You might remember the fuss a few years ago when Alice Waters publicly speculated that a quality school lunch should cost about $5. Critics were scornful, and public opinion seemed to reject Waters’ idea, as school food activist Dana Woldow writes today in the San Francisco BeyondChron (I found Woldow’s courtesy article of The Lunch Tray: a great blog well worth checking out).
You might be interested to know that school lunches in Paris cost up to $7 per child (for the wealthiest families). (See my earlier post on this topic).
A key point about the Parisian school food system is that poorer families pay much less: 20 cents per meal (yes, that’s right, 20 cents). Most middle-class families pay around $3 per meal. In other words, the middle-class and wealthy subsidize meals for poorer families, so that all children can eat the same thing at school.
Check out my post, and you’ll see that students get a lot for their money: three or four course meals, with delicious food (including organic).
The French believe that good food does cost money, and they’re willing to pay. They also believe that everyone should have access to healthy food. I realize that suggesting ‘cross-subsidies’ might make people angry, but it is a solution worth talking about, in my opinion. Otherwise, only children from families who can pay for ‘real food’ will get it. And I think that’s unfair.