“Flavour School” Launches in Britain, Plus SNA on the Hill

Image credit: Flavour School

Wow – I just realized it’s been three weeks since I last posted on The Lunch Tray!  Sorry to have gone AWOL, everyone – I’ve been working on some interesting outside writing projects that have pulled me away from blogging, and I look forward to sharing those with you soon.

In the meantime, a few items of interest:

School Nutrition Association on Capitol Hill

Yesterday, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) concluded its three-day Legislative Action Conference, for which over 900 school food professionals travelled to Washington, D.C. to lobby for the goals set out in the organization’s 2017 position paper.

The SNA is particularly alarmed by a proposal in the House last year to block grant school meals in three states. As I discussed here last May (“School Nutrition Association and House Republicans: Trouble in Paradise“), the block grant proposal has undermined a formerly cozy alliance between the SNA and conservative House members, who for several years have been aligned in their efforts to weaken some Obama-era school meal nutritional reforms. 

Politico‘s Morning Agriculture tip sheet further reports that the SNA has been making a concerted effort to get Ivanka Trump interested in the issue of school food, including sending a series of tweets to the first daughter. The Morning Ag describes SNA’s outreach as “a way to sort of hedge its bets in a new administration with uncertain policy positions.”

Bee Wilson on “Flavour School”

If you read my review last year of Bee Wilson’s book First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, you know I’m a huge fan of this writer and her insights on children’s formation of food preferences.

I happened to notice on Twitter that Wilson recently wrote a piece for The Sunday Times (UK) regarding the recent launch of “Flavour School,” a new effort to bring “taste training” to young children in Britain. Flavour School is based on the “Sapere” method used in France, Sweden and elsewhere, which Wilson describes this way:

From nursery onwards, children are encouraged to explore food with all their senses: to learn the difference between bitter and sour, or to pay attention to the way that the red or green skin of an apple makes us expect it to taste. For more than 20 years, Swedish children have been given “taste lessons” through the Sapere method. In Latin, sapere means “to taste”, “to be able to” and “to know”. Research suggests that at the end of a course of these lessons, a child will be more open to tasting a variety of foods, including vegetables, and less susceptible to the junky “kids’ foods” so heavily promoted in every supermarket.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Sapere method were part of every American child’s early education? (You’ll have to register to access Wilson’s story, but no payment is required.)

A “Magic School Bus” Teaches Children About Food and Nature

Finally, on a related note, thanks to my sister-in-law for alerting me to this recent story from the Dallas Observer about “Seed Preschool,” a mobile classroom teaching Dallas pre-schoolers about “the value of nature, sustainability and the innate magic of growing your own food.”

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