Monday, September 21, 2009

Lowell High School students make YouTube video about school lunch

26 comments:

  1. That was a rough cut; here's the final edited version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pB6KSrkfPtU

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  2. The piano music is really annoying.

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  3. I totally disagree. Fun flick, and it makes the point.

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  4. This is well done. There seems to be a movement rising up in this city to improve the food in public schools and it's very exciting. I like how the students are voicing their opinions in this video. I'm very impressed! Bravo!

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  5. Interesting video. Although it demonstrates the shortsightedness of so many here. Doesn't anyone realize what a win-win this could be for our city? We've got commercial real estate at record lows, available in vast quantity. We have a 10%+ unemployment rate. Start up the damn facility, hire SF residents to cook and deliver, structure it so you are giving people real, transferable job skills (ala Delancey Street). Cook it all in a central facility (this town isn't that big!). While it might cost big dollar amounts now, I imagine the dollar effects could be tremendous. If you can't get something like this underway in liberal la-la land (exactly how much money are we spending on the Laguna Honda hospital rehab), then it won't fly anywhere ever and certainly not in Washington.

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  6. You know what is depressing?

    I send a fresh, healthy lunch to school each day in a bento box, but all my kindergartener wants is money to buy the chicken nuggets, pizza and grilled cheese served in the cafeteria.

    AAAAARRRGGGHHH.

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  7. ^ Well, at least your kid eats their lunch. :(

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  8. Great video, telling it like it is about the sad state of school lunch in SF.

    By the way, I *like* the music, and regret that someone found it necessary to take a cheap shot just because this forum is anonymous again...

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  9. I showed the video to my kids this morning as we were getting ready for school - I never realized there was so much plastic involved, and have always heard not to heat up food in plastic because of the possibliity of cancer-causing byproducts leaching out of the plastic.

    Just wondering where the fresh lunch was filmed, at Lowell? Can kids now get a fresh lunch at Lowell, or was this just a one-time thing?

    Thank you for sharing!

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  10. The fresh lunch was specially created for the video -- by the Aptos Middle School cafeteria manager, who is a seriously good cook -- though I think she had to do some of the cooking at home because the Aptos kitchen is no longer fully functioning!

    There are salad bars in most (maybe all? I have to check) middle and high schools now, so there IS fresh food available, though not like the full delicious meal that Rosie prepared.

    By the way, regarding the school kitchens that no longer function: As the original reason for the National School Lunch Program was to feed hungry, impoverished kids at federal expense, the feds used to provide funding to maintain and upgrade school kitchens. That was permanently eliminated by the Reagan administration.

    Here's an early tip on a likely upcoming campaign. Children's and school advocates are discussing a possible San Francisco bond measure that would fund a new central kitchen, which would prepare FRESH food onsite and ship it to SFUSD schools rather than the packaged food from afar that's currently the only option; and also a culinary institute high school. (I love this idea.)

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  11. I love this idea, too.

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  12. Wow, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Kids are seriously eating nuggets/pizza or Grilled Cheese, reheated in plastic wrap? No way I'd let my kids eat that for lunch. What are the privates serving out of curiosity?

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  13. Undoubtedly the privates are serving something much fresher (those that have lunch -- not all do).

    I have a childhood friend who's the caf manager at an elite Marin private school (attended by Sean Penn's kids, to give you an idea). She said the basic entree costs the students $6 per day, but when you add drinks, desserts, snacks etc., most students are spending about $15 per day for the food at school. On the video, SFUSD nutrition director Ed Wilkins says he has $2.80 per meal for food, but only about $1 left for food after caf workers' salaries and other expenses.

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  14. Another well known Marin private school in Corte Madera is serving BBQ organic chicken drumsticks with fresh salad, fruit and stir fry summer squash. Get this, they grow most of it ON CAMPUS. There has to be a better solution.

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  15. A few random comments--

    Yeah $15/day x 2 kids = $150/week - that's way beyond "not affordable" for most families :-( Whether or not someone sends their kids to public, we should all care about treating ALL our kids better, and the private option is surely not the sustainable one.

    I love the bond measure idea! We could do it here. Let's marshall the foodie forces with the public school and public health forces and the green-our-neighborhood forces. And job training too. Love it. If we can pioneer universal health care, let's do a sustainable model for school lunch too, one that works for an urban district at scale.

    My kid is at Aptos MS and concurs that Rosie's cooking is the bomb. Love the homemade soups (chicken noodle, minestrone, etc.). So much better lunch options since we got to the middle school level.

    Re the kindergarten parent with the bento boxes: my advice is to relax a little. Let your little one do the chicken nuggets once in awhile. The meals actually are a lot healthier than they used to be--for example, the nuggets are whole meat, and baked, not fried. I too am turned off by the packaging and reheating, but your kid won't die from eating school lunch a few times. My kids have gone back and forth on lunch from home vs. school lunch. After years of seeing food come back uneatened, I started working with them to figure out what they especially liked, and we talked about the healthier parts of the meals. They've gotten better. Way before the NY Times article last week, I was sending healthy muffins and bento-type things. But still, sometimes they just want those nuggets. And it's okay. No need to invent a battle of wills. Still, it's nice knowing that my older kid is getting that homemade soup a la Rosie!

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  16. Here's a private school example. Lunch service at Hamlin for 5 days a week is $840/year. 1 day a week is $190/year. That comes out to about $4.50 per day -- more than publics, but still reasonable. They do offer a lot of options though, so I'm assuming that a more basic lunch menu would be cheaper. Entree for today is Thai style mild organic free range chicken curry with jasmine rice and cucumber salad. Also available daily is fresh fruit, fresh steamed veggies, Clover Stornetta yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, 2 homemade soups, salad bar, baked potato, oven roasted Distel turkey, Nieman Ranch ham sandwich. They use local, organic and sustainable ingredients when possible, but always keeping in mind the need to make lunch cost effective. There are 400 girls at Hamlin, but obviously not everyone gets hot lunch.

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  17. SFUSD's caf workers are union members -- probably unlike Hamlin's.

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  18. Yes, caf workers in public schools are paid a family wage (very, very basic family wage, but one that puts them over the poverty line). Doing the math about Hamlin--either it is wildly subsidized by general school funds, or they are underpaying their workers, which would be a shame at a wealthy private school. No way they are packing all that Niman meat and organic, local produce into $4.50/meal unless they are scrimping on labor costs. I can barely do that at home shopping Rainbow and Alemeny farmer's market.

    The food sounds good though! I hope this bond measure idea catches on. The salad bars and deli lunches have been marvelous at the schools that have pioneered them. With a little more in way of public $$$ inputs, and cost savings realized from increased lunch sales and implementation of a POS system, I think it could be sustainable. I really hope SF voters go for that, with our big obsession on healthy living and good food.

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  19. What does Hamlin do if girls want lunch but don't have the $4.50 to pay for it? Public schools let those students have a meal but it costs them plenty!

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  20. Another factor which is probably keeping costs under control at privates - are the meals only available on a preordered basis? Public schools have a certain amount of waste each day because their meals have to be made available to anyone who wants them. If a school like Hamlin is asking parents to pay in advance then they would know how many customers to expect in the cafetria each day and could virtually eliminate wasted meals.

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  21. Yes, meals at Hamlin are preordered, and everything is made there in the school kitchen. Also, not sure how lunch in the publics works, but most of the people "working" in the Hamlin lunchroom are parents (who obviously don't get paid.)

    My fingers are crossed for the bond measure another poster mentioned, one that would fund a new central kitchen for SFUSD.

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  22. Hamlin has parent volunteers who cook every day, in the middle of the work day, in the school kitchen? Is is a part of fulfilling a volunteer requirement? It seems amazing to me, because I have trouble imagining that too many parents could afford that much time off work, and those that were left might come to feel very resentful, no? That is a lot of KP duty! Do they do the pots and pans too? I'm really amazed to read this.

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  23. No! I didn't mean that parents make the food. Parent volunteers serve the food and clean the tables. There is no volunteer requirement. There are usually 5 or 6 parents volunteering in the lunchroom every day. At Hamlin, as I'm sure happens at any school, most parents work full time, so those that stay at home end up doing the bulk of the volunteering during the day.

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  24. To the Hamlin parent--thanks for responding. That makes more sense. So there must be hired staff who cook and clean then. The question of costing it out is this--is the $4.50 a cost per meal, not including labor? In other words, is the labor cost rolled into the tuition you pay? Or is it rolled into the $4.50/meal? Because I am having trouble costing out an organic, Niman, locavore type lunch for $4.50 if that includes labor costs.

    The money that the voting public and our lawmakers afford our public school students is much less to start with ($2.18 in San Francisco, right?), and must include labor costs as well as account for the inefficiencies of kids who show up hungry, overages, and the like.

    I would love to see San Francisco do better. It will take more public investment, but we can also improve on the efficiency issue to save money, and build a job-training piece into it. I hope San Francisco voters will see the importance of providing healthy food to all our children.

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  25. So, are these prepaid or do kids show up with $4.50 or is it on a "marker" of some kind. MCDS has lunch built into the tuition and almost everyone eats there. Special lunches are set aside for kids with dietary or allergy concerns. Parents volunteer to serve but the kids all clean up and they are like machines. You have to guard your plate or some little one will clean it off for you!

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  26. We're not alone in this fight. Check out this story in tomorrow's NY Times (Sept 30 2009):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/dining/30school.html?_r=1&hp

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