The Inside School Food online radio program, which airs on the Inside School Food website Mondays at 11 AM EST, features discussions with experts about ways to make school lunches healthier and more sustainable. Host Laura Stanley explains that Inside School Food is a “forum for professionals and advocates working in K-12 food service.”
Past episodes have featured a variety of advocates for better school lunches, including: Dr. Kate Hoy who explained how lunchroom layout and design can influence healthier choices; and Mark Coe of Goodwill Industries in Northern Michigan described how entrepreneurs, farmers, and FoodCorps members collaborate to bring local produce into cafeterias in Traverse City, Michigan. Other episodes have focused on federal nutrition standards, free and reduced-price meals, and school composting programs.
There’s never been a more pressing need for better nutrition for children. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that over 33 percent of children and teens were overweight or obese in 2012. And eating school lunches could actually be exacerbating overweight and obesity among students—a study of middle school students in Michigan found that those who almost always ate at school were 29 percent more likely to be obese. Several states and cities have seen a decline in childhood obesity rates after implementing programs for healthier school lunches, including the state with the highest childhood obesity rate, Mississippi.
School lunches can have more far reaching effects than promoting the health of students. When schools contract with local farmers or implement composting programs, they can help improve the local economy and the environment.
Inside School Food is one of the many productions of the HeritageRadioNetwork.org, a project begun five years ago by Patrick Martins, the founder of Slow Food USA and Heritage Foods USA. The program airs on Mondays at 11:00 AM EST on the Inside School Food Website.