Funding for the National School Lunch Program is set to expire in less than ten days -- and no sign of movement on the school lunch bill (aka the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010). Insiders are still hoping that the House will pass the Senate's version as is and get this thing done by the end of this month. If not, Congress will have to pass some sort of temporary extension -- otherwise the authority (and funding) to feed our nation's kids will evaporate overnight.
But let's turn our school lunch frowns upside down and accentuate the positive. In this case, it's an extension of the baby carrot producers' "Eat 'em like junk food" campaign into schools. A school in Ohio has installed an "all carrot vending machine," reports the Middletown Journal, or more precisely, an all baby-carrot vending machine. The machine was installed by Bolthouse Farms, one of the nation's leading grower of baby carrots (which aren't really "babies" at all, but are usually made from blemished or otherwise "rejected" carrots) and one of the farms involved with the national marketing campaign. Bolthouse also put one in a Syracuse, N.Y. school, stocked with 300 bags of baby carrots at 50 cents a bag.
Skeptics will of course tell you how this story ends -- lonely veggie vending machines ignored by students spoiled by Big Food's ad-driven, sweet and salty snacks. But, no, says the Journal:
Reaction was decidedly positive at Mason High, according to George Coates, the school's assistant principal.
"It hadn't been an hour after they filled the machines, that we had students coming in and purchasing baby carrots," Coates said.
Here's the dirty little secret that many of you childless types might not realize. When kids are hungry, they eat what's there. If carrots are the only snack option, then that's what they'll eat.