The documentary Lunch Line takes a new look at the school lunch program by exploring its past, its current challenges, and its opportunities for the future. The National School Lunch Program began in 1946, and now, more than 60 years later, the program feeds more than 31 million children every day. In the film, leaders from all sides of the school food debate, including government officials, school foodservice experts, activists, and students, weigh in on the program and discuss ways to continue nourishing America’s children for another 60 years.
Lunch Line follows six kids from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago as they set out to fix school lunch — and end up at the White House. Their unlikely journey parallels the dramatic transformation of school lunch from a patchwork of local anti-hunger efforts to a robust national feeding program. The film tracks the behind-the-scenes details of school lunch and childhood hunger from key moments in the 1940s, 1960s, and 1980s to the present, revealing political twists, surprising alliances, and more common ground than people might realize.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Ernie Park and Michael Graziano formed Uji Films in 2007. Their award-winning films have aired nationally and internationally in more than 100 countries, are available nationwide from distributors such as The Cinema Guild and DER, and have screened at a variety of well-known film venues and festivals in the US and abroad.
INSPIRED? TAKE ACTION!
Know (and Nurture) Your Network! Real and lasting change for school food will require alliances – often unlikely ones! How well do you know your network? Download the Lunch Line Discussion Guide [pdf].
These are just a sampling of the questions available in the Discussion Guide.
- Lunch Line provides a broad view of the current school food system as well as ideas for future developments. What reactions did you have while viewing it? How did the film change your perspective about the issue of school lunch?
- We all remember the school lunch room, and some of our favorite childhood memories were created there, sharing meals with our friends. What do you remember most about school lunch? After seeing this film, how do you think school lunch has changed for students today?
- What can be done to educate and motivate younger children about good nutrition and better food choices? How can better eating habits and information gained at school be translated to the home environment?
- What can schools do to improve the quality of ingredients without compromising on taste? How can school meals provide nutrient-rich foods that meet government guidelines – while also meeting budget concerns and addressing kids’ tastes?
- How can more demand from consumers for local, natural products help encourage more farmers to adopt organic practices that will drive a greater surplus of these products – which may, one day, help reduce costs to make more locally sourced and organic products economically viable for social feeding programs?
"An excellent primer on how our school lunch came to be what it is - and thus should be required viewing for anyone seeking to change it. One of the most engaging on-screen history lessons I've ever seen." - The Atlantic
"Powerful ... Lunch Line does a tremendous job explaining the mind-numbing complexities of the USDA's sorted relationship with the School Lunch Program. Lunch Line exposes how politics and private interests have gotten in the way of doing right by kids, but at least now, people are talking." - The Huffington Post
"This is a must-see film if you want to find out more about the federal school meal program and your kids school meals." - Jamie Oliver.com
"This compelling documentary tells the complicated story of the federal school lunch program, its origins, challenges, and opportunities, teasing out nuances without leaving viewers in the weeds." - Civil Eats.com