Q: After that positive start, how did it feel to see that junk food was back on the menu on a Friday at the school?
A: In many respects, Rhonda and her boss had been very generous to let us in the school in the first place, but obviously it didn't feel great to find that stuff back on the menu. Having done this before in the UK, I've seen incredible change happen from central government to individual schools, so I know it's possible. The problem is that before you reach that point, everyone tries to make it sound like it's too complicated to get fresh food into schools. The general feeling seems to be that everything is just fine as it is and that the nutritional standards are great and tick all of the boxes. They want you to prove to them that fresh food is better than junk and show analysis and statistics to back that up. Funnily enough, I've got all the analysis and I've got proof that fresh is better than junk, five years on, from independent studies done in England.
The problem is that government bodies are all protecting their own interests, so getting a straight answer out of them is so difficult. But I'll keep trying because I've got one interest only, and that's the kids. I think this is just the beginning, and it is really important that all parents keep pushing for the fresh food in schools. We don't want to have people who do Rhonda's job around the country saying no to trying to make this happen, we want them saying yes and giving it a go like Rhonda did. We don't want the USDA to give us nice one liners yet do nothing about it; we want them to find commodities that aren't processed and help schools to order those instead. If anyone thinks that this is going to stop, they are wrong because we are going to be back on the case next year, checking up on what has been achieved, what's been done and who the bad guys are—and there are a lot of bad guys!