Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has named Saint Paul (MN) Public Schools Nutrition Services Director Jean Ronnei the grand prize winner of its 2012 Golden Carrot Awards for innovation in school food service. Three other individuals received runner-up prizes.
PCRM, an anti-meat advocacy group, established the Golden Carrot Awards in 2004 to recognize food service professionals doing an exceptional job of improving the healthfulness of school lunches by emphasizing plant-based meal options. Ronnei and St. Paul Schools will receive $3,000 benefit the district's food service program.
Saint Paul's no longer uses deep fryers and offers unlimited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Its cost-friendly Healthy Hits program serves appealing, nutrient-packed meals such as black bean and edamame salad, Moroccan rice, and whole-grain pasta with marinara sauce.
Three other school foodservice professionals received $750 prizes from PCRM. They were…
• Ken Higgins, director of dining services for Chartwells at Spartanburg (SC) District Seven for his popular pilot program at James Boyd Elementary where student favorites include peanut butter banana dogs, vegetarian chili, and hummus with whole grain tortilla chips and fresh vegetables.
• Miguel Villarreal, director of food and nutrition services for Novato (CA) Public School District, who eliminated red meat, soda, and most processed foods at the school several years ago, and
• Chef Barry and Jennifer Jones Horton, culinary teachers at Sand Path Academy charter school in San Francisco, whose all-vegan menu includes black bean and veggie wraps, spicy barbecue tofu with braised kale, and Ethiopian platters filled with hummus, whole grain bread, and diced eggplant salad.