Unity Charter School, NJ School Lunch Program

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Unity Charter School, NJ, US

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

Source File: https://web.archive.org/web/20100426172135/http://www.unity-nj.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13&Itemid=16


The Unity Charter School Lunch Program
...thinking out of the lunchbox

The Unity Charter School lunch program offers freshly prepared, nutritionally balanced meals every day that lunch is served. Nothing is processed or pre-made.

The UCS lunch program is designed to combat common food and ecological problems found today in our schools. We are concerned with the serious increase in childhood obesity and nutrition related illnesses as well as the incredible haste and waste often associated with school lunches. We deal with these issues by employing a common sense approach for everything we do through the quality and nutritional value of our food, the way we dine and the waste this food produces.

Recognizing that the average school lunchroom experience (including poor-quality meals, shortened lunch periods, and excessive packaging and waste) often undermines important health and learning issues for our children, Unity has a zero-waste, family style dining program. This approach offers solid life-lessons of nutrition and healthy eating habits for our children.

Zero-waste: The school lunch served at Unity is strictly vegetarian (with vegan alternatives), mostly organic food. Our mission is sustainability, and most meat is not grown very sustainably in America. It is our goal to teach students how to eat "further down the food chain." In other words, to eat foods that do not have to go through too many steps to get to our plate. Vegetables, and other plant-based foods (particularly organic) can be directly harvested from the earth and served - basically earth to table. Becoming more involved in ways such as eating grain foods directly rather than feeding them to livestock, is more efficient and therefore sustainable by conserving water and soil, because it takes a tremendous amount more feed to raise livestock than humans will consume. It also prevents additional sources of water pollution from factory farm fecal waste, and preserves the rainforest by lowering deforestation to create acreage used for raising livestock. Besides being fresher,buying our food from local sources whenever possible saves on petroleum and the pollution it produces.

When students bring their own lunch (which does not have to follow the vegetarian meal plan), we ask that it be brought in a zero-waste container, som

Dining: Real cloth napkins and tablecloths, stainless service and actual ceramic cups and plates not only insure eco-friendly dining but lend to a more positive and pleasurable meal. Family style lunches enhance the entire eating experience and encourage commUNITY spirit.ething that can be reused or recycled. The container is sent home with the child.

UCS is fortunate to have a professionally trained organic chef on staff. Chef Judy is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She combines her culinary expertise, her nutritional knowledge and her years of experience as a chef (and mother of two) to create innovative, nutritionally-balanced and palate-pleasing main courses, sides and desserts. One of the biggest challenges to overcome is the “picky-eater.” Chef Judy knows that taste, color and texture are the essential ingredients in creating fun and palatable meals for school-age children. Children are encouraged to try new things and to keep tasting...a tried and true method of learning to like new foods.

The Unity Charter School is dedicated to creating healthier lifestyles for our children through this very special program. The support and dedication of our staff and parents through donations and volunteerism is essential for its continued success.