School yard gardens: forbidden fruit
Monica Eng of the Chicago Tribune describes the garden bounty grown by Chicago public school children, and reports that school system rules -- which do not apply to the commercial food suppliers -- prohibit any of that food from making it into the school cafeteria.
Any fresh food served in school cafeterias there must meet specific and certifiable growing practices that are pretty strict -- but which do not apply to food purchased from contracted suppliers.
As a result, most of the produce the kids grow is sold or given away.
In Chicago and elsewhere in the country, school vegetable gardens are not getting the quick acceptance you might expect.
Objections range from cultural -- gardening sends the wrong message to minority students whose parents might be farm workers or whose ancestors might have been slaves -- to educational -- time is better spent on math and reading.
I recognize the safety issues here -- as well as the liability issues. But with a first lady committed to reducing childhood obesity and setting an example by growing her own vegetables, school officials everywhere should find a way to bring the produce their children grow into the lunchroom.