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Chartwells K12 is introducing a new plant-based culinary concept called Veg Out in response to its survey of school-age students that found one in three rating vegetarian or vegan options extremely or very important when choosing lunch at school.

5 things: Chartwells K12 introduces plant-based concept with 120+ vegan/vegetarian options

This and concerns about the new all-you-care-to-eat dining system increasing food waste at Indiana University are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Chartwells K12 introduces Veg Out plant-based concept for schools

Chartwells K12 is introducing a new plant-based culinary concept called Veg Out in response to its survey of school-age students that found one in three rating vegetarian or vegan options extremely or very important when choosing lunch at school, and 37% saying they would eat school lunch more often if there were more vegetarian and vegan choices. The company partnered with the CIA Healthy Kids Collaborative and other industry leaders to create over 120 vegan and vegetarian options for the program, including dishes like a watermelon poke bowl, Tuscan bean and basil penne salad, tofu huevos rancheros, Thai sweet chili tofu bowl and sweet potato and spinach vindaloo.

Read more: Chartwells K12 Wants Kids to ‘Veg Out’ with New Plant-Forward Lunch Menus and Food Stations in School Cafeterias Across the Country

  1. New all-you-care-to-eat system raises food waste concerns at Indiana University

The introduction of Indiana University (IU) Dining’s new all-you-care-to-eat dining system this year is raising concerns surrounding food waste on campus as the new meal plan allows students to use multiple meal swipes each day and receive unrestricted servings. IU Dining has collected about 490 pounds of food waste at each of two of the five all-you-care-to-eat locations and estimates that students throw away about 2,000 pounds of food across all dining halls each day. Kenneth Field, director of residential dining, said in an email that while it is difficult to directly compare current food waste to previous years, it has slightly increased during the last year as a result of the meal plan switch, which was designed to address food insecurity on campus .

Read more: Rises in “all-you-care-to-eat" food waste puts strains on IU Dining workers

  1. Pomona College dining workers strike over wages

Dozens of dining hall workers at Pomona College walked out on strike at the start of Family Weekend on Oct. 28 after negotiations between the college and Unite Here Local 11 failed to reach agreement on a wage increase the workers say they need to keep up with the rising cost of living. The union cites the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which estimates that a living wage for a family of four with two working adults in Los Angeles County is $30.73 an hour, while some dining hall employees earn $18.00 an hour.

Read more: STRIKE ALERT: UNITE HERE Local 11 Pomona College Dining Hall Workers Walk Out on Strike During Family Weekend

  1. Study will test impact of food as medicine programs in Mississippi Delta

A new $6.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University will fund the collaborative development of community-based programs to increase local production and consumption of fruits and vegetables in the Mississippi Delta. The study is an outgrowth of the Food is Medicine movement that highlights the link between nutrition and chronic diseases with programs like health clinic mobile food markets, patient prescriptions to obtain and eat healthier food, and produce delivery mechanisms that make healthier foods like fruits and vegetables easier to access for those in food deserts, but to date no rigorous, randomized control trials have evaluated the impact of these programs in lowering disease risk among low-income and underrepresented communities with persistent challenges accessing food, says Christina Economos, dean ad interim of the Friedman School, the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition, professor of nutrition, and co-principal investigator on the grant.

Read more: Collaborative food is medicine initiative launches in Mississippi delta

  1. College looks to solve staffing issue ahead of new dining model debut this fall

Ithaca College’s Dining Services is working to solve its understaffing issue by piloting a Referral Bonus Program and reevaluating the pay scales of dining employees in an effort to fill the vacant staff positions before the end of the current academic year, in preparation for a new dining model budgeted to launch in Fall 2023. The new dining model is intended to de-densify Campus Center Dining Hall (CCDH) and expand dining options for students by allowing them to use their meal swipes at all retail locations on campus.

Read more: Dining Services at the college work to solve understaffing

Bonus: FoodWorks allies with local eateries to promote produce consumption

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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