Amid all our arguments about public school, there’s one key truth: Kids need lunch. And Sausalito Marin City School District is taking it one step further, by making all meals served organic and non-GMO, fresh, local, and seasonal. But is this a good idea, or a boondoggle wasting money better spent elsewhere in the school’s budget?
One thing that’s a bit surprising is that it might not be any more expensive than a standard school lunch. Each school is assigned a chef, paid for by donations, and the meals cost $1.70 to $2.10, which is roughly in line with school lunch program costs around the country. Of course, that may go up if chefs can’t keep receiving those donations.
So, the costs are in line, sure. And of course, on a food level, nobody’s going to complain about kids eating well-cooked produce. But it goes beyond that. There’s a lesson plan attached to the food, explaining why the food is “better,” and the fact of the matter is, it’s not.
You’ve likely heard by now that there’s no nutritional difference between organic foods and conventional ones, and there’s little evidence “organic” is anything other than a marketing term. Worse, it’s a marketing term with poor oversight that’s easily fooled. Similarly, if you want food that’s more sustainable and less prone to being sprayed with pesticides, GMOs are a good thing. There’s never been any credible scientific evidence that GMOs are dangerous to humans, and actual scientists advocate a balanced, thoughtful approach.