A Fourth Grader’s Efforts For Healthier School Food

A Fourth Grader’s Efforts For Healthier School Food

Wed 08 Jun 2011

Story by Bailey Hornung, forward by The Food Revolution Team
 

Fourth-grader Bailey has shown massive determination to improve her school’s food. She’s not got the response she hoped for yet, but here at Food Revolution HQ we think her efforts are fantastic, and she should definitely not give up!

She’s made great progress in getting the attention of those who run her school, and her parents are behind her all the way. If she keeps making a noise, we’re sure the school board will listen to her soon and start making real changes.

She even had a story written about her work in the local paper, in which school board member Bob Galle praised her bravery: “It took great courage for you to come to us,” he said to Bailey. “We applaud you.” The Food Revolution team second that!

Bailey tells her story below:

It started when my chicken nuggets were cold. I told one of the on-duty lunch teachers and he took them up to one of the lunch ladies, but she said they’re fine and just to eat them.

I threw them away, I was not eating them. Then three weeks later my friend had a gray hair in her mandarin oranges. Then two months later my bun was covered in mold. I said in my head, ‘I’m sorry I know what’s mold, and it’s not right’.

I started a survey at school and asked the kids and teachers to sign it. I asked the students and teachers if the school lunches were “Good, Bad or Needed Improvement”, and out of 114 votes only 12 kids liked the lunches.

After my survey was made known at the school, I had my dad ask one of the school board members if I could attend the next meeting and present my information. Before the meeting with the school board, my principle asked me to come up with some solutions to the problems that I saw with the school lunches.

Some of the suggestions that I came up with were:

1. To improve the taste of the food. I wanted to see more homemade foods and food not cooked in its package i.e. burritos.

2. I suggested that the cooks keep a temperature log of the foods to make sure that the food is hot when it is served.

3. If the food is cold when it is presented to the students, give them fresh hot food.

When I presented the above information to the school board and superintendant, I also invited them to have lunch with me unannounced, so that the cooks wouldn’t know they were coming. Unfortunately, none of them have showed up yet, but I still hope they will.

After meeting with the school board, I was asked by the principle to make a list of the following items I want to see on the menu for meals: 1) List fresh produce offered with meals, 2) List main dishes that kids enjoy/dislike that are already being served, 3) List 3-5 main dishes for new ideas to add to the menu. When I completed this assignment, myself, the superintendant and principle would meet with the head of the lunch program.

Some of the new menu items that I suggested were: stir fry with chicken and veggies, salads with chicken, roasted chicken, and shepherd’s pie. When we met with the head of the lunch program the lady didn’t think many of my choices for fresh produce would be possible as we live in rural Iowa. The idea of homemade foods was not a hit as she said the kitchen was too small to make food from scratch.

I’m not being put off though – I’m going to keep working for better school food, and maybe next year will we’ll get it!

About the author: Bailey is in the fourth grade at Central Lee School in Southeastern Iowa.

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