Where healthy school lunches are succeeding

The School Nutrition Association, the school food vendors’ lobby, says student participation in the school lunch program has plummeted, and that schools are reporting devastating declines in lunch revenue. Perhaps most importantly, studies found that kids, though forced to take the fruit in line, were throwing them away without taking a single bite.

But not, apparently, in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Lincoln public school system has gone above and beyond the legal requirements, dishing out a daily vegetable smorgasbord. On top of veggie burgers and black-bean chili, the school system serves up local yellow watermelons, black and green peppers, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, ripe plums, and fresh cantaloupe. It was enough to earn the district a “Golden Carrot Award” from the Physicians Committee, a nonprofit medical organization of 12,000 doctors.

The students’ reaction? So far … not too bad, says Cole’s mother, Jessie Coffey, who works on wellness issues for the district and sent these photos of the students’ new lunch options.