Cafeteria Man

Follow charismatic chef Tony Geraci on his passionate and tenacious journey to overhaul the school lunch program serving 83,000 students in Baltimore’s public schools. “It’s about trying to help a city heal itself using food as a vehicle”.



Richard Chisholm





Running Time

65 mins

Watch the Film


SFGFF Film Program:

Cafeteria_Man2.jpgFollow Tony Geraci, a charismatic chef from New Orleans, on his passionate and tenacious journey to kick-start school lunch reform serving 83,000 students in Baltimore’s public schools. As the new food-service director, Geraci goes on a food crusade to change the face of child nutrition and proposes a completely different paradigm from what existed in the Baltimore school system. Battling bureaucracy and a system resistant to change every step of the way, the film explores the daunting task of making healthy and nutritious meals available to all Baltimore students. With unstoppable passion and commitment, Geraci and his team work with these inner city youth to harvest vegetables at the school’s 33-acre teaching farm nearby, to prepare and create student-designed menus and meals. His bold vision introduces meatless Mondays into the school menu, nutrition education in the classroom and a citywide culinary vocational training program. “It’s about trying to help a city heal itself using food as a vehicle,” says Geraci in the film. Voices and images of students, parents, teachers, administrators and farmers are woven throughout the film. With appearances by food activist and best-selling author Michael Pollan, First Lady Michelle Obama and Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass. Winner of the CINE Golden Eagle Award 2011.

Screening:  March 04, 2012 at New People Cinema. SF Premiere.

Panel discussion: Chew the Fat: Reinventing School Lunches

After watching Cafeteria Man, please join us and the filmmaker for a panel discussion around agriculture and the challenges of eating locally and sustainably within our current system. We will talk with panelists who are meeting those challenges while dealing with the established norms of institutions and systems geared in the opposite direction. We hope to provoke a conversation that will motivate those in their community to ignite or flame the movement around food security, health, and sustainability.

With: Karen Brown, Creative Director, Center for Ecoliteracy; Richard Chisolm, director, Cafeteria Man; Helen de Michiel,; Christina Goette, MPH, Sr. Health Program Planner, San Francisco Department of Public Health; DeAnthony Jones, 2011 Brower Youth Award Winner; Rivka Mason, School Garden Teacher, Berkeley Unified School District; Willa Murphy, high school student, healthy school lunches campaigner.