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 Feb. 12:
1. Auburn switches contract to Aramark
Following a 10-year contract with Chartwells, Auburn University dining services will now be managed by Aramark. The Philadelphia-based company will manage dining services and athletics concessions beginning May 7. According to Student Government President Jacqueline Keck, who was on the taskforce looking at a change in dining vendors, and Glenn Loughridge, director of campus dining, the dining services program will change from a largely retail-based operation to a “communal dining experience.” Loughridge said more traditional dining halls will come into play under Aramark. Auburn decided to make the switch, in part, because, “with the growth of the University (sic), there was a need for higher financial investment from the chosen partner and the contract Tiger Dining released stressed such.”
2. Philly, Baltimore schools cut polystyrene trays
Two more school districts in the Urban School Food Alliance are cutting polystyrene trays from their cafeterias—the School District of Philadelphia and Baltimore City Public Schools. Under the alliance, which has 11 districts that service nearly 3.7 million children each day, districts are able to economically make sustainable purchasing decisions that they wouldn’t be able to without scale. For instance, Philadelphia’s Wayne Grasela says he wouldn’t be able to make the switch from polystyrene trays if he weren’t able to purchase them for the 5 cents that he can through the Alliance’s buying power. These trays would normally cost him 12 cents apiece. The Alliance says the two districts will remove 19 million polystyrene trays from landfills each year.
3. Another district’s meal program draws criticism following photo
Following the photo of a school meal served to a student that included a green banana and little else, the Sioux Falls School District superintendent is apologizing, saying: "The product wasn’t poor. The fact we put it out on Tuesday was poor. Maybe we should have put it out on Thursday. We served a lot of green bananas yesterday. There's no good reason for that." The photo, which was posted to Facebook by a parent, said in that addition to the green banana, the meal contained a “cardboard” tortilla and refried beans “that have no taste.”
Read more: Superintendent responds to viral photo criticizing Sioux Falls school lunch
4. Trump’s budget makes big changes to SNAP
Earlier this week, the White House released its budget proposal, which calls for more than $200 million in cuts to SNAP as well as a new delivery system called a Harvest Box. Under the proposal, households that receive more than $90 a month in SNAP benefits—81% of SNAP—would receive the Harvest Box with foods like shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, ready-to-eat-cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables. Little was released in the budget about the actual logistics of the Harvest Boxes, included who would pay for the items to be shipped. The proposal received harsh criticism from many, including those who called it a Blue Apron for low-income people.
5. Hospital foodservice workers join fast food minimum wage protests
Hospital foodservice employees joined employees from fast food locations to protest for a $15 minimum wage in Detroit last week. The protest took part on the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike over higher pay and better working conditions.