The Globe and Mail is doing a week-long series on school lunch and started off on Saturday with what I can only read as a call for a national nutrition program for school-aged kids. The reporter, Jessica Leeder, quotes a school nutrition expert saying: “It’s… a gaping hole in our social system.”
Canada, she writes, is a “blank slate” on school feeding despite the fact that:
“New research has linked meal programs to better grades, motivation, likelihood of graduation and decreases in absenteeism; providing healthy food would help counter rising rates of obesity and disease. And with a global food crisis looming, food security experts see an even loftier potential in school meals: to raise student awareness about food production and increase revenue for local producers.”
Canadians have long thought of themselves as a community-minded nation, mostly because of our much-vaunted (and discussed) health care system, but the lack of a school meal program is without a doubt a major gash in this social safety net.