Yesterday, moms and their kids turned out in droves to protest a pending ordinance that will all but forbid the sale of home-baked goods in New York City public schools. We got a few passionate foodie-mom protesters to weigh in.
momlogic's Vivian: Bake sales have long been a fundraising tradition at schools. But with pending Chancellor Regulation A-812, New York Department Of Education (DOE) officials will succeed in banishing anything home-baked from being sold in schools between the hours of 8 AM and 6 PM (with the exception of one PTA-sponsored endeavor per month) -- while permitting the sale of less-healthy prepackaged goods (like Doritos). All of this comes under the guise of fighting childhood obesity, since quantifiable nutritional values are displayed on packaged goods.
Depending on how often your school holds a bake sale, the ordinance might not seem all bad. A New York Times article says, "Students may sell fresh fruits and vegetables, or one of 27 specific packaged items that have been approved for sales in city vending machines, between the start of school and 6 PM on weekdays. The same goes for parent groups, except for an exception carved out for one no-brownies-barred Parent Teacher Association bake sale during the school day per month."
"At the heart of it, their priorities are really askew," says Jennifer Perillo, food blogger and consulting food editor at Working Mother magazine. "Parents aren't asking to host more bake sales. What we're asking is for the New York Department Of Education to make sensible choices about the food our children are consuming when they are on school grounds.
"At our school," Perillo continues, "the PTA is sanctioning the sale of ice cream in our schoolyard, without offering parents a healthful option, like fresh fruit or vegetables. Instead of saying, 'You can't have homemade foods,' why don't they ban these processed foods? It would force parents and officials to look outside of the literal package box and offer more healthful alternatives when raising money for school. With this ruling, the DOE is just giving them more license to offer unhealthy options to our children."
Another mom-pal, child-nutrition expert Erin Patterson, also sees this ordinance as backward. "With the exception of Duncan Hines mixes, home-baked goods are far superior to packaged goods, because they're made from real ingredients," she says. "Packaged foods are loaded with chemicals and processed ingredients. I believe in whole food, and Doritos are not whole food. That's why I'm all fired up about this. I feel the whole problem in our nation is because we live on processed foods. I believe they did this ruling to control childhood obesity through managing fat content, but it's such bullshit to me. Healthful eating isn't always just about fat content. I don't know if they're getting money from these companies (like Frito-Lay), or what. And there's something so personal about selling food that you've baked with your kids. I saw a rally sign that said, "Baking Is Educational" -- and that's true. It's science, math and creativity, which is a huge plus for our kids."
Now, I'm no Betty Crocker -- and if I do any baking for school, there's a damn good chance it came out of a box. But on the other hand, if someone has the time, heart and desire to create delish home-baked goods for my kid to chow down on, I'm the last person to stand in their way -- especially if my school can fiscally reap the benefits.
Have you come across any similar rules and regulations on prepackaged school foods where you live? What are your thoughts on the subject?
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel serves as momlogic's East Coast Editor. She has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the Web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|