Before I had my driver’s license I rode to and from work with my father. He used to have talk radio on in the background, not that he ever really seemed to be listening to it. We all know the old adage that we become our parents – and there I was the other day with talk radio on in my car while I was mindlessly driving. All of a sudden there was a topic that snapped me out of my daze.
The host started talking about a local movement to cancel school participation in the USDA sponsored school lunch programs. The commentary included snippets about the waste of putting a serving of broccoli on a child’s plate only to watch him eat around it and then throw it away. Then there was the criticism about sharing plates and trading lunches since some kids love broccoli and would trade for it, leaving the other one with no vegetable. Ghastly!
I dialed in and explained to the producer who I was and that I wanted to comment about choice being a driving factor. If the student could choose off of a salad bar rather than having the lunch lady force feed him, he would learn to make better choices all throughout his life. It is not so much about what vegetable, but the selection of any vegetable. I brought up the wonderful things that Jessica Shelly has done in Cincinnati to promote fresh fruits and vegetable choices to the thousands of students that participate daily. “Great!” said the producer. “We’ll get you on in a minute”.
I waited anxiously to have my turn to pontificate on air. Then the traffic guy broke in with word of a crash and the host headed in another direction with the show. I was thanked and disconnected. What a disappointment. I wrote a lengthy email to the host outlining the various topics that I was going to present and asked him to consider revisiting the conversation soon. We’ll see where that lands.
The point here is that we always have to be ready to enlighten others on the wonderful things that our industry has to offer, including both products and passion. I could talk about the hundreds of salad bars donated in this region alone, the benefits of a fresh choice offering to students during their formative years, the difference between fresh snacks and processed ones and so on. Any public forum could become an opportunity to advance the industry, so be ready to talk it up!