Swamped with more and more choices (shoes, fonts) but check out the contrast when it comes to seeds it is just the opposite.
Since the origin of agriculture around 10,000 plant species have been used for human food. Today about 150 species make up the diet of most of the world population. Just 12 provide over 80% of our food and 60% of what we eat comes from only 4 crops - rice, wheat, corn and potatoes.
(Showing a power point slide) Back in the 1900 a dollar represented what our grandparents ate in terms of varieties. Today after 100 years of progress what remains of their diet is a lousy 3 cents. That’s a 97% loss. If a corporation lost that in stock value it would be the end of its existence.
Share with you some solutions today.
Even before I got this news I heard from a parent about a Love Your Vegetables grant parents had attempted last year with no luck. I responded that I was interested, so he sent me what we had. I couldn't get the Eat the Alphabet idea out of my head, so I spent the weekend filling this out a bit. Without going into the original School as a Garden proposal here right now (possibly later) I was wanting to capitalize on the weekly Farmers' Market that takes place each Sunday on the school grounds. We have the perfect opportunity for class projects, lunchroom menus that rally round the concept of Know Your Farmer. We have the perfect setup for this. The sample menu beginnings are shown here (click on these for larger versions) and I am trying to incorporate what the parents used last year as a starting point. I got many of the images and ideas from my own 2008 make-a-(green)plan food posts, which were organized by my year long alphabet format.
Jill Richardson, when she says:
[...]When it comes to school lunch nutritional standards there are two categories of food to discuss: the federally-reimbursable school lunch, and everything else. (The name for "everything else" is "competitive foods" because those foods compete for children's money and appetites with the school lunch.) [...]
The Institute of Medicine recommendations focus on the actual school lunch, not the competitive foods. The nutrition of the school lunch IS regulated by the USDA... only the standards haven't been updated since 1995 and, as IOM points out, they kinda suck. The recommendations, on the other hand, are AWESOME. My biggest fear is that any changes to school food policy will be based on what Michael Pollan calls "nutritionism:" i.e. regulations calling for lunches to contain specific nutrients instead of specific foods. And, as the people who market Rice Krispies understand, you can take a relatively junky food and fortify it until it appears very healthy (the back of the Rice Krispies box touts all of the nutrients in the cereal, even though it's basically nothing more than fortified refined grains and sugar.) The IOM is totally on the same page as me:
First, the committee recommended a food-based menu planning system that includes limits on calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium. Currently, schools have the option of using a nutrient-based system, which makes it easy to serve heavily processed, fortified food. They can meet requirements for vitamin C, for example, by serving fortified fruit snacks. Under a food-based system, nutrient targets are used in developing the standards for school meals, but they are not used in the actual menu planning. Instead, schools must simply serve items from a number of different food groups, including dark green and orange vegetables and legumes.
I talked about this disillusionment while walking on Wednesday with my kid. It isn't a new state, where I find myself now. I have deliberately stepped away from the most pervasive cultural norms of consumerism, junk food, television, magazines and other sources of the corporate drumbeat, propagandist wall of sound. And I am able to do this with ease because of my age and place. If I were a parent of young children I'd be hardwired to this destructive noise machine that never sleeps. All day every day - yes, in the schools, what passes for news and on the streets. (I just found out that one can get a car free or very cheap if one agrees to have it covered in advertising.)
My heart breaks for parents trying to teach their children anything counter to the big corporate dictates. Yet, my resolution is to keep my own center and focus. I refuse to snuff out my own passion and spirit and will continue to write and dream. I just have to back away from the school somewhat when it comes to investing too much of myself. I want to do the composting and be a garden regular and contribute what I can. I just can hand my heart away. I must always remind myself that many, many of the people all around me go through the motions without a lot of thought or awareness. It is how people try to cope and it is what's encouraged - a distracted race rather than living. These are my observations anyway. So, I share with my virtual community and keep looking for more and more real live indications of change.