Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tough To Digest

Yesterday, the NY Times reported about the Education Department's decision to ban bake sales in public schools as part of a new wellness policy aiming to reduce students' trans fat and sugar intake. From the article:

The previous regulations limited sales to once a month and allowed them at any time during that day, but they were loosely enforced. Officials say they will do more to monitor the new regulations.

“We have an undeniable problem in the city, state and the country with
obesity,” said Eric Goldstein, the chief of the office of school support services. “During the school day, we have to focus on what is healthy for the mind and the body.”

Unsurprisingly, the rationale is getting a cool reception among students. At Fiorello H. La Guardia High School on the Upper West Side, students are used to having bake sales several times a month. Now, Yardain Amron, a sophomore basketball player, laments that his team will not be able to raise money for a new scoreboard.

Another La Guardia student, Eli Salamon-Abrams, 14, said that when the soccer team held a bake sale in May, his blueberry muffins sold out in 15 minutes. He said of the ban: “I think it’s kind of pointless. I mean, why can’t we have bake sales?”

Today, I ask: Is this really the best solution, Mayor? Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Bloomberg fan and definitely appreciate and applaud his efforts in this case as well as the case against plastic bags but I gotta say that a bake sale ban seems a bit misdirected. Perhaps it addresses a small symptom that may or may not mean obesity for some percentage of brownie bakers or buyers - but it certainly isn't the root of the problem.

EDUCATE these children. Granted, putting the lesser of snack evils in the vending machines and saying no to sodas are steps in the right direction, but steering kids away from baking and fundraising for their sports teams? Not so cool. Give a kid $5 for school lunch (healthy or not) and you feed him for a day. Teach a kid to cultivate, garden, harvest, cook, spice, BAKE, dice, mix, braise... put work into making something edible with real, whole foods and you feed him for a lifetime. Just saying.

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