The Jan. 28 article "Junk food ban has lowered revenue in Southern Berkshire School cafeterias" blames the legislative ban on junk food for Southern Berkshire Regional School District budget issues. However, I am surprised this article focuses on sales lost, and not children’s health gained. Community members, especially parents, must realize the value of this mandate/
I, for one, expected more outrage that the balance of school cafeteria budgets have, until now, relied so heavily upon our children buying junk food. Yes, I feel for the schools and food service challenges around making the numbers work, but they never should have been subsidizing their budget with junk food in the first place. I personally and professionally think it unreasonable to expect quality foods in school meals on such tight budgets, but trading children’s health for money is the wrong choice.
Food education and nutrition can serve an avenue to teaching our children basic skills-- this opportunity seems a step in the right direction. It is time our children begin to learn tools in a way that translate to life skills. Part and parcel to cooking are basic educational skills: counting, measuring, reading, writing, history and geography can all be incorporated into healthy food curriculum. And, while expanded programming is not the direct solution to new school food service budget deficits, it puts our children’s health first and demonstrates priorities in education -- our children, not money.
With education, healthy food can replace junk food in rewarding our children -- but, participation, inclusion and education are vital to this process.