Segments in this Video

Rethink Organization (01:56)


After Hurricane Katrina, many students attended schools in other states that were superior to those in New Orleans. Victoria Carter and Lucy Tucker formed an organization to give kids a voice in rebuilding New Orleans schools; a primary goal was to improve meals. Students are served pizza and fries— a typical lunch. (Credits)

School Lunch Improvement Mission (02:00)

Victoria discusses New Orleans' reputation as a cultural and culinary city. Rethinkers share their impressions of cafeteria food. Principal Barbara MacPhee applauds them for taking on the issue.

Grading New Orleans School Lunches (02:40)

Rethink publishes a book about the process of getting fresh, local food in cafeterias. Victoria and Lucy appear on a local news station and speak at a food justice conference.

Rethink Policy Achievement (03:31)

The Recovery School District adds Aramark as a school lunch provider on the condition that they work with Rethinkers. Lucy and Victoria meet with executives to discuss improving cafeteria food— on their terms. Victoria hopes the company will share their commitment to making changes.

Developing a Relationship for Corporate Accountability (03:07)

Rethinkers make recommendations to Aramark executives for improving school lunches. Students convene to reflect on the meeting. Rethink founder Jane Wholey cautions that real change will take time.

2nd Annual School Report Card Survey (02:45)

Rethink advisor Johanna Gilligan meets with students about surveying New Orleans schools on cafeteria food. Rethinkers visit elementary schools to poll students; most say lunches have not improved since the previous year.

School Report Card Survey Results (02:53)

Former Rethinker Domonique explains that cafeteria food ruined fruits and vegetables for him. One New Orleans elementary school has a garden; students are more likely to eat food they grow themselves. Rethinkers find many lunches are still made from processed ingredients.

America's Garbage Disposal (02:10)

Rethinkers discuss why school food is not improving. The school system is an easy market for low quality products. A third of Louisianans are overweight, and people are starting to realize the injustice of prioritizing profit over health.

Feet to the Fire (03:00)

Rethinkers write a letter asking Aramark to honor their agreement to serve fresh, local food in New Orleans school cafeterias. They give a press conference about school food report card results. Lucy discusses the power of their activist work in changing the system.

School Lunch Agreement (03:37)

Aramark, the school district, and the Rethinkers sign a "good faith" document for fresh, local fruits in school lunches. A corporate representative promises accountability. Students are excited about their victory and hope it will lead to improved child health across the nation.

Credits: The Weight of the Nation for Kids 01: The Great Cafeteria Takeover (02:12)

Credits: The Weight of the Nation for Kids 01: The Great Cafeteria Takeover

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The Weight of the Nation for Kids 01: The Great Cafeteria Takeover

Part of the Series : The Weight of the Nation for Kids
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A profile of the Rethinkers, a youth-based non-profit in New Orleans trying to make the district’s school cafeterias offer healthier, better-tasting options. Formed when New Orleans kids returned home after Hurricane Katrina – which gave them the experience of eating at other schools out-of-state – the Rethinkers hope to rebuild their hometown’s public schools, starting with its lunch food. “Being from New Orleans I know what good food tastes like,” says Victoria, the center of our story, who says she would rather work for change than sit around doing nothing about it. Victoria leads the charge in surveying several cafeterias and after getting some local-news attention, Aramark, the company who runs the public-school lunches, invites the Rethinkers to give some recommendations. These bright and passionate students are able to negotiate with the corporation and come to an agreement on fresher, healthier food. The kids continue to make their mark by giving “report cards” to area schools based on the surveys conducted, and announce the schools’ grades – as well the Aramark agreement – at a grand-finale press conference that is both moving and inspiring. An HBO Production. 

Length: 31 minutes

Item#: BVL115202

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

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