Titanium Spork Award – Two Acceptance Speeches and One Poll

Titanium Spork Awards are given monthly to people working towards better school lunches in the best way they know how. The readers nominate recipients and then vote on the winners.

I have put up a poll based on your nominations for December’s Titanium Spork Award. Please vote!

I’m running a little behind schedule. Here are the acceptance speeches from two of last year’s winners:

September 2010 Winner – Dr. Susan Rubin

I want to thank you so very much to all of you who voted for me to receive the September Titanium Spork award. It feels good to be recognized for the work I’ve done with raising awareness of the school food issue.

Having more than a decade under my belt doing this work, I guess you could say I’m an elder in the school food movement. It’s not a glitzy or glamorous position to be in, but it is worthwhile and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I don’t have a salary, Better School Food is an all volunteer 501c3 organization. My work as a school food activist has been very idealistic and altruistic. I never got a book deal, or even a day’s worth of pay, for the Two Angry Moms movie that featured my work. What I did receive was satisfaction of knowing that I inspired and supported people across the country to take a stand for children’s health.

While school food has been a big piece of my life for many years, this year, 2011, I’m feeling called to a bigger, even more scary issue. The combination of climate change/ peak oil and economic instability will impact everything. Especially everything we eat. I am extremely concerned that food security will be a far bigger issue than childhood obesity in the years to come.

It is my lot in life to be ahead of the curve. I remember trying to convince school administrators that declining children’s health and childhood obesity would be front page news and could bankrupt our healthcare system. I was one of the few people speaking publicly about these unpleasant topics.

Years later, they now realize my prediction was not so crazy after all.

Today, as I read about the floods in Australia, last summer’s record heat in Moscow and massive flooding in Pakistan and so many other instances of “global weirding”, I realize that this weather will ultimately impact our food supply.

Last year as I wondered why the heck BP would drill for oil 2 miles underneath the gulf of Mexico, and now as I watch oil prices climb above $90 a barrel, I ask myself at which point our food system will collapse? Our food system is heavily dependent upon easy, cheap fossil fuel, but the oil left in the earth is no longer easy to get and no longer cheap.

Just like with school food, I now see the writing on the wall: We have to create a smaller, diverse and more resilient food supply. To create that better food system, we need to raise the Food IQ. This is not about calories, fat grams and carbs, it never really was. Nutrition has been a distraction from the really important piece: We’ve gotten too disconnected from real food and where it comes from. We need a garden in every school for more reasons than obesity. Gardens are the answer to our current and future problems.

The more kids and teachers who can learn how easy (and fun) it is to grow food, the better chance we’ll have of feeding ourselves locally in the years ahead as climate change becomes obvious and fossil fuels become even more expensive and not so readily available. I know that may sound crazy, just like childhood obesity did 10+ years ago when I talked to school administrators.

As a reader of Mrs Q’s blog, I already know you care about our kid’s future. What can you do to take the next step to help pave the way for a more food secure system that will nourish them? Here are a few ideas:

Check out the Nourish curriculum ( link: http://nourishlife.org/curriculum.html ) that Mrs Q blogged about. Download the curriculum, buy the DVD and create a school or community event to share the info.

Read and/or watch The No Impact Man (link: http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/ )

Get involved with your local Slow Food chapter. (link: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/ )They are working towards a food system that is good, clean and fair. Start a Slow Food in Schools project in your school or community.

Get growing! Grow some herbs in a sunny window. Dig up part of your lawn and grow some veggies. Join a community garden, support your local farmer.

Thank you again, MrsQ and your readers for the lovely spork! It will bring a smile to my face every time I use it.

October/November 2010 Winner – Ed Bruske

I am extremely grateful for being awarded not one, but two titanium sporks by readers of the “Fed Up With Lunch” blog. Being a citizen journalist engaged in covering school food issues on a daily basis is a lonely business. Being recognized for the work that I do is more important than you know in fueling my ongoing pursuit.

I fell into this role accidentally when I was given a chance to observe first-hand how the food was being prepared at my daughter’s elementary school here in the District of Columbia. It was quite a shock to me to see how bad the food was, just blocks from the White House where Michelle Obama is waging her anti-obesity campaign. After seeing kids as young as five being fed Apple Jacks cereal, strawberry milk, Pop-Tarts, Giant Goldfish Grahams and Otis Spunkmeyer muffins–the equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar–first thing in the morning, I had to wonder what kind of adult minds thought this was appropriate food for children in the middle of an obesity epidemic.

I was also disappointed to see how little interest the mainstream media show in school food issues. Unfortunately, the general public has a rather simplistic idea that all the program needs is more money from Washington. In fact, there are many serious and nuanced aspects to the federal school meals program that deserve our sustained, in-depth attention. School food consultant Kate Adamick, for instance, is showing how to capture millions of dollars in school district programs simply by eliminating a multitude of inefficiencies. Other districts have made school food healthier without spending any extra money by eliminating sugary products and other junk food. Still others have found ways to marshal local community resources to make vast improvements to their cafeterias.

In short, I think precious time and effort is wasted waiting for Washington to solve the school food dilemma. Michelle Obama and bloggers such as Mrs. Q are doing invaluable work maintaining public awareness. We all need to educate ourselves on the subject of what really makes the school meals program work–or not work–and imagine new ways to make it better.

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2 thoughts on “Titanium Spork Award – Two Acceptance Speeches and One Poll

  1. Dana Woldow, a parent volunteer, is the reason San Francisco schoolchildren have salad bars instead of French fries; fresh fruit instead of packaged fruit pie; and water instead of Pepsi in their lunchrooms

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