Week 5_Summer Hatfield

The Lunch Love Community is an amazing and inspiring project that ideally the entire country should embrace. I completely agree with the reasoning behind what they did in Berkeley, and I think the food we feed our children should be a top priority. I am a huge proponent of the old saying “You are what you eat” and agree that for children to perform their best they need to be eating well. I believe we would see an overall change in performance, as well as behavior and psychology in children if we could encourage them to eat healthier.

I think that the website itself is really great. It is easy to navigate, its well designed, its engaging. Also, it is a great tool for accomplishing the goals it sets out for itself, and really encourages and facilitates active participation by providing valuable resources. And it helps foster conversation throughout a community.

As far as the content, the video entitled “But Is It Replicable” gave some good information and showed that it was something that they had to push for for ten years to make it happen, but with enough support it is replicable. It also provided the fact that you have to have the community backing the idea and pushing for it, but that you can make it happen.

I kept looking for information to provide some sort of insight to the overall cost of keeping up the lunch program. I imagine Berkeley as being overall more affluent than a lot of other cities in the U.S. I looked up the demographics of the city and the median income for a family in Berkeley is $102,976, compared to only $50,271 for the city of Portland for example, or $34,790 for a small town like Baker City, Oregon where I grew up. Sure the cost of living is higher in Berkeley, but no matter where you live $34,000 for an average family of four is pretty scant. In Baker City they are seriously struggling just to keep schools open, and have had to make significant changes to classes. I doubt they could even fathom the idea of investing more money into their lunch programs. A large percentage of the children there receive free or reduced lunches, so making even a small change, like switching to organic milk for example, is highly unlikely. My mom, who works at a school there, serves as not only the secretary, she’s also the librarian sometimes, a teachers’s aide, and a lunch lady. Seeing the chefs in their proper white coats in the videos on the website, I just could never picture that at my mom’s meager school. Furthermore, a large percentage of the population there is uneducated past a high school level, which also has a significant impact on how they prioritize their spending. My father, who also works in a school there, said the population would most likely rather see auto-shop return than to see more of an already thin budget put into food. Don’t get me wrong, I think its a great site and project. My only point is that I think for something like this to work across a broader spectrum, it would require a massive outreach to educate people on why it is important, and there would need to be way more funding for schools.

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1 comment to Week 5_Summer Hatfield

  • kgaboury@uoregon.edu

    Interesting insights, Summer. I have a feeling an idea like this wouldn’t float in my hometown of Pendleton, either. Plus, Berekely has much more progressive attitudes toward sustainability and healthy eating than small, more conservative towns in eastern Oregon or Washington. That’s not to say there aren’t people pushing for change in those areas. It will be interesting to see how nationwide dialog around this issue plays out in coming years. It’s pretty obvious that something needs to change.

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