Reviews for Lunch Wars : How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children's Health

Kirkus Reviews 2011 July #2

Two Angry Moms filmmaker Kalafa arms health-conscious parents with the know-how to take back their school cafeterias.

Most readers are already convinced that the highly processed, minimally nutritious goop sitting atop their child's lunch tray must be replaced with real food. But how? The author's well-researched book has the answers. As anyone who has even contemplated taking on the Byzantine institution that is the National School Lunch Program knows, the odds of actually upending the system are slim. The predominance of obsequious clods at the levers of power and the lack of adequate funding make any change seem almost impossible. Junk-food conglomerates have long ago succeeded in casting kids in the role of nascent consumers—and the choices they offer are all bad. Buoyed by extensive case studies that both inform and inspire, Kalafa's how-to guide covers all the bases from networking with local organic farmers to writing successful RFPs (Request for Proposals). Whether the overall goal is simply to bump some greasy fries off the school menu or to have a totally new kitchen installed for from-scratch cooking, no lunchroom revolutionary should be without this battlefield manual. The good news is that, nationwide, parents and other concerned citizens are scoring victories in the battle to bring nutritious, whole food to the school-lunch menu. You can too.

Painstakingly researched and detailed blueprint for building a better school lunchroom today.

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 July #2

Kalafa, producer and director of the documentary Two Angry Moms, delves more deeply into the subject of school lunch, offering a step-by-step action plan for parents hoping to make changes in their child's school lunch room. The author explains how the project started, revealing that efforts to provide her daughter with healthy food at home were being "undermined" by unhealthy choices at school (according to the author, the school cafeteria may well be "a microcosm of American fake food culture"). Kalafa serves up some scary statistics, noting the link between childhood junk food and obesity, diabetes, and learning, behavioral, and other health problems, and soberly observing that "our children's life expectancy is now shorter than our own." Kids who buy lunch at school, she notes, don't do as well academically; better food means better grades. With plenty of convincing evidence in hand, she then urges parents to visit their children's lunch rooms, create partnerships with teachers, school staff, and the PTO or PTA, conduct surveys, audit the school food environment, create an updated school wellness policy, and take other steps toward change. Kalafa also provides plenty of positive examples of schools that have gone the extra mile, establishing farm to school and other innovative and nourishing programs. This meaty, practical offshoot of Kalafa's film will help parents turn anger into positive action. (Sept.)

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