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Interesting story in The New York Times on Sunday about how an effort at the local high school there to get students to eat healthier foods has apparently failed miserably.

The school district tried everything, starting with getting Alice Waters, the legendary chef/owner of Chez Panisse, to come in to make organic pork tacos with fresh tortillas. They tried a food court that offered organic barbecued chicken, homemade pizzas, and organic fruits and vegetables.

But despite the fact that these high school students are being raised in the cradle of a community where organic and natural food are completely typical, all these efforts never seemed to move the needle of student acceptance. The high school students didn’t appreciate the opportunity presented by Waters, and fewer than 10 percent of the students took advantage of the food court. Instead, they seemed to find local fast food restaurants to offer far more appealing fare.
KC's View:
It’s true. Youth is wasted on the young. Alice Waters can come make us organic pork tacos anytime.

A key point in the article is actually made by Waters. “It’s not possible,” she told the NYT, to change school food service without cleaning the slate and really educating the kids. It requires a whole different way of thinking about food. It takes commitment to feed kids in a beautiful, civilized and important way.”

She’s right. Words like “beautiful,” “civilized” and “important” rarely are applied to school food, nor in most cases should they be. But we remain convinced that schools ought to be teaching kids about nutrition and obesity and all sorts of other food-related issues, just like they ought to teach kids how to balance checkbooks.

Of course, the corollary to this is that few supermarkets think about and present food in a “beautiful, civilized and important way.” And they should – not just upscale, upmarket products, but virtually any kind of food. This isn’t an appeal to snobbery…just a common sense of civilized behavior when it comes to food.