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5 things: Salad bars: From lettuce shortages to protests

This and more are the things you missed for the week of April 24.

Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.

Here’s your list for the week of April 24:

1. District removes salad bar following lettuce shortage

Students in Beaufort County School District in South Carolina were told not to expect salad bars last week, following a lettuce shortage due to cold weather in the West. The cold weather led to short supplies of romaine and green leaf lettuce, so the foodservice department had to remove the salad bars in favor of other vegetables like carrots, green beans or squash. The situation could last several weeks, however, so Beaufort County parents were notified that the dining services provider, Sodexo, was making arrangements to have the salad bars brought back by mixing leaf mix with iceberg. 

Read more: Your kids are telling the truth. They can’t have salad at lunch this week

2. Students protest for salad bar access

In other salad bar news, a group of Detroit students protested to gain access to a salad bar in their schools. The salad bar was in a school with grades K-8. The salad bar, however, was only available for the middle school students (grades 6-8). When the younger students saw that, they decided to use what they had learned in a social studies class and protest what they perceived as an unfair practice. The students questioned why they wouldn’t have access to the salad bar when “salad keeps people healthy and strong,” according to one student protester. The district apparently heard their pleas and is now allowing all students salad bar access. One official from United Fresh Produce Association said schools often give access to salad bars to older students first so that younger students will want the same access because the older students like it.

Read more: Detroit grade school students win push for salad bars

3. College pilots Saturday meal plan

The University of Chicago is piloting a Saturday Night Meal Swipe Program. Currently, dining options on campus for Saturday night is through the Saturday Night Social Club program, which is free to those on meal plans and $10 for those not. The issue, some students have noted, is that you have to sign up in advance and some students aren’t sure of their meal plans in advance. Through the meal swipe program, students on the meal plans are automatically given a meal swipe for Saturday nights. The swipes are only redeemable Saturday night and are not rolled over if not used that weekend. If feedback is positive from the pilot, the university could consider adding it full time next school year.

Read more: Dining Pilots Saturday Night Meal Swipe Program

4. Cafeteria workers get 50% pay raise

Part-time cafeteria workers at Kenosha Unified School District who help prepare and serve students are getting a 50% pay raise. The hourly rate will jump from $9.43 to $14.23. The move was initiated after the district couldn’t find enough people to fill the needed cafeteria jobs. Those part-time jobs were earning less than lunch room supervisors, who were making $13.92 an hour. 

Read more: Kenosha Unified cafeteria workers get 50 percent pay raise

5.  NYC schools might be required to serve kosher, halal meals 

NYC public school cafeterias will have to serve kosher and halal meal options if a proposed bill gets passed. The law, introduced by State Assemblyman David Weprin, would require schools to serve meals that fit a student’s religious dietary restrictions, upon request. Under the proposal, the kosher and halal options would be required in schools where more than 25 percent of students requested them.

Read more: NYC public schools may be required to serve kosher, halal options

Bonus: Sonny Perdue confirmed as USDA chief

Contact Becky Schilling at [email protected].

Follow her on Twitter: @bschilling_FM

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