Foodservice professionals from several dozen school districts gathered in downtown San Diego's Westgate Hotel in early April for a two-day National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) Major Cities Training Symposium that included an extended session on the farm-to-school program at San Diego USD (SDUSD).
The program started with participants enjoying one of SDUSD’s reimbursable breakfast meals: yogurt parfaits with strawberries and granola. That was followed by an overview of SDUSD’s Farm to School Program, including video presentations, on such topics as the Harvest of the Month program, procuring locally grown produce and antibiotic free-/free-range protein, how SDUSD markets its farm-to-school program and how its California Thursdays program works. (California Thursdays is a statewide voluntary initiative in which participating districts agree to serve healthy, freshly prepared school meals made from California-grown fruits and vegetables.)
That was followed by breakout sessions in which smaller groups toured the school garden at the district’s Crawford High School, where they met local farmers and learned about how school garden-grown produce is served on the salad bars at lunch through the district’s Garden to Café program.
The tour ended with a California Thursday Lunch at Crawford High. The menu: California-raised, free-range, antibiotic-free Mary’s Chicken drumsticks and a salad bar featuring local and school garden-grown produce.
“Overall it seemed that participants were impressed by the procurement, education and marketing behind our nationally recognized farm-to-school program,” says Kathryn Spencer, a farm-to-school specialist with SDUSD’s Produce Acquisition unit.