2011: the year in preview

There’s something about all the “Best Of…” lists that come out this time of year that I find a bit depressing. In the dead of Canadian winter, with so little sun to warm my bones, I guess I’d just rather look ahead. So here’s that fool’s errand—a  round-up of predictions for 2011 in the world of food and kids—from my home to the wider world.

My 11-year-old son’s New Year’s Resolution is to make his lunch “more”—which, considering he never makes his lunch, probably means once a week. The mornings are a frantic time in our house and we haven’t made the space for him in our routine but all that changes now that he’s taken the initiative. I hope he’ll allow me to chronicle some of his efforts here on What’s for Lunch?

The Food Channel predicts that one of the big food trends of 2011 is thousands of chefs will be joining school cafeteria crews. “This will be the year we finally get really serious about feeding our children healthier, better quality foods. We’re no longer just talking about childhood obesity, we’re doing something about it.”

According to agriculturalist/horticulturalist George Ball writing in The Wall Street Journal, 2011 will be the year of the vegetable.  Ball says kids will eat them if their parents tell them they must. (I ought to try that one….)

Epicurious suggests that Meatless Mondays will go mainstream, with numerous American school districts already embracing vegetarian offerings.

Marion Nestle writes that school food will continue to make front page news in the US as the new Child Nutrition Act is implemented—and negotiated on the ground.

This is the year Ontario schools will ban junk food from their premises. I predict lots of hand-wringing from good-food backlash types about children’s god-given right to soda, etc.

Funding for school dinners in England has been on shaky ground since the change of government last year. There are signs that this will continue despite all the excellent work the School Food Trust and others have done showing the enormous benefits of healthy food in school canteens.

In Afghanistan, where thousands of children rely on school meals (often emergency biscuits or corn-soy porridge) supplied by the World Food Program, the organization says the outlook on food security is increasingly bleak. A funding shortfall may mean the WFP has to cut its assistance down to only emergency projects. With wheat prices continuing to rise and the humanitarian situation deteriorating, need is only going to increase.


Filed under Kids and food, School gardens, School kitchens, School lunch

2 responses to “2011: the year in preview

  1. Great site! (I just found it via a tweet by Ceri Marsh).

    I do hope these optimistic predictions prove to be accurate, but I tend to be slightly more pessimistic. For instance, this may be the year Ontario bans junk food in schools, but I’ll bet the ubiquitous “pizza lunch” will remain …well, ubiquitous. (I blogged about it here; you may be interested because it contains a link to a wonderful video clip about school lunches in France.) Also, although the passage of the Child Nutrition Act in the US is a positive step, I know from personal interaction with fellow bloggers, that the time allocated to lunch in many schools continues to shrink to the point that lunch is in danger of disappearing altogether! See here, for instance, for a glimpse of what Iowa City parents are up currently up against. (Scroll through the December archive of the blog to see the many follow-up posts on this issue.)

    But, I agree that there are some positive signs—not the least of which is heightened awareness about the importance of healthy food for kids. I’ll look forward to reading your book.

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