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One teacher’s brave look at school lunch

Feb. 1, 2010

by intern Jackie Fortin [a closer look at the story we touched on in last week’s "Latest School Lunch News."]

“Let’s think about what we give students to ingest,” says Mrs. Q, an anonymous Illinois elementary school teacher who is choosing to eat school lunch every day in 2010 and review the results in her blog, Fed Up: School Lunch Project.

Not one to “make waves” in her professional life, Mrs. Q considers herself a “whistleblower” for school lunch.

“I think every child no matter how much money their family has deserves to eat quality food at school,” she said. “Most teachers do feel the same way that I do … We’ve all discussed the lunches and how bad they are in passing. Then we go back to teaching. No one has done much.”

Mrs. Q’s project, which began Jan. 3, consists of buying a $3.00 school lunch Monday through Friday, bringing it back to her room for a ‘working’ meal, and taking pictures of each tray’s plastic-wrapped contents with her phone camera.

Despite her concealed identity, she admits to feeling “majorly exposed” and nervous about the traffic her blog is getting three weeks deep. “I could absolutely lose my job over this,” she wrote.

But the overwhelmingly supportive and encouraging comments are piling up. She has been interviewed by Small Bites blogger Andy Bellatti as well as by Robin Shreeves of Mother Nature Network, nutritionist Marion Nestle, Serious Eats, Chow.com, Food Safety News, Diets in Review.com, Treehugger, Grist and several bloggers have all cited Fed Up in online posts.

According to Bellatti, the project, likened to “a more realistic Super Size Me...perfectly captures the problems of school lunch — poor nutrition, odd flavors and textures, environmental unfriendliness (plastic, plastic, and more plastic!), and the effects of cheap crop subsidies on individual health.”





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