I attended a great event last week hosted by DC’s Farm to School Network and OSSE that featured a variety of school food stakeholders in a discussion about increasing staff & student buy-in for healthy school food. Check out this great write-up by Andrea from DC Farm to School about a truly inspiring event.
“Wait. Have we met you before?”, asks one sixth grader as his class settles into the outdoor classroom benches at a Santa Barbara area elementary school.
“Nope. I’m the crazy bike lady. I rode over 1,000 miles just to come here and talk to YOU!”, I reply. A few other students tune in. Immediately, I have their attention. This is a condensed presentation so after a quick overview of my route, program and mission, the floor opens up for Q&A. Hands are timid to start, but soon the class is peppering me with questions, including such gems as:
- “Do you get to go to the bathroom?”
- “What do you eat?”
- “What’s your favorite color?”
- “Are you married?”
- … and of course, the wonderfully esoteric “WHY are you doing this?”
We wrap up and head into the garden where the students are soon busy carefully planting lettuce & bok choy in slightly crooked rows. I connect with the Principal and she fills me in on their many school lunch successes. Check out a portion of the list below:
I ask her what the turning point was for their school. “It was just time. We wrote a wellness policy, got specific, and stuck to it. A combination of motivated food services personnel, student education, family involvement & staff buy-in were all key pieces.”
This principal also encourages all the students to create a “Party on their plate” by placing the salad in the middle of a segmented tray rather than sequestering all those fresh veggies on the sidelines. She guesses that 25% of students are now “partying” on their plates. Kudos to everyone involved in making healthy changes at this school!
Well, it’s my birthday today… And although I usually struggle to put my computer away and take a break from School Food Tour planning, when a special personal holiday coincides with a 3 day snow accumulation of 45 inches (seriously!) the draw of powdery play time overwhelms me. Below are the rosy cheeks of one happy birthday girl.
Onto business! I’m trying a new format for sharing all the neat news tidbits that I read: ONE comprehensive weekly post. So here goes…
Weekly News Update
Again, feedback is welcome – would you rather read a bunch of consistent short articles or get them all at once?
A program in Howard County, Maryland teaches students how to plan their school meals.
“No more square pizza; the ProStart program lets students plan healthy meals for the cafeteria”
Congrats to Howard County teachers and administrators for this initiative. The culinary class is part of Prostart – a career building program for high schoolers. Totally awesome.
The Washington Post published an interesting piece that describes 5 Myths About School Food. This article discusses how the recent Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) bill affects National School Lunch Programs. Importantly, it highlights challenges that healthy kids advocates still face. The passage of CNR is an encouraging step as we work towards equitable access to wholesome food for all youth but there is still tremendous work ahead.
I was also forwarded this inspirational story about young food system leaders in Boston. High school and college students, “the backbone of the Slow Food movement”, serve as active members that bring a “freshness, an energy, an optimism and creative spark” to the organization.