•  ()
  •  ()
  • Print this Story
  • Email this Story

Evanston Enters School Lunch Debate

Public officials, experts to view and discuss acclaimed documentary

text size AAA
April 22, 2011 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Amid a national push to make school lunches more nutritious, Evanston will host two free April screenings of “Lunch Line” -- an acclaimed film documentary charting the development of school nutrition policy through the stories of six Chicago students whose quest to produce a healthy meal ultimately leads them to the Obama White House.

The first screening of “Lunch Line” will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston Campus. “Lunch Line” directors Michael Graziano and Ernie Park; Chicago Tribune food critic Monica Eng; Northwestern Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (who has done research on school lunches and obesity); and student Victor Fimbres will speak after the screening.

The film will be screened again at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at the Evanston Public Library, where Evanston Skokie School District 65 School Superintendent Hardy Murphy will headline a discussion with Debbie Hillman, chair of the Evanston Food Policy Council; Rochelle Davis, president of the Healthy Schools Campaign; and other specialists.

Both screenings are free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The inspiration to bring “Lunch Line” to Evanston arose from grassroots efforts to improve school lunches in District 65 elementary schools, where 3,000 students eat district-provided hot lunches every day. Many of them depend on the nutrition provided by the meals, yet as First Lady Michelle Obama and others point out, more must be done across the country to ensure the meals are healthy and nutritious.

“Lunch Line” tracks the history of U.S. school lunch programs in an engaging and provocative way. It chronicles key moments in child nutrition and government intervention stretching from the 1940s to the present, when 31 million American schoolchildren are fed each day in public schools.

The unlikely journey of six Chicago public school students frames the debate and parallels the transformation of school lunch from a weak patchwork of local anti-hunger efforts to a robust national feeding program. The film illuminates difficulties -- as well as a surprising set of alliances -- on an issue with important implications for national health and children’s wellbeing.

The April 28 screening by Block Cinema will take place at the Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The Evanston Public Library is located in downtown Evanston at 1703 Orrington Ave. The screenings are made possible with support from Northwestern University and the Evanston Public Library.

For more information, visit Northwestern's Center for Civic Engagement website at http://www.engage.northwestern.edu/news.html - lunch or e-mail the Kyle Anderson at the Center for Civic Engagement at kyle-anderson-2@northwestern.edu.