When I wrote about the food industry marketing sweetened, energy-dense foods to kids in my post titled: “Is the Food Industry Playing Games With Our Kids? You Bet,” I got the usual spate of email comments telling me that it is not industry, rather it is parents that should be faulted. After all, these folks argue, parents, not kids, buy and serve the food. Yeah, but I contend the industry wouldn’t market this stuff to kids if it didn’t pay off…but that is another story.
Now, the NY Times tells the story of an angry mom taking on junk food in her kids’ schools. The story, titled Child Nutrition: Two Mothers, a Camera, and a Look at School Lunches, was emailed to me by Karen, my husband’s daughter and the mother of our lovely 3-1/2-year-old granddaughter, Rebecca (nicknamed Tupy). Karen is also an angry mom…angry about the food being served at Tupy’s preschool. Read what she has to say:
“It’s gratifying to read about pissed-off parents in other places. I’ve been battling her daycare on the food issue for months. I’ve hated to be a hothead there because, after all, Tupy still has to go there. I don’t want her to be treated poorly because of her outspoken mother, but the menu is truly appalling. She used to love vegetables and beans and fish, and the day she came home asking ‘why can’t we have donuts and hot dogs like at school?’ is the day I went to war.”
The NY Times also relates the story of Susan P. Rubin, a woman on a mission to improve the quality of food in schools:
“She has emptied a bag of vending machine items onto a principal’s desk; she has delivered impassioned testimony to members of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in Washington while holding up potato chips and lollipops; and she has sneaked cafeteria food out of her children’s school after being barred from showing up without an appointment.”
Barred from her kids’ school? Come on now.
Two angry moms – The film
Susan Rubin and another angry mom, Amy Kalafa, a filmmaker from Weston, Connecticut have made a film on the topic. “Two Angry Moms” is a 90-minute documentary that
“…presents the good (a schoolyard in Katonah where students grow their own vegetables), the bad (chips and soda for lunch), and the ugly (what it is really like inside a school cafeteria kitchen).”
The Katonah-Lewisboro School District that is featured in “Two Angry Moms“ paid attention to Susan Rubin. According to the NY Times article, “the district changed its lunch policy, even hiring an outside chef to train food service staff:
‘We went from refrying processed chicken nuggets to grilling fresh chicken breasts and making homemade apple crisp,’ said Donna D. Walsh, a member of the Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education.’”
Two Angry Moms
Rubin has formed a better school food advocacy organization, named, “Two Angry Moms.” There is a lot of good information on the site. If you are a parent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend, or neighbor of a school kid (remember the concept: “it takes a village”), then check out their website.
Rubin and Kalafa plan to spend the summer trying to raise money for the film’s national distribution in the fall. If you want to learn more (or write a check), there is a link on the Two Angry Moms website that will help you do that. You can also view clips from the film.
Here’s to all of the angry moms and dads and grandparents….
Here’s to all of the angry moms and dads and grandparents out there who believe we can do better and then roll up their shirtsleeves and get to work. Thanks, Karen, for sending me this article.