Boston Public Schools & Food

Boston Public Schools & Food

Sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to notice a problem and find a solution. Over the past couple of decades, I have eaten a lot of food in the Boston Public Schools As a teacher and principal, I “modeled” for the students by eating the less than appealing plastic wrapped breakfast and lunch.

Sitting at the lunch table, I would smile and say, “it’s not so bad” as the students watched for signs of my true opinion.

Truth be told I never enjoyed a meal in BPS. Frozen food, reheated in plastic wrap coming from three or four states away is not very appealing. As a teacher and principal, I accepted the food was terrible and assumed this was a product of federal and local regulations and the district was doing all they could to get healthier meals served to our students. When my three sons entered the school system I also accepted that the lack of food quality and rather than complain I simply made (and still make) my kids breakfast and lunch daily.

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It wasn’t until I joined Jill Shah at the Shah Family Foundation, that I began to question why. Jill challenged the status quo with a series of “Why” questions.

Why do we rely on an outside vendor for our meals? Why do they arrive frozen every day? Why is it okay to heat food in plastic? Why do we go over budget every year for unhealthy food? Why has the system never addressed this problem?

It was through these questions and the unrelenting approach from Jill, that lead me to realize we should not accept that our students are being served sub-standard meals every day. We can and must take bold action to look at a common problem of large urban districts with fresh eyes and ideas. I am no longer hiding my opinion that frozen (or almost frozen) food from four states away, wrapped and heated in plastic is not okay for my children nor any student in BPS.