A showcase for fresh insights that are making a difference, and progressive solutions that really work. Peer leaders from across the nation share their stories about fighting hunger, coping with regulation, and meeting sustainability goals. About winning kids over and changing lives with creative menus packed with fresh whole food. Need help keeping up with emerging school nutrition policy, legislation, and research? We’ve got that covered, too. From the Heritage Radio Network.
Episode 72: In Michigan, "10 Cents a Meal" For Farm To School
What can you get for a dime? Add it to the federal reimbursement for a school meal, and it buys a lot. Use it to support spending on farm to school, and it generates many more times its value in local economic development. That's the thinking behind Michigan's "10 Cents a Meal" pilot, which directs millions of dimes into locavore salad bars, entrees, and snacks for children in 16 districts. Modeled after trailblazing farm to school policy in Oregon, the program received state funding for the first time this year. At just $250K, it seems a small start. But its crafters, and its champions in the state Senate, are planning on big—statewide in time, just like in Oregon.
Episode 71: Smart Snacks and Sneaky Snacks
What's so smart about those USDA-regulated "Smart Snacks" sold in school vending machines? More whole grain, and lowered sugar, fat, and calories—even if they're Cheetos, Doritos, or Pop Tarts. These reformulated items are less unhealthy, sure, but new research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity proposes that their "copycat" look and packaging is designed to maintain brand loyalty outside of school, where the original versions are heavily marketed to teens. The strategy may be working—and backfiring on school food service when the presence of perceived junk food undermines parent trust.
Episode 70: Remembering Philando Castile
On July 6, 2016, the school nutrition community suffered the tragic loss of one of its own when Philando Castile was shot by police during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Philando—a.k.a. "Mr. Phil" and "Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks"—was the beloved 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor for the J.J. Hill Montessori School in Saint Paul. In this special episode, produced in collaboration with Saint Paul Public Schools, we hear about Philando from his colleagues and his mother, Valerie Castile. They join us in mourning, and in celebration of a life well lived and a job well done.
Image: Student letter posted outside J.J. Montessori School, Saint Paul: "This year I was going to give you a gift but then you dided but Im giving you a gift anyway! You hade the biggest heart ever I rilly miss you. I rilly rilly miss you Your the best lunch man we ever could have I wish you were alive. You have Rainbows in your heart!"
Episode 69: Why #StopTheBlock?
In a move they say will “spur innovation,” Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce have voted to issue block grants for school nutrition programs in three pilot states, cutting them loose from federal federal mandates and supervision. #StopTheBlock’s opponents to this measure—to date, more than 1,000 organizations—say these states would be cut loose from a lot more. On today’s episode, Education/Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) describes how block grants, because they’re easily shaved down in the federal budget, have historically led to the gutting of public services. Doug Davis of the Burlington (VT) School Food Project predicts an unraveling of standards, policies, and protocols that would cast farm-to-school and national supply chains into chaos and jeopardize the nutrition safety net of millions of children in need.
Episode 68: Community Eligibility Explained
Community Eligibility (CEP) is the most popular program to be introduced to federal school meals programs in many years. To date, 18,247 high-poverty schools in nearly 3,000 districts have begun using it to slash cumbersome paperwork, eliminate stigma, and include food-insecure children whom the previous certification system had left behind. Under CEP, every child eats for free, regardless of pay status. This might seem wasteful of taxpayer dollars, but that's only until you take close look at how the policy is designed. Do that, and you'll discover how CEP wipes out costly inefficiencies, leaving more funds available to feed students who need nutrition assistance the most.
Episode 67: New research for boosting breakfast
From two new studies, research you can use to pitch your breakfast program to students, parents, and school administrators. First, evidence that a morning meal is critical to maintaining healthy weight in adolescents.
In fact, two breakfasts—at home and at school—are not just better than none, but very possibly better than just one. Second, evidence that participation goes up most reliably when the marketing strategy is direct, personal, and on-the-spot—and as simple as “Good morning, Johnny… How about you grab a breakfast on your way to class?”
Customer ReviewsSee All
Dayle Hayes, Cheerleader in Chief, School Meals That Rock
Inside School Food is a must-listen for anyone who cares about feeding kids well at school. The interviews are skillful and the content is spot-on.
Great resource, fresh new voice!
A welcome addition to the dialogue about school food. I love getting the news from people who are actually working in the field. The show captures a lot of details that the regular press misses.