Despite the nearby influence of Alice Waters and her Edible Schoolyard Project, students at Berkeley High School, by and large, eat like crap. A new piece in the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Berkeley High, like one in three high schools in America, allows students off campus for lunch, allowing them to eat the junk food they wish to eat instead of the Michelle Obama-approved school lunch program food that districts nationwide are trying to improve. Only about one tenth of the student body in Berkeley takes advantage of the school lunches there, which have been designed in part with the help of Waters’s program.
Compare this to Oakland High School, which closed its campus last fall in part to reduce crime and abenteeism, where now about half the students eat the free lunches, which include things like pizza with low-fat cheese and whole-grain crust; and chicken with mashed potatoes. In related news, earlier this year, the California Senate Oversight Office found that several school districts across the state were misappropriating federal funds meant to offset the cost of providing free lunch. It’s estimated that 60 percent of students who participate in school lunch programs — which fell under stricter nutritional guidelines this year — actually eat the food.