Farm Animals and School Lunches: What You Should Know

school lunchTwas the night before school started and inside of our house,

Two parents were cheering and dancing about.

Bedtime came early, school lunches were packed,

And clothes were laid out before hitting the sack.

New pencils, new folders, new teachers, new friends,

New socks and new shoes, and some used odds and ends.

Mornings of lunacy, anxiety, and tears,

Have invaded our home for another long year.

So … what did you pack for your kids’ school lunches?

It’s time for us to learn more about the food in our children’s lunch boxes!  

Before you pull out the sandwich meats and a side of fruit, ask yourself: Are you sure you know exactly what you’re feeding your child?

While kids only worry about how the food looks and tastes, most parents want to know what’s in the food they are giving to their children.  So we, at EverydayFamily, talked with Chris Chinn, a mother and fifth generation farmer, to help us decipher common food terms, like “genetically modified organisms (GMO)” and “organic,” and to find out what’s really in the food we feed our children.

Did you know? “‘Organic’ is just a term that describes how the farmer produced the product. The nutritional value of organic food is exactly the same as the nutritional value of inorganic food. If you see a label that says ‘Certified Organic,’ it just means that this farmer has adhered to a strict set of guidelines set forth by the USDA. It doesn’t mean that it's pesticide or fertilizer free. It means that the farmer was only able to choose pesticides or fertilizer from an approved list from this USDA certified organic label.”

Who knew! I always thought that “organic” meant “no pesticides,” and the like.  We also learned that GMO is a term that describes the science used to makes crops more tolerable and resistant to a drought, plant disease, and pests. Chinn says, “They keep the plants healthy, but they also improve our environmental stewardship because they use less water when producing that crop,” and the nutritional value remains the same.

{ MORE:  The Awesome Lunch Box }

Here are a few other highlights from our conversation:

  • Antibiotics given to farm animals are not harmful to us. They test the animals, before they go to market, to ensure that there are no antibiotics left in their systems.
  • If you allow your children to pick and choose their healthy lunch options, they will be more excited to eat the lunches (and this is a great way to help them learn how to make healthy choices in the process).
  • Farmers don’t get holidays! Children and parents still have to tend to the animals every morning – even on Christmas morning, before presents are opened.
  • You can learn more about which foods are in season, where to find local food options, and how to get your entire family involved in meal planning at

If you want to listen to our entire conversation, click here.  Did any of this information surprise you? Do you buy “organic” foods for your family? What other school lunch tips can you add to our list?

Now we know lunch is healthy; we’ve prepared it just right,

As we enjoy early bedtimes, ‘cause it’s a school night.



Chris Chinn’s Bio:

Chris Chinn and her husband Kevin are 5th generation farmers – farming with his parents and brother. They raise hogs, cattle, hay and row crops. It is a 1,500 sow farrow-to-finish and 60-head cow-calf farm. Chris uses Facebook and Twitter to connect with people outside of agriculture and has a blog about her farm as well to talk about what life is like for her and her family on the farm. Chris and Kevin are also busy raising their two children.

What do you think?

Farm Animals and School Lunches: What You Should Know

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Profile photo of damion damion says:

    What a CROCK OF CRAP! Joyce, you must raise or grow all our own food, milk your own cows goats or sheep. Always have to blame something on someone. How about Mcdonalds for their hot coffee.

  2. Profile photo of Joyce Joyce says:

    What a CROCK OF CRAP! GMO’s are bad not only for you but also for the environment. I guess Monsanto must be one of your sponsors bc this is a bunch of bull. It really makes me angry when I see someone writing on a forum like this saying that GMO’s aren’t bad for you. Check internet sources that aren’t funded by big companies and government.

  3. Profile photo of Danielle Danielle says:

    I find this article extremely offensive. Where’s the tag line that says “sponsored by Monsanto?” Because its pretty obvious they got the information directly from a brochure. Like I’m going to believe that foods sprayed directly with roundup are exactly as healthy as those that aren’t. Actually, it’s been proven that gmo foods are nutritiously inferior because in making the plant not die from sucking up the roundup, they also are sucking up fewer nutrients. And I’m sure these “chemicals from an approved list used on organic foods” are probably all these terrible chemicals like H2O and NaCl. I could find a dozen scientific links to prove this article complete b.s. in 10 minutes. But instead of that, I’ll just unsubscribe and stop being an audience for such an obvious propaganda piece.

  4. Profile photo of anna anna says:

    I must agree with Kristin and Kitty- We have a vegetable garden every year both of my kids have always loved it and it gives me peace of mind because I know that I have only used natural pest deterants and fertilizers.

    As far as antibiotics and GMOs are concerned, this is just one person’s opinion. I strongly believe that we really don’t know what the true damage of both are right now, to our bodies and our environment. I’m not the most religious person that you will ever meet, but I believe that our food should be consumed as close to the way God made it as possible. He made it that way for a reason!

  5. Profile photo of kristin kristin says:

    Just because antibiotics are not harmful to us when we eat the meat does not mean that the use of antibiotics isn’t harmful to us indirectly. When farmers use and overuse or abuse antibiotics when raising cattle and other farm animals, they are contributing to the increase in drug-resistant bacteria, which eventually can and do cause illnesses in humans that are increasingly difficult to treat and are causing more and more deaths each year. Something to think about before you decide to reassure everyone that antibiotics in farming are not harmful.

  6. Profile photo of Kitty Kitty says:

    When I was a child, when we wanted organic, we grew it ourselves in our backyard. My parents bought a book on square foot gardening and went at it. In addition to knowing precisely what is and isn’t used on the plants, it’s a great activity for the family to do, and plants like strawberries don’t require a whole lot of space and can be put in a pot on the porch. We always loved picking the crops and eating them, which adds an additional element of fun into eating healthy. And what kid doesn’t like to get dirty? 🙂


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