The Daily Tar Heel reports that UNC researchers are working with Chapel Hill High School on a pilot program to encourage students to text their lunch orders of healthier foods to the school cafeteria and pick up the food at a separate area. The research goal, the story says, is to determine if kids will choose salads and such if they make the choice outside of the peer pressure they occurs normally when kids are in the cafeteria. Fair enough. Sounds like an interesting hypothesis to test.

The program is being funded by a $40,000 grant to UNC from the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics, which received the money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cartano said there are additional labor costs that will occur with the implementation of the program.

“We won’t know the cost until the kids start texting; we don’t know how many kids are going to participate,” she said.

Notice the money trail. Funding is from you and me — federal taxpayers via the USDA. Then it makes its way through a variety of public entities down to Chapel Hill. First, imagine the administrative waste that has occurred along the bureaucratic path. And second, what kids eat for lunch should be the purview of parents, not the federal government. And third, will any member of Congress have the fortitude to point out programs like this – or the $40,000 reportedly spent on a portrait of a former federal agency head — as inappropriate and wasteful?