I don't participate in the USDA program. One reason is that there is an awful lot of paperwork involved. The way the program works is the USDA or some other government entity (I'm not really clear on that point) pays me about .45 cents per lunch served and about .20 cents per snack. Something like that. There are two tiers and I don't qualify for tier one because of my location, so I qualify for tier two which pays less. Anyway, in order to get this whopping .65 cents per day, I have to fill out of ton of paperwork. The truth is that I rather write in this blog or upload a video or have my teeth cleaned than fill out government forms. Secondly I've looked through the menu of items that I'm "allowed" to serve and frankly I was not the least bit impressed. Although I've had many assurances from the broker who handles the program that I am not obligated to serve hot dogs, it seemed to me that hot dogs were actually mentioned quite a bit during our conversation.
I understand the food pyramid, but I see no value in serving bread with macaroni and cheese. It just doesn't go together, but if I was part of the program, guess what? Yes, I would have to serve bread because there has to be two servings, blah, blah, blah. I serve plenty of bread. In fact on a weekly basis we make some sort of bread. It's either banana bread, pumpkin bread or a crusty french loaf. I never serve them with macaroni and cheese.
I also choose not to participate as a matter of principle. I find it interesting that the USDA is responsible for serving kids lunch at school. I find it interesting that state and federal governments cut funding on physical education classes or cut them in favor of adding more core classes and then parents are blamed for the rise in childhood obesity!
I've added a menu link to the blog. The food is not extraordinary, it's just wholesome stuff kids like. When I can I buy organic. I always buy the best I can afford. The USDA can keep it's .65 cents and maybe spend on improving public school lunches, but somehow I doubt it. I seriously doubt it.