When I found this news article via The Lunch Tray - I was very upset. What is the point of having students involved with growing their own produce if they aren't actually going to be able to eat it? Something tells me that this is not something that is unique to Chicago.
Now if Chartwells, the food supplier, made the argument that the food coming in from school gardens was inconsistent, 10 pounds of tomatoes one day, then 2 pounds of peppers the next I could maybe see their point of not being able rely on veggies grown in the school garden. But to suggest that the school gardens are using conventional pesticides and fertilizers is insulting to every parent and teacher, many of whom do this on a voluntary basis, that help organize and run school garden programs. Does anyone know of a school garden that is using anything but compost to fertilize? What school garden even has the money to buy fertilizer? Most school gardens are funded by either grants or fundraisers. They are using the money to buy only the complete essentials. Pesticides are definitely not on that list.
What's worse is that Chartwells is purchasing conventionally grown produce as superior to the school grown. Conventional produce is obviously way more "sprayed" than anything the school could grow as farmers have access to pesticides and fertilizers that homeowners and schools do not. But somehow, that's better. Is it just me, or is this completely backwards?