On June 10, Harvard University hosted what it said would be the first of an annual series of one-day conferences on K-12 school nutrition. The event brought together school food stakeholders ranging from national experts and activists to local parents and school nutrition professionals under the theme “Healthy Food Fuels Hungry Minds: Serving Change in Public School Food.”
The gathering featured a keynote address by noted school food activist and director of food services for the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado Ann Cooper. Cooper called for significantly increased funding for school nutrition programs, a garden in every school to help teach where food comes from and for nutrition and food literacy to be a core part of school curriculums, according to a report in the Harvard Gazette.
In all, more than 25 presenters and panelists shared perspectives on topics such as why school food matters and channels for improvement such as procurement strategies, marketing and staff training. They included Emily Broad Leib of the Harvard Law School; Scott Richardson, director of research and strategic initiatives for Project Bread; Eric Rimm, professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Professor of Medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School; Catherine D'Amato, executive director of the Greater Boston Food Bank; and Kathleen Millett, executive director of the Massachusetts State Office of Nutrition & Health.
School nutrition professionals participating in the panels and presentations included Donna Lombardi, school nutrition services director at Worcester (Mass.) Public Schools; Bertrand Weber, director of culinary & nutrition services for the Minneapolis Public Schools; Lisa Beaudin, director of nutrition services for the Ashland (Mass.) Public Schools; Ron Adams, school nutrition services d irector for the Portland (Maine) Public Schools; Melissa Honeywood, director of food & nutrition services for the Cambridge (Mass.) Public Schools; and Kristen Saenz Tobey, founder/Chief Impact Officer for school meal vendor Revolution Foods, which was also an in-kind sponsor of the event.
The event was organized by an extensive partnership of different organizations and institutions that included Harvard Dining Services’ Food Literacy Project and Harvard University Dining Services Managing Director David Davidson delivered the event’s opening greeting.
A date has not yet been set for next year's conference.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]