Locus Focus
program date: 
Mon, 07/12/2010

In April a report was released showing that more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military and that national security in the year 2030 is "absolutely dependent" on reversing child obesity rates. According to the authors of the report we need to eliminate junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, put more money into creating school lunch programs that serve real food to children.

On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Lisa Bennett, Communications Director for the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, CA, about a burgeoning movement to transform those wretched school lunches we all remember into tasty and healthy meals, made from ingredients supplied by local farmers and perhaps even the school's own edible garden. For nearly 20 years, the Center for Ecoliteracy has advocated for improving school lunches; using gardens as a way to encourage kids to eat healthy foods; and teaching young people about the connections between food, health, and the environment.

We'll learn about the new, healthier choices available in schools across the country and how they compare to traditional cafeteria fare. We'll also discuss the growing popularity of farm to school programs that are providing healthy, organic food for children, while supporting local farmers, and the proliferation of school gardens.

Lisa Bennett is communications director of the Center for Ecoliteracy and co-author of SMART BY NATURE: Schooling for Sustainability (Watershed Media/U.C. Press, 2009). A former fellow at Harvard University's Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy in the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Lisa has written for many publications, including the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Huffington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Lisa has spoken at the National Press Club and appeared on the BBC, C-SPAN, Hardball, and many other programs.


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