Organic School Project founder Greg Christian is ending his agreement with Chicago Public Schools, reports the Chicago Tribune. Christian, who calls himself Chicago’s Conscious Caterer, had been operating a pilot program for the past two years at Lincoln Park’s Alcott Elementary School, where he had implemented such innovations as an organic garden, wellness classes, composting and organic lunches. This fall, Christian had hoped to expand the meal program to a pair of other elementary schools where he already had gardens and nutrition classes, but was opposed by district officials who wanted more time for the model to be developed before it was taken to other sites. Chicago is the country’s third-largest school system, with more than 300,000 students. It spends some $200 million annually on its foodservice program, which is contracted to Chartwells and Thompson Hospitality. The Organic School Project subcontracted with Chartwells-Thompson to manage the meal program for three years at Lincoln, for which it was reimbursed about 55 cents a meal, far under the estimated $2.32 per-meal cost (not counting labor and overhead). According to the Tribune report, the additional food cost charges alone, which the Organic Schoool Project paid, amounted to $160,000 for three months.
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