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
- Changing the Way We Eat: Ted(x) Manhattan produced a great series of talks last weekend from food system leaders across the Nation. Very inspirational!
- GOOD: I am in love. This is my new favorite website for thoughtful news write-ups on health, design and transport.
- Time Mag: Why the Food Movement is becoming an Environmental Force. A very engaging read.
- Huffington Post: America’s best school lunches. Photo highlights from around the country.
- Center for Science in the Public Interest: School food resources. An awesome collection of toolkits for improving school food.
- Increasing Physical Activity Through Community Design: A step-by-step guide to improve health through the built environment
- The Parent Factor: A video showing parents who make an impact on school food.
- How to Make Friends with your Nutrition Services Director: A must-read for parents looking to improve school food.
Again, feedback is welcome – would you rather read a bunch of consistent short articles or get them all at once?