The nation may have seen Michael Daigle’s recent documentary on funding school kitchens, “Eat Lunch.” But this concept originated in just one Massachusetts school district more than 150 years ago.
The new federal School Kitchens Development Initiative, which was launched last week, would help create more classroom kitchens from scratch — where money from communities would work like federal programs. Currently, 23 states are taking part in the program.
Since the film was released, Panera Bread and the National Restaurant Association have been asked to propose ideas to help schools prepare for the initiative.
Ten public schools in Massachusetts, for example, have so far been surveyed to see how they would proceed under the new program.
As of now, 13 schools are underway, while 19 are in the planning stages. Along with $29 million in new funding, school kitchens would have to be staffed and equipped with both dishwashers and built-in refrigerators.
“There’s so much going on these days,” says Nina Shafley, executive director of the Massachusetts Kitchen Corporation, a local advocacy group.“It’s really like, ‘Where’s the ad? Where’s the mobile kitchen?'”