School lunches in America are rarely gourmet, but some are much worse than others. Case in point, more than 500 students at a Chicago high school plan on boycotting their school’s offerings, which include burnt pizzas, rotting fruit, frozen fruit cups and applesauce, sodium-filled meat patties, and other deplorable options. As part of The School Lunch Project: A Culinary Denial movement, the students are requesting larger portions of healthier foods and less of the processed, overcooked, and unhealthy foods that currently make up the typical lunchtime menu. The students noted that Aramark, which provides their school’s lunch services, is also the supplier for Cook County Prison, and they argue that the company is only concerned with increasing their profits and creating foods that meet the bare requirements of being edible and containing nutrients. 95% of the school’s population qualified for free or reduced lunch, so a long-term boycott or brown bagging option isn’t realistic for many of the students and their families, but the boycott is one effective way to reach Aramark and Chicago Public Schools, since the two groups split the money that is made from the school lunches. Although PETA’s humane education division has offered to step in and donate a free vegan meal to everyone in the school, as well as help the school develop healthier options, a spokesperson for the Chicago Public Schools states that such involvement would “jeopardize our federal nutrition funding.” We might point out that federal nutrition funding should perhaps go toward food that is actually nutritious. Students at Theodore Roosevelt High argue that they deserve food that can nourish their bodies, help them grow and have energy for school, and actually taste good — and we couldn’t agree more. Stay tuned for how the public school system responds as more students join in the cause. According to Yahoo, and this online notice, the students want to change the school lunch program at all Chicago public schools and have declared, “We are planning a citywide boycott on Thursday, December 17th, to show them we mean business. All students should participate.”

via Yahoo!

Lead images © Alaa Farge and Celeste Hernandez