You almost can't scroll through your Facebook feed these days without seeing some meme or news story, comparing school lunches around the world to those that are served to our children here in the United States. Spoiler: it's not good. You would think that living in a country that is so progressive in many, meany areas, that we would have school lunches under control - but we are so far from where we should be.
The truth is that kids here in the United States are basically being served crap whenever they opt to purchase a school lunch from the cafeteria. And one would think that it just stops right there with nutrition, but there are actually so many more problems that exist, making the school cafeteria a really unpleasant place to be.
Teen Vogue reported on this injustice this week and pointed out some things that teens can be doing across the nation to help put an end to these issues. Beyond worrying about their meals being healthy or not, the article pointed out the many questions that teens are asking themselves whenever they walk into their school cafeteria.
"What am I going to eat for lunch at school? What are my friends going to eat? Will they make fun of me for getting free lunch? Do I have enough money in my account? Is the lunch lady going to be nice? Will there be any healthy options? How’s the food going to taste? Will there even be any options for students like me who have allergies or dietary restrictions? I care about climate change and workers’ rights — is any of the food ethically produced?"
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP), established through the the 1946 National School Lunch Act, feeds more than 30 million children daily. In current day, they make free, reduced price or full priced meals available to children. However, they do operate in a political climate and need to make choices so that they can stay financially afloat. They often rely on “cheap” industrial food and low-wage labor that is incredibly costly in the long term, to individuals and society at large.
Teens today are much more health and socially conscious than we give them credit for and especially since they are taking not of all of these issues, there needs to be a way for us all to get involved and make a difference. To help make a difference, they can start small and do things like educate themselves and their classmates and set up meetings with their school board. AMP Global Youth is a great organization for helping teens build power in their communities or become a FoodCorps member where they can actually get paid for getting involved in this effort.