Sunday, March 21, 2010

Feed a kid breakfast or teach that kid to crack an egg?

I just finished Alice Waters "Edible Schoolyard" and was completely blown away.
Waters is best known for her influential revolutionary transformation of the modern restaurant, her own restaurant and the tome " The Chez Panisse".
Alice Water's new book "The Edible Schoolyard" does not disappoint her supporters and causes one to consider if society has responded incorrectly to the "kids can't think because they didn't have breakfast" phenomena.
Waters founded and inspired the edible schoolyard to grow from one school to thousands of schools across America.Waters worked with an inner city middle school teaching students to grow their own food and eventually learn how to prepare and cook it. She discovered many children do not know how food is grown,prepared or cooked.Students learned the satisfaction in growing their own food and later,preparing their own repast. The Edible Schoolyard transformed schools and students,edible schools grow fresh nutritious food. No cereal bars or pre packaged food at these schools.
The whole "Breakfast for Learning" myth is based in the idea that children who live at the poverty level skip breakfast because their parents can't afford food or are too damn lazy to put down the crack pipe to ensure their kid gets enough sugar smacks to achieve 10 minutes of brain time from 9-9.10 in the morning.
Well intentioned parents and volunteers across Canada grouped together to ensure school children were fed nutritious breakfasts supplied through corporate sponsorships,foundation money and the generosity of the community.The breakfast program grew and expanded into big business. and have multimillion dollar budgets and big staff to administer their respective programs and appear as if they are meeting their mandate to feed children's bodies and brains. What is missing ?
In the long run, are Breakfast programs simply society band aids designed for few children in poor neighbourhood that exploded into every level of society for some altruistic reason? What is the lesson learned through Breakfast for Learning ?
Is it (a) it's possible for society to feel good through meeting a need based in myth?
(b)big write offs for food companies who make the big bucks selling refined foods to kids.
(c) you can make money at a non-profit
(d) you don't need to ever learn to forage and cook for yourself, someone will always feed you.
(e) you don't have to eat the breakfast your parents serve, you can get it at school.
(f) all of the above.
The Edible Schoolyard transformed how children think about food.
Children built gardens,planted,nurtured,harvested and learned to prepare and cook their own food. Water's schoolyard edible experiment revealed children get excited about agriculture and learn valuable life lessons.
It's obvious we need to do a re-think about breakfast and lunch programs across Canada.
We need to incorporate the Edible Schoolyard into our schools.Children need to learn about the entire food cycle and how it all eventually ends ,in the kitchen.
Just think ,grow,nurture,harvest,prepare, cook and serve.
Empowering stuff... how about it?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


A perfect way to wrap up your March Break !