Navigating My School’s Food Desert

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When I walk through my school’s cafeteria doors and reach the food counter, I’m usually disappointed: To me, the salad is a little too wilted, the tuna fish looks a bit too brown and the apples feel mushy. I simply lose my appetite.

Normally, people use the term “food desert” when they’re talking about a neighborhood without access to fresh fruits or vegetables. But I call my school a food desert.

Unfortunately, congress recently blocked a proposal that would have required more fruits & vegetables in school lunches. To legislators, tomato paste on pizza counts as a vegetable, which is ridiculous, and not just because tomatoes are fruits! Sure, I know it would probably cost more money to serve healthier foods, but there is also a cost to eating processed foods.

Rather than go hungry, I bring my own lunch to school.   I try to pack things that are nutritious, like a bag of grapes and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s hard to believe simple food options like these can’t be done on a big scale. Especially now with studies showing the increase in students depending on free or reduced lunch meals.

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