Tony Geraci, as food-service director for Baltimore’s public schools, embarked on an ambitious project: to “green” the lunches of the city’s 83,000 students by replacing pre-plated, processed foods with locally-grown, freshly prepared meals. A charismatic chef from New Orleans, Geraci describes himself as a “little bit lunch lady, a lot P.T. Barnum.” His bold vision includes school vegetable gardens, student-designed meals, meatless Mondays and nutrition education in the classroom. Over the course of two years, the film documents the efforts of parents, teachers, administrators, farmers, chefs and dozens of creative and motivated students to overhaul a dysfunctional nutritional system. Healthy food advocates Michael Pollan and Will Allen and First Lady Michelle Obama also make appearances. Viewers watch as inner city youth plant and harvest vegetables at the school system’s 33-acre teaching farm, witness what it takes to get local produce on school plates and watch as high school seniors develop practical job skills through a new citywide culinary vocational training program.

Directed and produced by Richard Chisolm and Sheila Kinkade.

Cafeteria Man

2011 US 65 min
Festival Year: 2012
Types: Documentary
Topic: Sustainable Living