Food

Inside School Food

Heritage Radio Network

A showcase for fresh insights that are making a difference, and progressive solutions that really work. Peer leaders from across the nation share their stories about fighting hunger, coping with regulation, and meeting sustainability goals. About winning kids over and changing lives with creative menus packed with fresh whole food. Need help keeping up with emerging school nutrition policy, legislation, and research? We’ve got that covered, too. From the Heritage Radio Network.

Episodes

Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School
00:32:39
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:32:39
Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School

What can you get for a dime? Add it to the federal reimbursement for a school meal, and it buys a lot. Use it to support spending on farm to school, and it generates many more times its value in local economic development. That's the thinking behind Michigan's "10 Cents a Meal" pilot, which directs millions of dimes into locavore salad bars, entrees, and snacks for children in 16 districts. Modeled after trailblazing farm to school policy in Oregon, the program received state funding for the first time this year. At just $250K, it seems a small start. But its crafters, and its champions in the state Senate, are planning on big—statewide in time, just like in Oregon.

Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks
00:34:39
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:34:39
Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks

What's so smart about those USDA-regulated "Smart Snacks" sold in school vending machines? More whole grain, and lowered sugar, fat, and calories—even if they're Cheetos, Doritos, or Pop Tarts. These reformulated items are less unhealthy, sure, but new research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity proposes that their "copycat" look and packaging is designed to maintain brand loyalty outside of school, where the original versions are heavily marketed to teens. The strategy may be working—and backfiring on school food service when the presence of perceived junk food undermines parent trust.

Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile
00:24:41
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:24:41
Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile

On July 6, 2016, the school nutrition community suffered the tragic loss of one of its own when Philando Castile was shot by police during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Philando—a.k.a. "Mr. Phil" and "Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks"—was the beloved 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor for the J.J. Hill Montessori School in Saint Paul. In this special episode, produced in collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools, we hear about Philando from his colleagues and his mother, Valerie Castile. They join us in mourning, and in celebration of a life well lived and a job well done.

Image: Student letter posted outside J.J. Montessori School, Saint Paul: "This year I was going to give you a gift but then you dided but Im giving you a gift anyway! You hade the biggest heart ever I rilly miss you. I rilly rilly miss you Your the best lunch man we ever could have I wish you were alive. You have Rainbows in your heart!"

Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?
00:44:42
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:44:42
Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?

In a move they say will “spur innovation,” Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have voted to issue block grants for school nutrition programs in three pilot states, cutting them loose from federal federal mandates and supervision. #StopTheBlock’s opponents to this measure—to date, more than 1,000 organizations—say these states would be cut loose from a lot more. On today’s episode, Education/Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) describes how block grants, because they’re easily shaved down in the federal budget, have historically led to the gutting of public services. Doug Davis of the Burlington (VT) School Food Project predicts an unraveling of standards, policies, and protocols that would cast farm-to-school and national supply chains into chaos and jeopardize the nutrition safety net of millions of children in need.

Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained
00:51:12
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:51:12
Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained

Community Eligibility (CEP) is the most popular program to be introduced to federal school meals programs in many years. To date, 18,247 high-poverty schools in nearly 3,000 districts have begun using it to slash cumbersome paperwork, eliminate stigma, and include food-insecure children whom the previous certification system had left behind. Under CEP, every child eats for free, regardless of pay status. This might seem wasteful of taxpayer dollars, but that's only until you take close look at how the policy is designed. Do that, and you'll discover how CEP wipes out costly inefficiencies, leaving more funds available to feed students who need nutrition assistance the most.

Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast
00:31:01
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:31:01
Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast

From two new studies, research you can use to pitch your breakfast program to students, parents, and school administrators. First, evidence that a morning meal is critical to maintaining healthy weight in adolescents.

In fact, two breakfasts—at home and at school—are not just better than none, but very possibly better than just one. Second, evidence that participation goes up most reliably when the marketing strategy is direct, personal, and on-the-spot—and as simple as “Good morning, Johnny… How about you grab a breakfast on your way to class?”

Episode 66: Trending: Food Courts
00:39:29
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:29
Episode 66: Trending: Food Courts

Food courts at school are an increasingly popular way to win the participation of trend-savvy teenagers. If you’re flirting with the idea for any of your sites, give a close listen to today’s guests. They’re equally prepared to either talk you into or out of the immense investment involved in embracing this style of food service. Because it doesn’t involve just money, but also—and more significantly—a commitment to sea change in the entire school community’s attitude towards lunch. Not ready for that? Listen anyway, because best practices in the biggest, hippest food courts can be best practices anywhere.

Episode 65: From California, New Recipes for Success
00:34:08
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:34:08
Episode 65: From California, New Recipes for Success

We've all heard that too many cooks can spoil the broth, but that's hardly the case on today's episode. The new FRESHMeals collection of recipes for schools is the work of several dozen cooks from 18 "California Ambassador" districts, pledged to mentor and share best practices state-wide. It took more than two years of tightly coordinated trial-and-error to build a database of 140 (so far) dishes that are off-the-shelf school ready—fully vetted for practicability, affordability, customer appeal, and compliance with USDA meal standards. Not in California? No problem. FRESHMeals are available online, to everyone.

Episode 64: CNR Update: House Committee Pushes Back
00:35:48
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:48
Episode 64: CNR Update: House Committee Pushes Back

Ten days ago, POLITICO's Helena Bottemiller Evich reported the latest development in the long and difficult path to CNR 2015 (now CNR 2016, as it is more than six months overdue). "The House Education and the Workforce Committee has finally come up with a child nutrition reauthorization bill," she wrote, "and it looks like it could be everything health advocates feared." Indeed, there appear to be critical, troubling differences between this bill and the one released by the Senate's committee in early January. Today, with Helena’s help, we unpack the contents of this new bill and speculate over what may happen next.

Episode 63: Intact Grains 101
00:35:55
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:55
Episode 63: Intact Grains 101

When did school children start gobbling up quinoa with such pleasure? And how is it that they’re also reaching for salads made with unprocessed (hence “intact”) and highly nourishing unpolished rice, wheat berries, barley, buckwheat, and farro? Join Coleen Donnelly of InHarvest and five food service professionals from across the country to learn how to win over staff and students with intact grains. Which grains are gluten free, why are sprouted grains so special, and what makes a quinoa-kale burger so delicious? (Trust us: it is.)

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Episode 62: Salad Bar Strategies: Learning From the Best in Riverside, CA
00:35:50
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:50
Episode 62: Salad Bar Strategies: Learning From the Best in Riverside, CA

Today we re-visit a June 2014 episode with the salad bar gurus at Riverside Unified School District, in southern California. With new technical support for salad bars in schools on the way in CNR 2016, now is the time to take a close second look at a pioneering and celebrated program that still works as safely, profitably, and deliciously as it ever did. “Our attention to detail is what makes us different,” says Chef Ryan Douglas. Learn just what that means—and catch up on what RUSD has been up to since we last checked in.

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Episode 61: In Maryland, “boot camp” for food service workers
00:39:19
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:19
Episode 61: In Maryland, “boot camp” for food service workers

As we await resolution on CNR 2016, one thing is certain: there will be new technical assistance grants for districts seeking to introduce more freshly prepared food in their cafeterias. Today, we update a Summer 2014 episode about an exemplary “train the trainer” program run by the Maryland Department of Education. Launched in 2011, its goal is reach every food service worker in the state by 2020 with a hands-on kitchen curriculum that restores pride in craft to their profession.

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Episode 60: Trendspotting 2016 with Dayle Hayes
00:38:17
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:38:17
Episode 60: Trendspotting 2016 with Dayle Hayes

For the first time in the history of the USDA school meals programs, success in feeding kids (adolescents especially) is regarded as hip. K-12 nutrition providers, from the people who grow the food to those who serve it, are riding the national tide of food service trends that emphasize vivid, authentic flavor. “Cool ideas are going mainstream really quickly,” observes School Meals that Rock’s Dayle Hayes, who joins us today to review recent innovations—Asian street foods, mac-and-cheese bars, shaker salads, and much more—that we’ll be seeing all over in 2016.

Photo courtesy of Whitson’s School Nutrition

“Young people… are little foodies in a lot of ways. They have expectations because of what they’re experiencing in the world at large. They have an expectation of flavors.”

–Dayle  Hayes on Inside School Food

 

Episode 59: Lunch Lessons from Japan
00:45:57
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:45:57
Episode 59: Lunch Lessons from Japan

Kyushoku, or elementary school lunch, is a cherished tradition that embodies values central to Japanese culture: gratitude, cooperation, courtesy, cleanliness, reverence for nature, and pride of place. Much more than a meal, it’s a critical learning period at the heart of the school day. You’ll find it depicted in loving detail in a wildly popular short film by today’s guest, Atsuko Quirk. Americans might take away many lessons from what they see there, she says. But the Japanese, as they confront need and hunger in a shifting socioeconomic landscape, have much to learn from us in turn.

Sanya service

School lunch in Japan: It’s not just about eating, Atsuko Quirk film of kyushoku in Saitama, Japan (Vimeo)

Other films by Atsuko Quirk on Vimeo

www.japanesechschoollunch.com: Website by Japan and East Asian specialist Agliano Sanborn (a work in progress that is already richly informational)

Related Inside School Food episodes:

“School lunch around the world: A 30-minute tour” (August 11, 2014)

“Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools” (July 13, 2015)

 

Episode 58: Dora Rivas Remembers
00:52:49
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:52:49
Episode 58: Dora Rivas Remembers

As the year draws to a close, Dora Rivas joins us to look back and reflect—not just on 2015, but a half century of service as a dietitian and school food service director. Last August, when she left her post as Executive Director of food service for Dallas ISD, Dora was an iconic figure in K-12 nutrition, recognized nationally as an early adopter of well-defined public health goals for schools. But her story is about private goals, too, and their roots in family and a career launched in a South Texas migrant health clinic.

 

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“Dora Rivas is on an insatiable quest to improve the nutrition in Dallas’ public schools,” Dallas Observer, June 26, 2014

“My Interview with Dora Rivas, Former President of the School Nutrition Association,” The Lunch Tray, June 13, 2014

“DISD school lunches reviewed: Restaurant critic Leslie Brenner goes back to school,” Guidelive.com, August 19, 2015

Related Inside School Food episode: “The Urban School Food Alliance Travels to France,” November 3, 2014

Episode 57: Reformulation Revealed
00:53:28
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:53:28
Episode 57: Reformulation Revealed

For processors of foods for the K-12 market, new USDA nutrition requirements arrived at the same time as increased public scrutiny of unfamiliar, often unpronounceable additives. Moving towards “clean label” while simultaneously lowering sodium and introducing whole grains is no problem when money is no object. But when constrained by school budgets, how do manufacturers deliver on all fronts? Today’s conversation with representatives from the nation’s largest suppliers in two key categories—tomato products, and rolls, pizza crusts, and flatbreads—talk about R&D successes to date, and the possibilities that lie ahead.

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“Tomato paste delivers a lot of nutrition for a small amount of product.” [13:00] – David Halt

 

Episode 56: Better School Food: Borrowed, Hacked, and Shared
00:39:53
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:53
Episode 56: Better School Food: Borrowed, Hacked, and Shared

Today we venture into new territory with the help of Chef Lisa Feldman, who is Director of Culinary Services for Sodexo USA. As a major provider of school meals (413 districts, two million meals daily), it’s significant and influential in ways you may never have imagined. The company’s ambitious strategies to introduce ever-fresher, more wholesome, and more appealing food on a mass scale are freely shared throughout the K-12 nutrition industry. “Nothing is proprietary,” says Feldman, who prizes creative collaboration not just with processors and trade groups, but also self-ops and even Sodexo competitors. “When districts are all doing their own thing, it’s more expensive.”

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Additional Resources

Wild Alaska Pollock: 12 great recipes!: K-12 collection developed by Sodexo for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers

“Sodexo finding whole grain success in school food service,” Food Business News, June 25, 2015

“Lisa Feldman’s Yogurt and White Bean ‘Ranch’ Dressing,” New York Times, June 9, 2014

Culinary Institute of America’s “Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids” website

Episode 55: In West New York, NJ, The Kids Eat It All
00:48:24
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:48:24
Episode 55: In West New York, NJ, The Kids Eat It All

New Jersey is called the “Garden State” out of pride in an agricultural heritage that dates back hundreds of years. But in West New York, NJ, in the heart of the most densely populated area in the nation, the farms to the south were long unknown to low-income children growing up across the river from Manhattan. Today, that’s changed. The school menus and classroom curricula follow a locavore, culture-changing agenda that connects urban students to the land and the enjoyment of a wide variety of fresh-picked produce. In the middle school, students who began eating this way in kindergarten relish even the turnips and beets. “They trust us,” says Food Service Director Sal Valenza. “They’re not scared—they like to try new things.”

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Episode 54: WI Students Meet the Harvest Challenge
00:39:47
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:47
Episode 54: WI Students Meet the Harvest Challenge

High school cooking competitions can be hugely effective in generating excitement around school food, especially during Farm to School season, when students can work with locally grown ingredients. In rural Vernon County, Wisconsin, there are just six high schools, each with an enrollment of less than 400. But their small size doesn’t undermine the excitement as teams and their chef-mentors spend a month preparing to capture top honors in a delicious face-off. The challenge: create a winning, workable school lunch menu, completely in line USDA nutrition regulations and with no more to spend than most public schools have—about $1 per plate. 10-26-15 ISF episode image

Additional Resources:

Related Inside School Food episode: “Lunch lessons from teenage chefs” (Cooking Up Change competition profile, September 22, 2014)

“Good Food and Teamwork,” Wisconsin School News profile of the Harvest Challenge (August 2015)

Viroqua Area Schools food service page (look for Farm to School links on the lower right)

Driftless Cafe website

“Mysteries of the Driftless,” Emmy-Award winning documentary about the natural history of the Driftless Area

Episode 53: A Taste of Hope
00:41:16
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:41:16
Episode 53: A Taste of Hope

For tribal communities across the Great Plains and Southwest, buffalo is the centerpiece of of traditional culture, a sacred food critical to the restoration of health and independence. As new herds grow on Native lands, a small group of schools have joined a pilot program that introduces buffalo not just to lunch trays, but also the classroom and students’ very idea of who they are. For the Intertribal Buffalo Council, which sponsors the project, it’s taken years to get this point. But for the children, it’s taken no time at all to embrace their legacy and clean their plates.

Resource Links:

Intertribal Buffalo Council website

Incorporating Buffalo Meat into the Schools’ Lunch Menu: Intertribal Buffalo Council newsletter (PDF)

White paper: Feeding Ourselves: Food access, health disparities, and the pathways to healthy Native American communities (PDF)

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Episode 52: Fresh Food and Fresh Ideas from the Iowa Food Hub
00:40:16
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:40:16
Episode 52: Fresh Food and Fresh Ideas from the Iowa Food Hub

The USDA definition of a “food hub” is loose enough to include many iterations of the concept. Whatever the business model, most hubs aspire to increase access to local whole foods across the socioeconomic spectrum. And there’s no better way to accomplish that than through Farm to School. Today we profile a pioneering hub that is making great strides in serving 18 districts in rural northeastern Iowa, helping school buyers quadruple local purchasing—produce, dairy, pork, and beef.

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Episode 51: USDA on CNR 2015: a conversation with Katie Wilson
00:37:52
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:37:52
Episode 51: USDA on CNR 2015: a conversation with Katie Wilson

Today we welcome the new USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, for another deep dive into conversation about the future of school nutrition programs. While the delay of Child Nutrition Reauthorization can hardly be described as a good thing, it does give us more time to assess where we are and what’s changed in recent months with the emergence of new leaders, data, and research. We ask Dr. Wilson what, if anything, may impact current USDA positions on CNR.

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Episode 50: What’s new this year? We hear from YOU!
00:39:38
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:38
Episode 50: What’s new this year? We hear from YOU!

Inside School Food asked listeners to call in about their favorite back-to-school innovations, and they did, from all over the country. Today, with the help of co-host Dayle Hayes, we bring you six of these messages about fresh ideas that are making a difference. Our selection is highly diverse. Because when you’re growing and improving your program, there’s a multitude of needs to think about, and multitudes of strategies to consider for meeting them.

“Millbrae School District food service staff prepare tomatillo sauce for California Thursday luncheon.”

Episode 49: Towards a “Robust HHFKA”: New SNA Leaders Speak Out
00:46:37
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:46:37
Episode 49: Towards a “Robust HHFKA”: New SNA Leaders Speak Out

To kick off the school year, we are joined by the School Nutrition Association’s newly elected President, Jean Ronnei, and Vice President Lynn Harvey. They take on these roles—and this conversation—at an exceptionally challenging and sensitive time for SNA and the school nutrition community as a whole. On today’s agenda: Is school nutrition really a “battleground”? What’s the difference between “flexibility” and “rollback”? Just how much controversy in school food would fade into the background if reimbursements were to keep up with costs? If students were given enough time to eat? This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.

“We are seeking that middle ground where we have high quality products that are affordable and appealing to students.” [12:00]

–Lynn Harvey on Inside School Food

“The reality is that school meal programs are self supporting within a school district.  They’re not set up to take money from the general fund, where teacher salaries come from.” [20:15]

–Jean Ronnei on Inside School Food

 

 

Episode 48: First Taste Matters Most
00:32:20
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:32:20
Episode 48: First Taste Matters Most

Many American children have developed a strong, stubborn preference for
sweet and salty processed food before their second birthdays. If they
haven’t, it could well be because they became accustomed to healthier
flavors much earlier, beginning in breast milk or even in utero. What
babies taste in the first weeks and months of life really matters, says
Dr. Julie Menella of the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Her research
suggests that school meals can only ever be just one of a much larger
set of interventions, and that some of them need to occur before
students are even born. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery


“During childhood we learn what to eat, how to eat, how food should taste. Many children aren’t getting the experience to learn to like (healthy) food.” [11:00]

“It can’t just be school, it starts in the home. As much as we’re focusing on the school nutrition program we have to focus on the barriers for healthy eating for families at home.” [13:00]

–Dr. Julie Menella on Inside School Food

Episode 47: Sustainable New England Seafood for New England Kids
00:36:29
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:36:29
Episode 47: Sustainable New England Seafood for New England Kids

For decades, fish at school mostly meant one thing: breaded fingers and
patties–tasty enough with ketchup, but completely detached from their
natural origins. That’s beginning to change in regions with access to
local fisheries and processors. There’s keen interest in New England
districts with strong local procurement programs and cultural affinity
for seafood. Learn how a New Bedford processor is creating new
opportunities for the sustainably managed Gulf of Maine fishery, with
fresh-frozen products for K-12 that are affordable, kid-friendly, and
completely recognizable as fish. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



Photo of Acadian Redfish courtesy New Hampshire Community Seafood

“One mans trash is another mans treasure, in this case one chef’s trim is another mans treasure, I’m just using the smaller fillets.” [3:00]

“Our mission is to try and get more seafood eaten by our young people.” [14:00]

Andrew Wilkinson and Melissa Honeywood on Inside School Food

Episode 46: Courting customers: Fresh ideas from Chandler, AZ
00:41:37
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:41:37
Episode 46: Courting customers: Fresh ideas from Chandler, AZ

These days, we hear a lot about districts in well-to-do communities dropping out of federal meals programs. While the numbers are in fact miniscule, the conversation about them is significant. Dwindling revenue from paying students is a grave issue for many. On today’s episode, join Wesley Delbridge, Food and Nutrition Director for Chandler Unified School District, to hear about radical marketing and design solutions that are generating excitement and trust among middle class students and their parents. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery



“We could have Bobby Flay back there cooking but if the kids have a bad experience it won’t matter. Food is more social than it is anything.” [10:00]

Wesley Delbridge on Inside School Food

Episode 45: Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools
00:31:18
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:31:18
Episode 45: Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools

Here’s one of the surest signs we have that swift and substantial progress in school food is possible: Beginning this fall, the nation’s largest district will not only be serving on compostable plates, but actually composting them. The introduction of the new tableware is occurring simultaneously with a city-wide ban on most single-use, non-recyclable Styrofoam—a giant first step in Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s ambitious “Zero Waste” campaign. Astonishingly, this story begins just six years ago, with a grassroots collaboration with the city’s Department of Education, spearheaded by artist and NYC parent Debby Lee Cohen. “I think what we learned,” she reflects today, “is that this is how democracy is supposed to work.”


Episode 44: High hopes for Farm to School Act 2015
00:35:18
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:18
Episode 44: High hopes for Farm to School Act 2015

With so many elements of Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 hotly contested, it’s good to know we can be bullish about Farm to School. After a successful first round of USDA grants under CNR 2010, advocates are hoping to leverage strong bipartisan support to triple funding to $15M. But as the Farm to School movement matures, the conversation is not just about new grants. It’s about institutionalizing the presence of local food in schools, and how else this year’s CNR can help that happen. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“Farm to School is simple a bi-partisan issue….it’s one of those issues that works across the isle. It affects child health as much as it does farmer wealth. Since February we’ve continued to get more members of Congress to want to jump on the bill and support it. It’s a real opportunity to make other school meal programs just work better. When kids are growing the food in school gardens and meeting the farmer they have that connection. They’re gonna be more willing to taste and try and like new and healthier foods.” [13:00]

–Helen Dombalis on Inside School Food

“The obstacles [in implementing Farm to School in Kentucky] still lie with procurement and distribution. They present our biggest challenge.” [23:00]

–Tina Garland on Inside School Food

Episode 43: CNR 2015 walk through
00:43:50
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:43:50
Episode 43: CNR 2015 walk through

Is Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 moving too fast for you? Join the club. We all feel that way, and it’s still only June. Today’s episode will help. Jacqlyn Schneider, Policy Director for the Senate Agriculture Committee under Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, is here to walk us through the process. She’ll review some of this huge bill’s many moving parts, and tell us what to expect—and how to weigh in—in the weeks and months to come. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



Photo of Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow courtesy USDA

Episode 42: Cafeteria (not!) of the Future
00:39:11
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:11
Episode 42: Cafeteria (not!) of the Future

First off, stop calling it a “cafeteria.” And don’t just re-configure the physical space and the equipment, but the entire dining experience. San Francisco Unified School District is doing just that, in partnership with one of the world’s sharpest, most sought-after design firms. More than 1,300 school community stakeholders have weighed in on a vision for the future that looks and feels both radical and perfectly natural—a paradigm shift away from assembly-line style service to more intuitive models that comfortably set young customers before their food, and one another. This program was brought to you by Fairway Market.



“We wanted to design a food system and a meal program that was reflective of the values in our community.” [5:20]

“How might we use technology to both engage with the students and give them an active voice and control over their meal program but also provide a way for Student Nutrition Services to get more real time information from students.” [28:00]

Zetta Reicker on Inside School Food

Episode 41: Learnings from West Virginia
00:46:20
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:46:20
Episode 41: Learnings from West Virginia

In West Virginia, many children suffer from levels childhood poverty, hunger, and obesity well above the national average. To meet this troubling challenge, the state’s Department of Education has been exceptionally energetic in its top-down efforts to win student acceptance of healthier menus while eliminating costly inefficiencies in the system. Is it working? Rick Goff, Executive Director of the Office of Child Nutrition, says it is. Join us to hear about his compelling testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee last month, in its first hearing related to CNR 2015. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“We had to do something [about childhood obesity]. We could no longer turn a blind eye to our school food systems.” [07:00]

“We want to do what’s in the child’s best interest.At the end of the day, that will be our guiding principle.” [10:00]

“You can’t just have a healthy room in a building, the whole building has to be healthy.” [12:00]

“I think you’ll see a day when the meal service is treated just like the rest of the learning experience.” [38:00]

–Rick Goff on Inside School Food

Episode 40: Tales from the trenches with Chef Cyndie
00:36:15
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:36:15
Episode 40: Tales from the trenches with Chef Cyndie

Cyndie Story has consulted in school kitchens in 37 states, where she has spread a gospel of work simplification that can transform the lives of food service staff. The humility and humor with which she approaches the job makes her an inspirational figure. “I love to laugh,” she says, “and once we laugh, learning begins.” Join us for a tour of Chef Cyndie’s best practices, honed over 25 years on the job. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“My dad always told me in order to do well in a job you need to know how to do every part of the operation.” [9:00]

“They don’t ask for things, they are going to figure out that problem in the most inventive way [School Cooks].” [14:00]

Chef Cyndie Story on Inside School Food

Episode 39: Locavore Mayor Takes on Lunch
00:36:50
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:36:50
Episode 39: Locavore Mayor Takes on Lunch

Where do you set your goal for local food purchasing? How about 50 percent of your total food budget? How about trying to do this in Maine? In Portland, ME, Mayor Michael Brennan believes it can be done; and the school district’s food service director, Ron Adams, is getting close. No, they don’t have extra money. And Portland students are as resistant to change as kids anywhere else. But there’s deep political will, and pressure, in a city widely regarded as one of the foodiest and most locavore in the nation. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“We made a great opportunity for the students to understand the food and then enjoy the food.” [28:00]

Ron Adams on Inside School Food

Episode 38: El Monte Magic Explained
00:38:29
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:38:29
Episode 38: El Monte Magic Explained

El Monte City School District is celebrated as a leading edge reformer well beyond the cafeteria. Over the years, this high-needs district has established a rigorous, comprehensive approach to student wellness that attempts to touch every aspect of their lives in and out of school. The exuberant press and many awards it’s attracted a along the way are enough to make El Monte seem charmed. But there’s no secret sauce. They’re just tenacious here, and they’ve been that way for years. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


Episode 37: Are Smart Snacks Half Baked?
00:39:59
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:59
Episode 37: Are Smart Snacks Half Baked?

Since July 2014, an interim USDA regulation on foods sold outside the reimbursable meals program requires healthier offerings nationwide. But questions remain. Many of the new “Smart Snacks” are reformulated copycats of highly processed stuff sold outside school. In some states, liberal waivers of restrictions on bake sales and junk-food fundraisers keep sugar levels high. Should we be worried? Not necessarily, say today’s guests. Districts can choose to adopt (or retain) stricter standards, setting a successful example that others can emulate. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market


Episode 36: Reading Plate Waste
00:27:17
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:27:17
Episode 36: Reading Plate Waste

Amid widespread complaints about discarded school food, enter a new study that tells us things may be not as bad as they seem. Careful measurements of plate waste taken in twelve Connecticut schools in 2012, 2013, and 2014 tell a different story, of students eating better and wasting less as they adjust to changes on their lunch trays. Lead author Marlene Schwartz, Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, unpacks this new data and reviews the study’s conclusions.


Episode 35: Good Food Measures Up
00:36:18
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:36:18
Episode 35: Good Food Measures Up

Of course students eat better when healthy food is prepared with care and skill. We all knew that. Now we have important new research to back us up, the result of a year-long collaboration between the Harvard School of Public Health and Project Bread’s Chefs in Schools program. The study’s two leaders–the head author and the head chef–describe the complexity involved in making targeted changes in the school kitchen and cafeteria while systematically assessing the impacts. This program was brought to you by Visit Napa Valley.


Episode 34: More about food processing (“Have it your way,” part 2)
00:39:59
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:59
Episode 34: More about food processing (“Have it your way,” part 2)

Processed foods: Whether you need them oven-ready or as components for speed scratch, you probably want them without additives you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. You want fresh and vivid flavors kids will go for, and you would prefer to know where and how the ingredients were grown. Possible? Two progressive vendors say yes, if you can make just a little extra wiggle room in your budget. This program was sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“Over the last ten years, there’s been a huge push to bring better food into the school market… School food directors are promoting the attributes of our products to parents and students to say, “hey, school food service is changing.” [16:00]

Rod Friesen on Inside School Food

“I think that, regardless of how the nutrition rules change, the desire we’re seeing in the school marketplace for clean label, healthier items is going to continue to grow… Parents are demanding healthier foods. Children are too. I’ve had 6th graders ask to see our nutrition labels!”

Toni Antonellis on Inside School Food

Episode 33: Feeding Summer
00:35:25
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:25
Episode 33: Feeding Summer

It’s planning season for USDA summer meals sponsors–the people who know that, for children from food-insecure homes, the last day of school isn’t necessarily a happy occasion. Currently, only a small fraction of students eligible for federally funded summer meals actually get them. Today’s guests talk about why, and what school districts can do to help meet the need. The best programs, they say, are served up with sides of fun. This program was sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“We heard from the Ohio Association of Food Banks about a 12-year-old boy who rode his bicycle five miles along the highway to get to the (summer meal) site. When he got there, he asked, ‘Can I take a lunch home to my little brother? He’s not old enough to ride his bike here.’ … But the kids aren’t permitted to take meals to go.”

Jillien Meier on Inside School Food

“I feel that if we’re going to make a sustainable difference in ending hunger in our community that we need to involve as many partners as we can… We partner to bring community garden boxes to our schools, and families adopt them. We provide them with the plants, the seeds, the dirt, the tools, and we have a master gardener on hand during summer feeding.”

Winnie Brewer on Inside School Food

Episode 32: Florida (school) Food Truck Sizzle
00:33:52
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:33:52
Episode 32: Florida (school) Food Truck Sizzle

Food trucks are rolling statements about some the values Americans hold dearest: independence, entrepreneurship, and mobility. Authenticity. Creativity. Affordability. With the movement growing so fast across the nation, it was only a matter of time before school food innovators started getting in on it. Today we profile two programs in sunny Florida, where hip new trucks can work year-round, winning teenage converts for healthy school meals.


“The students are more aligned to things they can see being made. They feel that because they can see people working on the truck and the items being assembled that it’s different from what they’re being served in the cafeteria. Some of them are floored to discover that it’s the exact same product.”

–Jennifer Smith on Inside School Food

“Jacksonville has become a stronghold for food trucks. There’s a large buzz around town about them… We use our food trucks not just at school but at community events, to spread the gospel of school food. It’s stealth approach.”

–Brian Giles on Inside School Food

Episode 31: Participation: What’s really going on?
00:35:30
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:30
Episode 31: Participation: What’s really going on?

Whether your sales up or down, there has to be a reason. So what’s behind the participation slump among students who don’t qualify for free or reduced-priced meals? Some school nutrition professionals say it’s a clear case of cause and effect: paying kids don’t like the new menus, so they’re not buying. But a recent report from the Food Resource and Action Center describes a much more complex set of circumstances. So does the experience of one well-to-do Kansas high school, where competitive foods are losing ground to the healthier, reimbursable “deal meal.” This program has been sponsored by The Tabard Inn. located in Washinton DC.



“The vast majority of schools are offering competitive foods. USDA research says that competitive foods drive students away from the school meals program. They create stigma, especially for middle and high school students, where it’s not necessarily the cool thing to be participating in the school meals program”

–Jessie Hewins on Inside School Food

“We were anticipating a drop in our a la carte sales, just like all the other schools implementing Smart Snacks. However, our reimbursable meals are up. Part of that is due to the fact that we’ve turned everything inside of the serving area into a potential reimbursable meal. We’re calling it a ‘meal deal.'”

“We encourage the high schools kids to take a whole apple or banana with them, to eat in study hall or before practice, and a lot of them are doing that. It’s the change we want to see. The more popular students are being role models in this, and that’s helping a lot.”

–Amy Droegemeier on Inside School Food

Episode 30: Making FoodCorps Work
00:40:02
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:40:02
Episode 30: Making FoodCorps Work

It’s been more than five years since the inception of FoodCorps, the AmeriCorps division that sends young service members into school gardens, classrooms, cafeterias, and kitchens, where they’re tasked with generating excitement and support for healthy whole food. Today’s guests describe how it’s done. Idealism is the catalyst. But it’s creativity, tenacity, and–most important–humility that really make it work. This program was brought to you by Visit Napa Valley.


Episode 29: Kitchen Workhorses
00:39:06
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:06
Episode 29: Kitchen Workhorses

What’s behind the “True Food” revolution in Minneapolis Public Schools? Ambitious purchasing of industrial-strength gadgets—cook-chill tanks, vacuum baggers, a meat shredder, a “gentle mixer,” and a 30-foot-long sous vide cooker—may be costly, but food costs are down, participation is up, and unpronounceable additives are out. This program was brought to you by Rt. 11 Potato Chips.


“Food has to look good so people eat it. It starts with the eyes.” [09:00]

—Ricardo Abbott on Inside School Food

“When you’re making your own recipes you have control over what goes in that recipe. Everything we make here, we’re very choosy and picky about the products we cook.” [14:00]

–Bertrand Weber on Inside School Food

Episode 28: Serving Food Justice at School: A Conversation with Audrey Rowe
00:37:46
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:37:46
Episode 28: Serving Food Justice at School: A Conversation with Audrey Rowe

This week on Inside School Food, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, join Audrey Rowe, Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service at USDA, in reflection on socioeconomic justice in school nutrition programs–historically, currently, and going forward as we approach Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Instead of the dialogue focusing on how we provide more resources to school meals programs, it seems to be centered on how do we curtail implementation, or make changes to the program that I fear will take us back instead of putting us forward.”

“Schools and parents need to think about the amount of time students have to eat. In some schools, by the time children get their tray and sit down, they have just 10 minutes to eat. If you have fruits and vegetables that require a little more chew time, they’re not going to get through them!”

“One of the reasons I travel constantly is that I’m able to get the media into the schools to experience what the children are experiencing. I’ve had reporters say, this is not my school lunch; this is so much better!”

–Audrey Rowe on Inside School Food

Episode 27: “Bay to Tray” in Monterey
00:36:20
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:36:20
Episode 27: “Bay to Tray” in Monterey

There is perhaps no city in the nation more strongly associated with fish than Monterey, CA, home to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and the setting for John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. But most of the seafood harvested from local waters is processed in China and sold to international markets. At Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, food service director Jenn Gerard wants to do something about that. Learn how she’s teamed up with a pioneering CSF (community supported fishery) to purchase Pacific Grenadier for her popular fish tacos. This program was brought to you by Tabard Inn.


Episode 26: School Food Social Media That Rocks
00:35:31
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:31
Episode 26: School Food Social Media That Rocks

We kick off the new year with Dayle Hayes, the activist blogger behind “School Meals That Rock,” a multi-platform social media campaign that draws attention to news of healthy, delicious, sustainable progress in K-12 food service. Last year there was plenty of that kind of news. And there’s lots more to celebrate–along with lots of media negativity to deflect–as we move towards Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015. Want to join the movement? It’s easy. All you need is a smart phone, a Facebook account, and a board on Dayle’s Pinterest page. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Schools themselves are kind of late getting on Facebook and social media and recognizing promotional opportunities. Many nutritional directors don’t have the self confidence to get on social media and toot their own horn. Many of the bashing going on around school food makes them more hesitant to take those steps.” [05:00]

–Dayle Hayes on Inside School Food

Episode 25: Mastering the Art of School Cooking
00:35:16
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:16
Episode 25: Mastering the Art of School Cooking

It took a village to produce New School Cuisine: Nutritional and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks. This pioneering new book features 78 rigorously tested, fully reimbursable dishes that Vermont children have enthusiastically voted for with their sporks. “The final ingredients added to each recipe,” write the authors, “are dedication, tenacity, patience and kindness. These ingredients infuse the recipes with the hope that we can change lives by helping our students understand food, enjoy food and choose foods that support lifelong health.” This program was brought to you by Brooklyn Slate.

“I can’t open a cookbook now without having a deep appreciation for the people who put it together. Now we know what goes into making somebody’s recipe usable for other people.” [11:00]

— Kathy Alexander on Inside School Food

“Bringing local foods into a school means nothing if the kids won’t eat it.” [28:00]

–Abbie Nelson on Inside School Food

Episode 24: Top Chefs
00:47:55
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:47:55
Episode 24: Top Chefs

Big districts have long employed chefs, and smaller ones are increasingly relying on them as consultants. But what happens when a mid-size district hires a classically trained restaurant industry veteran as food service director? In this episode, we talk to two CIA alumni who love the job, and whose scratch-cooked, delicious, USDA-compliant meals programs are in the black. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.

Episode 23: New Menus = New Price Tags?
00:38:09
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:38:09
Episode 23: New Menus = New Price Tags?

What’s really behind the controversy over Healthy Hunger Free Kids 2010? According to today’s guests, it’s dollars that don’t make sense. Join Gitta Grether-Sweeney of Portland (OR) Public Schools Nutrition Services and Gary Vonck, a national leader in K-12 food service sales, for their take on rising food and labor costs, diminished revenues, and reimbursement rates that aren’t keeping pace with the required changes in many districts. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.

“It has been a challenge to do some of this work, but I enjoy challenges – they are opportunities. We’ve been able to incorporate a lot of local products just by making changes within our organization.” [07:00]

–Gitta Grether-Sweeney on Inside School Food

“It’s the smaller schools that struggle because they dont have the multiple layers of support.” [26:00]

“Less than 15% of the schools across america send forecasts to their distributors or manufactures of choice – that just kills the communication piece.” [27:00]

–Gary Vonck on Inside School Food

Episode 22: The Urban School Food Alliance travels to France. Vive la révolution?
00:45:14
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:45:14
Episode 22: The Urban School Food Alliance travels to France. Vive la révolution?

Food service leaders from six of the nation’s very largest districts–New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Orlando–have joined together over shared reform goals: lower prices, more sustainable production practice, and a pronounced shift in not just what’s served, but how–including how we talk to kids about food. And who best to consult with about that? The French, bien sur. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


Photo: Pierre Bonnard, The Children’s Meal, 1895

“As the six largest districts, we’re trying to be good custodians of the relationships we have with the national companies that influence the entire industry for school meals… When we’re talking with manufacturers and suppliers, we’re able to have an open dialogue with them that is very meaningful. Our unified voice is going to help them to be successful with all school districts, not just the largest.” [07:00]

–Stephen O’Brien on Inside School Food

“We really feel like there’s great opportunity for the community and legislators to start looking at our childhood nutrition programs as education programs. School meals are no different than transportation and textbooks and it goes to support academic performance of the students.” [20:00]

–Dora Rivas on Inside School Food

Episode 21: Sustainable California Chicken for California Kids
00:40:32
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:40:32
Episode 21: Sustainable California Chicken for California Kids

Three very big districts—Riverside, San Diego, and Oakland—are taking farm to school to the next level with an enormous, year-round commitment to sustainably grown California chicken. Their ambitious purchasing initiative, which has been several years in the making, is designed to send a clear and certain message to the poultry industry: Clean up your act. Our students’ health is at stake. Find out more on this week’s episode of Inside School Food. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Any professional working in this field climbs this incredibly high hill in terms of their education on food systems when they engage in these projects.” [12:00]

–Ariane Michas on Inside School Food

Episode 20: This Radish is Golden
00:37:16
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:37:16
Episode 20: This Radish is Golden

What community isn’t proud of its school trophies? Across Georgia, there’s a new kind of prize that recognizes exemplary work in farm-to-school, named after a tasty local vegetable. And winning at any level—gold, silver, or bronze—can generate the kind of excitement and support that a good school meals program deserves. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.



“We’re creating a real experience around food for kids.” [7:30]

Erin Croom on Inside School Food

“Educating the student through the school nutrition program is truly educating the whole family.” [23:50]

Kathy Peavy on Inside School Food

Episode 19: Farm To School Program Evaluation
00:35:57
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:57
Episode 19: Farm To School Program Evaluation

Farm to school purchasing pursues social, environmental, economic, and public health goals. How to evaluate progress in reaching them, and how to share ideas and learning across a diverse, national community of practice? In this episode, learn about two new resources that are designed to help. This program was brought to you by Rolling Press

Episode 18: A Visit to Traverse City, MI: “Space Broccoli” & Other Adventures in Farm to School
00:34:15
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:34:15
Episode 18: A Visit to Traverse City, MI: “Space Broccoli” & Other Adventures in Farm to School

Family farms dominate the agricultural landscape of the Lower Michigan Peninsula, growing lots more than those celebrated sour cherries. Romanesco and kohlrabi, for instance, which the children of Traverse City Area Public Schools have come to enjoy are grown there. Learn how the district is drawing in local growers with the help of a network of community partners. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.



“The development of the wineries and the growing of the grapes have spawned a whole new industry in Northwest Michigan.” [5:00]

Mark Coe on Inside School Food

“It’s a part of our wellness policy, to promote as much scratch cooking as possible.” [22:10]

Tom Freitas on Inside School Food

Episode 17: Charting a Farm to School Course? Don’t Leave Without this Roadmap
00:34:31
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:34:31
Episode 17: Charting a Farm to School Course? Don’t Leave Without this Roadmap

We’re so excited about Farm to School Month 2014 that we’re starting two days early. Join us for a walk through USDA’s totally indispensable, very user-friendly guide to launching, bidding, and buying farm to school. Author Christina Conell talks about what’s in it, including best practice examples from all over the nation. This program was brought to you by Heritage Foods USA.


“As a taxpayer, I want to make sure schools are getting the best products for the best price at the best quantity – but at the same time I want to make sure they’re getting the product they want.” [09:00]

“The most oft cited advice I’ve heard from school districts is baby steps. It can start with one product, once a month. It doesn’t need to be big changes right away.” [30:00]

–Christina Conell on Inside School Food

Episode 16: Lunch Lessons from Teenage Chefs
00:34:07
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:34:07
Episode 16: Lunch Lessons from Teenage Chefs

Want fresh, USDA-compliant meals that kids will get excited about? How about putting kids in charge? Cooking Up Change does just that. Subjected to the same tight budgets, strict nutrition standards, and logistical challenges that adult school menu planners face every day, teams of high school culinary students in ten cities compete to create healthy school lunches that their peers will enjoy. The winners make their way to Washington, DC, every spring to offer samples to legislators and put student voices front-and-center in the national dialogue about school food. Who’s learning more–the students or the politicians? Listen and decide for yourself. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“We will eat healthy food as long as it’s good and looks appetizing. Everybody’s tired of pizza and chicken patties.” [31:00]

–Shawnlaun Kelly on Inside School Food

Episode 15: How Smart Are Your Lunchrooms?
00:32:58
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:32:58
Episode 15: How Smart Are Your Lunchrooms?

A school cafeteria can be a highly charged environment. Crowds of students press into the line, eager to zip through so they can get to their friends and recess. They’re hungry. It’s very loud. And they’re only children. Can we really expect them to focus on healthy choices? Experts from the Cornell Center of Behavioral Economics say we can, with the help of simple, low or no-cost interventions at the point of sale. It’s just marketing, but it can work like magic. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market


“When you look through a lunch room you really do have to examine it like a grocery store or a space where kids could purchase food.” [18:00]

Kate Hoy on Inside School Food

Episode 14: Let’s Talk Nutrition Standards
00:31:59
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:31:59
Episode 14: Let’s Talk Nutrition Standards

Inside School Food kicks off the new school year with a discussion of the nutrition standards mandated by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. This school year, SFAs are being asked to do even more–more fruit, more whole grain, and less sodium, along with new, very strict guidelines on a la carte and snack items. Can they do it? Two food service directors from medium-size districts at opposite ends of the country weigh in on their successes and challenges to date, and their hopes and concerns for 2014-15. This program was brought to you by Tabard Inn.


“We in Washington had a nutrition policy that was required in the 05-06 school year, so we’ve been on this path for almost 10 years now.” [05:00]

–Karen Brown on Inside School Food

If we had more commodities it would help American farms, give us food and be a win-win situation instead of just asking for an increase of money. Times are tough everywhere.” [25:00]

–Donna Martin on Inside School Food

Episode 13: School Lunch Around the World
00:35:27
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:27
Episode 13: School Lunch Around the World

Explore school lunch around the world on the season finale of Inside School Food. Why are we so riveted by pictures of school meals in other countries? Perhaps because it’s a shared experience the world over, and perhaps because these images are so rich in information. “Unpack a school lunch,” writes guest Andrea Curtis, author of What’s For Lunch: How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World, “and you’ll discover that food is connected to issues that matter to everyone—things such as climate change, health, and inequality.” This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.




(Photo of school lunch in Brazil by Yvonne Duivenvoorden)

“I think school lunch is truly an opportunity to pass on values.” [09:00]

–Andrea Curtis on Inside School Food

“Agriculture in brazil is actually dominated by large corporate farming. What’s surprising is that despite all this, over 84% of all rural enterprises in Brazil are family farms.” [28:00]

–Cecilia Rocha on Inside School Food

Episode 12: Re-learning to Cook: Boot Camp for Food Service
00:37:55
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:37:55
Episode 12: Re-learning to Cook: Boot Camp for Food Service

If you’re old enough, you remember the days when “cafeteria ladies” had a craft and the food at school was hand made, right down to the dinner rolls. After decades of moving away from that proud tradition, districts are slowly returning to it. In Maryland, a stand-out “boot camp” for food service workers statewide teaches basic cookery, nutrition science, professional kitchen protocols, and much more. It’s a model for training programs that are emerging all over the nation as schools work their way forward (and back) to more real, fresh food in the cafeteria. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.


“The folks that attend our training are trained on how to train and then there’s a ripple effect.” [05:30]

–Stewart Eidel on Inside School Food

“We’re trying to be catalysts for the local economy and jump-start it through economic development. which is just a sidebar to all this [school food initiative]” [35:00]

–Jeffrey Proulx on Inside School Food

“Anybody can heat anything up regardless of technique – but to actually have to chop vegetables or whatever the recipe calls for – gives me more pride.” [36:00]

–Becky Anderson on Inside School Food

Episode 11: School Garden to Cafeteria
00:35:03
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:03
Episode 11: School Garden to Cafeteria

School gardens are now being embraced nationwide, as is farm-to-school. But school garden-to-cafeteria? It’s what’s coming next–well-established in some districts, in fact, which offer valuable resources to beginners. Concerned about food safety? Funding? Whether or not to buy student-grown or accept it as a donation? Is it worth the trouble–does it interest children in eating more produce, trying new fruits and veggies? The nation’s two leading experts, from Colorado and Oregon, discuss all this and more. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.


“Everyone along the supply chain of school food should get their fair equal prices. There are costs to school gardens. Right now districts don’t pay for much of those costs.” [18:00]

—Andy Nowak on Inside School Food

“What we develop in Denver needs to be a template – the beginning of a conversation in your own county.” [25:00]

“If you put in the effort and there are educational opportunities in place – you see wholeheartedly that kids will make nutritional choices.” [28:00]

–Rick Sherman on Inside School Food

Episode 10: Have it Your Way
00:43:36
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:43:36
Episode 10: Have it Your Way

HAVE IT YOUR WAY through partnerships with nimble small and mid-size processors. Want your own wild-rice meatloaf? A baked falafel made with local beans? Tyson and Schwan’s can’t help, but there are newcomers to K-12 food service who can. In this episode of Inside School Food, we’ll meet two of them and learn how to get healthy, clean-label foods developed or adapted to your specifications through direct processor-SFA collaboration. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“There are many progressive districts coming to us asking to get as far away from white rice as they can.” [10:00]

“I can make your commodity diced chicken taste good in a one pot dish” [15:00]

–Coleen Donnelly on Inside School Food

Episode 9: Do Stricter Meal Standards Lead to Better Health Outcomes?
00:29:44
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:29:44
Episode 9: Do Stricter Meal Standards Lead to Better Health Outcomes?

School food has been commanding headlines for well over a month, as controversy rages over costs and complications associated with implementation of stricter new nutrition standards. If you’re confused over who’s on what side of this debate, and what it’s really all about, you’re not alone. It’s gotten so political. Today we’re stepping away from all of that to simply look at what the standards are designed to do for kids, and whether or not they’ve been able to do it. We’ll discuss three studies that suggest students–at-risk students especially–are eating more fruits and vegetables and even losing weight. This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants.


“We need to consider factors outside of school. Let’s say you make all these positive changes in a school but a fast food establishment is across the street from a school – does that affect the impact or counteract positive changes made in the schools?” [24:00]


Daniel Taber on Inside School Food

Episode 8: Salad Bars Part 2: Strategies for Success from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools
00:32:43
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:32:43
Episode 8: Salad Bars Part 2: Strategies for Success from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools

Salad bars aren’t rocket science, but getting them right calls for careful, common-sense assembly with the right ingredients. If you’ve listened to Salad Bars Part 1 (and we suggest that you do), maybe you’re wondering if you can get salad bars to work in your district–or work better. Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools can help. Need equipment donation? Technical assistance? A community of practice? You’ve come to the right place. This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants.

“78% of the districts that we surveyed reported increased purchases of fruits and vegetables after implementing a salad bar. The goal here is to provide more access to fruits and vegetables to kids.” [07:00]

–Mara Fleishman on Inside School Food

“With good education and signage – you do not have excess waste at salad bars.” [20:00]

–Ann Cooper on Inside School Food

Episode 7: Cafeteria Composting
00:34:19
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:34:19
Episode 7: Cafeteria Composting

Composting and recycling at school isn’t just about eco-friendly waste diversion. It also provides students with a powerful lesson in sound environmental practice that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. The message is simple: what comes from the earth can be returned to enrich it, so it can provide for us again and again. How to get started? Today’s guests, from San Francisco, CA and Northampton, MA, will tell you how: Start small. Champion your early adopters. Develop educational and marketing tools to enlist the support of the entire school community. Or use materials from other districts–there’s lots out there already! Thanks to today’s sponsor, Cain Vineyard & Winery.



“A big part of San Francisco’s ‘Zero Waste’ initiative hopes to be achieved through education… we have a 63% landfill diversion rate in San Francisco schools.” [6:00]

“We prefer starting with the kids and hope the adults catch on… We understand the power that kids have.” [14:20]

Tamar Hurwitz on Inside School Food

“We did underestimate how difficult it would be to get all of the students to sort their food waste properly; it was difficult to get everyone on board.” [27:30]

Anna Moore on Inside School Food

Episode 6: Salad Bars Part 1: Riverside Unified School District
00:39:27
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:39:27
Episode 6: Salad Bars Part 1: Riverside Unified School District

Are you a salad bar skeptic? If you are, you’re not alone. Many a committed K-12 food service director is hesitant to try, out of concern over participation, waste, expense, mess, and food safety. And now salad bars in schools are seemingly even trickier to pull off. How do you insure that kids are meeting their daily fruit and vegetable quotas–and the required weekly balance of green and orange veggies, and beans and peas–if you let them serve themselves? For answers, we will first turn to school salad bar evangelist Rodney Taylor, from Riverside Unified, and two of his talented staff. This program was sponsored by Tabard Inn


“Every kid goes through the salad bar first. At that point they are engaged by an adult on each side who encourage children to eat the colors. We want the plate to be colorful.” [09:00]

Rodney Taylor on Inside School Food

“I have served over 6 million salad bar meals in Riverside. For those who tell you it places children at risk – I’ll tell you I haven’t lost one child yet.” [15:00]

“There’s a level of service we want to be able to provide. Once they [the children] see that you care – it will immediately turn [things] around.” [31:00]

— Ryan Douglas on Inside School Food

Episode 5: The Case for Fresh & Sustainable Chicken
00:32:46
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Episode 5: The Case for Fresh & Sustainable Chicken

In Jefferson County, Colorado, a better school lunch often starts with better chicken: locally and sustainably grown, without antibiotics, and prepared from scratch. In the world of K-12 food service, this is widely regarded as an Olympian swan dive off a 33-foot-high board–beautiful to behold, but not something you can or should try at home. Today’s guests on Inside School Food explain how they do it (turns out it’s not that hard, if you’ve got ovens and the right supplier), and how their effort impacts student health. This program was sponsored by Tabard Inn.




“It’s easy for us to sell whole birds, it’s easy for us to sell chicken breast – but when we’re parting the birds out, we often end up with dark meat as a byproduct. We usually just end up selling that as a commodity product into the marketplace and we’re not able to get a premium price for it even though it’s a premium product. We’re able to sell it into the school districts and supply them with a premium product because of how we raise those birds. That allows them to sell a meal at a very price conscious point – then we know those kids are able to eat a quality meat, schools are able to meet their budget and we even end up with some marketing out of that.” [24:00]

–Chad Anderson on Inside School Food

Episode 4: DC Central Kitchen
00:32:58
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:32:58
Episode 4: DC Central Kitchen

This week’s episode of Inside School Food is the first installment of a series of episodes we’re calling “And Now for Something Completely Different,” in which we profile programs and business models that upend common assumptions about what’s possible in school food. In the schools served by not-for-profit DC Central Kitchen, children formerly accustomed to pizza and breaded chicken fingers eagerly chow down on house-made fresh food that routinely includes beets, cauliflower, and collards. The skilled staff who prepare it are people who have emerged from stressful life circumstances with the help of DCCK culinary job training. For DCCK, good school food is not an end in itself, but a cornerstone to a larger, community agenda. This program was sponsored by Edwards VA Ham

Episode 3: Kitchen Equipment
00:32:40
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:32:40
Episode 3: Kitchen Equipment

Today on Inside School Food. we’re talking kitchen equipment—What do we have? What do we need? And how can we go on doing without under new meal-pattern requirements that call for more—and more perishable—produce, that staff need to safely store, prepare, portion, and serve? Jessica Donze Black of the Pew Safe and Healthful Kids’ Food Project and Jon Dickl of Knox County, TN Public Schools discuss widespread infrastructure deficits in school districts coast to coast, and what steps you can take to fund capital improvements while making the most of what you’ve already got. This program was sponsored by Fairway Market.


“A lot of what we found schools needed were not expensive things – for example utility carts! …. Then of course expensive things like Combi Ovens – which for some schools is the difference between using or not using the deep fryer.” [08:00]

–Jessica Donze Black on Inside School Food

Episode 2: Community Eligibility
00:29:01
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:29:01
Episode 2: Community Eligibility

The face of free school food is about to change in some neighborhoods thanks to something called Community Eligibility. Community Eligibility helps bring universal meal service to high poverty districts. It’s been introduced in phases, and this coming school year it’s going national. This week on Inside School Food, Laura Stanley is chatting with two experts who can help listeners understand the specifics of Community Eligibility — Madeleine Levin, senior policy analyst in the Child Nutrition Unit at the Food Research and Action Center, working on school nutrition issues, and Leslie Fowler, director of nutritional support services, at Chicago Public Schools. This program was sponsored by Whole Foods Market.


“More kids eat when community eligibility is implemented.” [08:00]

–Madeleine Levin on Inside School Food

“There’s no obligation to participate. The greater need is around the students that need the program and that’s what we’re focusing on.” [21:00]

–Leslie Fowler on Inside School Food

Episode 1: Pilot: Reducing Waste and Meeting the Bottom Line
00:35:54
2017-09-22 13:54:46 UTC 00:35:54
Episode 1: Pilot: Reducing Waste and Meeting the Bottom Line

Go inside school food on Inside School Food, a brand new show on Heritage Radio Network! Paying for the new school lunch on just six extra cents (yes, you heard that right) per meal: Gitta Grether-Sweeney, Director of Nutrition Services at Portland, OR Public Schools and Bertrand Weber, Director of Culinary and Nutrition Services for Minneapolis Public Schools, wrestle with one of the thorniest issues in school food today: How can districts afford the abundant produce now required under the new meal pattern? Our guests, both known as ace problem-solvers, share their strategies for reducing waste and meeting the bottom line, while admitting that, even for them, the challenges remain huge.


Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School
00:32:39
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:32:39
Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School

What can you get for a dime? Add it to the federal reimbursement for a school meal, and it buys a lot. Use it to support spending on farm to school, and it generates many more times its value in local economic development. That's the thinking behind Michigan's "10 Cents a Meal" pilot, which directs millions of dimes into locavore salad bars, entrees, and snacks for children in 16 districts. Modeled after trailblazing farm to school policy in Oregon, the program received state funding for the first time this year. At just $250K, it seems a small start. But its crafters, and its champions in the state Senate, are planning on big—statewide in time, just like in Oregon.

Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks
00:34:39
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:34:39
Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks

What's so smart about those USDA-regulated "Smart Snacks" sold in school vending machines? More whole grain, and lowered sugar, fat, and calories—even if they're Cheetos, Doritos, or Pop Tarts. These reformulated items are less unhealthy, sure, but new research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity proposes that their "copycat" look and packaging is designed to maintain brand loyalty outside of school, where the original versions are heavily marketed to teens. The strategy may be working—and backfiring on school food service when the presence of perceived junk food undermines parent trust.

Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile
00:24:41
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:24:41
Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile

On July 6, 2016, the school nutrition community suffered the tragic loss of one of its own when Philando Castile was shot by police during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Philando—a.k.a. "Mr. Phil" and "Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks"—was the beloved 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor for the J.J. Hill Montessori School in Saint Paul. In this special episode, produced in collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools, we hear about Philando from his colleagues and his mother, Valerie Castile. They join us in mourning, and in celebration of a life well lived and a job well done.

Image: Student letter posted outside J.J. Montessori School, Saint Paul: "This year I was going to give you a gift but then you dided but Im giving you a gift anyway! You hade the biggest heart ever I rilly miss you. I rilly rilly miss you Your the best lunch man we ever could have I wish you were alive. You have Rainbows in your heart!"

Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?
00:44:42
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:44:42
Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?

In a move they say will “spur innovation,” Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have voted to issue block grants for school nutrition programs in three pilot states, cutting them loose from federal federal mandates and supervision. #StopTheBlock’s opponents to this measure—to date, more than 1,000 organizations—say these states would be cut loose from a lot more. On today’s episode, Education/Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) describes how block grants, because they’re easily shaved down in the federal budget, have historically led to the gutting of public services. Doug Davis of the Burlington (VT) School Food Project predicts an unraveling of standards, policies, and protocols that would cast farm-to-school and national supply chains into chaos and jeopardize the nutrition safety net of millions of children in need.

Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained
00:51:12
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:51:12
Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained

Community Eligibility (CEP) is the most popular program to be introduced to federal school meals programs in many years. To date, 18,247 high-poverty schools in nearly 3,000 districts have begun using it to slash cumbersome paperwork, eliminate stigma, and include food-insecure children whom the previous certification system had left behind. Under CEP, every child eats for free, regardless of pay status. This might seem wasteful of taxpayer dollars, but that's only until you take close look at how the policy is designed. Do that, and you'll discover how CEP wipes out costly inefficiencies, leaving more funds available to feed students who need nutrition assistance the most.

Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast
00:31:01
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:31:01
Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast

From two new studies, research you can use to pitch your breakfast program to students, parents, and school administrators. First, evidence that a morning meal is critical to maintaining healthy weight in adolescents.

In fact, two breakfasts—at home and at school—are not just better than none, but very possibly better than just one. Second, evidence that participation goes up most reliably when the marketing strategy is direct, personal, and on-the-spot—and as simple as “Good morning, Johnny… How about you grab a breakfast on your way to class?”

Episode 66: Trending: Food Courts
00:39:29
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:39:29
Episode 66: Trending: Food Courts

Food courts at school are an increasingly popular way to win the participation of trend-savvy teenagers. If you’re flirting with the idea for any of your sites, give a close listen to today’s guests. They’re equally prepared to either talk you into or out of the immense investment involved in embracing this style of food service. Because it doesn’t involve just money, but also—and more significantly—a commitment to sea change in the entire school community’s attitude towards lunch. Not ready for that? Listen anyway, because best practices in the biggest, hippest food courts can be best practices anywhere.

Episode 65: From California, New Recipes for Success
00:34:08
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:34:08
Episode 65: From California, New Recipes for Success

We've all heard that too many cooks can spoil the broth, but that's hardly the case on today's episode. The new FRESHMeals collection of recipes for schools is the work of several dozen cooks from 18 "California Ambassador" districts, pledged to mentor and share best practices state-wide. It took more than two years of tightly coordinated trial-and-error to build a database of 140 (so far) dishes that are off-the-shelf school ready—fully vetted for practicability, affordability, customer appeal, and compliance with USDA meal standards. Not in California? No problem. FRESHMeals are available online, to everyone.

Episode 64: CNR Update: House Committee Pushes Back
00:35:48
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:35:48
Episode 64: CNR Update: House Committee Pushes Back

Ten days ago, POLITICO's Helena Bottemiller Evich reported the latest development in the long and difficult path to CNR 2015 (now CNR 2016, as it is more than six months overdue). "The House Education and the Workforce Committee has finally come up with a child nutrition reauthorization bill," she wrote, "and it looks like it could be everything health advocates feared." Indeed, there appear to be critical, troubling differences between this bill and the one released by the Senate's committee in early January. Today, with Helena’s help, we unpack the contents of this new bill and speculate over what may happen next.

Episode 63: Intact Grains 101
00:35:55
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:35:55
Episode 63: Intact Grains 101

When did school children start gobbling up quinoa with such pleasure? And how is it that they’re also reaching for salads made with unprocessed (hence “intact”) and highly nourishing unpolished rice, wheat berries, barley, buckwheat, and farro? Join Coleen Donnelly of InHarvest and five food service professionals from across the country to learn how to win over staff and students with intact grains. Which grains are gluten free, why are sprouted grains so special, and what makes a quinoa-kale burger so delicious? (Trust us: it is.)

ISF episode image 2-22

 

Episode 62: Salad Bar Strategies: Learning From the Best in Riverside, CA
00:35:50
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:35:50
Episode 62: Salad Bar Strategies: Learning From the Best in Riverside, CA

Today we re-visit a June 2014 episode with the salad bar gurus at Riverside Unified School District, in southern California. With new technical support for salad bars in schools on the way in CNR 2016, now is the time to take a close second look at a pioneering and celebrated program that still works as safely, profitably, and deliciously as it ever did. “Our attention to detail is what makes us different,” says Chef Ryan Douglas. Learn just what that means—and catch up on what RUSD has been up to since we last checked in.

2-8-16 ISF episode image

Episode 61: In Maryland, “boot camp” for food service workers
00:39:19
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:39:19
Episode 61: In Maryland, “boot camp” for food service workers

As we await resolution on CNR 2016, one thing is certain: there will be new technical assistance grants for districts seeking to introduce more freshly prepared food in their cafeterias. Today, we update a Summer 2014 episode about an exemplary “train the trainer” program run by the Maryland Department of Education. Launched in 2011, its goal is reach every food service worker in the state by 2020 with a hands-on kitchen curriculum that restores pride in craft to their profession.

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Episode 60: Trendspotting 2016 with Dayle Hayes
00:38:17
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:38:17
Episode 60: Trendspotting 2016 with Dayle Hayes

For the first time in the history of the USDA school meals programs, success in feeding kids (adolescents especially) is regarded as hip. K-12 nutrition providers, from the people who grow the food to those who serve it, are riding the national tide of food service trends that emphasize vivid, authentic flavor. “Cool ideas are going mainstream really quickly,” observes School Meals that Rock’s Dayle Hayes, who joins us today to review recent innovations—Asian street foods, mac-and-cheese bars, shaker salads, and much more—that we’ll be seeing all over in 2016.

Photo courtesy of Whitson’s School Nutrition

“Young people… are little foodies in a lot of ways. They have expectations because of what they’re experiencing in the world at large. They have an expectation of flavors.”

–Dayle  Hayes on Inside School Food

 

Episode 59: Lunch Lessons from Japan
00:45:57
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:45:57
Episode 59: Lunch Lessons from Japan

Kyushoku, or elementary school lunch, is a cherished tradition that embodies values central to Japanese culture: gratitude, cooperation, courtesy, cleanliness, reverence for nature, and pride of place. Much more than a meal, it’s a critical learning period at the heart of the school day. You’ll find it depicted in loving detail in a wildly popular short film by today’s guest, Atsuko Quirk. Americans might take away many lessons from what they see there, she says. But the Japanese, as they confront need and hunger in a shifting socioeconomic landscape, have much to learn from us in turn.

Sanya service

School lunch in Japan: It’s not just about eating, Atsuko Quirk film of kyushoku in Saitama, Japan (Vimeo)

Other films by Atsuko Quirk on Vimeo

www.japanesechschoollunch.com: Website by Japan and East Asian specialist Agliano Sanborn (a work in progress that is already richly informational)

Related Inside School Food episodes:

“School lunch around the world: A 30-minute tour” (August 11, 2014)

“Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools” (July 13, 2015)

 

Episode 58: Dora Rivas Remembers
00:52:49
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:52:49
Episode 58: Dora Rivas Remembers

As the year draws to a close, Dora Rivas joins us to look back and reflect—not just on 2015, but a half century of service as a dietitian and school food service director. Last August, when she left her post as Executive Director of food service for Dallas ISD, Dora was an iconic figure in K-12 nutrition, recognized nationally as an early adopter of well-defined public health goals for schools. But her story is about private goals, too, and their roots in family and a career launched in a South Texas migrant health clinic.

 

ISF episode image 12-7

 

“Dora Rivas is on an insatiable quest to improve the nutrition in Dallas’ public schools,” Dallas Observer, June 26, 2014

“My Interview with Dora Rivas, Former President of the School Nutrition Association,” The Lunch Tray, June 13, 2014

“DISD school lunches reviewed: Restaurant critic Leslie Brenner goes back to school,” Guidelive.com, August 19, 2015

Related Inside School Food episode: “The Urban School Food Alliance Travels to France,” November 3, 2014

Episode 57: Reformulation Revealed
00:53:28
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:53:28
Episode 57: Reformulation Revealed

For processors of foods for the K-12 market, new USDA nutrition requirements arrived at the same time as increased public scrutiny of unfamiliar, often unpronounceable additives. Moving towards “clean label” while simultaneously lowering sodium and introducing whole grains is no problem when money is no object. But when constrained by school budgets, how do manufacturers deliver on all fronts? Today’s conversation with representatives from the nation’s largest suppliers in two key categories—tomato products, and rolls, pizza crusts, and flatbreads—talk about R&D successes to date, and the possibilities that lie ahead.

11-23 ISF episode image

“Tomato paste delivers a lot of nutrition for a small amount of product.” [13:00] – David Halt

 

Episode 56: Better School Food: Borrowed, Hacked, and Shared
00:39:53
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:39:53
Episode 56: Better School Food: Borrowed, Hacked, and Shared

Today we venture into new territory with the help of Chef Lisa Feldman, who is Director of Culinary Services for Sodexo USA. As a major provider of school meals (413 districts, two million meals daily), it’s significant and influential in ways you may never have imagined. The company’s ambitious strategies to introduce ever-fresher, more wholesome, and more appealing food on a mass scale are freely shared throughout the K-12 nutrition industry. “Nothing is proprietary,” says Feldman, who prizes creative collaboration not just with processors and trade groups, but also self-ops and even Sodexo competitors. “When districts are all doing their own thing, it’s more expensive.”

ISF 11-9-15 episode image

Additional Resources

Wild Alaska Pollock: 12 great recipes!: K-12 collection developed by Sodexo for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers

“Sodexo finding whole grain success in school food service,” Food Business News, June 25, 2015

“Lisa Feldman’s Yogurt and White Bean ‘Ranch’ Dressing,” New York Times, June 9, 2014

Culinary Institute of America’s “Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids” website

Episode 55: In West New York, NJ, The Kids Eat It All
00:48:24
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:48:24
Episode 55: In West New York, NJ, The Kids Eat It All

New Jersey is called the “Garden State” out of pride in an agricultural heritage that dates back hundreds of years. But in West New York, NJ, in the heart of the most densely populated area in the nation, the farms to the south were long unknown to low-income children growing up across the river from Manhattan. Today, that’s changed. The school menus and classroom curricula follow a locavore, culture-changing agenda that connects urban students to the land and the enjoyment of a wide variety of fresh-picked produce. In the middle school, students who began eating this way in kindergarten relish even the turnips and beets. “They trust us,” says Food Service Director Sal Valenza. “They’re not scared—they like to try new things.”

ISF episode image 11-2-15

Episode 54: WI Students Meet the Harvest Challenge
00:39:47
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:39:47
Episode 54: WI Students Meet the Harvest Challenge

High school cooking competitions can be hugely effective in generating excitement around school food, especially during Farm to School season, when students can work with locally grown ingredients. In rural Vernon County, Wisconsin, there are just six high schools, each with an enrollment of less than 400. But their small size doesn’t undermine the excitement as teams and their chef-mentors spend a month preparing to capture top honors in a delicious face-off. The challenge: create a winning, workable school lunch menu, completely in line USDA nutrition regulations and with no more to spend than most public schools have—about $1 per plate. 10-26-15 ISF episode image

Additional Resources:

Related Inside School Food episode: “Lunch lessons from teenage chefs” (Cooking Up Change competition profile, September 22, 2014)

“Good Food and Teamwork,” Wisconsin School News profile of the Harvest Challenge (August 2015)

Viroqua Area Schools food service page (look for Farm to School links on the lower right)

Driftless Cafe website

“Mysteries of the Driftless,” Emmy-Award winning documentary about the natural history of the Driftless Area

Episode 53: A Taste of Hope
00:41:16
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:41:16
Episode 53: A Taste of Hope

For tribal communities across the Great Plains and Southwest, buffalo is the centerpiece of of traditional culture, a sacred food critical to the restoration of health and independence. As new herds grow on Native lands, a small group of schools have joined a pilot program that introduces buffalo not just to lunch trays, but also the classroom and students’ very idea of who they are. For the Intertribal Buffalo Council, which sponsors the project, it’s taken years to get this point. But for the children, it’s taken no time at all to embrace their legacy and clean their plates.

Resource Links:

Intertribal Buffalo Council website

Incorporating Buffalo Meat into the Schools’ Lunch Menu: Intertribal Buffalo Council newsletter (PDF)

White paper: Feeding Ourselves: Food access, health disparities, and the pathways to healthy Native American communities (PDF)

ISF episode image 10-19

Episode 52: Fresh Food and Fresh Ideas from the Iowa Food Hub
00:40:16
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:40:16
Episode 52: Fresh Food and Fresh Ideas from the Iowa Food Hub

The USDA definition of a “food hub” is loose enough to include many iterations of the concept. Whatever the business model, most hubs aspire to increase access to local whole foods across the socioeconomic spectrum. And there’s no better way to accomplish that than through Farm to School. Today we profile a pioneering hub that is making great strides in serving 18 districts in rural northeastern Iowa, helping school buyers quadruple local purchasing—produce, dairy, pork, and beef.

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Episode 51: USDA on CNR 2015: a conversation with Katie Wilson
00:37:52
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:37:52
Episode 51: USDA on CNR 2015: a conversation with Katie Wilson

Today we welcome the new USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, for another deep dive into conversation about the future of school nutrition programs. While the delay of Child Nutrition Reauthorization can hardly be described as a good thing, it does give us more time to assess where we are and what’s changed in recent months with the emergence of new leaders, data, and research. We ask Dr. Wilson what, if anything, may impact current USDA positions on CNR.

ISF episode image 9-28-15

Episode 50: What’s new this year? We hear from YOU!
00:39:38
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:39:38
Episode 50: What’s new this year? We hear from YOU!

Inside School Food asked listeners to call in about their favorite back-to-school innovations, and they did, from all over the country. Today, with the help of co-host Dayle Hayes, we bring you six of these messages about fresh ideas that are making a difference. Our selection is highly diverse. Because when you’re growing and improving your program, there’s a multitude of needs to think about, and multitudes of strategies to consider for meeting them.

“Millbrae School District food service staff prepare tomatillo sauce for California Thursday luncheon.”

Episode 49: Towards a “Robust HHFKA”: New SNA Leaders Speak Out
00:46:37
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:46:37
Episode 49: Towards a “Robust HHFKA”: New SNA Leaders Speak Out

To kick off the school year, we are joined by the School Nutrition Association’s newly elected President, Jean Ronnei, and Vice President Lynn Harvey. They take on these roles—and this conversation—at an exceptionally challenging and sensitive time for SNA and the school nutrition community as a whole. On today’s agenda: Is school nutrition really a “battleground”? What’s the difference between “flexibility” and “rollback”? Just how much controversy in school food would fade into the background if reimbursements were to keep up with costs? If students were given enough time to eat? This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.

“We are seeking that middle ground where we have high quality products that are affordable and appealing to students.” [12:00]

–Lynn Harvey on Inside School Food

“The reality is that school meal programs are self supporting within a school district.  They’re not set up to take money from the general fund, where teacher salaries come from.” [20:15]

–Jean Ronnei on Inside School Food

 

 

Episode 48: First Taste Matters Most
00:32:20
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:32:20
Episode 48: First Taste Matters Most

Many American children have developed a strong, stubborn preference for
sweet and salty processed food before their second birthdays. If they
haven’t, it could well be because they became accustomed to healthier
flavors much earlier, beginning in breast milk or even in utero. What
babies taste in the first weeks and months of life really matters, says
Dr. Julie Menella of the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Her research
suggests that school meals can only ever be just one of a much larger
set of interventions, and that some of them need to occur before
students are even born. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery


“During childhood we learn what to eat, how to eat, how food should taste. Many children aren’t getting the experience to learn to like (healthy) food.” [11:00]

“It can’t just be school, it starts in the home. As much as we’re focusing on the school nutrition program we have to focus on the barriers for healthy eating for families at home.” [13:00]

–Dr. Julie Menella on Inside School Food

Episode 47: Sustainable New England Seafood for New England Kids
00:36:29
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:36:29
Episode 47: Sustainable New England Seafood for New England Kids

For decades, fish at school mostly meant one thing: breaded fingers and
patties–tasty enough with ketchup, but completely detached from their
natural origins. That’s beginning to change in regions with access to
local fisheries and processors. There’s keen interest in New England
districts with strong local procurement programs and cultural affinity
for seafood. Learn how a New Bedford processor is creating new
opportunities for the sustainably managed Gulf of Maine fishery, with
fresh-frozen products for K-12 that are affordable, kid-friendly, and
completely recognizable as fish. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



Photo of Acadian Redfish courtesy New Hampshire Community Seafood

“One mans trash is another mans treasure, in this case one chef’s trim is another mans treasure, I’m just using the smaller fillets.” [3:00]

“Our mission is to try and get more seafood eaten by our young people.” [14:00]

Andrew Wilkinson and Melissa Honeywood on Inside School Food

Episode 46: Courting customers: Fresh ideas from Chandler, AZ
00:41:37
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:41:37
Episode 46: Courting customers: Fresh ideas from Chandler, AZ

These days, we hear a lot about districts in well-to-do communities dropping out of federal meals programs. While the numbers are in fact miniscule, the conversation about them is significant. Dwindling revenue from paying students is a grave issue for many. On today’s episode, join Wesley Delbridge, Food and Nutrition Director for Chandler Unified School District, to hear about radical marketing and design solutions that are generating excitement and trust among middle class students and their parents. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery



“We could have Bobby Flay back there cooking but if the kids have a bad experience it won’t matter. Food is more social than it is anything.” [10:00]

Wesley Delbridge on Inside School Food

Episode 45: Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools
00:31:18
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:31:18
Episode 45: Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools

Here’s one of the surest signs we have that swift and substantial progress in school food is possible: Beginning this fall, the nation’s largest district will not only be serving on compostable plates, but actually composting them. The introduction of the new tableware is occurring simultaneously with a city-wide ban on most single-use, non-recyclable Styrofoam—a giant first step in Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s ambitious “Zero Waste” campaign. Astonishingly, this story begins just six years ago, with a grassroots collaboration with the city’s Department of Education, spearheaded by artist and NYC parent Debby Lee Cohen. “I think what we learned,” she reflects today, “is that this is how democracy is supposed to work.”


Episode 44: High hopes for Farm to School Act 2015
00:35:18
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:35:18
Episode 44: High hopes for Farm to School Act 2015

With so many elements of Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 hotly contested, it’s good to know we can be bullish about Farm to School. After a successful first round of USDA grants under CNR 2010, advocates are hoping to leverage strong bipartisan support to triple funding to $15M. But as the Farm to School movement matures, the conversation is not just about new grants. It’s about institutionalizing the presence of local food in schools, and how else this year’s CNR can help that happen. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“Farm to School is simple a bi-partisan issue….it’s one of those issues that works across the isle. It affects child health as much as it does farmer wealth. Since February we’ve continued to get more members of Congress to want to jump on the bill and support it. It’s a real opportunity to make other school meal programs just work better. When kids are growing the food in school gardens and meeting the farmer they have that connection. They’re gonna be more willing to taste and try and like new and healthier foods.” [13:00]

–Helen Dombalis on Inside School Food

“The obstacles [in implementing Farm to School in Kentucky] still lie with procurement and distribution. They present our biggest challenge.” [23:00]

–Tina Garland on Inside School Food

Episode 43: CNR 2015 walk through
00:43:50
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Episode 43: CNR 2015 walk through

Is Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 moving too fast for you? Join the club. We all feel that way, and it’s still only June. Today’s episode will help. Jacqlyn Schneider, Policy Director for the Senate Agriculture Committee under Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, is here to walk us through the process. She’ll review some of this huge bill’s many moving parts, and tell us what to expect—and how to weigh in—in the weeks and months to come. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



Photo of Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow courtesy USDA

Episode 42: Cafeteria (not!) of the Future
00:39:11
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Episode 42: Cafeteria (not!) of the Future

First off, stop calling it a “cafeteria.” And don’t just re-configure the physical space and the equipment, but the entire dining experience. San Francisco Unified School District is doing just that, in partnership with one of the world’s sharpest, most sought-after design firms. More than 1,300 school community stakeholders have weighed in on a vision for the future that looks and feels both radical and perfectly natural—a paradigm shift away from assembly-line style service to more intuitive models that comfortably set young customers before their food, and one another. This program was brought to you by Fairway Market.



“We wanted to design a food system and a meal program that was reflective of the values in our community.” [5:20]

“How might we use technology to both engage with the students and give them an active voice and control over their meal program but also provide a way for Student Nutrition Services to get more real time information from students.” [28:00]

Zetta Reicker on Inside School Food

Episode 41: Learnings from West Virginia
00:46:20
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Episode 41: Learnings from West Virginia

In West Virginia, many children suffer from levels childhood poverty, hunger, and obesity well above the national average. To meet this troubling challenge, the state’s Department of Education has been exceptionally energetic in its top-down efforts to win student acceptance of healthier menus while eliminating costly inefficiencies in the system. Is it working? Rick Goff, Executive Director of the Office of Child Nutrition, says it is. Join us to hear about his compelling testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee last month, in its first hearing related to CNR 2015. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“We had to do something [about childhood obesity]. We could no longer turn a blind eye to our school food systems.” [07:00]

“We want to do what’s in the child’s best interest.At the end of the day, that will be our guiding principle.” [10:00]

“You can’t just have a healthy room in a building, the whole building has to be healthy.” [12:00]

“I think you’ll see a day when the meal service is treated just like the rest of the learning experience.” [38:00]

–Rick Goff on Inside School Food

Episode 40: Tales from the trenches with Chef Cyndie
00:36:15
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Episode 40: Tales from the trenches with Chef Cyndie

Cyndie Story has consulted in school kitchens in 37 states, where she has spread a gospel of work simplification that can transform the lives of food service staff. The humility and humor with which she approaches the job makes her an inspirational figure. “I love to laugh,” she says, “and once we laugh, learning begins.” Join us for a tour of Chef Cyndie’s best practices, honed over 25 years on the job. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“My dad always told me in order to do well in a job you need to know how to do every part of the operation.” [9:00]

“They don’t ask for things, they are going to figure out that problem in the most inventive way [School Cooks].” [14:00]

Chef Cyndie Story on Inside School Food

Episode 39: Locavore Mayor Takes on Lunch
00:36:50
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:36:50
Episode 39: Locavore Mayor Takes on Lunch

Where do you set your goal for local food purchasing? How about 50 percent of your total food budget? How about trying to do this in Maine? In Portland, ME, Mayor Michael Brennan believes it can be done; and the school district’s food service director, Ron Adams, is getting close. No, they don’t have extra money. And Portland students are as resistant to change as kids anywhere else. But there’s deep political will, and pressure, in a city widely regarded as one of the foodiest and most locavore in the nation. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“We made a great opportunity for the students to understand the food and then enjoy the food.” [28:00]

Ron Adams on Inside School Food

Episode 38: El Monte Magic Explained
00:38:29
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:38:29
Episode 38: El Monte Magic Explained

El Monte City School District is celebrated as a leading edge reformer well beyond the cafeteria. Over the years, this high-needs district has established a rigorous, comprehensive approach to student wellness that attempts to touch every aspect of their lives in and out of school. The exuberant press and many awards it’s attracted a along the way are enough to make El Monte seem charmed. But there’s no secret sauce. They’re just tenacious here, and they’ve been that way for years. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


Episode 37: Are Smart Snacks Half Baked?
00:39:59
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Episode 37: Are Smart Snacks Half Baked?

Since July 2014, an interim USDA regulation on foods sold outside the reimbursable meals program requires healthier offerings nationwide. But questions remain. Many of the new “Smart Snacks” are reformulated copycats of highly processed stuff sold outside school. In some states, liberal waivers of restrictions on bake sales and junk-food fundraisers keep sugar levels high. Should we be worried? Not necessarily, say today’s guests. Districts can choose to adopt (or retain) stricter standards, setting a successful example that others can emulate. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market


Episode 36: Reading Plate Waste
00:27:17
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:27:17
Episode 36: Reading Plate Waste

Amid widespread complaints about discarded school food, enter a new study that tells us things may be not as bad as they seem. Careful measurements of plate waste taken in twelve Connecticut schools in 2012, 2013, and 2014 tell a different story, of students eating better and wasting less as they adjust to changes on their lunch trays. Lead author Marlene Schwartz, Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, unpacks this new data and reviews the study’s conclusions.


Episode 35: Good Food Measures Up
00:36:18
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Episode 35: Good Food Measures Up

Of course students eat better when healthy food is prepared with care and skill. We all knew that. Now we have important new research to back us up, the result of a year-long collaboration between the Harvard School of Public Health and Project Bread’s Chefs in Schools program. The study’s two leaders–the head author and the head chef–describe the complexity involved in making targeted changes in the school kitchen and cafeteria while systematically assessing the impacts. This program was brought to you by Visit Napa Valley.


Episode 34: More about food processing (“Have it your way,” part 2)
00:39:59
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Episode 34: More about food processing (“Have it your way,” part 2)

Processed foods: Whether you need them oven-ready or as components for speed scratch, you probably want them without additives you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. You want fresh and vivid flavors kids will go for, and you would prefer to know where and how the ingredients were grown. Possible? Two progressive vendors say yes, if you can make just a little extra wiggle room in your budget. This program was sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“Over the last ten years, there’s been a huge push to bring better food into the school market… School food directors are promoting the attributes of our products to parents and students to say, “hey, school food service is changing.” [16:00]

Rod Friesen on Inside School Food

“I think that, regardless of how the nutrition rules change, the desire we’re seeing in the school marketplace for clean label, healthier items is going to continue to grow… Parents are demanding healthier foods. Children are too. I’ve had 6th graders ask to see our nutrition labels!”

Toni Antonellis on Inside School Food

Episode 33: Feeding Summer
00:35:25
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:35:25
Episode 33: Feeding Summer

It’s planning season for USDA summer meals sponsors–the people who know that, for children from food-insecure homes, the last day of school isn’t necessarily a happy occasion. Currently, only a small fraction of students eligible for federally funded summer meals actually get them. Today’s guests talk about why, and what school districts can do to help meet the need. The best programs, they say, are served up with sides of fun. This program was sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“We heard from the Ohio Association of Food Banks about a 12-year-old boy who rode his bicycle five miles along the highway to get to the (summer meal) site. When he got there, he asked, ‘Can I take a lunch home to my little brother? He’s not old enough to ride his bike here.’ … But the kids aren’t permitted to take meals to go.”

Jillien Meier on Inside School Food

“I feel that if we’re going to make a sustainable difference in ending hunger in our community that we need to involve as many partners as we can… We partner to bring community garden boxes to our schools, and families adopt them. We provide them with the plants, the seeds, the dirt, the tools, and we have a master gardener on hand during summer feeding.”

Winnie Brewer on Inside School Food

Episode 32: Florida (school) Food Truck Sizzle
00:33:52
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:33:52
Episode 32: Florida (school) Food Truck Sizzle

Food trucks are rolling statements about some the values Americans hold dearest: independence, entrepreneurship, and mobility. Authenticity. Creativity. Affordability. With the movement growing so fast across the nation, it was only a matter of time before school food innovators started getting in on it. Today we profile two programs in sunny Florida, where hip new trucks can work year-round, winning teenage converts for healthy school meals.


“The students are more aligned to things they can see being made. They feel that because they can see people working on the truck and the items being assembled that it’s different from what they’re being served in the cafeteria. Some of them are floored to discover that it’s the exact same product.”

–Jennifer Smith on Inside School Food

“Jacksonville has become a stronghold for food trucks. There’s a large buzz around town about them… We use our food trucks not just at school but at community events, to spread the gospel of school food. It’s stealth approach.”

–Brian Giles on Inside School Food

Episode 31: Participation: What’s really going on?
00:35:30
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:35:30
Episode 31: Participation: What’s really going on?

Whether your sales up or down, there has to be a reason. So what’s behind the participation slump among students who don’t qualify for free or reduced-priced meals? Some school nutrition professionals say it’s a clear case of cause and effect: paying kids don’t like the new menus, so they’re not buying. But a recent report from the Food Resource and Action Center describes a much more complex set of circumstances. So does the experience of one well-to-do Kansas high school, where competitive foods are losing ground to the healthier, reimbursable “deal meal.” This program has been sponsored by The Tabard Inn. located in Washinton DC.



“The vast majority of schools are offering competitive foods. USDA research says that competitive foods drive students away from the school meals program. They create stigma, especially for middle and high school students, where it’s not necessarily the cool thing to be participating in the school meals program”

–Jessie Hewins on Inside School Food

“We were anticipating a drop in our a la carte sales, just like all the other schools implementing Smart Snacks. However, our reimbursable meals are up. Part of that is due to the fact that we’ve turned everything inside of the serving area into a potential reimbursable meal. We’re calling it a ‘meal deal.'”

“We encourage the high schools kids to take a whole apple or banana with them, to eat in study hall or before practice, and a lot of them are doing that. It’s the change we want to see. The more popular students are being role models in this, and that’s helping a lot.”

–Amy Droegemeier on Inside School Food

Episode 30: Making FoodCorps Work
00:40:02
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Episode 30: Making FoodCorps Work

It’s been more than five years since the inception of FoodCorps, the AmeriCorps division that sends young service members into school gardens, classrooms, cafeterias, and kitchens, where they’re tasked with generating excitement and support for healthy whole food. Today’s guests describe how it’s done. Idealism is the catalyst. But it’s creativity, tenacity, and–most important–humility that really make it work. This program was brought to you by Visit Napa Valley.


Episode 29: Kitchen Workhorses
00:39:06
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Episode 29: Kitchen Workhorses

What’s behind the “True Food” revolution in Minneapolis Public Schools? Ambitious purchasing of industrial-strength gadgets—cook-chill tanks, vacuum baggers, a meat shredder, a “gentle mixer,” and a 30-foot-long sous vide cooker—may be costly, but food costs are down, participation is up, and unpronounceable additives are out. This program was brought to you by Rt. 11 Potato Chips.


“Food has to look good so people eat it. It starts with the eyes.” [09:00]

—Ricardo Abbott on Inside School Food

“When you’re making your own recipes you have control over what goes in that recipe. Everything we make here, we’re very choosy and picky about the products we cook.” [14:00]

–Bertrand Weber on Inside School Food

Episode 28: Serving Food Justice at School: A Conversation with Audrey Rowe
00:37:46
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Episode 28: Serving Food Justice at School: A Conversation with Audrey Rowe

This week on Inside School Food, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, join Audrey Rowe, Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service at USDA, in reflection on socioeconomic justice in school nutrition programs–historically, currently, and going forward as we approach Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Instead of the dialogue focusing on how we provide more resources to school meals programs, it seems to be centered on how do we curtail implementation, or make changes to the program that I fear will take us back instead of putting us forward.”

“Schools and parents need to think about the amount of time students have to eat. In some schools, by the time children get their tray and sit down, they have just 10 minutes to eat. If you have fruits and vegetables that require a little more chew time, they’re not going to get through them!”

“One of the reasons I travel constantly is that I’m able to get the media into the schools to experience what the children are experiencing. I’ve had reporters say, this is not my school lunch; this is so much better!”

–Audrey Rowe on Inside School Food

Episode 27: “Bay to Tray” in Monterey
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Episode 27: “Bay to Tray” in Monterey

There is perhaps no city in the nation more strongly associated with fish than Monterey, CA, home to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and the setting for John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. But most of the seafood harvested from local waters is processed in China and sold to international markets. At Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, food service director Jenn Gerard wants to do something about that. Learn how she’s teamed up with a pioneering CSF (community supported fishery) to purchase Pacific Grenadier for her popular fish tacos. This program was brought to you by Tabard Inn.


Episode 26: School Food Social Media That Rocks
00:35:31
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Episode 26: School Food Social Media That Rocks

We kick off the new year with Dayle Hayes, the activist blogger behind “School Meals That Rock,” a multi-platform social media campaign that draws attention to news of healthy, delicious, sustainable progress in K-12 food service. Last year there was plenty of that kind of news. And there’s lots more to celebrate–along with lots of media negativity to deflect–as we move towards Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015. Want to join the movement? It’s easy. All you need is a smart phone, a Facebook account, and a board on Dayle’s Pinterest page. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Schools themselves are kind of late getting on Facebook and social media and recognizing promotional opportunities. Many nutritional directors don’t have the self confidence to get on social media and toot their own horn. Many of the bashing going on around school food makes them more hesitant to take those steps.” [05:00]

–Dayle Hayes on Inside School Food

Episode 25: Mastering the Art of School Cooking
00:35:16
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Episode 25: Mastering the Art of School Cooking

It took a village to produce New School Cuisine: Nutritional and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks. This pioneering new book features 78 rigorously tested, fully reimbursable dishes that Vermont children have enthusiastically voted for with their sporks. “The final ingredients added to each recipe,” write the authors, “are dedication, tenacity, patience and kindness. These ingredients infuse the recipes with the hope that we can change lives by helping our students understand food, enjoy food and choose foods that support lifelong health.” This program was brought to you by Brooklyn Slate.

“I can’t open a cookbook now without having a deep appreciation for the people who put it together. Now we know what goes into making somebody’s recipe usable for other people.” [11:00]

— Kathy Alexander on Inside School Food

“Bringing local foods into a school means nothing if the kids won’t eat it.” [28:00]

–Abbie Nelson on Inside School Food

Episode 24: Top Chefs
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Episode 24: Top Chefs

Big districts have long employed chefs, and smaller ones are increasingly relying on them as consultants. But what happens when a mid-size district hires a classically trained restaurant industry veteran as food service director? In this episode, we talk to two CIA alumni who love the job, and whose scratch-cooked, delicious, USDA-compliant meals programs are in the black. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.

Episode 23: New Menus = New Price Tags?
00:38:09
2017-09-22 23:46:26 UTC 00:38:09
Episode 23: New Menus = New Price Tags?

What’s really behind the controversy over Healthy Hunger Free Kids 2010? According to today’s guests, it’s dollars that don’t make sense. Join Gitta Grether-Sweeney of Portland (OR) Public Schools Nutrition Services and Gary Vonck, a national leader in K-12 food service sales, for their take on rising food and labor costs, diminished revenues, and reimbursement rates that aren’t keeping pace with the required changes in many districts. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.

“It has been a challenge to do some of this work, but I enjoy challenges – they are opportunities. We’ve been able to incorporate a lot of local products just by making changes within our organization.” [07:00]

–Gitta Grether-Sweeney on Inside School Food

“It’s the smaller schools that struggle because they dont have the multiple layers of support.” [26:00]

“Less than 15% of the schools across america send forecasts to their distributors or manufactures of choice – that just kills the communication piece.” [27:00]

–Gary Vonck on Inside School Food

Episode 22: The Urban School Food Alliance travels to France. Vive la révolution?
00:45:14
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Episode 22: The Urban School Food Alliance travels to France. Vive la révolution?

Food service leaders from six of the nation’s very largest districts–New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Orlando–have joined together over shared reform goals: lower prices, more sustainable production practice, and a pronounced shift in not just what’s served, but how–including how we talk to kids about food. And who best to consult with about that? The French, bien sur. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


Photo: Pierre Bonnard, The Children’s Meal, 1895

“As the six largest districts, we’re trying to be good custodians of the relationships we have with the national companies that influence the entire industry for school meals… When we’re talking with manufacturers and suppliers, we’re able to have an open dialogue with them that is very meaningful. Our unified voice is going to help them to be successful with all school districts, not just the largest.” [07:00]

–Stephen O’Brien on Inside School Food

“We really feel like there’s great opportunity for the community and legislators to start looking at our childhood nutrition programs as education programs. School meals are no different than transportation and textbooks and it goes to support academic performance of the students.” [20:00]

–Dora Rivas on Inside School Food

Episode 21: Sustainable California Chicken for California Kids
00:40:32
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Episode 21: Sustainable California Chicken for California Kids

Three very big districts—Riverside, San Diego, and Oakland—are taking farm to school to the next level with an enormous, year-round commitment to sustainably grown California chicken. Their ambitious purchasing initiative, which has been several years in the making, is designed to send a clear and certain message to the poultry industry: Clean up your act. Our students’ health is at stake. Find out more on this week’s episode of Inside School Food. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Any professional working in this field climbs this incredibly high hill in terms of their education on food systems when they engage in these projects.” [12:00]

–Ariane Michas on Inside School Food

Episode 20: This Radish is Golden
00:37:16
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Episode 20: This Radish is Golden

What community isn’t proud of its school trophies? Across Georgia, there’s a new kind of prize that recognizes exemplary work in farm-to-school, named after a tasty local vegetable. And winning at any level—gold, silver, or bronze—can generate the kind of excitement and support that a good school meals program deserves. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.



“We’re creating a real experience around food for kids.” [7:30]

Erin Croom on Inside School Food

“Educating the student through the school nutrition program is truly educating the whole family.” [23:50]

Kathy Peavy on Inside School Food

Episode 19: Farm To School Program Evaluation
00:35:57
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Episode 19: Farm To School Program Evaluation

Farm to school purchasing pursues social, environmental, economic, and public health goals. How to evaluate progress in reaching them, and how to share ideas and learning across a diverse, national community of practice? In this episode, learn about two new resources that are designed to help. This program was brought to you by Rolling Press

Episode 18: A Visit to Traverse City, MI: “Space Broccoli” & Other Adventures in Farm to School
00:34:15
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Episode 18: A Visit to Traverse City, MI: “Space Broccoli” & Other Adventures in Farm to School

Family farms dominate the agricultural landscape of the Lower Michigan Peninsula, growing lots more than those celebrated sour cherries. Romanesco and kohlrabi, for instance, which the children of Traverse City Area Public Schools have come to enjoy are grown there. Learn how the district is drawing in local growers with the help of a network of community partners. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.



“The development of the wineries and the growing of the grapes have spawned a whole new industry in Northwest Michigan.” [5:00]

Mark Coe on Inside School Food

“It’s a part of our wellness policy, to promote as much scratch cooking as possible.” [22:10]

Tom Freitas on Inside School Food

Episode 17: Charting a Farm to School Course? Don’t Leave Without this Roadmap
00:34:31
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Episode 17: Charting a Farm to School Course? Don’t Leave Without this Roadmap

We’re so excited about Farm to School Month 2014 that we’re starting two days early. Join us for a walk through USDA’s totally indispensable, very user-friendly guide to launching, bidding, and buying farm to school. Author Christina Conell talks about what’s in it, including best practice examples from all over the nation. This program was brought to you by Heritage Foods USA.


“As a taxpayer, I want to make sure schools are getting the best products for the best price at the best quantity – but at the same time I want to make sure they’re getting the product they want.” [09:00]

“The most oft cited advice I’ve heard from school districts is baby steps. It can start with one product, once a month. It doesn’t need to be big changes right away.” [30:00]

–Christina Conell on Inside School Food

Episode 16: Lunch Lessons from Teenage Chefs
00:34:07
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Episode 16: Lunch Lessons from Teenage Chefs

Want fresh, USDA-compliant meals that kids will get excited about? How about putting kids in charge? Cooking Up Change does just that. Subjected to the same tight budgets, strict nutrition standards, and logistical challenges that adult school menu planners face every day, teams of high school culinary students in ten cities compete to create healthy school lunches that their peers will enjoy. The winners make their way to Washington, DC, every spring to offer samples to legislators and put student voices front-and-center in the national dialogue about school food. Who’s learning more–the students or the politicians? Listen and decide for yourself. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“We will eat healthy food as long as it’s good and looks appetizing. Everybody’s tired of pizza and chicken patties.” [31:00]

–Shawnlaun Kelly on Inside School Food

Episode 15: How Smart Are Your Lunchrooms?
00:32:58
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Episode 15: How Smart Are Your Lunchrooms?

A school cafeteria can be a highly charged environment. Crowds of students press into the line, eager to zip through so they can get to their friends and recess. They’re hungry. It’s very loud. And they’re only children. Can we really expect them to focus on healthy choices? Experts from the Cornell Center of Behavioral Economics say we can, with the help of simple, low or no-cost interventions at the point of sale. It’s just marketing, but it can work like magic. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market


“When you look through a lunch room you really do have to examine it like a grocery store or a space where kids could purchase food.” [18:00]

Kate Hoy on Inside School Food

Episode 14: Let’s Talk Nutrition Standards
00:31:59
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Episode 14: Let’s Talk Nutrition Standards

Inside School Food kicks off the new school year with a discussion of the nutrition standards mandated by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. This school year, SFAs are being asked to do even more–more fruit, more whole grain, and less sodium, along with new, very strict guidelines on a la carte and snack items. Can they do it? Two food service directors from medium-size districts at opposite ends of the country weigh in on their successes and challenges to date, and their hopes and concerns for 2014-15. This program was brought to you by Tabard Inn.


“We in Washington had a nutrition policy that was required in the 05-06 school year, so we’ve been on this path for almost 10 years now.” [05:00]

–Karen Brown on Inside School Food

If we had more commodities it would help American farms, give us food and be a win-win situation instead of just asking for an increase of money. Times are tough everywhere.” [25:00]

–Donna Martin on Inside School Food

Episode 13: School Lunch Around the World
00:35:27
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Episode 13: School Lunch Around the World

Explore school lunch around the world on the season finale of Inside School Food. Why are we so riveted by pictures of school meals in other countries? Perhaps because it’s a shared experience the world over, and perhaps because these images are so rich in information. “Unpack a school lunch,” writes guest Andrea Curtis, author of What’s For Lunch: How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World, “and you’ll discover that food is connected to issues that matter to everyone—things such as climate change, health, and inequality.” This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.




(Photo of school lunch in Brazil by Yvonne Duivenvoorden)

“I think school lunch is truly an opportunity to pass on values.” [09:00]

–Andrea Curtis on Inside School Food

“Agriculture in brazil is actually dominated by large corporate farming. What’s surprising is that despite all this, over 84% of all rural enterprises in Brazil are family farms.” [28:00]

–Cecilia Rocha on Inside School Food

Episode 12: Re-learning to Cook: Boot Camp for Food Service
00:37:55
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Episode 12: Re-learning to Cook: Boot Camp for Food Service

If you’re old enough, you remember the days when “cafeteria ladies” had a craft and the food at school was hand made, right down to the dinner rolls. After decades of moving away from that proud tradition, districts are slowly returning to it. In Maryland, a stand-out “boot camp” for food service workers statewide teaches basic cookery, nutrition science, professional kitchen protocols, and much more. It’s a model for training programs that are emerging all over the nation as schools work their way forward (and back) to more real, fresh food in the cafeteria. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.


“The folks that attend our training are trained on how to train and then there’s a ripple effect.” [05:30]

–Stewart Eidel on Inside School Food

“We’re trying to be catalysts for the local economy and jump-start it through economic development. which is just a sidebar to all this [school food initiative]” [35:00]

–Jeffrey Proulx on Inside School Food

“Anybody can heat anything up regardless of technique – but to actually have to chop vegetables or whatever the recipe calls for – gives me more pride.” [36:00]

–Becky Anderson on Inside School Food

Episode 11: School Garden to Cafeteria
00:35:03
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:35:03
Episode 11: School Garden to Cafeteria

School gardens are now being embraced nationwide, as is farm-to-school. But school garden-to-cafeteria? It’s what’s coming next–well-established in some districts, in fact, which offer valuable resources to beginners. Concerned about food safety? Funding? Whether or not to buy student-grown or accept it as a donation? Is it worth the trouble–does it interest children in eating more produce, trying new fruits and veggies? The nation’s two leading experts, from Colorado and Oregon, discuss all this and more. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.


“Everyone along the supply chain of school food should get their fair equal prices. There are costs to school gardens. Right now districts don’t pay for much of those costs.” [18:00]

—Andy Nowak on Inside School Food

“What we develop in Denver needs to be a template – the beginning of a conversation in your own county.” [25:00]

“If you put in the effort and there are educational opportunities in place – you see wholeheartedly that kids will make nutritional choices.” [28:00]

–Rick Sherman on Inside School Food

Episode 10: Have it Your Way
00:43:36
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:43:36
Episode 10: Have it Your Way

HAVE IT YOUR WAY through partnerships with nimble small and mid-size processors. Want your own wild-rice meatloaf? A baked falafel made with local beans? Tyson and Schwan’s can’t help, but there are newcomers to K-12 food service who can. In this episode of Inside School Food, we’ll meet two of them and learn how to get healthy, clean-label foods developed or adapted to your specifications through direct processor-SFA collaboration. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“There are many progressive districts coming to us asking to get as far away from white rice as they can.” [10:00]

“I can make your commodity diced chicken taste good in a one pot dish” [15:00]

–Coleen Donnelly on Inside School Food

Episode 9: Do Stricter Meal Standards Lead to Better Health Outcomes?
00:29:44
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:29:44
Episode 9: Do Stricter Meal Standards Lead to Better Health Outcomes?

School food has been commanding headlines for well over a month, as controversy rages over costs and complications associated with implementation of stricter new nutrition standards. If you’re confused over who’s on what side of this debate, and what it’s really all about, you’re not alone. It’s gotten so political. Today we’re stepping away from all of that to simply look at what the standards are designed to do for kids, and whether or not they’ve been able to do it. We’ll discuss three studies that suggest students–at-risk students especially–are eating more fruits and vegetables and even losing weight. This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants.


“We need to consider factors outside of school. Let’s say you make all these positive changes in a school but a fast food establishment is across the street from a school – does that affect the impact or counteract positive changes made in the schools?” [24:00]


Daniel Taber on Inside School Food

Episode 8: Salad Bars Part 2: Strategies for Success from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools
00:32:43
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:32:43
Episode 8: Salad Bars Part 2: Strategies for Success from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools

Salad bars aren’t rocket science, but getting them right calls for careful, common-sense assembly with the right ingredients. If you’ve listened to Salad Bars Part 1 (and we suggest that you do), maybe you’re wondering if you can get salad bars to work in your district–or work better. Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools can help. Need equipment donation? Technical assistance? A community of practice? You’ve come to the right place. This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants.

“78% of the districts that we surveyed reported increased purchases of fruits and vegetables after implementing a salad bar. The goal here is to provide more access to fruits and vegetables to kids.” [07:00]

–Mara Fleishman on Inside School Food

“With good education and signage – you do not have excess waste at salad bars.” [20:00]

–Ann Cooper on Inside School Food

Episode 7: Cafeteria Composting
00:34:19
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:34:19
Episode 7: Cafeteria Composting

Composting and recycling at school isn’t just about eco-friendly waste diversion. It also provides students with a powerful lesson in sound environmental practice that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. The message is simple: what comes from the earth can be returned to enrich it, so it can provide for us again and again. How to get started? Today’s guests, from San Francisco, CA and Northampton, MA, will tell you how: Start small. Champion your early adopters. Develop educational and marketing tools to enlist the support of the entire school community. Or use materials from other districts–there’s lots out there already! Thanks to today’s sponsor, Cain Vineyard & Winery.



“A big part of San Francisco’s ‘Zero Waste’ initiative hopes to be achieved through education… we have a 63% landfill diversion rate in San Francisco schools.” [6:00]

“We prefer starting with the kids and hope the adults catch on… We understand the power that kids have.” [14:20]

Tamar Hurwitz on Inside School Food

“We did underestimate how difficult it would be to get all of the students to sort their food waste properly; it was difficult to get everyone on board.” [27:30]

Anna Moore on Inside School Food

Episode 6: Salad Bars Part 1: Riverside Unified School District
00:39:27
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:39:27
Episode 6: Salad Bars Part 1: Riverside Unified School District

Are you a salad bar skeptic? If you are, you’re not alone. Many a committed K-12 food service director is hesitant to try, out of concern over participation, waste, expense, mess, and food safety. And now salad bars in schools are seemingly even trickier to pull off. How do you insure that kids are meeting their daily fruit and vegetable quotas–and the required weekly balance of green and orange veggies, and beans and peas–if you let them serve themselves? For answers, we will first turn to school salad bar evangelist Rodney Taylor, from Riverside Unified, and two of his talented staff. This program was sponsored by Tabard Inn


“Every kid goes through the salad bar first. At that point they are engaged by an adult on each side who encourage children to eat the colors. We want the plate to be colorful.” [09:00]

Rodney Taylor on Inside School Food

“I have served over 6 million salad bar meals in Riverside. For those who tell you it places children at risk – I’ll tell you I haven’t lost one child yet.” [15:00]

“There’s a level of service we want to be able to provide. Once they [the children] see that you care – it will immediately turn [things] around.” [31:00]

— Ryan Douglas on Inside School Food

Episode 5: The Case for Fresh & Sustainable Chicken
00:32:46
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:32:46
Episode 5: The Case for Fresh & Sustainable Chicken

In Jefferson County, Colorado, a better school lunch often starts with better chicken: locally and sustainably grown, without antibiotics, and prepared from scratch. In the world of K-12 food service, this is widely regarded as an Olympian swan dive off a 33-foot-high board–beautiful to behold, but not something you can or should try at home. Today’s guests on Inside School Food explain how they do it (turns out it’s not that hard, if you’ve got ovens and the right supplier), and how their effort impacts student health. This program was sponsored by Tabard Inn.




“It’s easy for us to sell whole birds, it’s easy for us to sell chicken breast – but when we’re parting the birds out, we often end up with dark meat as a byproduct. We usually just end up selling that as a commodity product into the marketplace and we’re not able to get a premium price for it even though it’s a premium product. We’re able to sell it into the school districts and supply them with a premium product because of how we raise those birds. That allows them to sell a meal at a very price conscious point – then we know those kids are able to eat a quality meat, schools are able to meet their budget and we even end up with some marketing out of that.” [24:00]

–Chad Anderson on Inside School Food

Episode 4: DC Central Kitchen
00:32:58
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:32:58
Episode 4: DC Central Kitchen

This week’s episode of Inside School Food is the first installment of a series of episodes we’re calling “And Now for Something Completely Different,” in which we profile programs and business models that upend common assumptions about what’s possible in school food. In the schools served by not-for-profit DC Central Kitchen, children formerly accustomed to pizza and breaded chicken fingers eagerly chow down on house-made fresh food that routinely includes beets, cauliflower, and collards. The skilled staff who prepare it are people who have emerged from stressful life circumstances with the help of DCCK culinary job training. For DCCK, good school food is not an end in itself, but a cornerstone to a larger, community agenda. This program was sponsored by Edwards VA Ham

Episode 3: Kitchen Equipment
00:32:40
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:32:40
Episode 3: Kitchen Equipment

Today on Inside School Food. we’re talking kitchen equipment—What do we have? What do we need? And how can we go on doing without under new meal-pattern requirements that call for more—and more perishable—produce, that staff need to safely store, prepare, portion, and serve? Jessica Donze Black of the Pew Safe and Healthful Kids’ Food Project and Jon Dickl of Knox County, TN Public Schools discuss widespread infrastructure deficits in school districts coast to coast, and what steps you can take to fund capital improvements while making the most of what you’ve already got. This program was sponsored by Fairway Market.


“A lot of what we found schools needed were not expensive things – for example utility carts! …. Then of course expensive things like Combi Ovens – which for some schools is the difference between using or not using the deep fryer.” [08:00]

–Jessica Donze Black on Inside School Food

Episode 2: Community Eligibility
00:29:01
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:29:01
Episode 2: Community Eligibility

The face of free school food is about to change in some neighborhoods thanks to something called Community Eligibility. Community Eligibility helps bring universal meal service to high poverty districts. It’s been introduced in phases, and this coming school year it’s going national. This week on Inside School Food, Laura Stanley is chatting with two experts who can help listeners understand the specifics of Community Eligibility — Madeleine Levin, senior policy analyst in the Child Nutrition Unit at the Food Research and Action Center, working on school nutrition issues, and Leslie Fowler, director of nutritional support services, at Chicago Public Schools. This program was sponsored by Whole Foods Market.


“More kids eat when community eligibility is implemented.” [08:00]

–Madeleine Levin on Inside School Food

“There’s no obligation to participate. The greater need is around the students that need the program and that’s what we’re focusing on.” [21:00]

–Leslie Fowler on Inside School Food

Episode 1: Pilot: Reducing Waste and Meeting the Bottom Line
00:35:54
2017-09-22 23:46:27 UTC 00:35:54
Episode 1: Pilot: Reducing Waste and Meeting the Bottom Line

Go inside school food on Inside School Food, a brand new show on Heritage Radio Network! Paying for the new school lunch on just six extra cents (yes, you heard that right) per meal: Gitta Grether-Sweeney, Director of Nutrition Services at Portland, OR Public Schools and Bertrand Weber, Director of Culinary and Nutrition Services for Minneapolis Public Schools, wrestle with one of the thorniest issues in school food today: How can districts afford the abundant produce now required under the new meal pattern? Our guests, both known as ace problem-solvers, share their strategies for reducing waste and meeting the bottom line, while admitting that, even for them, the challenges remain huge.


Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School
00:32:39
2017-10-07 14:16:41 UTC 00:32:39
Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School

What can you get for a dime? Add it to the federal reimbursement for a school meal, and it buys a lot. Use it to support spending on farm to school, and it generates many more times its value in local economic development. That's the thinking behind Michigan's "10 Cents a Meal" pilot, which directs millions of dimes into locavore salad bars, entrees, and snacks for children in 16 districts. Modeled after trailblazing farm to school policy in Oregon, the program received state funding for the first time this year. At just $250K, it seems a small start. But its crafters, and its champions in the state Senate, are planning on big—statewide in time, just like in Oregon.

Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks
00:34:39
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:34:39
Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks

What's so smart about those USDA-regulated "Smart Snacks" sold in school vending machines? More whole grain, and lowered sugar, fat, and calories—even if they're Cheetos, Doritos, or Pop Tarts. These reformulated items are less unhealthy, sure, but new research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity proposes that their "copycat" look and packaging is designed to maintain brand loyalty outside of school, where the original versions are heavily marketed to teens. The strategy may be working—and backfiring on school food service when the presence of perceived junk food undermines parent trust.

Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile
00:24:41
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:24:41
Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile

On July 6, 2016, the school nutrition community suffered the tragic loss of one of its own when Philando Castile was shot by police during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Philando—a.k.a. "Mr. Phil" and "Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks"—was the beloved 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor for the J.J. Hill Montessori School in Saint Paul. In this special episode, produced in collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools, we hear about Philando from his colleagues and his mother, Valerie Castile. They join us in mourning, and in celebration of a life well lived and a job well done.

Image: Student letter posted outside J.J. Montessori School, Saint Paul: "This year I was going to give you a gift but then you dided but Im giving you a gift anyway! You hade the biggest heart ever I rilly miss you. I rilly rilly miss you Your the best lunch man we ever could have I wish you were alive. You have Rainbows in your heart!"

Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?
00:44:42
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:44:42
Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?

In a move they say will “spur innovation,” Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have voted to issue block grants for school nutrition programs in three pilot states, cutting them loose from federal federal mandates and supervision. #StopTheBlock’s opponents to this measure—to date, more than 1,000 organizations—say these states would be cut loose from a lot more. On today’s episode, Education/Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) describes how block grants, because they’re easily shaved down in the federal budget, have historically led to the gutting of public services. Doug Davis of the Burlington (VT) School Food Project predicts an unraveling of standards, policies, and protocols that would cast farm-to-school and national supply chains into chaos and jeopardize the nutrition safety net of millions of children in need.

Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained
00:51:12
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:51:12
Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained

Community Eligibility (CEP) is the most popular program to be introduced to federal school meals programs in many years. To date, 18,247 high-poverty schools in nearly 3,000 districts have begun using it to slash cumbersome paperwork, eliminate stigma, and include food-insecure children whom the previous certification system had left behind. Under CEP, every child eats for free, regardless of pay status. This might seem wasteful of taxpayer dollars, but that's only until you take close look at how the policy is designed. Do that, and you'll discover how CEP wipes out costly inefficiencies, leaving more funds available to feed students who need nutrition assistance the most.

Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast
00:31:01
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:31:01
Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast

From two new studies, research you can use to pitch your breakfast program to students, parents, and school administrators. First, evidence that a morning meal is critical to maintaining healthy weight in adolescents.

In fact, two breakfasts—at home and at school—are not just better than none, but very possibly better than just one. Second, evidence that participation goes up most reliably when the marketing strategy is direct, personal, and on-the-spot—and as simple as “Good morning, Johnny… How about you grab a breakfast on your way to class?”

Episode 66: Trending: Food Courts
00:39:29
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:39:29
Episode 66: Trending: Food Courts

Food courts at school are an increasingly popular way to win the participation of trend-savvy teenagers. If you’re flirting with the idea for any of your sites, give a close listen to today’s guests. They’re equally prepared to either talk you into or out of the immense investment involved in embracing this style of food service. Because it doesn’t involve just money, but also—and more significantly—a commitment to sea change in the entire school community’s attitude towards lunch. Not ready for that? Listen anyway, because best practices in the biggest, hippest food courts can be best practices anywhere.

Episode 65: From California, New Recipes for Success
00:34:08
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:34:08
Episode 65: From California, New Recipes for Success

We've all heard that too many cooks can spoil the broth, but that's hardly the case on today's episode. The new FRESHMeals collection of recipes for schools is the work of several dozen cooks from 18 "California Ambassador" districts, pledged to mentor and share best practices state-wide. It took more than two years of tightly coordinated trial-and-error to build a database of 140 (so far) dishes that are off-the-shelf school ready—fully vetted for practicability, affordability, customer appeal, and compliance with USDA meal standards. Not in California? No problem. FRESHMeals are available online, to everyone.

Episode 64: CNR Update: House Committee Pushes Back
00:35:48
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:35:48
Episode 64: CNR Update: House Committee Pushes Back

Ten days ago, POLITICO's Helena Bottemiller Evich reported the latest development in the long and difficult path to CNR 2015 (now CNR 2016, as it is more than six months overdue). "The House Education and the Workforce Committee has finally come up with a child nutrition reauthorization bill," she wrote, "and it looks like it could be everything health advocates feared." Indeed, there appear to be critical, troubling differences between this bill and the one released by the Senate's committee in early January. Today, with Helena’s help, we unpack the contents of this new bill and speculate over what may happen next.

Episode 63: Intact Grains 101
00:35:55
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:35:55
Episode 63: Intact Grains 101

When did school children start gobbling up quinoa with such pleasure? And how is it that they’re also reaching for salads made with unprocessed (hence “intact”) and highly nourishing unpolished rice, wheat berries, barley, buckwheat, and farro? Join Coleen Donnelly of InHarvest and five food service professionals from across the country to learn how to win over staff and students with intact grains. Which grains are gluten free, why are sprouted grains so special, and what makes a quinoa-kale burger so delicious? (Trust us: it is.)

ISF episode image 2-22

 

Episode 62: Salad Bar Strategies: Learning From the Best in Riverside, CA
00:35:50
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:35:50
Episode 62: Salad Bar Strategies: Learning From the Best in Riverside, CA

Today we re-visit a June 2014 episode with the salad bar gurus at Riverside Unified School District, in southern California. With new technical support for salad bars in schools on the way in CNR 2016, now is the time to take a close second look at a pioneering and celebrated program that still works as safely, profitably, and deliciously as it ever did. “Our attention to detail is what makes us different,” says Chef Ryan Douglas. Learn just what that means—and catch up on what RUSD has been up to since we last checked in.

2-8-16 ISF episode image

Episode 61: In Maryland, “boot camp” for food service workers
00:39:19
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:39:19
Episode 61: In Maryland, “boot camp” for food service workers

As we await resolution on CNR 2016, one thing is certain: there will be new technical assistance grants for districts seeking to introduce more freshly prepared food in their cafeterias. Today, we update a Summer 2014 episode about an exemplary “train the trainer” program run by the Maryland Department of Education. Launched in 2011, its goal is reach every food service worker in the state by 2020 with a hands-on kitchen curriculum that restores pride in craft to their profession.

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Episode 60: Trendspotting 2016 with Dayle Hayes
00:38:17
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:38:17
Episode 60: Trendspotting 2016 with Dayle Hayes

For the first time in the history of the USDA school meals programs, success in feeding kids (adolescents especially) is regarded as hip. K-12 nutrition providers, from the people who grow the food to those who serve it, are riding the national tide of food service trends that emphasize vivid, authentic flavor. “Cool ideas are going mainstream really quickly,” observes School Meals that Rock’s Dayle Hayes, who joins us today to review recent innovations—Asian street foods, mac-and-cheese bars, shaker salads, and much more—that we’ll be seeing all over in 2016.

Photo courtesy of Whitson’s School Nutrition

“Young people… are little foodies in a lot of ways. They have expectations because of what they’re experiencing in the world at large. They have an expectation of flavors.”

–Dayle  Hayes on Inside School Food

 

Episode 59: Lunch Lessons from Japan
00:45:57
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:45:57
Episode 59: Lunch Lessons from Japan

Kyushoku, or elementary school lunch, is a cherished tradition that embodies values central to Japanese culture: gratitude, cooperation, courtesy, cleanliness, reverence for nature, and pride of place. Much more than a meal, it’s a critical learning period at the heart of the school day. You’ll find it depicted in loving detail in a wildly popular short film by today’s guest, Atsuko Quirk. Americans might take away many lessons from what they see there, she says. But the Japanese, as they confront need and hunger in a shifting socioeconomic landscape, have much to learn from us in turn.

Sanya service

School lunch in Japan: It’s not just about eating, Atsuko Quirk film of kyushoku in Saitama, Japan (Vimeo)

Other films by Atsuko Quirk on Vimeo

www.japanesechschoollunch.com: Website by Japan and East Asian specialist Agliano Sanborn (a work in progress that is already richly informational)

Related Inside School Food episodes:

“School lunch around the world: A 30-minute tour” (August 11, 2014)

“Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools” (July 13, 2015)

 

Episode 58: Dora Rivas Remembers
00:52:49
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:52:49
Episode 58: Dora Rivas Remembers

As the year draws to a close, Dora Rivas joins us to look back and reflect—not just on 2015, but a half century of service as a dietitian and school food service director. Last August, when she left her post as Executive Director of food service for Dallas ISD, Dora was an iconic figure in K-12 nutrition, recognized nationally as an early adopter of well-defined public health goals for schools. But her story is about private goals, too, and their roots in family and a career launched in a South Texas migrant health clinic.

 

ISF episode image 12-7

 

“Dora Rivas is on an insatiable quest to improve the nutrition in Dallas’ public schools,” Dallas Observer, June 26, 2014

“My Interview with Dora Rivas, Former President of the School Nutrition Association,” The Lunch Tray, June 13, 2014

“DISD school lunches reviewed: Restaurant critic Leslie Brenner goes back to school,” Guidelive.com, August 19, 2015

Related Inside School Food episode: “The Urban School Food Alliance Travels to France,” November 3, 2014

Episode 57: Reformulation Revealed
00:53:28
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:53:28
Episode 57: Reformulation Revealed

For processors of foods for the K-12 market, new USDA nutrition requirements arrived at the same time as increased public scrutiny of unfamiliar, often unpronounceable additives. Moving towards “clean label” while simultaneously lowering sodium and introducing whole grains is no problem when money is no object. But when constrained by school budgets, how do manufacturers deliver on all fronts? Today’s conversation with representatives from the nation’s largest suppliers in two key categories—tomato products, and rolls, pizza crusts, and flatbreads—talk about R&D successes to date, and the possibilities that lie ahead.

11-23 ISF episode image

“Tomato paste delivers a lot of nutrition for a small amount of product.” [13:00] – David Halt

 

Episode 56: Better School Food: Borrowed, Hacked, and Shared
00:39:53
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:39:53
Episode 56: Better School Food: Borrowed, Hacked, and Shared

Today we venture into new territory with the help of Chef Lisa Feldman, who is Director of Culinary Services for Sodexo USA. As a major provider of school meals (413 districts, two million meals daily), it’s significant and influential in ways you may never have imagined. The company’s ambitious strategies to introduce ever-fresher, more wholesome, and more appealing food on a mass scale are freely shared throughout the K-12 nutrition industry. “Nothing is proprietary,” says Feldman, who prizes creative collaboration not just with processors and trade groups, but also self-ops and even Sodexo competitors. “When districts are all doing their own thing, it’s more expensive.”

ISF 11-9-15 episode image

Additional Resources

Wild Alaska Pollock: 12 great recipes!: K-12 collection developed by Sodexo for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers

“Sodexo finding whole grain success in school food service,” Food Business News, June 25, 2015

“Lisa Feldman’s Yogurt and White Bean ‘Ranch’ Dressing,” New York Times, June 9, 2014

Culinary Institute of America’s “Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids” website

Episode 55: In West New York, NJ, The Kids Eat It All
00:48:24
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:48:24
Episode 55: In West New York, NJ, The Kids Eat It All

New Jersey is called the “Garden State” out of pride in an agricultural heritage that dates back hundreds of years. But in West New York, NJ, in the heart of the most densely populated area in the nation, the farms to the south were long unknown to low-income children growing up across the river from Manhattan. Today, that’s changed. The school menus and classroom curricula follow a locavore, culture-changing agenda that connects urban students to the land and the enjoyment of a wide variety of fresh-picked produce. In the middle school, students who began eating this way in kindergarten relish even the turnips and beets. “They trust us,” says Food Service Director Sal Valenza. “They’re not scared—they like to try new things.”

ISF episode image 11-2-15

Episode 54: WI Students Meet the Harvest Challenge
00:39:47
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:39:47
Episode 54: WI Students Meet the Harvest Challenge

High school cooking competitions can be hugely effective in generating excitement around school food, especially during Farm to School season, when students can work with locally grown ingredients. In rural Vernon County, Wisconsin, there are just six high schools, each with an enrollment of less than 400. But their small size doesn’t undermine the excitement as teams and their chef-mentors spend a month preparing to capture top honors in a delicious face-off. The challenge: create a winning, workable school lunch menu, completely in line USDA nutrition regulations and with no more to spend than most public schools have—about $1 per plate. 10-26-15 ISF episode image

Additional Resources:

Related Inside School Food episode: “Lunch lessons from teenage chefs” (Cooking Up Change competition profile, September 22, 2014)

“Good Food and Teamwork,” Wisconsin School News profile of the Harvest Challenge (August 2015)

Viroqua Area Schools food service page (look for Farm to School links on the lower right)

Driftless Cafe website

“Mysteries of the Driftless,” Emmy-Award winning documentary about the natural history of the Driftless Area

Episode 53: A Taste of Hope
00:41:16
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:41:16
Episode 53: A Taste of Hope

For tribal communities across the Great Plains and Southwest, buffalo is the centerpiece of of traditional culture, a sacred food critical to the restoration of health and independence. As new herds grow on Native lands, a small group of schools have joined a pilot program that introduces buffalo not just to lunch trays, but also the classroom and students’ very idea of who they are. For the Intertribal Buffalo Council, which sponsors the project, it’s taken years to get this point. But for the children, it’s taken no time at all to embrace their legacy and clean their plates.

Resource Links:

Intertribal Buffalo Council website

Incorporating Buffalo Meat into the Schools’ Lunch Menu: Intertribal Buffalo Council newsletter (PDF)

White paper: Feeding Ourselves: Food access, health disparities, and the pathways to healthy Native American communities (PDF)

ISF episode image 10-19

Episode 52: Fresh Food and Fresh Ideas from the Iowa Food Hub
00:40:16
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:40:16
Episode 52: Fresh Food and Fresh Ideas from the Iowa Food Hub

The USDA definition of a “food hub” is loose enough to include many iterations of the concept. Whatever the business model, most hubs aspire to increase access to local whole foods across the socioeconomic spectrum. And there’s no better way to accomplish that than through Farm to School. Today we profile a pioneering hub that is making great strides in serving 18 districts in rural northeastern Iowa, helping school buyers quadruple local purchasing—produce, dairy, pork, and beef.

ISF episode image 10-5

Episode 51: USDA on CNR 2015: a conversation with Katie Wilson
00:37:52
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:37:52
Episode 51: USDA on CNR 2015: a conversation with Katie Wilson

Today we welcome the new USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, for another deep dive into conversation about the future of school nutrition programs. While the delay of Child Nutrition Reauthorization can hardly be described as a good thing, it does give us more time to assess where we are and what’s changed in recent months with the emergence of new leaders, data, and research. We ask Dr. Wilson what, if anything, may impact current USDA positions on CNR.

ISF episode image 9-28-15

Episode 50: What’s new this year? We hear from YOU!
00:39:38
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:39:38
Episode 50: What’s new this year? We hear from YOU!

Inside School Food asked listeners to call in about their favorite back-to-school innovations, and they did, from all over the country. Today, with the help of co-host Dayle Hayes, we bring you six of these messages about fresh ideas that are making a difference. Our selection is highly diverse. Because when you’re growing and improving your program, there’s a multitude of needs to think about, and multitudes of strategies to consider for meeting them.

“Millbrae School District food service staff prepare tomatillo sauce for California Thursday luncheon.”

Episode 49: Towards a “Robust HHFKA”: New SNA Leaders Speak Out
00:46:37
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:46:37
Episode 49: Towards a “Robust HHFKA”: New SNA Leaders Speak Out

To kick off the school year, we are joined by the School Nutrition Association’s newly elected President, Jean Ronnei, and Vice President Lynn Harvey. They take on these roles—and this conversation—at an exceptionally challenging and sensitive time for SNA and the school nutrition community as a whole. On today’s agenda: Is school nutrition really a “battleground”? What’s the difference between “flexibility” and “rollback”? Just how much controversy in school food would fade into the background if reimbursements were to keep up with costs? If students were given enough time to eat? This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.

“We are seeking that middle ground where we have high quality products that are affordable and appealing to students.” [12:00]

–Lynn Harvey on Inside School Food

“The reality is that school meal programs are self supporting within a school district.  They’re not set up to take money from the general fund, where teacher salaries come from.” [20:15]

–Jean Ronnei on Inside School Food

 

 

Episode 48: First Taste Matters Most
00:32:20
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Episode 48: First Taste Matters Most

Many American children have developed a strong, stubborn preference for
sweet and salty processed food before their second birthdays. If they
haven’t, it could well be because they became accustomed to healthier
flavors much earlier, beginning in breast milk or even in utero. What
babies taste in the first weeks and months of life really matters, says
Dr. Julie Menella of the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Her research
suggests that school meals can only ever be just one of a much larger
set of interventions, and that some of them need to occur before
students are even born. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery


“During childhood we learn what to eat, how to eat, how food should taste. Many children aren’t getting the experience to learn to like (healthy) food.” [11:00]

“It can’t just be school, it starts in the home. As much as we’re focusing on the school nutrition program we have to focus on the barriers for healthy eating for families at home.” [13:00]

–Dr. Julie Menella on Inside School Food

Episode 47: Sustainable New England Seafood for New England Kids
00:36:29
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Episode 47: Sustainable New England Seafood for New England Kids

For decades, fish at school mostly meant one thing: breaded fingers and
patties–tasty enough with ketchup, but completely detached from their
natural origins. That’s beginning to change in regions with access to
local fisheries and processors. There’s keen interest in New England
districts with strong local procurement programs and cultural affinity
for seafood. Learn how a New Bedford processor is creating new
opportunities for the sustainably managed Gulf of Maine fishery, with
fresh-frozen products for K-12 that are affordable, kid-friendly, and
completely recognizable as fish. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



Photo of Acadian Redfish courtesy New Hampshire Community Seafood

“One mans trash is another mans treasure, in this case one chef’s trim is another mans treasure, I’m just using the smaller fillets.” [3:00]

“Our mission is to try and get more seafood eaten by our young people.” [14:00]

Andrew Wilkinson and Melissa Honeywood on Inside School Food

Episode 46: Courting customers: Fresh ideas from Chandler, AZ
00:41:37
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Episode 46: Courting customers: Fresh ideas from Chandler, AZ

These days, we hear a lot about districts in well-to-do communities dropping out of federal meals programs. While the numbers are in fact miniscule, the conversation about them is significant. Dwindling revenue from paying students is a grave issue for many. On today’s episode, join Wesley Delbridge, Food and Nutrition Director for Chandler Unified School District, to hear about radical marketing and design solutions that are generating excitement and trust among middle class students and their parents. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery



“We could have Bobby Flay back there cooking but if the kids have a bad experience it won’t matter. Food is more social than it is anything.” [10:00]

Wesley Delbridge on Inside School Food

Episode 45: Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools
00:31:18
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Episode 45: Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools

Here’s one of the surest signs we have that swift and substantial progress in school food is possible: Beginning this fall, the nation’s largest district will not only be serving on compostable plates, but actually composting them. The introduction of the new tableware is occurring simultaneously with a city-wide ban on most single-use, non-recyclable Styrofoam—a giant first step in Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s ambitious “Zero Waste” campaign. Astonishingly, this story begins just six years ago, with a grassroots collaboration with the city’s Department of Education, spearheaded by artist and NYC parent Debby Lee Cohen. “I think what we learned,” she reflects today, “is that this is how democracy is supposed to work.”


Episode 44: High hopes for Farm to School Act 2015
00:35:18
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Episode 44: High hopes for Farm to School Act 2015

With so many elements of Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 hotly contested, it’s good to know we can be bullish about Farm to School. After a successful first round of USDA grants under CNR 2010, advocates are hoping to leverage strong bipartisan support to triple funding to $15M. But as the Farm to School movement matures, the conversation is not just about new grants. It’s about institutionalizing the presence of local food in schools, and how else this year’s CNR can help that happen. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“Farm to School is simple a bi-partisan issue….it’s one of those issues that works across the isle. It affects child health as much as it does farmer wealth. Since February we’ve continued to get more members of Congress to want to jump on the bill and support it. It’s a real opportunity to make other school meal programs just work better. When kids are growing the food in school gardens and meeting the farmer they have that connection. They’re gonna be more willing to taste and try and like new and healthier foods.” [13:00]

–Helen Dombalis on Inside School Food

“The obstacles [in implementing Farm to School in Kentucky] still lie with procurement and distribution. They present our biggest challenge.” [23:00]

–Tina Garland on Inside School Food

Episode 43: CNR 2015 walk through
00:43:50
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Episode 43: CNR 2015 walk through

Is Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 moving too fast for you? Join the club. We all feel that way, and it’s still only June. Today’s episode will help. Jacqlyn Schneider, Policy Director for the Senate Agriculture Committee under Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, is here to walk us through the process. She’ll review some of this huge bill’s many moving parts, and tell us what to expect—and how to weigh in—in the weeks and months to come. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



Photo of Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow courtesy USDA

Episode 42: Cafeteria (not!) of the Future
00:39:11
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Episode 42: Cafeteria (not!) of the Future

First off, stop calling it a “cafeteria.” And don’t just re-configure the physical space and the equipment, but the entire dining experience. San Francisco Unified School District is doing just that, in partnership with one of the world’s sharpest, most sought-after design firms. More than 1,300 school community stakeholders have weighed in on a vision for the future that looks and feels both radical and perfectly natural—a paradigm shift away from assembly-line style service to more intuitive models that comfortably set young customers before their food, and one another. This program was brought to you by Fairway Market.



“We wanted to design a food system and a meal program that was reflective of the values in our community.” [5:20]

“How might we use technology to both engage with the students and give them an active voice and control over their meal program but also provide a way for Student Nutrition Services to get more real time information from students.” [28:00]

Zetta Reicker on Inside School Food

Episode 41: Learnings from West Virginia
00:46:20
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Episode 41: Learnings from West Virginia

In West Virginia, many children suffer from levels childhood poverty, hunger, and obesity well above the national average. To meet this troubling challenge, the state’s Department of Education has been exceptionally energetic in its top-down efforts to win student acceptance of healthier menus while eliminating costly inefficiencies in the system. Is it working? Rick Goff, Executive Director of the Office of Child Nutrition, says it is. Join us to hear about his compelling testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee last month, in its first hearing related to CNR 2015. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“We had to do something [about childhood obesity]. We could no longer turn a blind eye to our school food systems.” [07:00]

“We want to do what’s in the child’s best interest.At the end of the day, that will be our guiding principle.” [10:00]

“You can’t just have a healthy room in a building, the whole building has to be healthy.” [12:00]

“I think you’ll see a day when the meal service is treated just like the rest of the learning experience.” [38:00]

–Rick Goff on Inside School Food

Episode 40: Tales from the trenches with Chef Cyndie
00:36:15
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Episode 40: Tales from the trenches with Chef Cyndie

Cyndie Story has consulted in school kitchens in 37 states, where she has spread a gospel of work simplification that can transform the lives of food service staff. The humility and humor with which she approaches the job makes her an inspirational figure. “I love to laugh,” she says, “and once we laugh, learning begins.” Join us for a tour of Chef Cyndie’s best practices, honed over 25 years on the job. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“My dad always told me in order to do well in a job you need to know how to do every part of the operation.” [9:00]

“They don’t ask for things, they are going to figure out that problem in the most inventive way [School Cooks].” [14:00]

Chef Cyndie Story on Inside School Food

Episode 39: Locavore Mayor Takes on Lunch
00:36:50
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Episode 39: Locavore Mayor Takes on Lunch

Where do you set your goal for local food purchasing? How about 50 percent of your total food budget? How about trying to do this in Maine? In Portland, ME, Mayor Michael Brennan believes it can be done; and the school district’s food service director, Ron Adams, is getting close. No, they don’t have extra money. And Portland students are as resistant to change as kids anywhere else. But there’s deep political will, and pressure, in a city widely regarded as one of the foodiest and most locavore in the nation. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“We made a great opportunity for the students to understand the food and then enjoy the food.” [28:00]

Ron Adams on Inside School Food

Episode 38: El Monte Magic Explained
00:38:29
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Episode 38: El Monte Magic Explained

El Monte City School District is celebrated as a leading edge reformer well beyond the cafeteria. Over the years, this high-needs district has established a rigorous, comprehensive approach to student wellness that attempts to touch every aspect of their lives in and out of school. The exuberant press and many awards it’s attracted a along the way are enough to make El Monte seem charmed. But there’s no secret sauce. They’re just tenacious here, and they’ve been that way for years. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


Episode 37: Are Smart Snacks Half Baked?
00:39:59
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Episode 37: Are Smart Snacks Half Baked?

Since July 2014, an interim USDA regulation on foods sold outside the reimbursable meals program requires healthier offerings nationwide. But questions remain. Many of the new “Smart Snacks” are reformulated copycats of highly processed stuff sold outside school. In some states, liberal waivers of restrictions on bake sales and junk-food fundraisers keep sugar levels high. Should we be worried? Not necessarily, say today’s guests. Districts can choose to adopt (or retain) stricter standards, setting a successful example that others can emulate. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market


Episode 36: Reading Plate Waste
00:27:17
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Episode 36: Reading Plate Waste

Amid widespread complaints about discarded school food, enter a new study that tells us things may be not as bad as they seem. Careful measurements of plate waste taken in twelve Connecticut schools in 2012, 2013, and 2014 tell a different story, of students eating better and wasting less as they adjust to changes on their lunch trays. Lead author Marlene Schwartz, Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, unpacks this new data and reviews the study’s conclusions.


Episode 35: Good Food Measures Up
00:36:18
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Episode 35: Good Food Measures Up

Of course students eat better when healthy food is prepared with care and skill. We all knew that. Now we have important new research to back us up, the result of a year-long collaboration between the Harvard School of Public Health and Project Bread’s Chefs in Schools program. The study’s two leaders–the head author and the head chef–describe the complexity involved in making targeted changes in the school kitchen and cafeteria while systematically assessing the impacts. This program was brought to you by Visit Napa Valley.


Episode 34: More about food processing (“Have it your way,” part 2)
00:39:59
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Episode 34: More about food processing (“Have it your way,” part 2)

Processed foods: Whether you need them oven-ready or as components for speed scratch, you probably want them without additives you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. You want fresh and vivid flavors kids will go for, and you would prefer to know where and how the ingredients were grown. Possible? Two progressive vendors say yes, if you can make just a little extra wiggle room in your budget. This program was sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“Over the last ten years, there’s been a huge push to bring better food into the school market… School food directors are promoting the attributes of our products to parents and students to say, “hey, school food service is changing.” [16:00]

Rod Friesen on Inside School Food

“I think that, regardless of how the nutrition rules change, the desire we’re seeing in the school marketplace for clean label, healthier items is going to continue to grow… Parents are demanding healthier foods. Children are too. I’ve had 6th graders ask to see our nutrition labels!”

Toni Antonellis on Inside School Food

Episode 33: Feeding Summer
00:35:25
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Episode 33: Feeding Summer

It’s planning season for USDA summer meals sponsors–the people who know that, for children from food-insecure homes, the last day of school isn’t necessarily a happy occasion. Currently, only a small fraction of students eligible for federally funded summer meals actually get them. Today’s guests talk about why, and what school districts can do to help meet the need. The best programs, they say, are served up with sides of fun. This program was sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“We heard from the Ohio Association of Food Banks about a 12-year-old boy who rode his bicycle five miles along the highway to get to the (summer meal) site. When he got there, he asked, ‘Can I take a lunch home to my little brother? He’s not old enough to ride his bike here.’ … But the kids aren’t permitted to take meals to go.”

Jillien Meier on Inside School Food

“I feel that if we’re going to make a sustainable difference in ending hunger in our community that we need to involve as many partners as we can… We partner to bring community garden boxes to our schools, and families adopt them. We provide them with the plants, the seeds, the dirt, the tools, and we have a master gardener on hand during summer feeding.”

Winnie Brewer on Inside School Food

Episode 32: Florida (school) Food Truck Sizzle
00:33:52
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Episode 32: Florida (school) Food Truck Sizzle

Food trucks are rolling statements about some the values Americans hold dearest: independence, entrepreneurship, and mobility. Authenticity. Creativity. Affordability. With the movement growing so fast across the nation, it was only a matter of time before school food innovators started getting in on it. Today we profile two programs in sunny Florida, where hip new trucks can work year-round, winning teenage converts for healthy school meals.


“The students are more aligned to things they can see being made. They feel that because they can see people working on the truck and the items being assembled that it’s different from what they’re being served in the cafeteria. Some of them are floored to discover that it’s the exact same product.”

–Jennifer Smith on Inside School Food

“Jacksonville has become a stronghold for food trucks. There’s a large buzz around town about them… We use our food trucks not just at school but at community events, to spread the gospel of school food. It’s stealth approach.”

–Brian Giles on Inside School Food

Episode 31: Participation: What’s really going on?
00:35:30
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Episode 31: Participation: What’s really going on?

Whether your sales up or down, there has to be a reason. So what’s behind the participation slump among students who don’t qualify for free or reduced-priced meals? Some school nutrition professionals say it’s a clear case of cause and effect: paying kids don’t like the new menus, so they’re not buying. But a recent report from the Food Resource and Action Center describes a much more complex set of circumstances. So does the experience of one well-to-do Kansas high school, where competitive foods are losing ground to the healthier, reimbursable “deal meal.” This program has been sponsored by The Tabard Inn. located in Washinton DC.



“The vast majority of schools are offering competitive foods. USDA research says that competitive foods drive students away from the school meals program. They create stigma, especially for middle and high school students, where it’s not necessarily the cool thing to be participating in the school meals program”

–Jessie Hewins on Inside School Food

“We were anticipating a drop in our a la carte sales, just like all the other schools implementing Smart Snacks. However, our reimbursable meals are up. Part of that is due to the fact that we’ve turned everything inside of the serving area into a potential reimbursable meal. We’re calling it a ‘meal deal.'”

“We encourage the high schools kids to take a whole apple or banana with them, to eat in study hall or before practice, and a lot of them are doing that. It’s the change we want to see. The more popular students are being role models in this, and that’s helping a lot.”

–Amy Droegemeier on Inside School Food

Episode 30: Making FoodCorps Work
00:40:02
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Episode 30: Making FoodCorps Work

It’s been more than five years since the inception of FoodCorps, the AmeriCorps division that sends young service members into school gardens, classrooms, cafeterias, and kitchens, where they’re tasked with generating excitement and support for healthy whole food. Today’s guests describe how it’s done. Idealism is the catalyst. But it’s creativity, tenacity, and–most important–humility that really make it work. This program was brought to you by Visit Napa Valley.


Episode 29: Kitchen Workhorses
00:39:06
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Episode 29: Kitchen Workhorses

What’s behind the “True Food” revolution in Minneapolis Public Schools? Ambitious purchasing of industrial-strength gadgets—cook-chill tanks, vacuum baggers, a meat shredder, a “gentle mixer,” and a 30-foot-long sous vide cooker—may be costly, but food costs are down, participation is up, and unpronounceable additives are out. This program was brought to you by Rt. 11 Potato Chips.


“Food has to look good so people eat it. It starts with the eyes.” [09:00]

—Ricardo Abbott on Inside School Food

“When you’re making your own recipes you have control over what goes in that recipe. Everything we make here, we’re very choosy and picky about the products we cook.” [14:00]

–Bertrand Weber on Inside School Food

Episode 28: Serving Food Justice at School: A Conversation with Audrey Rowe
00:37:46
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Episode 28: Serving Food Justice at School: A Conversation with Audrey Rowe

This week on Inside School Food, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, join Audrey Rowe, Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service at USDA, in reflection on socioeconomic justice in school nutrition programs–historically, currently, and going forward as we approach Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Instead of the dialogue focusing on how we provide more resources to school meals programs, it seems to be centered on how do we curtail implementation, or make changes to the program that I fear will take us back instead of putting us forward.”

“Schools and parents need to think about the amount of time students have to eat. In some schools, by the time children get their tray and sit down, they have just 10 minutes to eat. If you have fruits and vegetables that require a little more chew time, they’re not going to get through them!”

“One of the reasons I travel constantly is that I’m able to get the media into the schools to experience what the children are experiencing. I’ve had reporters say, this is not my school lunch; this is so much better!”

–Audrey Rowe on Inside School Food

Episode 27: “Bay to Tray” in Monterey
00:36:20
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Episode 27: “Bay to Tray” in Monterey

There is perhaps no city in the nation more strongly associated with fish than Monterey, CA, home to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and the setting for John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. But most of the seafood harvested from local waters is processed in China and sold to international markets. At Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, food service director Jenn Gerard wants to do something about that. Learn how she’s teamed up with a pioneering CSF (community supported fishery) to purchase Pacific Grenadier for her popular fish tacos. This program was brought to you by Tabard Inn.


Episode 26: School Food Social Media That Rocks
00:35:31
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:35:31
Episode 26: School Food Social Media That Rocks

We kick off the new year with Dayle Hayes, the activist blogger behind “School Meals That Rock,” a multi-platform social media campaign that draws attention to news of healthy, delicious, sustainable progress in K-12 food service. Last year there was plenty of that kind of news. And there’s lots more to celebrate–along with lots of media negativity to deflect–as we move towards Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015. Want to join the movement? It’s easy. All you need is a smart phone, a Facebook account, and a board on Dayle’s Pinterest page. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Schools themselves are kind of late getting on Facebook and social media and recognizing promotional opportunities. Many nutritional directors don’t have the self confidence to get on social media and toot their own horn. Many of the bashing going on around school food makes them more hesitant to take those steps.” [05:00]

–Dayle Hayes on Inside School Food

Episode 25: Mastering the Art of School Cooking
00:35:16
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Episode 25: Mastering the Art of School Cooking

It took a village to produce New School Cuisine: Nutritional and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks. This pioneering new book features 78 rigorously tested, fully reimbursable dishes that Vermont children have enthusiastically voted for with their sporks. “The final ingredients added to each recipe,” write the authors, “are dedication, tenacity, patience and kindness. These ingredients infuse the recipes with the hope that we can change lives by helping our students understand food, enjoy food and choose foods that support lifelong health.” This program was brought to you by Brooklyn Slate.

“I can’t open a cookbook now without having a deep appreciation for the people who put it together. Now we know what goes into making somebody’s recipe usable for other people.” [11:00]

— Kathy Alexander on Inside School Food

“Bringing local foods into a school means nothing if the kids won’t eat it.” [28:00]

–Abbie Nelson on Inside School Food

Episode 24: Top Chefs
00:47:55
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Episode 24: Top Chefs

Big districts have long employed chefs, and smaller ones are increasingly relying on them as consultants. But what happens when a mid-size district hires a classically trained restaurant industry veteran as food service director? In this episode, we talk to two CIA alumni who love the job, and whose scratch-cooked, delicious, USDA-compliant meals programs are in the black. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.

Episode 23: New Menus = New Price Tags?
00:38:09
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Episode 23: New Menus = New Price Tags?

What’s really behind the controversy over Healthy Hunger Free Kids 2010? According to today’s guests, it’s dollars that don’t make sense. Join Gitta Grether-Sweeney of Portland (OR) Public Schools Nutrition Services and Gary Vonck, a national leader in K-12 food service sales, for their take on rising food and labor costs, diminished revenues, and reimbursement rates that aren’t keeping pace with the required changes in many districts. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.

“It has been a challenge to do some of this work, but I enjoy challenges – they are opportunities. We’ve been able to incorporate a lot of local products just by making changes within our organization.” [07:00]

–Gitta Grether-Sweeney on Inside School Food

“It’s the smaller schools that struggle because they dont have the multiple layers of support.” [26:00]

“Less than 15% of the schools across america send forecasts to their distributors or manufactures of choice – that just kills the communication piece.” [27:00]

–Gary Vonck on Inside School Food

Episode 22: The Urban School Food Alliance travels to France. Vive la révolution?
00:45:14
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Episode 22: The Urban School Food Alliance travels to France. Vive la révolution?

Food service leaders from six of the nation’s very largest districts–New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Orlando–have joined together over shared reform goals: lower prices, more sustainable production practice, and a pronounced shift in not just what’s served, but how–including how we talk to kids about food. And who best to consult with about that? The French, bien sur. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


Photo: Pierre Bonnard, The Children’s Meal, 1895

“As the six largest districts, we’re trying to be good custodians of the relationships we have with the national companies that influence the entire industry for school meals… When we’re talking with manufacturers and suppliers, we’re able to have an open dialogue with them that is very meaningful. Our unified voice is going to help them to be successful with all school districts, not just the largest.” [07:00]

–Stephen O’Brien on Inside School Food

“We really feel like there’s great opportunity for the community and legislators to start looking at our childhood nutrition programs as education programs. School meals are no different than transportation and textbooks and it goes to support academic performance of the students.” [20:00]

–Dora Rivas on Inside School Food

Episode 21: Sustainable California Chicken for California Kids
00:40:32
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Episode 21: Sustainable California Chicken for California Kids

Three very big districts—Riverside, San Diego, and Oakland—are taking farm to school to the next level with an enormous, year-round commitment to sustainably grown California chicken. Their ambitious purchasing initiative, which has been several years in the making, is designed to send a clear and certain message to the poultry industry: Clean up your act. Our students’ health is at stake. Find out more on this week’s episode of Inside School Food. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Any professional working in this field climbs this incredibly high hill in terms of their education on food systems when they engage in these projects.” [12:00]

–Ariane Michas on Inside School Food

Episode 20: This Radish is Golden
00:37:16
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Episode 20: This Radish is Golden

What community isn’t proud of its school trophies? Across Georgia, there’s a new kind of prize that recognizes exemplary work in farm-to-school, named after a tasty local vegetable. And winning at any level—gold, silver, or bronze—can generate the kind of excitement and support that a good school meals program deserves. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.



“We’re creating a real experience around food for kids.” [7:30]

Erin Croom on Inside School Food

“Educating the student through the school nutrition program is truly educating the whole family.” [23:50]

Kathy Peavy on Inside School Food

Episode 19: Farm To School Program Evaluation
00:35:57
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Episode 19: Farm To School Program Evaluation

Farm to school purchasing pursues social, environmental, economic, and public health goals. How to evaluate progress in reaching them, and how to share ideas and learning across a diverse, national community of practice? In this episode, learn about two new resources that are designed to help. This program was brought to you by Rolling Press

Episode 18: A Visit to Traverse City, MI: “Space Broccoli” & Other Adventures in Farm to School
00:34:15
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Episode 18: A Visit to Traverse City, MI: “Space Broccoli” & Other Adventures in Farm to School

Family farms dominate the agricultural landscape of the Lower Michigan Peninsula, growing lots more than those celebrated sour cherries. Romanesco and kohlrabi, for instance, which the children of Traverse City Area Public Schools have come to enjoy are grown there. Learn how the district is drawing in local growers with the help of a network of community partners. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.



“The development of the wineries and the growing of the grapes have spawned a whole new industry in Northwest Michigan.” [5:00]

Mark Coe on Inside School Food

“It’s a part of our wellness policy, to promote as much scratch cooking as possible.” [22:10]

Tom Freitas on Inside School Food

Episode 17: Charting a Farm to School Course? Don’t Leave Without this Roadmap
00:34:31
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Episode 17: Charting a Farm to School Course? Don’t Leave Without this Roadmap

We’re so excited about Farm to School Month 2014 that we’re starting two days early. Join us for a walk through USDA’s totally indispensable, very user-friendly guide to launching, bidding, and buying farm to school. Author Christina Conell talks about what’s in it, including best practice examples from all over the nation. This program was brought to you by Heritage Foods USA.


“As a taxpayer, I want to make sure schools are getting the best products for the best price at the best quantity – but at the same time I want to make sure they’re getting the product they want.” [09:00]

“The most oft cited advice I’ve heard from school districts is baby steps. It can start with one product, once a month. It doesn’t need to be big changes right away.” [30:00]

–Christina Conell on Inside School Food

Episode 16: Lunch Lessons from Teenage Chefs
00:34:07
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:34:07
Episode 16: Lunch Lessons from Teenage Chefs

Want fresh, USDA-compliant meals that kids will get excited about? How about putting kids in charge? Cooking Up Change does just that. Subjected to the same tight budgets, strict nutrition standards, and logistical challenges that adult school menu planners face every day, teams of high school culinary students in ten cities compete to create healthy school lunches that their peers will enjoy. The winners make their way to Washington, DC, every spring to offer samples to legislators and put student voices front-and-center in the national dialogue about school food. Who’s learning more–the students or the politicians? Listen and decide for yourself. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“We will eat healthy food as long as it’s good and looks appetizing. Everybody’s tired of pizza and chicken patties.” [31:00]

–Shawnlaun Kelly on Inside School Food

Episode 15: How Smart Are Your Lunchrooms?
00:32:58
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:32:58
Episode 15: How Smart Are Your Lunchrooms?

A school cafeteria can be a highly charged environment. Crowds of students press into the line, eager to zip through so they can get to their friends and recess. They’re hungry. It’s very loud. And they’re only children. Can we really expect them to focus on healthy choices? Experts from the Cornell Center of Behavioral Economics say we can, with the help of simple, low or no-cost interventions at the point of sale. It’s just marketing, but it can work like magic. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market


“When you look through a lunch room you really do have to examine it like a grocery store or a space where kids could purchase food.” [18:00]

Kate Hoy on Inside School Food

Episode 14: Let’s Talk Nutrition Standards
00:31:59
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:31:59
Episode 14: Let’s Talk Nutrition Standards

Inside School Food kicks off the new school year with a discussion of the nutrition standards mandated by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. This school year, SFAs are being asked to do even more–more fruit, more whole grain, and less sodium, along with new, very strict guidelines on a la carte and snack items. Can they do it? Two food service directors from medium-size districts at opposite ends of the country weigh in on their successes and challenges to date, and their hopes and concerns for 2014-15. This program was brought to you by Tabard Inn.


“We in Washington had a nutrition policy that was required in the 05-06 school year, so we’ve been on this path for almost 10 years now.” [05:00]

–Karen Brown on Inside School Food

If we had more commodities it would help American farms, give us food and be a win-win situation instead of just asking for an increase of money. Times are tough everywhere.” [25:00]

–Donna Martin on Inside School Food

Episode 13: School Lunch Around the World
00:35:27
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:35:27
Episode 13: School Lunch Around the World

Explore school lunch around the world on the season finale of Inside School Food. Why are we so riveted by pictures of school meals in other countries? Perhaps because it’s a shared experience the world over, and perhaps because these images are so rich in information. “Unpack a school lunch,” writes guest Andrea Curtis, author of What’s For Lunch: How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World, “and you’ll discover that food is connected to issues that matter to everyone—things such as climate change, health, and inequality.” This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.




(Photo of school lunch in Brazil by Yvonne Duivenvoorden)

“I think school lunch is truly an opportunity to pass on values.” [09:00]

–Andrea Curtis on Inside School Food

“Agriculture in brazil is actually dominated by large corporate farming. What’s surprising is that despite all this, over 84% of all rural enterprises in Brazil are family farms.” [28:00]

–Cecilia Rocha on Inside School Food

Episode 12: Re-learning to Cook: Boot Camp for Food Service
00:37:55
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:37:55
Episode 12: Re-learning to Cook: Boot Camp for Food Service

If you’re old enough, you remember the days when “cafeteria ladies” had a craft and the food at school was hand made, right down to the dinner rolls. After decades of moving away from that proud tradition, districts are slowly returning to it. In Maryland, a stand-out “boot camp” for food service workers statewide teaches basic cookery, nutrition science, professional kitchen protocols, and much more. It’s a model for training programs that are emerging all over the nation as schools work their way forward (and back) to more real, fresh food in the cafeteria. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.


“The folks that attend our training are trained on how to train and then there’s a ripple effect.” [05:30]

–Stewart Eidel on Inside School Food

“We’re trying to be catalysts for the local economy and jump-start it through economic development. which is just a sidebar to all this [school food initiative]” [35:00]

–Jeffrey Proulx on Inside School Food

“Anybody can heat anything up regardless of technique – but to actually have to chop vegetables or whatever the recipe calls for – gives me more pride.” [36:00]

–Becky Anderson on Inside School Food

Episode 11: School Garden to Cafeteria
00:35:03
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:35:03
Episode 11: School Garden to Cafeteria

School gardens are now being embraced nationwide, as is farm-to-school. But school garden-to-cafeteria? It’s what’s coming next–well-established in some districts, in fact, which offer valuable resources to beginners. Concerned about food safety? Funding? Whether or not to buy student-grown or accept it as a donation? Is it worth the trouble–does it interest children in eating more produce, trying new fruits and veggies? The nation’s two leading experts, from Colorado and Oregon, discuss all this and more. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.


“Everyone along the supply chain of school food should get their fair equal prices. There are costs to school gardens. Right now districts don’t pay for much of those costs.” [18:00]

—Andy Nowak on Inside School Food

“What we develop in Denver needs to be a template – the beginning of a conversation in your own county.” [25:00]

“If you put in the effort and there are educational opportunities in place – you see wholeheartedly that kids will make nutritional choices.” [28:00]

–Rick Sherman on Inside School Food

Episode 10: Have it Your Way
00:43:36
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:43:36
Episode 10: Have it Your Way

HAVE IT YOUR WAY through partnerships with nimble small and mid-size processors. Want your own wild-rice meatloaf? A baked falafel made with local beans? Tyson and Schwan’s can’t help, but there are newcomers to K-12 food service who can. In this episode of Inside School Food, we’ll meet two of them and learn how to get healthy, clean-label foods developed or adapted to your specifications through direct processor-SFA collaboration. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“There are many progressive districts coming to us asking to get as far away from white rice as they can.” [10:00]

“I can make your commodity diced chicken taste good in a one pot dish” [15:00]

–Coleen Donnelly on Inside School Food

Episode 9: Do Stricter Meal Standards Lead to Better Health Outcomes?
00:29:44
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:29:44
Episode 9: Do Stricter Meal Standards Lead to Better Health Outcomes?

School food has been commanding headlines for well over a month, as controversy rages over costs and complications associated with implementation of stricter new nutrition standards. If you’re confused over who’s on what side of this debate, and what it’s really all about, you’re not alone. It’s gotten so political. Today we’re stepping away from all of that to simply look at what the standards are designed to do for kids, and whether or not they’ve been able to do it. We’ll discuss three studies that suggest students–at-risk students especially–are eating more fruits and vegetables and even losing weight. This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants.


“We need to consider factors outside of school. Let’s say you make all these positive changes in a school but a fast food establishment is across the street from a school – does that affect the impact or counteract positive changes made in the schools?” [24:00]


Daniel Taber on Inside School Food

Episode 8: Salad Bars Part 2: Strategies for Success from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools
00:32:43
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:32:43
Episode 8: Salad Bars Part 2: Strategies for Success from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools

Salad bars aren’t rocket science, but getting them right calls for careful, common-sense assembly with the right ingredients. If you’ve listened to Salad Bars Part 1 (and we suggest that you do), maybe you’re wondering if you can get salad bars to work in your district–or work better. Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools can help. Need equipment donation? Technical assistance? A community of practice? You’ve come to the right place. This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants.

“78% of the districts that we surveyed reported increased purchases of fruits and vegetables after implementing a salad bar. The goal here is to provide more access to fruits and vegetables to kids.” [07:00]

–Mara Fleishman on Inside School Food

“With good education and signage – you do not have excess waste at salad bars.” [20:00]

–Ann Cooper on Inside School Food

Episode 7: Cafeteria Composting
00:34:19
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:34:19
Episode 7: Cafeteria Composting

Composting and recycling at school isn’t just about eco-friendly waste diversion. It also provides students with a powerful lesson in sound environmental practice that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. The message is simple: what comes from the earth can be returned to enrich it, so it can provide for us again and again. How to get started? Today’s guests, from San Francisco, CA and Northampton, MA, will tell you how: Start small. Champion your early adopters. Develop educational and marketing tools to enlist the support of the entire school community. Or use materials from other districts–there’s lots out there already! Thanks to today’s sponsor, Cain Vineyard & Winery.



“A big part of San Francisco’s ‘Zero Waste’ initiative hopes to be achieved through education… we have a 63% landfill diversion rate in San Francisco schools.” [6:00]

“We prefer starting with the kids and hope the adults catch on… We understand the power that kids have.” [14:20]

Tamar Hurwitz on Inside School Food

“We did underestimate how difficult it would be to get all of the students to sort their food waste properly; it was difficult to get everyone on board.” [27:30]

Anna Moore on Inside School Food

Episode 6: Salad Bars Part 1: Riverside Unified School District
00:39:27
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:39:27
Episode 6: Salad Bars Part 1: Riverside Unified School District

Are you a salad bar skeptic? If you are, you’re not alone. Many a committed K-12 food service director is hesitant to try, out of concern over participation, waste, expense, mess, and food safety. And now salad bars in schools are seemingly even trickier to pull off. How do you insure that kids are meeting their daily fruit and vegetable quotas–and the required weekly balance of green and orange veggies, and beans and peas–if you let them serve themselves? For answers, we will first turn to school salad bar evangelist Rodney Taylor, from Riverside Unified, and two of his talented staff. This program was sponsored by Tabard Inn


“Every kid goes through the salad bar first. At that point they are engaged by an adult on each side who encourage children to eat the colors. We want the plate to be colorful.” [09:00]

Rodney Taylor on Inside School Food

“I have served over 6 million salad bar meals in Riverside. For those who tell you it places children at risk – I’ll tell you I haven’t lost one child yet.” [15:00]

“There’s a level of service we want to be able to provide. Once they [the children] see that you care – it will immediately turn [things] around.” [31:00]

— Ryan Douglas on Inside School Food

Episode 5: The Case for Fresh & Sustainable Chicken
00:32:46
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:32:46
Episode 5: The Case for Fresh & Sustainable Chicken

In Jefferson County, Colorado, a better school lunch often starts with better chicken: locally and sustainably grown, without antibiotics, and prepared from scratch. In the world of K-12 food service, this is widely regarded as an Olympian swan dive off a 33-foot-high board–beautiful to behold, but not something you can or should try at home. Today’s guests on Inside School Food explain how they do it (turns out it’s not that hard, if you’ve got ovens and the right supplier), and how their effort impacts student health. This program was sponsored by Tabard Inn.




“It’s easy for us to sell whole birds, it’s easy for us to sell chicken breast – but when we’re parting the birds out, we often end up with dark meat as a byproduct. We usually just end up selling that as a commodity product into the marketplace and we’re not able to get a premium price for it even though it’s a premium product. We’re able to sell it into the school districts and supply them with a premium product because of how we raise those birds. That allows them to sell a meal at a very price conscious point – then we know those kids are able to eat a quality meat, schools are able to meet their budget and we even end up with some marketing out of that.” [24:00]

–Chad Anderson on Inside School Food

Episode 4: DC Central Kitchen
00:32:58
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:32:58
Episode 4: DC Central Kitchen

This week’s episode of Inside School Food is the first installment of a series of episodes we’re calling “And Now for Something Completely Different,” in which we profile programs and business models that upend common assumptions about what’s possible in school food. In the schools served by not-for-profit DC Central Kitchen, children formerly accustomed to pizza and breaded chicken fingers eagerly chow down on house-made fresh food that routinely includes beets, cauliflower, and collards. The skilled staff who prepare it are people who have emerged from stressful life circumstances with the help of DCCK culinary job training. For DCCK, good school food is not an end in itself, but a cornerstone to a larger, community agenda. This program was sponsored by Edwards VA Ham

Episode 3: Kitchen Equipment
00:32:40
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:32:40
Episode 3: Kitchen Equipment

Today on Inside School Food. we’re talking kitchen equipment—What do we have? What do we need? And how can we go on doing without under new meal-pattern requirements that call for more—and more perishable—produce, that staff need to safely store, prepare, portion, and serve? Jessica Donze Black of the Pew Safe and Healthful Kids’ Food Project and Jon Dickl of Knox County, TN Public Schools discuss widespread infrastructure deficits in school districts coast to coast, and what steps you can take to fund capital improvements while making the most of what you’ve already got. This program was sponsored by Fairway Market.


“A lot of what we found schools needed were not expensive things – for example utility carts! …. Then of course expensive things like Combi Ovens – which for some schools is the difference between using or not using the deep fryer.” [08:00]

–Jessica Donze Black on Inside School Food

Episode 2: Community Eligibility
00:29:01
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:29:01
Episode 2: Community Eligibility

The face of free school food is about to change in some neighborhoods thanks to something called Community Eligibility. Community Eligibility helps bring universal meal service to high poverty districts. It’s been introduced in phases, and this coming school year it’s going national. This week on Inside School Food, Laura Stanley is chatting with two experts who can help listeners understand the specifics of Community Eligibility — Madeleine Levin, senior policy analyst in the Child Nutrition Unit at the Food Research and Action Center, working on school nutrition issues, and Leslie Fowler, director of nutritional support services, at Chicago Public Schools. This program was sponsored by Whole Foods Market.


“More kids eat when community eligibility is implemented.” [08:00]

–Madeleine Levin on Inside School Food

“There’s no obligation to participate. The greater need is around the students that need the program and that’s what we’re focusing on.” [21:00]

–Leslie Fowler on Inside School Food

Episode 1: Pilot: Reducing Waste and Meeting the Bottom Line
00:35:54
2017-10-07 14:16:42 UTC 00:35:54
Episode 1: Pilot: Reducing Waste and Meeting the Bottom Line

Go inside school food on Inside School Food, a brand new show on Heritage Radio Network! Paying for the new school lunch on just six extra cents (yes, you heard that right) per meal: Gitta Grether-Sweeney, Director of Nutrition Services at Portland, OR Public Schools and Bertrand Weber, Director of Culinary and Nutrition Services for Minneapolis Public Schools, wrestle with one of the thorniest issues in school food today: How can districts afford the abundant produce now required under the new meal pattern? Our guests, both known as ace problem-solvers, share their strategies for reducing waste and meeting the bottom line, while admitting that, even for them, the challenges remain huge.


Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School
00:32:39
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:32:39
Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School

What can you get for a dime? Add it to the federal reimbursement for a school meal, and it buys a lot. Use it to support spending on farm to school, and it generates many more times its value in local economic development. That's the thinking behind Michigan's "10 Cents a Meal" pilot, which directs millions of dimes into locavore salad bars, entrees, and snacks for children in 16 districts. Modeled after trailblazing farm to school policy in Oregon, the program received state funding for the first time this year. At just $250K, it seems a small start. But its crafters, and its champions in the state Senate, are planning on big—statewide in time, just like in Oregon.

Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks
00:34:39
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:34:39
Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks

What's so smart about those USDA-regulated "Smart Snacks" sold in school vending machines? More whole grain, and lowered sugar, fat, and calories—even if they're Cheetos, Doritos, or Pop Tarts. These reformulated items are less unhealthy, sure, but new research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity proposes that their "copycat" look and packaging is designed to maintain brand loyalty outside of school, where the original versions are heavily marketed to teens. The strategy may be working—and backfiring on school food service when the presence of perceived junk food undermines parent trust.

Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile
00:24:41
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:24:41
Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile

On July 6, 2016, the school nutrition community suffered the tragic loss of one of its own when Philando Castile was shot by police during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Philando—a.k.a. "Mr. Phil" and "Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks"—was the beloved 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor for the J.J. Hill Montessori School in Saint Paul. In this special episode, produced in collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools, we hear about Philando from his colleagues and his mother, Valerie Castile. They join us in mourning, and in celebration of a life well lived and a job well done.

Image: Student letter posted outside J.J. Montessori School, Saint Paul: "This year I was going to give you a gift but then you dided but Im giving you a gift anyway! You hade the biggest heart ever I rilly miss you. I rilly rilly miss you Your the best lunch man we ever could have I wish you were alive. You have Rainbows in your heart!"

Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?
00:44:42
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:44:42
Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?

In a move they say will “spur innovation,” Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have voted to issue block grants for school nutrition programs in three pilot states, cutting them loose from federal federal mandates and supervision. #StopTheBlock’s opponents to this measure—to date, more than 1,000 organizations—say these states would be cut loose from a lot more. On today’s episode, Education/Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) describes how block grants, because they’re easily shaved down in the federal budget, have historically led to the gutting of public services. Doug Davis of the Burlington (VT) School Food Project predicts an unraveling of standards, policies, and protocols that would cast farm-to-school and national supply chains into chaos and jeopardize the nutrition safety net of millions of children in need.

Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained
00:51:12
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:51:12
Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained

Community Eligibility (CEP) is the most popular program to be introduced to federal school meals programs in many years. To date, 18,247 high-poverty schools in nearly 3,000 districts have begun using it to slash cumbersome paperwork, eliminate stigma, and include food-insecure children whom the previous certification system had left behind. Under CEP, every child eats for free, regardless of pay status. This might seem wasteful of taxpayer dollars, but that's only until you take close look at how the policy is designed. Do that, and you'll discover how CEP wipes out costly inefficiencies, leaving more funds available to feed students who need nutrition assistance the most.

Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast
00:31:01
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:31:01
Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast

From two new studies, research you can use to pitch your breakfast program to students, parents, and school administrators. First, evidence that a morning meal is critical to maintaining healthy weight in adolescents.

In fact, two breakfasts—at home and at school—are not just better than none, but very possibly better than just one. Second, evidence that participation goes up most reliably when the marketing strategy is direct, personal, and on-the-spot—and as simple as “Good morning, Johnny… How about you grab a breakfast on your way to class?”

Episode 66: Trending: Food Courts
00:39:29
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:39:29
Episode 66: Trending: Food Courts

Food courts at school are an increasingly popular way to win the participation of trend-savvy teenagers. If you’re flirting with the idea for any of your sites, give a close listen to today’s guests. They’re equally prepared to either talk you into or out of the immense investment involved in embracing this style of food service. Because it doesn’t involve just money, but also—and more significantly—a commitment to sea change in the entire school community’s attitude towards lunch. Not ready for that? Listen anyway, because best practices in the biggest, hippest food courts can be best practices anywhere.

Episode 65: From California, New Recipes for Success
00:34:08
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:34:08
Episode 65: From California, New Recipes for Success

We've all heard that too many cooks can spoil the broth, but that's hardly the case on today's episode. The new FRESHMeals collection of recipes for schools is the work of several dozen cooks from 18 "California Ambassador" districts, pledged to mentor and share best practices state-wide. It took more than two years of tightly coordinated trial-and-error to build a database of 140 (so far) dishes that are off-the-shelf school ready—fully vetted for practicability, affordability, customer appeal, and compliance with USDA meal standards. Not in California? No problem. FRESHMeals are available online, to everyone.

Episode 64: CNR Update: House Committee Pushes Back
00:35:48
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:35:48
Episode 64: CNR Update: House Committee Pushes Back

Ten days ago, POLITICO's Helena Bottemiller Evich reported the latest development in the long and difficult path to CNR 2015 (now CNR 2016, as it is more than six months overdue). "The House Education and the Workforce Committee has finally come up with a child nutrition reauthorization bill," she wrote, "and it looks like it could be everything health advocates feared." Indeed, there appear to be critical, troubling differences between this bill and the one released by the Senate's committee in early January. Today, with Helena’s help, we unpack the contents of this new bill and speculate over what may happen next.

Episode 63: Intact Grains 101
00:35:55
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:35:55
Episode 63: Intact Grains 101

When did school children start gobbling up quinoa with such pleasure? And how is it that they’re also reaching for salads made with unprocessed (hence “intact”) and highly nourishing unpolished rice, wheat berries, barley, buckwheat, and farro? Join Coleen Donnelly of InHarvest and five food service professionals from across the country to learn how to win over staff and students with intact grains. Which grains are gluten free, why are sprouted grains so special, and what makes a quinoa-kale burger so delicious? (Trust us: it is.)

ISF episode image 2-22

 

Episode 62: Salad Bar Strategies: Learning From the Best in Riverside, CA
00:35:50
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:35:50
Episode 62: Salad Bar Strategies: Learning From the Best in Riverside, CA

Today we re-visit a June 2014 episode with the salad bar gurus at Riverside Unified School District, in southern California. With new technical support for salad bars in schools on the way in CNR 2016, now is the time to take a close second look at a pioneering and celebrated program that still works as safely, profitably, and deliciously as it ever did. “Our attention to detail is what makes us different,” says Chef Ryan Douglas. Learn just what that means—and catch up on what RUSD has been up to since we last checked in.

2-8-16 ISF episode image

Episode 61: In Maryland, “boot camp” for food service workers
00:39:19
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:39:19
Episode 61: In Maryland, “boot camp” for food service workers

As we await resolution on CNR 2016, one thing is certain: there will be new technical assistance grants for districts seeking to introduce more freshly prepared food in their cafeterias. Today, we update a Summer 2014 episode about an exemplary “train the trainer” program run by the Maryland Department of Education. Launched in 2011, its goal is reach every food service worker in the state by 2020 with a hands-on kitchen curriculum that restores pride in craft to their profession.

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Episode 60: Trendspotting 2016 with Dayle Hayes
00:38:17
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:38:17
Episode 60: Trendspotting 2016 with Dayle Hayes

For the first time in the history of the USDA school meals programs, success in feeding kids (adolescents especially) is regarded as hip. K-12 nutrition providers, from the people who grow the food to those who serve it, are riding the national tide of food service trends that emphasize vivid, authentic flavor. “Cool ideas are going mainstream really quickly,” observes School Meals that Rock’s Dayle Hayes, who joins us today to review recent innovations—Asian street foods, mac-and-cheese bars, shaker salads, and much more—that we’ll be seeing all over in 2016.

Photo courtesy of Whitson’s School Nutrition

“Young people… are little foodies in a lot of ways. They have expectations because of what they’re experiencing in the world at large. They have an expectation of flavors.”

–Dayle  Hayes on Inside School Food

 

Episode 59: Lunch Lessons from Japan
00:45:57
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:45:57
Episode 59: Lunch Lessons from Japan

Kyushoku, or elementary school lunch, is a cherished tradition that embodies values central to Japanese culture: gratitude, cooperation, courtesy, cleanliness, reverence for nature, and pride of place. Much more than a meal, it’s a critical learning period at the heart of the school day. You’ll find it depicted in loving detail in a wildly popular short film by today’s guest, Atsuko Quirk. Americans might take away many lessons from what they see there, she says. But the Japanese, as they confront need and hunger in a shifting socioeconomic landscape, have much to learn from us in turn.

Sanya service

School lunch in Japan: It’s not just about eating, Atsuko Quirk film of kyushoku in Saitama, Japan (Vimeo)

Other films by Atsuko Quirk on Vimeo

www.japanesechschoollunch.com: Website by Japan and East Asian specialist Agliano Sanborn (a work in progress that is already richly informational)

Related Inside School Food episodes:

“School lunch around the world: A 30-minute tour” (August 11, 2014)

“Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools” (July 13, 2015)

 

Episode 58: Dora Rivas Remembers
00:52:49
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:52:49
Episode 58: Dora Rivas Remembers

As the year draws to a close, Dora Rivas joins us to look back and reflect—not just on 2015, but a half century of service as a dietitian and school food service director. Last August, when she left her post as Executive Director of food service for Dallas ISD, Dora was an iconic figure in K-12 nutrition, recognized nationally as an early adopter of well-defined public health goals for schools. But her story is about private goals, too, and their roots in family and a career launched in a South Texas migrant health clinic.

 

ISF episode image 12-7

 

“Dora Rivas is on an insatiable quest to improve the nutrition in Dallas’ public schools,” Dallas Observer, June 26, 2014

“My Interview with Dora Rivas, Former President of the School Nutrition Association,” The Lunch Tray, June 13, 2014

“DISD school lunches reviewed: Restaurant critic Leslie Brenner goes back to school,” Guidelive.com, August 19, 2015

Related Inside School Food episode: “The Urban School Food Alliance Travels to France,” November 3, 2014

Episode 57: Reformulation Revealed
00:53:28
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:53:28
Episode 57: Reformulation Revealed

For processors of foods for the K-12 market, new USDA nutrition requirements arrived at the same time as increased public scrutiny of unfamiliar, often unpronounceable additives. Moving towards “clean label” while simultaneously lowering sodium and introducing whole grains is no problem when money is no object. But when constrained by school budgets, how do manufacturers deliver on all fronts? Today’s conversation with representatives from the nation’s largest suppliers in two key categories—tomato products, and rolls, pizza crusts, and flatbreads—talk about R&D successes to date, and the possibilities that lie ahead.

11-23 ISF episode image

“Tomato paste delivers a lot of nutrition for a small amount of product.” [13:00] – David Halt

 

Episode 56: Better School Food: Borrowed, Hacked, and Shared
00:39:53
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:39:53
Episode 56: Better School Food: Borrowed, Hacked, and Shared

Today we venture into new territory with the help of Chef Lisa Feldman, who is Director of Culinary Services for Sodexo USA. As a major provider of school meals (413 districts, two million meals daily), it’s significant and influential in ways you may never have imagined. The company’s ambitious strategies to introduce ever-fresher, more wholesome, and more appealing food on a mass scale are freely shared throughout the K-12 nutrition industry. “Nothing is proprietary,” says Feldman, who prizes creative collaboration not just with processors and trade groups, but also self-ops and even Sodexo competitors. “When districts are all doing their own thing, it’s more expensive.”

ISF 11-9-15 episode image

Additional Resources

Wild Alaska Pollock: 12 great recipes!: K-12 collection developed by Sodexo for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers

“Sodexo finding whole grain success in school food service,” Food Business News, June 25, 2015

“Lisa Feldman’s Yogurt and White Bean ‘Ranch’ Dressing,” New York Times, June 9, 2014

Culinary Institute of America’s “Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids” website

Episode 55: In West New York, NJ, The Kids Eat It All
00:48:24
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Episode 55: In West New York, NJ, The Kids Eat It All

New Jersey is called the “Garden State” out of pride in an agricultural heritage that dates back hundreds of years. But in West New York, NJ, in the heart of the most densely populated area in the nation, the farms to the south were long unknown to low-income children growing up across the river from Manhattan. Today, that’s changed. The school menus and classroom curricula follow a locavore, culture-changing agenda that connects urban students to the land and the enjoyment of a wide variety of fresh-picked produce. In the middle school, students who began eating this way in kindergarten relish even the turnips and beets. “They trust us,” says Food Service Director Sal Valenza. “They’re not scared—they like to try new things.”

ISF episode image 11-2-15

Episode 54: WI Students Meet the Harvest Challenge
00:39:47
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:39:47
Episode 54: WI Students Meet the Harvest Challenge

High school cooking competitions can be hugely effective in generating excitement around school food, especially during Farm to School season, when students can work with locally grown ingredients. In rural Vernon County, Wisconsin, there are just six high schools, each with an enrollment of less than 400. But their small size doesn’t undermine the excitement as teams and their chef-mentors spend a month preparing to capture top honors in a delicious face-off. The challenge: create a winning, workable school lunch menu, completely in line USDA nutrition regulations and with no more to spend than most public schools have—about $1 per plate. 10-26-15 ISF episode image

Additional Resources:

Related Inside School Food episode: “Lunch lessons from teenage chefs” (Cooking Up Change competition profile, September 22, 2014)

“Good Food and Teamwork,” Wisconsin School News profile of the Harvest Challenge (August 2015)

Viroqua Area Schools food service page (look for Farm to School links on the lower right)

Driftless Cafe website

“Mysteries of the Driftless,” Emmy-Award winning documentary about the natural history of the Driftless Area

Episode 53: A Taste of Hope
00:41:16
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:41:16
Episode 53: A Taste of Hope

For tribal communities across the Great Plains and Southwest, buffalo is the centerpiece of of traditional culture, a sacred food critical to the restoration of health and independence. As new herds grow on Native lands, a small group of schools have joined a pilot program that introduces buffalo not just to lunch trays, but also the classroom and students’ very idea of who they are. For the Intertribal Buffalo Council, which sponsors the project, it’s taken years to get this point. But for the children, it’s taken no time at all to embrace their legacy and clean their plates.

Resource Links:

Intertribal Buffalo Council website

Incorporating Buffalo Meat into the Schools’ Lunch Menu: Intertribal Buffalo Council newsletter (PDF)

White paper: Feeding Ourselves: Food access, health disparities, and the pathways to healthy Native American communities (PDF)

ISF episode image 10-19

Episode 52: Fresh Food and Fresh Ideas from the Iowa Food Hub
00:40:16
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:40:16
Episode 52: Fresh Food and Fresh Ideas from the Iowa Food Hub

The USDA definition of a “food hub” is loose enough to include many iterations of the concept. Whatever the business model, most hubs aspire to increase access to local whole foods across the socioeconomic spectrum. And there’s no better way to accomplish that than through Farm to School. Today we profile a pioneering hub that is making great strides in serving 18 districts in rural northeastern Iowa, helping school buyers quadruple local purchasing—produce, dairy, pork, and beef.

ISF episode image 10-5

Episode 51: USDA on CNR 2015: a conversation with Katie Wilson
00:37:52
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Episode 51: USDA on CNR 2015: a conversation with Katie Wilson

Today we welcome the new USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, for another deep dive into conversation about the future of school nutrition programs. While the delay of Child Nutrition Reauthorization can hardly be described as a good thing, it does give us more time to assess where we are and what’s changed in recent months with the emergence of new leaders, data, and research. We ask Dr. Wilson what, if anything, may impact current USDA positions on CNR.

ISF episode image 9-28-15

Episode 50: What’s new this year? We hear from YOU!
00:39:38
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Episode 50: What’s new this year? We hear from YOU!

Inside School Food asked listeners to call in about their favorite back-to-school innovations, and they did, from all over the country. Today, with the help of co-host Dayle Hayes, we bring you six of these messages about fresh ideas that are making a difference. Our selection is highly diverse. Because when you’re growing and improving your program, there’s a multitude of needs to think about, and multitudes of strategies to consider for meeting them.

“Millbrae School District food service staff prepare tomatillo sauce for California Thursday luncheon.”

Episode 49: Towards a “Robust HHFKA”: New SNA Leaders Speak Out
00:46:37
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:46:37
Episode 49: Towards a “Robust HHFKA”: New SNA Leaders Speak Out

To kick off the school year, we are joined by the School Nutrition Association’s newly elected President, Jean Ronnei, and Vice President Lynn Harvey. They take on these roles—and this conversation—at an exceptionally challenging and sensitive time for SNA and the school nutrition community as a whole. On today’s agenda: Is school nutrition really a “battleground”? What’s the difference between “flexibility” and “rollback”? Just how much controversy in school food would fade into the background if reimbursements were to keep up with costs? If students were given enough time to eat? This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.

“We are seeking that middle ground where we have high quality products that are affordable and appealing to students.” [12:00]

–Lynn Harvey on Inside School Food

“The reality is that school meal programs are self supporting within a school district.  They’re not set up to take money from the general fund, where teacher salaries come from.” [20:15]

–Jean Ronnei on Inside School Food

 

 

Episode 48: First Taste Matters Most
00:32:20
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:32:20
Episode 48: First Taste Matters Most

Many American children have developed a strong, stubborn preference for
sweet and salty processed food before their second birthdays. If they
haven’t, it could well be because they became accustomed to healthier
flavors much earlier, beginning in breast milk or even in utero. What
babies taste in the first weeks and months of life really matters, says
Dr. Julie Menella of the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Her research
suggests that school meals can only ever be just one of a much larger
set of interventions, and that some of them need to occur before
students are even born. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery


“During childhood we learn what to eat, how to eat, how food should taste. Many children aren’t getting the experience to learn to like (healthy) food.” [11:00]

“It can’t just be school, it starts in the home. As much as we’re focusing on the school nutrition program we have to focus on the barriers for healthy eating for families at home.” [13:00]

–Dr. Julie Menella on Inside School Food

Episode 47: Sustainable New England Seafood for New England Kids
00:36:29
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:36:29
Episode 47: Sustainable New England Seafood for New England Kids

For decades, fish at school mostly meant one thing: breaded fingers and
patties–tasty enough with ketchup, but completely detached from their
natural origins. That’s beginning to change in regions with access to
local fisheries and processors. There’s keen interest in New England
districts with strong local procurement programs and cultural affinity
for seafood. Learn how a New Bedford processor is creating new
opportunities for the sustainably managed Gulf of Maine fishery, with
fresh-frozen products for K-12 that are affordable, kid-friendly, and
completely recognizable as fish. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



Photo of Acadian Redfish courtesy New Hampshire Community Seafood

“One mans trash is another mans treasure, in this case one chef’s trim is another mans treasure, I’m just using the smaller fillets.” [3:00]

“Our mission is to try and get more seafood eaten by our young people.” [14:00]

Andrew Wilkinson and Melissa Honeywood on Inside School Food

Episode 46: Courting customers: Fresh ideas from Chandler, AZ
00:41:37
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:41:37
Episode 46: Courting customers: Fresh ideas from Chandler, AZ

These days, we hear a lot about districts in well-to-do communities dropping out of federal meals programs. While the numbers are in fact miniscule, the conversation about them is significant. Dwindling revenue from paying students is a grave issue for many. On today’s episode, join Wesley Delbridge, Food and Nutrition Director for Chandler Unified School District, to hear about radical marketing and design solutions that are generating excitement and trust among middle class students and their parents. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery



“We could have Bobby Flay back there cooking but if the kids have a bad experience it won’t matter. Food is more social than it is anything.” [10:00]

Wesley Delbridge on Inside School Food

Episode 45: Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools
00:31:18
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:31:18
Episode 45: Sortin’ it out: Composting comes to NYC schools

Here’s one of the surest signs we have that swift and substantial progress in school food is possible: Beginning this fall, the nation’s largest district will not only be serving on compostable plates, but actually composting them. The introduction of the new tableware is occurring simultaneously with a city-wide ban on most single-use, non-recyclable Styrofoam—a giant first step in Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s ambitious “Zero Waste” campaign. Astonishingly, this story begins just six years ago, with a grassroots collaboration with the city’s Department of Education, spearheaded by artist and NYC parent Debby Lee Cohen. “I think what we learned,” she reflects today, “is that this is how democracy is supposed to work.”


Episode 44: High hopes for Farm to School Act 2015
00:35:18
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:35:18
Episode 44: High hopes for Farm to School Act 2015

With so many elements of Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 hotly contested, it’s good to know we can be bullish about Farm to School. After a successful first round of USDA grants under CNR 2010, advocates are hoping to leverage strong bipartisan support to triple funding to $15M. But as the Farm to School movement matures, the conversation is not just about new grants. It’s about institutionalizing the presence of local food in schools, and how else this year’s CNR can help that happen. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“Farm to School is simple a bi-partisan issue….it’s one of those issues that works across the isle. It affects child health as much as it does farmer wealth. Since February we’ve continued to get more members of Congress to want to jump on the bill and support it. It’s a real opportunity to make other school meal programs just work better. When kids are growing the food in school gardens and meeting the farmer they have that connection. They’re gonna be more willing to taste and try and like new and healthier foods.” [13:00]

–Helen Dombalis on Inside School Food

“The obstacles [in implementing Farm to School in Kentucky] still lie with procurement and distribution. They present our biggest challenge.” [23:00]

–Tina Garland on Inside School Food

Episode 43: CNR 2015 walk through
00:43:50
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:43:50
Episode 43: CNR 2015 walk through

Is Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 moving too fast for you? Join the club. We all feel that way, and it’s still only June. Today’s episode will help. Jacqlyn Schneider, Policy Director for the Senate Agriculture Committee under Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, is here to walk us through the process. She’ll review some of this huge bill’s many moving parts, and tell us what to expect—and how to weigh in—in the weeks and months to come. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



Photo of Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow courtesy USDA

Episode 42: Cafeteria (not!) of the Future
00:39:11
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:39:11
Episode 42: Cafeteria (not!) of the Future

First off, stop calling it a “cafeteria.” And don’t just re-configure the physical space and the equipment, but the entire dining experience. San Francisco Unified School District is doing just that, in partnership with one of the world’s sharpest, most sought-after design firms. More than 1,300 school community stakeholders have weighed in on a vision for the future that looks and feels both radical and perfectly natural—a paradigm shift away from assembly-line style service to more intuitive models that comfortably set young customers before their food, and one another. This program was brought to you by Fairway Market.



“We wanted to design a food system and a meal program that was reflective of the values in our community.” [5:20]

“How might we use technology to both engage with the students and give them an active voice and control over their meal program but also provide a way for Student Nutrition Services to get more real time information from students.” [28:00]

Zetta Reicker on Inside School Food

Episode 41: Learnings from West Virginia
00:46:20
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:46:20
Episode 41: Learnings from West Virginia

In West Virginia, many children suffer from levels childhood poverty, hunger, and obesity well above the national average. To meet this troubling challenge, the state’s Department of Education has been exceptionally energetic in its top-down efforts to win student acceptance of healthier menus while eliminating costly inefficiencies in the system. Is it working? Rick Goff, Executive Director of the Office of Child Nutrition, says it is. Join us to hear about his compelling testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee last month, in its first hearing related to CNR 2015. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“We had to do something [about childhood obesity]. We could no longer turn a blind eye to our school food systems.” [07:00]

“We want to do what’s in the child’s best interest.At the end of the day, that will be our guiding principle.” [10:00]

“You can’t just have a healthy room in a building, the whole building has to be healthy.” [12:00]

“I think you’ll see a day when the meal service is treated just like the rest of the learning experience.” [38:00]

–Rick Goff on Inside School Food

Episode 40: Tales from the trenches with Chef Cyndie
00:36:15
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:36:15
Episode 40: Tales from the trenches with Chef Cyndie

Cyndie Story has consulted in school kitchens in 37 states, where she has spread a gospel of work simplification that can transform the lives of food service staff. The humility and humor with which she approaches the job makes her an inspirational figure. “I love to laugh,” she says, “and once we laugh, learning begins.” Join us for a tour of Chef Cyndie’s best practices, honed over 25 years on the job. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“My dad always told me in order to do well in a job you need to know how to do every part of the operation.” [9:00]

“They don’t ask for things, they are going to figure out that problem in the most inventive way [School Cooks].” [14:00]

Chef Cyndie Story on Inside School Food

Episode 39: Locavore Mayor Takes on Lunch
00:36:50
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:36:50
Episode 39: Locavore Mayor Takes on Lunch

Where do you set your goal for local food purchasing? How about 50 percent of your total food budget? How about trying to do this in Maine? In Portland, ME, Mayor Michael Brennan believes it can be done; and the school district’s food service director, Ron Adams, is getting close. No, they don’t have extra money. And Portland students are as resistant to change as kids anywhere else. But there’s deep political will, and pressure, in a city widely regarded as one of the foodiest and most locavore in the nation. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“We made a great opportunity for the students to understand the food and then enjoy the food.” [28:00]

Ron Adams on Inside School Food

Episode 38: El Monte Magic Explained
00:38:29
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:38:29
Episode 38: El Monte Magic Explained

El Monte City School District is celebrated as a leading edge reformer well beyond the cafeteria. Over the years, this high-needs district has established a rigorous, comprehensive approach to student wellness that attempts to touch every aspect of their lives in and out of school. The exuberant press and many awards it’s attracted a along the way are enough to make El Monte seem charmed. But there’s no secret sauce. They’re just tenacious here, and they’ve been that way for years. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


Episode 37: Are Smart Snacks Half Baked?
00:39:59
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Episode 37: Are Smart Snacks Half Baked?

Since July 2014, an interim USDA regulation on foods sold outside the reimbursable meals program requires healthier offerings nationwide. But questions remain. Many of the new “Smart Snacks” are reformulated copycats of highly processed stuff sold outside school. In some states, liberal waivers of restrictions on bake sales and junk-food fundraisers keep sugar levels high. Should we be worried? Not necessarily, say today’s guests. Districts can choose to adopt (or retain) stricter standards, setting a successful example that others can emulate. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market


Episode 36: Reading Plate Waste
00:27:17
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Episode 36: Reading Plate Waste

Amid widespread complaints about discarded school food, enter a new study that tells us things may be not as bad as they seem. Careful measurements of plate waste taken in twelve Connecticut schools in 2012, 2013, and 2014 tell a different story, of students eating better and wasting less as they adjust to changes on their lunch trays. Lead author Marlene Schwartz, Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, unpacks this new data and reviews the study’s conclusions.


Episode 35: Good Food Measures Up
00:36:18
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Episode 35: Good Food Measures Up

Of course students eat better when healthy food is prepared with care and skill. We all knew that. Now we have important new research to back us up, the result of a year-long collaboration between the Harvard School of Public Health and Project Bread’s Chefs in Schools program. The study’s two leaders–the head author and the head chef–describe the complexity involved in making targeted changes in the school kitchen and cafeteria while systematically assessing the impacts. This program was brought to you by Visit Napa Valley.


Episode 34: More about food processing (“Have it your way,” part 2)
00:39:59
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Episode 34: More about food processing (“Have it your way,” part 2)

Processed foods: Whether you need them oven-ready or as components for speed scratch, you probably want them without additives you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. You want fresh and vivid flavors kids will go for, and you would prefer to know where and how the ingredients were grown. Possible? Two progressive vendors say yes, if you can make just a little extra wiggle room in your budget. This program was sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“Over the last ten years, there’s been a huge push to bring better food into the school market… School food directors are promoting the attributes of our products to parents and students to say, “hey, school food service is changing.” [16:00]

Rod Friesen on Inside School Food

“I think that, regardless of how the nutrition rules change, the desire we’re seeing in the school marketplace for clean label, healthier items is going to continue to grow… Parents are demanding healthier foods. Children are too. I’ve had 6th graders ask to see our nutrition labels!”

Toni Antonellis on Inside School Food

Episode 33: Feeding Summer
00:35:25
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:35:25
Episode 33: Feeding Summer

It’s planning season for USDA summer meals sponsors–the people who know that, for children from food-insecure homes, the last day of school isn’t necessarily a happy occasion. Currently, only a small fraction of students eligible for federally funded summer meals actually get them. Today’s guests talk about why, and what school districts can do to help meet the need. The best programs, they say, are served up with sides of fun. This program was sponsored by Cain Vineyard and Winery.



“We heard from the Ohio Association of Food Banks about a 12-year-old boy who rode his bicycle five miles along the highway to get to the (summer meal) site. When he got there, he asked, ‘Can I take a lunch home to my little brother? He’s not old enough to ride his bike here.’ … But the kids aren’t permitted to take meals to go.”

Jillien Meier on Inside School Food

“I feel that if we’re going to make a sustainable difference in ending hunger in our community that we need to involve as many partners as we can… We partner to bring community garden boxes to our schools, and families adopt them. We provide them with the plants, the seeds, the dirt, the tools, and we have a master gardener on hand during summer feeding.”

Winnie Brewer on Inside School Food

Episode 32: Florida (school) Food Truck Sizzle
00:33:52
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:33:52
Episode 32: Florida (school) Food Truck Sizzle

Food trucks are rolling statements about some the values Americans hold dearest: independence, entrepreneurship, and mobility. Authenticity. Creativity. Affordability. With the movement growing so fast across the nation, it was only a matter of time before school food innovators started getting in on it. Today we profile two programs in sunny Florida, where hip new trucks can work year-round, winning teenage converts for healthy school meals.


“The students are more aligned to things they can see being made. They feel that because they can see people working on the truck and the items being assembled that it’s different from what they’re being served in the cafeteria. Some of them are floored to discover that it’s the exact same product.”

–Jennifer Smith on Inside School Food

“Jacksonville has become a stronghold for food trucks. There’s a large buzz around town about them… We use our food trucks not just at school but at community events, to spread the gospel of school food. It’s stealth approach.”

–Brian Giles on Inside School Food

Episode 31: Participation: What’s really going on?
00:35:30
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:35:30
Episode 31: Participation: What’s really going on?

Whether your sales up or down, there has to be a reason. So what’s behind the participation slump among students who don’t qualify for free or reduced-priced meals? Some school nutrition professionals say it’s a clear case of cause and effect: paying kids don’t like the new menus, so they’re not buying. But a recent report from the Food Resource and Action Center describes a much more complex set of circumstances. So does the experience of one well-to-do Kansas high school, where competitive foods are losing ground to the healthier, reimbursable “deal meal.” This program has been sponsored by The Tabard Inn. located in Washinton DC.



“The vast majority of schools are offering competitive foods. USDA research says that competitive foods drive students away from the school meals program. They create stigma, especially for middle and high school students, where it’s not necessarily the cool thing to be participating in the school meals program”

–Jessie Hewins on Inside School Food

“We were anticipating a drop in our a la carte sales, just like all the other schools implementing Smart Snacks. However, our reimbursable meals are up. Part of that is due to the fact that we’ve turned everything inside of the serving area into a potential reimbursable meal. We’re calling it a ‘meal deal.'”

“We encourage the high schools kids to take a whole apple or banana with them, to eat in study hall or before practice, and a lot of them are doing that. It’s the change we want to see. The more popular students are being role models in this, and that’s helping a lot.”

–Amy Droegemeier on Inside School Food

Episode 30: Making FoodCorps Work
00:40:02
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Episode 30: Making FoodCorps Work

It’s been more than five years since the inception of FoodCorps, the AmeriCorps division that sends young service members into school gardens, classrooms, cafeterias, and kitchens, where they’re tasked with generating excitement and support for healthy whole food. Today’s guests describe how it’s done. Idealism is the catalyst. But it’s creativity, tenacity, and–most important–humility that really make it work. This program was brought to you by Visit Napa Valley.


Episode 29: Kitchen Workhorses
00:39:06
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:39:06
Episode 29: Kitchen Workhorses

What’s behind the “True Food” revolution in Minneapolis Public Schools? Ambitious purchasing of industrial-strength gadgets—cook-chill tanks, vacuum baggers, a meat shredder, a “gentle mixer,” and a 30-foot-long sous vide cooker—may be costly, but food costs are down, participation is up, and unpronounceable additives are out. This program was brought to you by Rt. 11 Potato Chips.


“Food has to look good so people eat it. It starts with the eyes.” [09:00]

—Ricardo Abbott on Inside School Food

“When you’re making your own recipes you have control over what goes in that recipe. Everything we make here, we’re very choosy and picky about the products we cook.” [14:00]

–Bertrand Weber on Inside School Food

Episode 28: Serving Food Justice at School: A Conversation with Audrey Rowe
00:37:46
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:37:46
Episode 28: Serving Food Justice at School: A Conversation with Audrey Rowe

This week on Inside School Food, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, join Audrey Rowe, Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service at USDA, in reflection on socioeconomic justice in school nutrition programs–historically, currently, and going forward as we approach Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Instead of the dialogue focusing on how we provide more resources to school meals programs, it seems to be centered on how do we curtail implementation, or make changes to the program that I fear will take us back instead of putting us forward.”

“Schools and parents need to think about the amount of time students have to eat. In some schools, by the time children get their tray and sit down, they have just 10 minutes to eat. If you have fruits and vegetables that require a little more chew time, they’re not going to get through them!”

“One of the reasons I travel constantly is that I’m able to get the media into the schools to experience what the children are experiencing. I’ve had reporters say, this is not my school lunch; this is so much better!”

–Audrey Rowe on Inside School Food

Episode 27: “Bay to Tray” in Monterey
00:36:20
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Episode 27: “Bay to Tray” in Monterey

There is perhaps no city in the nation more strongly associated with fish than Monterey, CA, home to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and the setting for John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. But most of the seafood harvested from local waters is processed in China and sold to international markets. At Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, food service director Jenn Gerard wants to do something about that. Learn how she’s teamed up with a pioneering CSF (community supported fishery) to purchase Pacific Grenadier for her popular fish tacos. This program was brought to you by Tabard Inn.


Episode 26: School Food Social Media That Rocks
00:35:31
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:35:31
Episode 26: School Food Social Media That Rocks

We kick off the new year with Dayle Hayes, the activist blogger behind “School Meals That Rock,” a multi-platform social media campaign that draws attention to news of healthy, delicious, sustainable progress in K-12 food service. Last year there was plenty of that kind of news. And there’s lots more to celebrate–along with lots of media negativity to deflect–as we move towards Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015. Want to join the movement? It’s easy. All you need is a smart phone, a Facebook account, and a board on Dayle’s Pinterest page. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Schools themselves are kind of late getting on Facebook and social media and recognizing promotional opportunities. Many nutritional directors don’t have the self confidence to get on social media and toot their own horn. Many of the bashing going on around school food makes them more hesitant to take those steps.” [05:00]

–Dayle Hayes on Inside School Food

Episode 25: Mastering the Art of School Cooking
00:35:16
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:35:16
Episode 25: Mastering the Art of School Cooking

It took a village to produce New School Cuisine: Nutritional and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks. This pioneering new book features 78 rigorously tested, fully reimbursable dishes that Vermont children have enthusiastically voted for with their sporks. “The final ingredients added to each recipe,” write the authors, “are dedication, tenacity, patience and kindness. These ingredients infuse the recipes with the hope that we can change lives by helping our students understand food, enjoy food and choose foods that support lifelong health.” This program was brought to you by Brooklyn Slate.

“I can’t open a cookbook now without having a deep appreciation for the people who put it together. Now we know what goes into making somebody’s recipe usable for other people.” [11:00]

— Kathy Alexander on Inside School Food

“Bringing local foods into a school means nothing if the kids won’t eat it.” [28:00]

–Abbie Nelson on Inside School Food

Episode 24: Top Chefs
00:47:55
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Episode 24: Top Chefs

Big districts have long employed chefs, and smaller ones are increasingly relying on them as consultants. But what happens when a mid-size district hires a classically trained restaurant industry veteran as food service director? In this episode, we talk to two CIA alumni who love the job, and whose scratch-cooked, delicious, USDA-compliant meals programs are in the black. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.

Episode 23: New Menus = New Price Tags?
00:38:09
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:38:09
Episode 23: New Menus = New Price Tags?

What’s really behind the controversy over Healthy Hunger Free Kids 2010? According to today’s guests, it’s dollars that don’t make sense. Join Gitta Grether-Sweeney of Portland (OR) Public Schools Nutrition Services and Gary Vonck, a national leader in K-12 food service sales, for their take on rising food and labor costs, diminished revenues, and reimbursement rates that aren’t keeping pace with the required changes in many districts. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.

“It has been a challenge to do some of this work, but I enjoy challenges – they are opportunities. We’ve been able to incorporate a lot of local products just by making changes within our organization.” [07:00]

–Gitta Grether-Sweeney on Inside School Food

“It’s the smaller schools that struggle because they dont have the multiple layers of support.” [26:00]

“Less than 15% of the schools across america send forecasts to their distributors or manufactures of choice – that just kills the communication piece.” [27:00]

–Gary Vonck on Inside School Food

Episode 22: The Urban School Food Alliance travels to France. Vive la révolution?
00:45:14
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:45:14
Episode 22: The Urban School Food Alliance travels to France. Vive la révolution?

Food service leaders from six of the nation’s very largest districts–New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Orlando–have joined together over shared reform goals: lower prices, more sustainable production practice, and a pronounced shift in not just what’s served, but how–including how we talk to kids about food. And who best to consult with about that? The French, bien sur. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


Photo: Pierre Bonnard, The Children’s Meal, 1895

“As the six largest districts, we’re trying to be good custodians of the relationships we have with the national companies that influence the entire industry for school meals… When we’re talking with manufacturers and suppliers, we’re able to have an open dialogue with them that is very meaningful. Our unified voice is going to help them to be successful with all school districts, not just the largest.” [07:00]

–Stephen O’Brien on Inside School Food

“We really feel like there’s great opportunity for the community and legislators to start looking at our childhood nutrition programs as education programs. School meals are no different than transportation and textbooks and it goes to support academic performance of the students.” [20:00]

–Dora Rivas on Inside School Food

Episode 21: Sustainable California Chicken for California Kids
00:40:32
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:40:32
Episode 21: Sustainable California Chicken for California Kids

Three very big districts—Riverside, San Diego, and Oakland—are taking farm to school to the next level with an enormous, year-round commitment to sustainably grown California chicken. Their ambitious purchasing initiative, which has been several years in the making, is designed to send a clear and certain message to the poultry industry: Clean up your act. Our students’ health is at stake. Find out more on this week’s episode of Inside School Food. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“Any professional working in this field climbs this incredibly high hill in terms of their education on food systems when they engage in these projects.” [12:00]

–Ariane Michas on Inside School Food

Episode 20: This Radish is Golden
00:37:16
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:37:16
Episode 20: This Radish is Golden

What community isn’t proud of its school trophies? Across Georgia, there’s a new kind of prize that recognizes exemplary work in farm-to-school, named after a tasty local vegetable. And winning at any level—gold, silver, or bronze—can generate the kind of excitement and support that a good school meals program deserves. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.



“We’re creating a real experience around food for kids.” [7:30]

Erin Croom on Inside School Food

“Educating the student through the school nutrition program is truly educating the whole family.” [23:50]

Kathy Peavy on Inside School Food

Episode 19: Farm To School Program Evaluation
00:35:57
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:35:57
Episode 19: Farm To School Program Evaluation

Farm to school purchasing pursues social, environmental, economic, and public health goals. How to evaluate progress in reaching them, and how to share ideas and learning across a diverse, national community of practice? In this episode, learn about two new resources that are designed to help. This program was brought to you by Rolling Press

Episode 18: A Visit to Traverse City, MI: “Space Broccoli” & Other Adventures in Farm to School
00:34:15
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:34:15
Episode 18: A Visit to Traverse City, MI: “Space Broccoli” & Other Adventures in Farm to School

Family farms dominate the agricultural landscape of the Lower Michigan Peninsula, growing lots more than those celebrated sour cherries. Romanesco and kohlrabi, for instance, which the children of Traverse City Area Public Schools have come to enjoy are grown there. Learn how the district is drawing in local growers with the help of a network of community partners. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.



“The development of the wineries and the growing of the grapes have spawned a whole new industry in Northwest Michigan.” [5:00]

Mark Coe on Inside School Food

“It’s a part of our wellness policy, to promote as much scratch cooking as possible.” [22:10]

Tom Freitas on Inside School Food

Episode 17: Charting a Farm to School Course? Don’t Leave Without this Roadmap
00:34:31
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:34:31
Episode 17: Charting a Farm to School Course? Don’t Leave Without this Roadmap

We’re so excited about Farm to School Month 2014 that we’re starting two days early. Join us for a walk through USDA’s totally indispensable, very user-friendly guide to launching, bidding, and buying farm to school. Author Christina Conell talks about what’s in it, including best practice examples from all over the nation. This program was brought to you by Heritage Foods USA.


“As a taxpayer, I want to make sure schools are getting the best products for the best price at the best quantity – but at the same time I want to make sure they’re getting the product they want.” [09:00]

“The most oft cited advice I’ve heard from school districts is baby steps. It can start with one product, once a month. It doesn’t need to be big changes right away.” [30:00]

–Christina Conell on Inside School Food

Episode 16: Lunch Lessons from Teenage Chefs
00:34:07
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:34:07
Episode 16: Lunch Lessons from Teenage Chefs

Want fresh, USDA-compliant meals that kids will get excited about? How about putting kids in charge? Cooking Up Change does just that. Subjected to the same tight budgets, strict nutrition standards, and logistical challenges that adult school menu planners face every day, teams of high school culinary students in ten cities compete to create healthy school lunches that their peers will enjoy. The winners make their way to Washington, DC, every spring to offer samples to legislators and put student voices front-and-center in the national dialogue about school food. Who’s learning more–the students or the politicians? Listen and decide for yourself. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.


“We will eat healthy food as long as it’s good and looks appetizing. Everybody’s tired of pizza and chicken patties.” [31:00]

–Shawnlaun Kelly on Inside School Food

Episode 15: How Smart Are Your Lunchrooms?
00:32:58
2017-12-19 17:43:16 UTC 00:32:58
Episode 15: How Smart Are Your Lunchrooms?

A school cafeteria can be a highly charged environment. Crowds of students press into the line, eager to zip through so they can get to their friends and recess. They’re hungry. It’s very loud. And they’re only children. Can we really expect them to focus on healthy choices? Experts from the Cornell Center of Behavioral Economics say we can, with the help of simple, low or no-cost interventions at the point of sale. It’s just marketing, but it can work like magic. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market


“When you look through a lunch room you really do have to examine it like a grocery store or a space where kids could purchase food.” [18:00]

Kate Hoy on Inside School Food

Episode 14: Let’s Talk Nutrition Standards
00:31:59
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:31:59
Episode 14: Let’s Talk Nutrition Standards

Inside School Food kicks off the new school year with a discussion of the nutrition standards mandated by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. This school year, SFAs are being asked to do even more–more fruit, more whole grain, and less sodium, along with new, very strict guidelines on a la carte and snack items. Can they do it? Two food service directors from medium-size districts at opposite ends of the country weigh in on their successes and challenges to date, and their hopes and concerns for 2014-15. This program was brought to you by Tabard Inn.


“We in Washington had a nutrition policy that was required in the 05-06 school year, so we’ve been on this path for almost 10 years now.” [05:00]

–Karen Brown on Inside School Food

If we had more commodities it would help American farms, give us food and be a win-win situation instead of just asking for an increase of money. Times are tough everywhere.” [25:00]

–Donna Martin on Inside School Food

Episode 13: School Lunch Around the World
00:35:27
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:35:27
Episode 13: School Lunch Around the World

Explore school lunch around the world on the season finale of Inside School Food. Why are we so riveted by pictures of school meals in other countries? Perhaps because it’s a shared experience the world over, and perhaps because these images are so rich in information. “Unpack a school lunch,” writes guest Andrea Curtis, author of What’s For Lunch: How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World, “and you’ll discover that food is connected to issues that matter to everyone—things such as climate change, health, and inequality.” This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.




(Photo of school lunch in Brazil by Yvonne Duivenvoorden)

“I think school lunch is truly an opportunity to pass on values.” [09:00]

–Andrea Curtis on Inside School Food

“Agriculture in brazil is actually dominated by large corporate farming. What’s surprising is that despite all this, over 84% of all rural enterprises in Brazil are family farms.” [28:00]

–Cecilia Rocha on Inside School Food

Episode 12: Re-learning to Cook: Boot Camp for Food Service
00:37:55
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:37:55
Episode 12: Re-learning to Cook: Boot Camp for Food Service

If you’re old enough, you remember the days when “cafeteria ladies” had a craft and the food at school was hand made, right down to the dinner rolls. After decades of moving away from that proud tradition, districts are slowly returning to it. In Maryland, a stand-out “boot camp” for food service workers statewide teaches basic cookery, nutrition science, professional kitchen protocols, and much more. It’s a model for training programs that are emerging all over the nation as schools work their way forward (and back) to more real, fresh food in the cafeteria. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.


“The folks that attend our training are trained on how to train and then there’s a ripple effect.” [05:30]

–Stewart Eidel on Inside School Food

“We’re trying to be catalysts for the local economy and jump-start it through economic development. which is just a sidebar to all this [school food initiative]” [35:00]

–Jeffrey Proulx on Inside School Food

“Anybody can heat anything up regardless of technique – but to actually have to chop vegetables or whatever the recipe calls for – gives me more pride.” [36:00]

–Becky Anderson on Inside School Food

Episode 11: School Garden to Cafeteria
00:35:03
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:35:03
Episode 11: School Garden to Cafeteria

School gardens are now being embraced nationwide, as is farm-to-school. But school garden-to-cafeteria? It’s what’s coming next–well-established in some districts, in fact, which offer valuable resources to beginners. Concerned about food safety? Funding? Whether or not to buy student-grown or accept it as a donation? Is it worth the trouble–does it interest children in eating more produce, trying new fruits and veggies? The nation’s two leading experts, from Colorado and Oregon, discuss all this and more. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.


“Everyone along the supply chain of school food should get their fair equal prices. There are costs to school gardens. Right now districts don’t pay for much of those costs.” [18:00]

—Andy Nowak on Inside School Food

“What we develop in Denver needs to be a template – the beginning of a conversation in your own county.” [25:00]

“If you put in the effort and there are educational opportunities in place – you see wholeheartedly that kids will make nutritional choices.” [28:00]

–Rick Sherman on Inside School Food

Episode 10: Have it Your Way
00:43:36
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:43:36
Episode 10: Have it Your Way

HAVE IT YOUR WAY through partnerships with nimble small and mid-size processors. Want your own wild-rice meatloaf? A baked falafel made with local beans? Tyson and Schwan’s can’t help, but there are newcomers to K-12 food service who can. In this episode of Inside School Food, we’ll meet two of them and learn how to get healthy, clean-label foods developed or adapted to your specifications through direct processor-SFA collaboration. This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.


“There are many progressive districts coming to us asking to get as far away from white rice as they can.” [10:00]

“I can make your commodity diced chicken taste good in a one pot dish” [15:00]

–Coleen Donnelly on Inside School Food

Episode 9: Do Stricter Meal Standards Lead to Better Health Outcomes?
00:29:44
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:29:44
Episode 9: Do Stricter Meal Standards Lead to Better Health Outcomes?

School food has been commanding headlines for well over a month, as controversy rages over costs and complications associated with implementation of stricter new nutrition standards. If you’re confused over who’s on what side of this debate, and what it’s really all about, you’re not alone. It’s gotten so political. Today we’re stepping away from all of that to simply look at what the standards are designed to do for kids, and whether or not they’ve been able to do it. We’ll discuss three studies that suggest students–at-risk students especially–are eating more fruits and vegetables and even losing weight. This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants.


“We need to consider factors outside of school. Let’s say you make all these positive changes in a school but a fast food establishment is across the street from a school – does that affect the impact or counteract positive changes made in the schools?” [24:00]


Daniel Taber on Inside School Food

Episode 8: Salad Bars Part 2: Strategies for Success from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools
00:32:43
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:32:43
Episode 8: Salad Bars Part 2: Strategies for Success from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools

Salad bars aren’t rocket science, but getting them right calls for careful, common-sense assembly with the right ingredients. If you’ve listened to Salad Bars Part 1 (and we suggest that you do), maybe you’re wondering if you can get salad bars to work in your district–or work better. Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools can help. Need equipment donation? Technical assistance? A community of practice? You’ve come to the right place. This program was brought to you by Bonnie Plants.

“78% of the districts that we surveyed reported increased purchases of fruits and vegetables after implementing a salad bar. The goal here is to provide more access to fruits and vegetables to kids.” [07:00]

–Mara Fleishman on Inside School Food

“With good education and signage – you do not have excess waste at salad bars.” [20:00]

–Ann Cooper on Inside School Food

Episode 7: Cafeteria Composting
00:34:19
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:34:19
Episode 7: Cafeteria Composting

Composting and recycling at school isn’t just about eco-friendly waste diversion. It also provides students with a powerful lesson in sound environmental practice that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. The message is simple: what comes from the earth can be returned to enrich it, so it can provide for us again and again. How to get started? Today’s guests, from San Francisco, CA and Northampton, MA, will tell you how: Start small. Champion your early adopters. Develop educational and marketing tools to enlist the support of the entire school community. Or use materials from other districts–there’s lots out there already! Thanks to today’s sponsor, Cain Vineyard & Winery.



“A big part of San Francisco’s ‘Zero Waste’ initiative hopes to be achieved through education… we have a 63% landfill diversion rate in San Francisco schools.” [6:00]

“We prefer starting with the kids and hope the adults catch on… We understand the power that kids have.” [14:20]

Tamar Hurwitz on Inside School Food

“We did underestimate how difficult it would be to get all of the students to sort their food waste properly; it was difficult to get everyone on board.” [27:30]

Anna Moore on Inside School Food

Episode 6: Salad Bars Part 1: Riverside Unified School District
00:39:27
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:39:27
Episode 6: Salad Bars Part 1: Riverside Unified School District

Are you a salad bar skeptic? If you are, you’re not alone. Many a committed K-12 food service director is hesitant to try, out of concern over participation, waste, expense, mess, and food safety. And now salad bars in schools are seemingly even trickier to pull off. How do you insure that kids are meeting their daily fruit and vegetable quotas–and the required weekly balance of green and orange veggies, and beans and peas–if you let them serve themselves? For answers, we will first turn to school salad bar evangelist Rodney Taylor, from Riverside Unified, and two of his talented staff. This program was sponsored by Tabard Inn


“Every kid goes through the salad bar first. At that point they are engaged by an adult on each side who encourage children to eat the colors. We want the plate to be colorful.” [09:00]

Rodney Taylor on Inside School Food

“I have served over 6 million salad bar meals in Riverside. For those who tell you it places children at risk – I’ll tell you I haven’t lost one child yet.” [15:00]

“There’s a level of service we want to be able to provide. Once they [the children] see that you care – it will immediately turn [things] around.” [31:00]

— Ryan Douglas on Inside School Food

Episode 5: The Case for Fresh & Sustainable Chicken
00:32:46
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:32:46
Episode 5: The Case for Fresh & Sustainable Chicken

In Jefferson County, Colorado, a better school lunch often starts with better chicken: locally and sustainably grown, without antibiotics, and prepared from scratch. In the world of K-12 food service, this is widely regarded as an Olympian swan dive off a 33-foot-high board–beautiful to behold, but not something you can or should try at home. Today’s guests on Inside School Food explain how they do it (turns out it’s not that hard, if you’ve got ovens and the right supplier), and how their effort impacts student health. This program was sponsored by Tabard Inn.




“It’s easy for us to sell whole birds, it’s easy for us to sell chicken breast – but when we’re parting the birds out, we often end up with dark meat as a byproduct. We usually just end up selling that as a commodity product into the marketplace and we’re not able to get a premium price for it even though it’s a premium product. We’re able to sell it into the school districts and supply them with a premium product because of how we raise those birds. That allows them to sell a meal at a very price conscious point – then we know those kids are able to eat a quality meat, schools are able to meet their budget and we even end up with some marketing out of that.” [24:00]

–Chad Anderson on Inside School Food

Episode 4: DC Central Kitchen
00:32:58
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:32:58
Episode 4: DC Central Kitchen

This week’s episode of Inside School Food is the first installment of a series of episodes we’re calling “And Now for Something Completely Different,” in which we profile programs and business models that upend common assumptions about what’s possible in school food. In the schools served by not-for-profit DC Central Kitchen, children formerly accustomed to pizza and breaded chicken fingers eagerly chow down on house-made fresh food that routinely includes beets, cauliflower, and collards. The skilled staff who prepare it are people who have emerged from stressful life circumstances with the help of DCCK culinary job training. For DCCK, good school food is not an end in itself, but a cornerstone to a larger, community agenda. This program was sponsored by Edwards VA Ham

Episode 3: Kitchen Equipment
00:32:40
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:32:40
Episode 3: Kitchen Equipment

Today on Inside School Food. we’re talking kitchen equipment—What do we have? What do we need? And how can we go on doing without under new meal-pattern requirements that call for more—and more perishable—produce, that staff need to safely store, prepare, portion, and serve? Jessica Donze Black of the Pew Safe and Healthful Kids’ Food Project and Jon Dickl of Knox County, TN Public Schools discuss widespread infrastructure deficits in school districts coast to coast, and what steps you can take to fund capital improvements while making the most of what you’ve already got. This program was sponsored by Fairway Market.


“A lot of what we found schools needed were not expensive things – for example utility carts! …. Then of course expensive things like Combi Ovens – which for some schools is the difference between using or not using the deep fryer.” [08:00]

–Jessica Donze Black on Inside School Food

Episode 2: Community Eligibility
00:29:01
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:29:01
Episode 2: Community Eligibility

The face of free school food is about to change in some neighborhoods thanks to something called Community Eligibility. Community Eligibility helps bring universal meal service to high poverty districts. It’s been introduced in phases, and this coming school year it’s going national. This week on Inside School Food, Laura Stanley is chatting with two experts who can help listeners understand the specifics of Community Eligibility — Madeleine Levin, senior policy analyst in the Child Nutrition Unit at the Food Research and Action Center, working on school nutrition issues, and Leslie Fowler, director of nutritional support services, at Chicago Public Schools. This program was sponsored by Whole Foods Market.


“More kids eat when community eligibility is implemented.” [08:00]

–Madeleine Levin on Inside School Food

“There’s no obligation to participate. The greater need is around the students that need the program and that’s what we’re focusing on.” [21:00]

–Leslie Fowler on Inside School Food

Episode 1: Pilot: Reducing Waste and Meeting the Bottom Line
00:35:54
2017-12-19 17:43:17 UTC 00:35:54
Episode 1: Pilot: Reducing Waste and Meeting the Bottom Line

Go inside school food on Inside School Food, a brand new show on Heritage Radio Network! Paying for the new school lunch on just six extra cents (yes, you heard that right) per meal: Gitta Grether-Sweeney, Director of Nutrition Services at Portland, OR Public Schools and Bertrand Weber, Director of Culinary and Nutrition Services for Minneapolis Public Schools, wrestle with one of the thorniest issues in school food today: How can districts afford the abundant produce now required under the new meal pattern? Our guests, both known as ace problem-solvers, share their strategies for reducing waste and meeting the bottom line, while admitting that, even for them, the challenges remain huge.