Sunday, July 25, 2010

Potpourri: School Food News Roundup

By Ed Bruske
aka The Slow Cook

The American Dietic Association is supposed to be a group of nutrition professionals who give us unbiased advice about how to eat for health, right?

Well, now comes news that the ADA has just inked a sponsorship deal with Hershey's the candy maker. Hershey has something it calls its "Center for Health & Nutrition" that "develops and supports cutting-edge scientific research for products and technologies to provide consumers with a range of snacking choices..."

If you trust your "snacking choices" to Hershey's, then you'll be glad to here they're teaming up with the nation's nutritionists. In fact, the American Dietic Association is heavily sponsored by the food industry. Sponsors include PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Aramark, Kellogg, General Mills, the National Dairy Council, Mars.

All good sources of health advise, wouldn't you say?


The School Nutrition Association recently named Fairfax County, VA, as its "District of the Year in School Nutrition." The designation comes with a $25,000 prize.

Fairfax was cited for involving students in monthly taste tests, hosting nutrition education sessions with teachers, introducing students to new fruits and vegetables each month, teaching kids about healthy food choices and creating on-line videos for parents about healthy snacking.


Kids are getting involved in food issues in all kinds of ways. Here's and 11-year-old girl who grows food for the homeless, shown with her 40-pound cabbage.


Not to be outdone by a pre-teen, Encinatas school district officials in San Diego, CA, are setting aside five acres as an organic farm to grow fruits and vegetables for student lunches. The schools are looking for a farmer partner to grow the food. Officials said they hope the farm will substantially improve the amount and quality of produce on cafeteria trays.


Some schools in Provo, UT, are borrowing recipes from Ann Cooper, the "renegade lunch lady," in order to switch from corn dogs and chicken nuggets to "chicken caesar wraps" with a side of spinach and tomato salad.

The meals are provided by Luncboxers, a local company that makes meals for Provo charter and private schools.


Finally, in Denver, local chefs are heading a three-week program of food demonstrations and training for school kitchen workers showing how local food can be incorporated into school meals. As a result, some 30 Denver schools will become "scratch cooking" sites, and kids will have more access to salad bars, fresh bread and grassfed beef.

Denver schools see the training as a future requirement for employment in its school kitchens.

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