Get Inspired

Every child deserves a school food program that supports their development and future success through healthy meals and food education. To help you get inspired, check out the following videos and articles to better understand what empowered and innovative schools can accomplish. 

To learn more about the issues, challenges, and successes surrounding school food, check out our Parent Advocacy Toolkit—a step-by-step guide to help you get educated and get involved. 

Videos

Changing School Food: A Resource for Parents & Advocates
Parents and community leaders in Boulder, Colorado reflect on the process of changing school food and the impact that it had on their district.
Changing School Food!
Chef Ann reflects on the significance of food in all of our lives, cafeterias as part of our children’s learning environment, and school food as a social justice issue.
Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
In just 12 minutes, Chef Ann sums up the major challenges to healthy school food AND how schools can “Do One Thing” to make an impact.
Making The Case
This two-minute animated video from The Center for Ecoliteracy makes a compelling case that healthy, freshly prepared school meals are not only important, but possible.
Power of One: Chef Ann Changing School Lunch
​In this humorous take on a serious subject, host Tamara Kleinberg interviews Chef Ann about what can be accomplished when you cut through the red tape with a commitment to make a difference.
Talking About School Food with Chef Ann
Hear what experts in the field say about the best ways to improve school food and the results even small changes can make.

“Undoubtedly one of the most rewarding times that I can think of was when we fully implemented salad bars in 29 of our 31 elementary schools in RUSD,” said Taylor. “It felt great because we were one of the two districts in the country that fully institutionalized the program. The critics told me that it could not be replicated, that it was not sustainable, and that it would not modify students eating behaviors. I just love doing what others say cannot be done.” 

- Rodney Taylor, Director of Food Services, Riverside Unified School District

Success Stories

Here are real examples of innovative solutions to the challenges facing school food today.

  • Parent Advocacy Toolkit: Find many examples and links to model school food programs. 
  • The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Food Project: Highlights five districts across the country that were serving healthier meals before the new USDA guidelines went into effect.
  • Not Your Parents School Lunch (CBS Denver): Follows seven Colorado school districts that are using innovation to create meals that meet the USDA guidelines AND have the kids clamoring for more.
  • FoodService Director and Education Week: Both wrote in-depth interviews with the food service directors at Cincinnati Public Schools and Minneapolis Public School District, respectively, to highlight what schools can accomplish with committed leaders at the helm of the school food program.

 “I have used many of the recipes from The Lunch Box since starting Good Food for Oxford Schools. As we have begun our transition to a scratch cooked menu and have been bringing in more local foods - the Lunch Box has been our go-to for new recipes such as the roasted broccoli and roasted cauliflower. We needed many new entree options for our menus as well, and love the chicken potpie and stir frys. The recipes are in an easy format for our cafeteria managers to use - they especially love the way the calculator allows them to explode the recipe to a larger size!”

- Sunny Young, Projects Coordinator, Good Food for Oxford Schools and Farm to School Oxford School District

The Proof is in the Peas

Changing school food really does make a difference in children’s health and eating habits. Here are some articles that share the good news of healthier school food.

“I knew our kids needed breakfast and only a few kids were participating in the traditional before-school program. The classroom breakfast program was simple to implement. Three pioneering principals agreed to pilot the concept. It flourished from there and has now expanded to 27 schools.”  

- Jill Kidd, Director of Nutrition Services, Pueblo City Schools

Chef Ann on Facebook

Do One Thing

Changing an entire school food system seems like a big task, but you can Do One Thing today. 

From the Blog

Chef Ann Cooper’s Special Interest Group: School Children

We must maintain school cafeteria standards that ensure our children’s health.

​This year, the Child Nutrition Act is up for reauthorization, and special interest groups are already lobbying Congress to roll back crucial progress in the fight for healthier school food for all children. This blogpost provides insight into why...