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Food and Drink

Yuck: A fourth-grader’s undercover look at school lunch

David Brancaccio Jun 28, 2013
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In the workplace, you generally don’t have a First Amendment right to whip out your video camera and document the indignities you face every day — same as in school. But that didn’t stop then-fourth-grader Zachary Maxwell.

No one would believe him about the cafeteria food at his public school New York City. So, all sneaky in the fall of 2011, Zachary shot video of his cafeteria experience, where he found the fancy online menus often diverged from the lunch tray reality.

“It all started out as a disagreement between me and my parents… I wanted to bring my own lunch, my parents wanted me to eat the school lunch,” Zachary explains. He says his parents didn’t take his complaints seriously, until they saw his footage. “They were like, ‘Oh my God.'”

His film, called “Yuck“, was just shown at the Manhattan Film Festival, which wraps up this weekend. Zachary, who’s now completed fifth grade, is happy the film is making an impact, but he’s not looking for a fight.

“I don’t really want to pick a fight with the Department of Education,” Zachary says. “I just wanted to make a really good movie.”

To hear more from Zachary, click on the audio player above.


  Trailer: Yuck – A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary About School Lunch from Maxwell Project on Vimeo.

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