Cafeteria Man


A candid look at what it takes to reform unhealthy school lunch programs and provide nutritious, tasty meals to our nation

Categories: , , SKU: 796


The USDA estimates 32 million school kids consume up to 50% of their calories at school, contributing to the obesity epidemic among young people. What does it take to reform school lunch programs, especially in larger school districts, and provide healthful, tasty meals to our nation’s kids?

Cafeteria Man takes a candid look at Tony Geraci’s sweeping, tenacious efforts to kick start school lunch reform in Baltimore’s schools, a large urban district that serves 83,000 students. As the newly hired Food and Nutrition Director of the city’s public school district, Geraci hatches an ambitious, multi-faceted plan to feed students healthy, locally-sourced meals, teach them nutritional awareness, and offer them training and vocational opportunities in the world of food. His bold vision includes a 33-acre teaching farm, school vegetable gardens, student-designed meals, and meatless Monday’s.

Cafeteria Man follows Geraci for two years as he partners with a dedicated group of parents and students to overhaul a long-established, dysfunctional lunch program and battle the entrenched bureaucracy behind it. The film profiles Baltimore’s experience as it becomes recognized as part a burgeoning national movement, and includes appearances by food author Michael Pollan, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass.

Featuring the voices and images of students, parents, administrators, teachers and farmers, the film vividly documents this hopeful story, as well as honestly portraying the challenges. It makes clear that successfully transforming school lunch programs is not easy, and ultimately requires sustained efforts by a broad coalition acting on behalf of students.

Running Time: 65 minutes
Grades 9-Adult
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned

Now with extended clip from Tony Geraci’s work in Memphis!

A Film by Richard Chisolm, Sheila Kinkade, & David Grossbach

Special Prize, CINEMAMBIENTE Festival, Torino, Italy
CINE Golden Eagle Award

Official Selection
Rio Summit GoodPlanet Film Festival
AFI/Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Chesapeake Film Festival
Maryland Film Festival
New Orleans Patois Int’l Human Rights Film Festival
Council on Foundations Film & Video Festival 2012

Additional information

Weight 0.32 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 0.5 in
Pricing Options

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  1. staffadmin

    “Highly recommended for a wide range of classes in addition to family & consumer science programs. The film could be used to generate discussion about many topics, such as urban schools, healthy eating, childhood obesity, local food movement, economic issues, community involvement, and youth activism.”
    – Educational Media Reviews Online

    “Recommended. An engaging look at an issue that has made headlines thanks to the efforts of the First Lady. (Tony) Geraci was ready to shake things up, insisting on replacing dull institutional offerings with fresh local ingredients, educating children (and food service workers) in the basics of good nutrition, instituting meatless Mondays, and growing his own produce and herbs at a small truck farm.”
    – Video Librarian

    “(Tony Geraci’s) comments about the possibility of using fresh meat and locally grown vegetables and fruits, interspersed with vignettes featuring kids growing and preparing fresh food, provide great evidence of how his vision could be implemented. Viewers will come away thinking about the possibilities of something similar for their own schools.”
    – School Library Journal

    “Cafeteria Man provides powerful ammunition in the fight to end the epidemic of childhood obesity.”
    – Jay A. Perman, MD
    President, University of Maryland Baltimore
    Host, Summit on Childhood Obesity

    “Richard Chisolm’s elating movie about good-food guru Tony Geraci…celebrates Geraci for his profound grasp of what healthful eating means to public school students.”
    – Baltimore Sun

    “Upbeat….Geraci is the eloquent, occasionally outspoken engine that pulls this train of common-sense sincerity, institutional ennui and slow, yet steady change.”
    – Variety

    “A clear-eyed look at transformative change in school food, permeated by an infectious sense of possibility.”
    – Jan Poppendieck, Author, Free For All: Fixing School Food In America

    “A compelling and original wake-up call. Cafeteria Man shows us that improving school food isn’t about nutrients and recipes — but vision.”
    – Jane Black, Food Writer

    “Cafeteria Man takes a feel-good approach to advocating for healthier, and more local school lunches.”
    – Huffington Post

    “A documentary about one determined individual’s battle against a rigid status quo, filmed with honesty, compassion and humor.”
    -Organic Connections Magazine

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