In Washington, D.C. school lunch reform advocates are hosting a screening of Lunch Line, a documentary on the history of National School Lunch Program.
Karen Duncan, wife of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Christie Vilsack, wife of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, are scheduled to attend the debut for the film, which is a joint project of the Healthy School Campaign and Applegate Farms, created by Chicago-based Uji Films.
The Health School Campaign has been active in organizing the effort for the passage of a stronger–and better-funded–child nutrition bill. Applegate Farms, which supplies natural, antibiotic-free, minimally processed meat to retailers like Whole Foods, the company’s mission “to change the way America eats meat.”
The film aims to “empower Americans to be part of solutions that can help build a better lunch for future students.”
“Lunch Line reveals the National School Lunch Program’s surprising history and the unexpected ways it has grown and changed over the years to feed more than 31 million children every day,” said Michael Graziano, who co-directed the film with Ernie Park, his partner at Uji Films. “The film pulls back the curtain to reveal, through school lunch, how large-scale social change can work,” said Park.
According to the release for the film, Lunch Line follows the personal stories of six high school students from Chicago. Each enter a cooking contest where they are challenged to create a healthier school lunch. The effort eventually takes them to the nation’s capital, where they serve their wining meal to congressional leaders and meet White House chefs.
“The story of the [high school kids] is what hooked me, and I hope they will inspire other young people to be active in their school community,” said Stephen McDonnell, founder and CEO of Applegate Farms, the company presenting the film. “By participating in the process and speaking up about the need to improve funding for the National School Lunch Program, the [kids] showed how we all can get involved to make real and lasting change.”
“Childhood obesity rates continue to rise but we believe obesity is a symptom of a much larger problem,” said McDonnell. “People need help understanding where their food comes from, how it’s made, and how their choices affect their health. If we can help young kids understand how food affects their lives from the farm to their bodies, it’s more likely that they’ll enjoy healthier and more active lifestyles into adulthood.”
The film is screening at Landmark’s E Street Cinema at 7 p.m. Sept. 21; an RSVP is required, RSVP@prcollaborative.com.