by intern Christine Binder
Earlier this week, a team of Chicago high school students traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak up for better school food, but they did not come empty-handed. The students, from the Tilden Career Community Academy, brought along their award-winning recipes. Back in October, the team of six won the Healthy Schools Campaign’s 2009 “Cooking Up Change” competition. Their chicken-vegetable jambalaya, jalapeno cornbread, and cucumber salad were served to Congress in the Longworth House of Representatives cafeteria and also at a Capitol Hill briefing on the future of school food.
The students specifically designed the menu to exceed current nutrition standards for school lunches and fall under a budget of one dollar per serving, which is the same amount that school districts around the country have to spend on ingredients for each school lunch. Meeting budgetary and nutritional requirements was the most difficult part of the competition, according to the Tilden students.
Cooking up Change gives students a forum to present their creative ideas about what healthy school food can be,” said Rochelle Davis, the founding executive director of Healthy Schools Campaign. “And while the contest is fun, it carries an important message: schools need more money for better food.”