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The New York Times had a terrific piece yesterday about Middlebury College in Vermont, where the administration “has replaced ‘mystery meat,’ canned vegetables and other institutional menu staples - the butt of freshman-year jokes for generations - with locally raised chicken and lamb, and heirloom tomatoes, emerald green broccoli and plump ripe strawberries grown within a few miles of the campus.”

While most schools continue to serve mass produced food, the NYT writes that “officials at more than 200 universities and 400 school districts are supporting a farm-to-cafeteria movement to build their menus around fresh local ingredients. And students are cheering instead of complaining.”

The Times notes that schools making this transition often find that food costs “are higher, supplies can be hard to find and it takes more money to pay qualified cooks and install working kitchens.” At the same time, supporters say there are larger advantage and benefits, “from fighting obesity among the young to helping the local economy.”
KC's View:
This is what higher education ought to be about – teaching kids to be better, smarter consumers on a wide variety of levels.

As a society, we seem to accept the argument that “kids like to eat junk food,” and that the best we can do is encourage personal responsibility.

But we can’t expect people to make intelligent, informed decisions without giving them context for those choices. In the case of food, that means, for example, offering salads made from heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella instead of junk food…

We refuse to accept the argument that kids won’t eat this stuff. We expect too little from our kids, and then pass off our own lack of standards as their lack of discipline.