Role: Researcher, Designer
An examination of the American public school lunch and how it might be improved.
A cybernetic model is one that examines the feed-back within a system and represents it clearly. Here we were tasked with showing the model of an existing system & demonstrating changes might be implemented.
While the childhood obesity and pre-diabetic rate is climbing in the United States, the public school lunch programs continue to offer terrible meal choices and junk foods. With an unhealthy food environment at school, children are not being given the opportunity to learn to eat right. Although parents at home may provide nutritionally good food, this fails when their children are in an environment abundant with processed food, sodas, candy, and other junk foods.
Here I have outlined the goals and the means by which those goals are achieved, of the primary participants in the current system. Although the model breaks down in many places, I have highlighted the areas in which I will attempt to first implement change. I will primarily be addressing the issue of nutritionally poor competitive foods that go unregulated by the USDA within the school environment.
Conversation to Create Change
To implement any sort of change within the system a conversation must be started. Parents have the most interest invested, and can become powerful advocates for change within the system. They must be convinced that a healthy school lunch is essential to their children's current and future health. Once their goals are shared with that of the advocate's, they can then begin creating the conversations that need to happen within the school administration and governments.
Change to Model
The suggested changes within the system would result in the children having healthy competitive food choices. Case studies of sales of healthy competitive foods have actually shown an increase in revenue, which would be beneficial to the school. These would be the first changes, and eventually all competitive foods might be brought under the same USDA nutritional guidelines that meals are.