FoodCorps and Sweetgreen Want to “Reimagine” School Cafeterias

Bettina Elias Siegel for The Lunch Tray

Too-short lunch periods, windowless, cramped cafeterias, and noise levels so loud they virtually guarantee a headache.

None of those conditions are conducive to a relaxed, pleasant eating experience, yet according to a new report released today by FoodCorps, the food education nonprofit, they’re all too common in school cafeterias across the country.

The organization’s “Reimagining School Cafeterias” report, which was released this morning, is based on interviews conducted last year with over 300 students and 100 adults—school nutrition staff, teachers, administrators, custodians, and others—at nine diverse schools around the country.

The upshot, according to FoodCorps, is that “too often, our education system approaches feeding 30 million kids a day as a burden: lunch time is a drain on learning time, cafeteria culture is a drain on school culture, and good meals are a drain on the general fund.” Instead, the organization hopes to “reimagine” the cafeteria experience as one in which school meals become “opportunities for connection over a meal with culturally relevant ingredients in a warm, joyful, and convivial environment.”