I organized Real Food For Schools in 2007 as way to help parents and schools work together to feed children the most nutritious food possible. Considering a turkey corndog with whole-wheat mixed into the coating counts as healthy in some circles, and some children think carrots come from a grocery store, this is not an easy task.
My daughter had been going to a private school where packed lunches weren’t allowed because some parents would bring Happy Meals, creating chaos in the lunch room. Another parent and I approached the administrators, but they weren’t interested in making changes to the lunch menu (though they did agree to stop serving Jello and mini marshmallows as snacks). We were left wondering what to do next.
I spontaneously started a meetup group, wanting to call it “Whole Foods For Schools.” But since Whole Foods Market has three locations in the Kansas City area, I chose what I thought was the next best thing — Real Food For Schools. I also found a new school for my daughter — Global Montessori Academy allows me to pack a lunch, and when I just can’t get it together, I order from Eden Alley Cafe’s school lunch menu.
Some providers of school meals are offended by the name Real Food For Schools. It certainly wasn’t my intent to create conflict, but I believe we need to recognize the difference between food made in a kitchen and food made in a lab or factory. If something has to be reformulated to be healthier, I think that’s a red flag that our kids shouldn’t be eating it.