Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In response to Gapers Block’s July 16th post about “Lunch Line”…

While Organic School Project is no longer running the kitchen at Alcott Elementary School, as was the case during the filming of “Lunch Line,” we are still actively engaged with Alcott. OSP staff is currently leading a weekly gardening class for approximately thirty 1-8th graders at Alcott’s summer camp program.

OSP has also begun work on phase two of our project. We are in the process of contacting school districts and developing an institutional cookbook. This comprehensive guide, organized by season will provide instruction on how to purchase, process, store and prepare seasonal, sustainable foods for schools and other large institutions.

Working hands on in the kitchen is an extremely important and rewarding step in the process, and OSP has begun to expand its focus to tackling these next steps, which will lead to the execution of our GROW TEACH FEED model in a number of schools.

Read Gapers Block’s Friday post at:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Impact the future of school food by contacting your representative

Congress is working on federal legislation that can help meet the nutritional needs of children by deciding school food policy and resource allocation.

Reauthorization bills of the Child Nutrition Act have been introduced in both the House and the Senate. While both contain stipulations promoting health, neither provides enough funding to make integral changes (the House bill only asks for an additional 6 cents for each meal).

Mark-up on the bill begins today, and representatives need to hear your thoughts. Please take a moment to urge your representative to support increased funding for healthy school food.

This is a chance to impact the future of school food and combat hunger and youth-related health issues such as childhood obesity, and we need your help. This act is only reauthorized every 5 years, so now is the time to do something!

To learn more information and take action, check out Healthy Schools Campaign’s website:


OSP in the Tribune Yesterday!

The new documentary “Lunch Line,” created by Chicago filmmakers Mike Graziano and Ernie Park and inspired by Organic School Project premiered last night at the Landmark Century Theater in Lincoln Park. It shows six Chicago high school students who created a delicious, healthy school lunch for about $1 and won the healthy cooking contest, Cooking up Change, established by the Healthy Schools Campaign. The film follows these students to Washington, D.C., where they use their success to campaign for better school lunches. Conveying the challenges connected with serving healthy school lunches along the way, “Lunch Line” educates on the history of the National School Lunch Program, describing how it has gotten to where it is today and revealing the people who are trying to reform it.

The Tribune article discusses with the filmmakers their inspiration behind creating the documentary, which include a 2007 article they read about the Organic School Project in the Chicago Reader. See the article for more ‘behind-the-scenes’ information about the film.


Due to its popularity and the immense turn out last night, another Chicago screening is being planned for the near future. Details will be posted on “Lunch Line’s” facebook page, so check it out and go see the documentary at the next viewing!

Hi! Welcome to the Organic School Project blog!

The importance of improving youth health through school lunch is a major topic of discussion right now, and Organic School Project is on the forefront trying to provide youth with a foundation for sustainable lifestyles, enabling them to make positive choices for themselves and the planet. This blog is available to update you on the happenings of OSP as well as related endeavors and inform you on the issues OSP is delving into.

My name is Colleen. I just graduated from Boston College in May where I was studying environmental geoscience, exploring the understanding of sustaining the earth as a habitable planet. Now, I’m working with Organic School Project in an effort to make sustainable, healthy changes to the food service programs in the Chicago Public Schools by incorporating local, organic food and nutrition education.

I first became interested in this cause through the importance of local food. Through my earth studies, I came to understand how devastating industrialized agriculture can be to the environment. It uses huge amounts of water, industrial chemicals and energy. Trucking produce across the state, growing the same plant on the same piece of land over and over again and the dangerous chemicals used to fertilize all take a toll on the earth and ultimately affect the health of the planet and the nutrients in each product we eat. Eating local reduces some of these stresses and also provides tastier food!

This preference for local food has been ingrained in me since childhood. For as long as I can remember, my dad has grown fruits and vegetables in our very own garden, each year. I LOVED the summer months because it meant cherry tomatoes (my favorite food) from right in the backyard! They tasted so sweet and had a comparable difference to tomatoes we ate from the grocery store the rest of the year. This same difference can be tasted in local produce that is in season compared to produce that is shipped thousands of miles all year round. How great would it be if everyone could have this experience of better tasting, better for you, food?

Coming to OSP, I am learning quickly about the current youth-health issues in Chicago due to lack of proper nutrition and the many challenges that go along with changing the system. Improving school lunch is not only about wanting to provide our kids with better meals, it is also about getting the kids to know the importance of proper nutrition and to consciously make healthier food choices. As always, there are obstacles to changing a system, including the high cost of better food. OSP is working hard to meet these challenges, as we embark on a new project that will help make implementing these changes easier by providing schools with the necessary information and steps needed to execute healthier meals and bring about healthier kids.

Other exciting things coming up involving OSP:

Jack Johnson Concert
  • The Organic School Project is giving away free tickets to see Jack Johnson live at Alpine Valley on Saturday, July 24th!! Make a donation today and be entered to win!
OSP featured in new documentary, “Lunch Line”

  • Organic School Project inspired documentary chronicling the challenges of healthy school lunches. Second Chicago screening date/time/location TBA

We are always looking for people to help out, so leave comments, volunteer, contact us! Keep reading to stay up to date on this important issue!