Learning how to lunch

Berkeley students will get credit for eating — as long as they follow the organic credo. Fox reports:

Over the next three years, Berkeley’s 10,000 public school students will be learning about nutritious food and healthy cooking — and getting class credit for it just like for history and math classes.

For instance, kids might study organic farming as part of biology or write recipes in English while growing — and eating — healthier meals.

The program is getting $4 million in seed money from America’s most vocal supporter of organic food, renowned Chez Panisse chef and owner, Alice Waters. She contends that understanding what’s good for lunch is essential education.

“Kids learn how to cook and they learn how to garden. They learn how to sit at the table and communicate with each other. To me, it is like an elementary education,” she said. “It’s more important than reading, writing and arithmetic.”

Discuss Education and Amritas think reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic are more important than radicchio.

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Comments

  1. Bluemount says:

    Home-ec is a good thing if it actually taught. Our class was fully equiped with sewing machines and a working kitchen, we measure seams, tailor our patterns, and studied the chemical interactions that cause biscuits to rise. It was not my son’s home-ec class. He used canned biscuits and canned pizza sauce to make a nutrious snack >:( His projects were pre-cut and I bought him a needle and thread. There is nothing new about home-ec or gardening. What’s knew is confusing chattering (communications) with teaching.

  2. The program is getting $4 million in seed money from America’s most vocal supporter of organic food, renowned Chez Panisse chef and owner, Alice Waters. She contends that understanding what’s good for lunch is essential education.

    Is it me, or is there something of a double-standard here? When Exxon provides classroom materials for a science class, then it’s corporate brainwashing. But when someone with a vested interest in the organic foods industry decides to actively push organic foods in the classroom, that’s just good citizenship?

  3. I agree that home-ec has a place in our educational institutions. I have my doubts about this program though:

    “$4 million in seed money from America’s most vocal supporter of organic food”

    While the promotion of organic food is a great marketing strategy to those upper middle class Americans who can afford to shop at Whole Foods (I shop there myself, and enjoy it), the science behind it is a bit thin.
    Thanks to cheap conventionally produced food, we are living longer. And I have yet to see rigorous tests that show that organic foods have improved nutritional value.

    But I don’t think these points will be made in this course. I also doubt the students will be given the tools to distinguish between serious nutritional data and organic aesthetics pushed by the marketing department.

  4. Richard Nieporent says:

    The people who push organic foods are full of excrement in more ways than one.

    I just love it when I see a sign in the supermarket for organic bananas. Are the regular bananas inorganic?

  5. Foobarista says:

    I’ve always hated the word “organic” – unless it is used in its correct context: a compound containing carbon. Therefore, a lump of coal and a diamond are organic, as is gasoline, most bullets, pencil leads (even non-lead ones :), and all animals and plants.

    I wonder if any of the students in these wonderful programs will actually learn about organic versus inorganic chemical compounds? I’d rather see Chez Overpriced spending money on this part of the curriculum.

  6. John from OK says:

    “They learn how to sit at the table and communicate with each other.”

    Prior to this generous grant from Wheat Germ, Inc., students were baffled by the presence of chairs, which looked like nothing they had ever seen in the cave. Furthermore, they could not speak, but instead signaled to each other with grunts and howls.