $10 billion to improve this problem over the next ten years, which is a great step in the right direction.”

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Jess Novak is the Drink Editor of The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @jesstothenovak