Logistics keep food school pros on their toes
Feeding kids in different situations has been another hallmark for school food this year. In Charlottesville City Schools, kitchens pivoted to packed lunches for the classroom for pandemic safety, and has considered sticking with the model thanks to its convenience and success.
Summer meals in high gear
Thanks to Seamless Summer flexibilities from the USDA, school districts were able to do more for summer feeding with less paperwork and restrictions. At Bowling Green Independent School District in Kentucky, a cool new purple bus provided not only meals, but an air-conditioned hangout space for kids on summer break. A similar program at El Dorado Schools in Arkansas used a roving food trailer to feed about 800 kids each day during the summer.
Creativity solves problems
When push came to shove in the form of a shrinking paper product inventory, Dallas schools’ responded with a finger food menu for several days a week, with no cutlery required. To keep students and families in the loop on any menu adjustments, the Dallas team uses social media and signage.
Striving for sustainability
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Local food gains new importance
Training more important than ever
In addition to the practicality of a good training program for school kitchens, focusing on training can mean finding leaders within and maintaining a healthy growth environment, too. We saw it in action at Clayton County schools in Georgia, where Chef/trainer James Jabbarr has used training to control labor cost and food cost, and to unify the crew.
Still pushing the veggies!
In what can only be called an eternal struggle for K-12 foodservice, healthy vegetables can still be a hard sell for kids. Aramark Executive Chef Franny Bland of Good Creek schools in Texas shared a few of her cool hacks for solving the puzzle. Spoiler alert: This includes dips!
Serving a diverse student body
Immigrant families, especially the Middle East and Africa, were the focus for Chef/consultant Samantha Cowens-Gasbarro, who worked with the Westbrook School District in Maine to promote cultural diversity in the food served, something we are seeing more and more of, from coast to coast.
Universal free meals possibility gains momentum
Schools shine in FM’s Best Sandwiches contest
This year, school chefs took home 10 Best Sandwich awards, proving that adversity doesn’t have to hamper creativity.