Sure, all mainstream media loves its Miracle Vegetable of the Week stories, alternated with their Scary Chemical of the Week stories, but CNN is positively Huffington Post-ish in their willingness to engage in advocacy. And in New York City, there is always something to advocate.
Active Learning Elementary School has implemented all-vegetarian meals five days a week. Like an alarming number of schools in progressive enclaves, data and reason check themselves at the door. The school was founded not on education principles, but rather food lifestyle ones. Like a fundamental religious school, except based on lunch.
"We decided on a vision where health and nutrition would be a part of educating the whole child," school principal Bob Groff told CNN's Brittany Brady.
Maybe instead of food religion fundamentalism we could term it outcome-based education...for vegetarians.
Is there any merit to food making a difference? Sure. In 100% of cases, students who never eat not only perform poorly as time goes on, they die. But a school based on the idea that food makes the student is a higher order of crackpottery, even in a modern New York City culture dominated by supernatural beliefs, mysticism and anti-science advocacy. Students seem to be sufficiently indoctrinated right now, but if your parent is enrolling you in school based on its food activism (and it has 400 students, so they are) those students are only going to play along until they get to college - because the rationale is subjective, not evidence-based. "When you're healthy, you can do better on tests and you can fight more diseases," student Nick Lin told CNN affiliate NY1.
No kidding. There is just no evidence being vegetarian is better for you - instead, the evidence shows it is generally worse. There are exceptions, of course. I have a neighbor who is mostly vegan and he looks awesome, but that is more due to his obsession with P90X than his obsession with not eating cheese.
Food activists may be outright just deceiving the public, write Jeff Stier and Dr. Henry Miller. “Meatless Mondays” and paying for community gardens because they will supposedly fight obesity and even New York City giving “free” farmers market vouchers...to, of course, people in politically connected community groups, aren't helping anyone that we can see.
Agricultural economist Jayson Lusk captured the zeitgeist well, observing that some journalists, columnists, celebrity chefs, and cookbook authors have conspired to create a distorted, dystopian picture of modern agriculture by promoting the view that “the prescription for our ailments is local, organic, slow, natural, and unprocessed food, along with a healthy dose of new food taxes, subsidies, and regulation.” evocative prose.We can count on CNN to continue to do their part. But, if you don't read them, you can always look to Mark Bittman at the New York Times. There is virtually no outrageous claim about organic food he won't embrace - while believing almost anything that says sugar is evil.
The campaign to demonize the food industry is at the same time both radical and mainstream, which is a recipe for trouble.