Big Agribusiness, Anonymous Food, and McLearners: An Analysis of Social Forces and Nutrition in U.S. Schools

8 Jun

Here I go again, sharing my school assignments like they’re candy (think longer and less delicious).  This time it’s a paper on the current state of public school cafeterias across America (and even a bit of contemplation on the social & cultural [biased] underpinnings)*. But again, I swear to you there’s a point I’m trying to make!

To read this beast click here –

Big Agribusiness, Anonymous Food, and McLearners: An Analysis of Social Forces and Nutrition in U.S. Schools

(I kept the edits by my professor – they’re good stuff!)


So last night I watched the only episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution that’s available on ABC’s (weak) streaming video website.  It was the finale – and it was *good stuff*.  How often do you watch the finale of something and then desperately want to catch up on older episodes, even though you already know how it “ends“?

This guy is onto something, something HUGE (please don’t say it like that bothersome used car salesman!).  And sweet hubby made a comment – that launched me into action.  And by action I mean – blabbing my thoughts into (a potentially empty) cyberspace.  Hubby said “Yeah, he’s right, but not enough people have the passion about that topic to actually make the changes across the board.”   Well, with all my love, I beg to differ. In fact, I bet even some of my sweet readers care.  In reality, whether you have school-aged children or not, this is the next generation, those who will follow (or hopefully not!) in our footsteps.  How dare we NOT care.

So if you’re out there – somewhere near or far – reading this – and you agree, you care too much to see our precious children fed trash in the name of big profits, then please, leave a comment. Let us know your thoughts, or a way you know of that we can make a difference, or just share a moving quote on the topic.  I’d love to prove hubby wrong see that there are more than enough caring individuals out there who want to see the tiny seedlings of change nurtured.

*Caution* – if you’re digging into this paper please know: “Sometimes knowledge can be painful.  Knowing about the kids across the United States that are unnecessarily suffering hurts me deep inside.  It leaves you wondering; what kind of a world do we live in?  Is there hope for future generations?  Or will greed always overtake human goodness in the big picture?”

If you don’t want to be made uncomfortable by reality, don’t read.  But if you care, and truly want to make a difference, I daresay that knowledge is the best catapult into caring, and perhaps even acting.

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One Response to “Big Agribusiness, Anonymous Food, and McLearners: An Analysis of Social Forces and Nutrition in U.S. Schools”

  1. Basia September 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    Well done! Although, thinking back to my own childhood and my own experiences as both a student and a parent, I can say that all of this can be thwarted easily by involved parents. I have no statistics to back me right now, but I would be shocked if the number of students buying meals at school is proportional to the number of students from financially disadvantaged homes. Students have become dependant on school-supplied meals due more to parental malaise than actual need. Many households which could easily supply a healthy breakfast and a wholesome lunch decline to do so in the name of time-saving. It’s too hard to get the kids to the breakfast table, Mom and Dad ready for work, kids ready for school, and everyone out the door. Too hard to plan and pack lunches the night before after a long day at work followed by activities, laundry, etc. No time for actual home cooking when dinner can be had at the drive-thru (sic!) on the way to soccer. Or for some, too hard to get off the couch. Many parents have willingly delivered their families to the doorstep of Big Agro with a “Please feed me” note pinned to their clothes.

    My Grandmother would have been ashamed to have her children eat at school. At that time, kids went home for lunch. Only poor children did not eat at home. In my childhood, that was changed. Children were no longer allowed to leave for lunch, so my Mother packed lunches (although I begged to be allowed to have Sloppy Joes and and “Hungarian Goulash” with my classmates). NObody ate breakfast at school.

    Times have changed. Society’s demands have driven some to surrender their better judgement to the convenience of surrogate supervision. We often don’t look too closely, fearing that we might have to take the time to actually do something about our own children’s well-being. Were we all to monitor the way in which our own children’s nutritional needs were met institutionally, those at less advantage would benefit as well.

    Personally, upon seeing that our district served pizza five times per week, I simply kept packing lunches. I’ve never heard of a public discussion of our school lunch programs. There has been, as far as I know, no referendum.

    I once considered working in the school cafeteria. I couldn’t do it, because I actually know how to cook.

    “No one can take advantage of you without your permission.” – Ann Landers

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