Day 122–All We Want is a Salad Bar

The reactions to our experience watching “What’s On Your Plate?” keep growing as we move forward and study our own eating environments. I asked the group of girls who saw the film what they learned and to them, it was astounding to learn how difficult it can be to change even one small part of the school food system. These girls are typically up for a challenge, so they zeroed in on that. Ok, so here are middle school girls complaining about how horrible the school lunches are and how little choice they have in their diet while on campus (yes, they could bring lunch, but that’s a whole other discussion about middle school social rules). They equate the quality of their lunch with how much the school cares about their well being…and let me tell you, this is one group of girls who do not think the adults in charge really care.

What do they want? A salad bar. How hard will that be? We’re going to find out.

Ellie brought up a very good point during the discussion. She noted that schools spend a lot of time, money and energy dealing with bullying, but they don’t do anything to address one of the personal aspects that encourages bullies to zero in on a target–being overweight. The girls agreed that being overweight or obese raises the odds that you will be bullied or harassed. So why aren’t schools using their bully budget to address that? It was a good point. If young people are asking for help with this issue, we should be listening.

Now this group of 4-6 girls is interested in starting a petition to have a salad bar in the cafeteria. Every journey begins with a single step and they are excited about moving forward. I’m sure it will be an eye-opening experience!

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Day 103–What’s On Your Plate?

I heart Advocates for Health in Action (AHA). I think I’ve learned more from this local non-profit than I have from any other single source. Their acronym, when pronounced (Aha!) is a sound I make frequently when learning from them–how convenient! We enjoyed the Dig In! conference on community gardening last month and I picked many healthy fundraising ideas from a recent workshop. Now, we have another opportunity for family learning through a public screening of a documentary called “What’s On Your Plate?”.

“What’s On Your Plate?” is a 75 minute documentary produced by two 11-year-old girls. That’s right–11 year olds. Inspired by a really great local tomato they had while on vacation, the girls decided to explore why their fresh farm tomato tasted better than what they found in their local market. This led to a fuller exploration of where food comes from, how it is processed and how it gets to your table. Really, any documentary that investigates funyuns is ok in my book–I still can’t figure those things out.

The screening is free (reservations required, click HERE) on Tuesday, April 17th at the Cary Arts Center. Doors open at 6:00 and community booths, including Great Harvest Bread Co., the Cary Pocket Garden and others will be on hand with goodies. The film starts at 6:30 and is followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with a pediatrician, nutritionist and others. If you complete a challenge following the film, you can enter to win all kinds of healthy prizes. I saw a preview of the film and it looks wonderful–funny, smart and engaging–just like the young ladies who produced it. We will post a review of the film after seeing the full production, but if this is showing in your area, you might want to take advantage of it!