Free for All: Fixing School Food in America

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Overview

"
In her extraordinarily well-thought-out, beautifully written, sympathetic, and compelling book, Jan Poppendieck makes clear that Free for All has two meanings: how pressures to reduce the cost of school meals put our children's health at risk, and how best to solve this problem—universal school meals. Anyone who reads this book will find the present school lunch situation beyond unacceptable. Free for All is a call for action on behalf of America's school kids, one that we all need to join. I will be using this book in all my classes."—Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics

"President Obama has promised to end childhood hunger in America by the year 2015. He and his team should read Jan Poppendieck's new book Free for All. Her simple premise is that hunger is the enemy of education. She makes a persuasive case for the federal government to provide nutritious free school lunch and breakfast to every school child in America as a major step to end childhood hunger, reduce obesity and a whole range of nutrition related diseases and to improve the education of our children at the same time. Now, for the first time in my 35 years of fighting hunger we have a president who has pledged to actually do it starting with children and a book that provides the roadmap for an important part of the journey. Anyone who cares about our children should read this book."—Bill Ayres, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WHY (World Hunger Year)

Free For All is an essential resource for anyone interested in school food reform. Janet Poppendieck has taken on a topic of extraordinary complexity and produced a comprehensive and engaging analysis of how the current system came to be, why it is so resistant to change, and what we can do to improve it. Throughout she rejects the scapegoating, moralism, and quick fixes that characterize so much of the current debate over school food.
Instead, she offers insightful structural analysis, engaging interviews with front-line food service personnel, and colorful accounts of visits to lunch rooms across the nation. Free For All looks beyond local success stories, calling for a national program redesign that challenges us all to rethink the role of school food policy within the larger food system. What Upton Sinclair's The Jungle was to food safety regulation at the beginning of the last century, Poppendieck's Free for All may well be for school food reform at the start of the new century.”—Timothy D. Lytton, Angela and Albert Farone Distinguished Professor of Law, Albany Law School

“Janet Poppendieck's Free for All is a timely and extremely thoughtful call for a sane, just, and healthy school food agenda for America's children. Complex yet clear, vivid and engrossing, Free for All should be required reading for relevant courses in sociology, education, social work, and public health. It is truly food for thought for students, community activists, and policy makers.”—Ruth Sidel, PhD, Author of Unsung Heroines: Single Mothers and the American Dream

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Editorial Reviews

Bookforum
“Meticulously researched, patiently explicated, potentially groundbreaking. . . . Should be required reading for everyone who eats food, buys food, has kids, or cares about nutrition.”
The Washington Monthly - Michael O'Donnell
“Sophisticated and nuanced.”
Gastronomica - Lisa Sasson
“[An] excellent, informative book. . . . Poppendieck’s research is extensive and meaningful.”
Teaching Sociology - Heather Sullivan-Caitlin
“A masterful work of public sociology that is likely to play an important role.”
Sarah Halzack
…[Poppendieck] argues convincingly that lunches should be free for all students, a measure that would remove shame from the equation for those who need the program while cutting costs associated with determining who qualifies for free or reduced-price meals. By illuminating how Congress, big agriculture, local school boards and even parents affect what shows up in the cafeteria, this well researched book makes a strong case for retooling school lunch menus nationwide.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520269880
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/10/2011
  • Series: California Studies in Food and Culture
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 734,184
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet Poppendieck is Professor of Sociology at Hunter College, City University of New York. She is the author of Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement and Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction:
In Search of School Food

1. School Food 101
2. Food Fights: A Brief History
3. Penny Wise, Pound Foolish: What's Driving the Menu?
4. How Nutritious Are School Meals?
5. The Missing Millions: Problems of Participation
6. Hunger in the Classroom: Problems of Access
7. Free, Reduced Price, Paid: Unintended Consequences
8. Local Heroes: Fixing School Food at the Community Level

Conclusion: School Food at the Crossroads
Notes
Bibliography

Index

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