Re: Coercive Humanitarianism

It will be interesting to see how foodies react to the news that one Chicago school is banning home-packed lunches. In general, foodies tend to favor more spending on government feeding programs and applaud the first lady’s calls for more nutritious school lunches. This ban is a natural extension of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, which has lobbied to increase funding for the already badly run school-lunch program, worked to make the school-dinner program operational in all 50 states, and created a mechanism to automatically enroll children in school-feeding programs (using state Medicaid records).

But there are two competing foodie concepts at odds with each other in this latest move by Little Village Academy on Chicago’s West Side. On the one hand, foodies want to protect people from themselves and their desires for unhealthy food. On the other hand, foodies want people to gain a greater understanding of where their food comes from, suggesting they not only prepare family meals but grow gardens and even raise animals.

Ostensibly, school administrators banned home-packed meals to reduce the number of kids eating a bag of chips and a sugary soda for lunch, but what about the kids whose parents pack them a sprout sandwich on a whole-wheat bun with a side of kale chips and a wheat-grass shot for dessert? What about the parents who only want their kids to eat organic produce and hormone-free milk?

Foodies have remained largely silent on the government’s increasing role in feeding children. Maybe the idea of their kids eating canned cheese and tater-tot casserole at school will finally make them realize Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign has gone too far.

— Julie Gunlock is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

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