1557379783 <![CDATA[Blog]]> http://athens.sierrabravo.net/~nguillou/f3/caf/ en Chef Ann Foundation Copyright 2019 2019-02-06T16:38:00+00:00 <![CDATA[Is your district considering a salad bar?]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/is-your-district-considering-a-salad-bar/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/is-your-district-considering-a-salad-bar/#When:22:57:00Z

This blog has been republished with the permission of Salad Bars to Schools

A salad bar incorporated into a school meal program can be one of the best ways to increase healthy eating habits and fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. It can also allow for increased learning potential for both students and food service staff. If your school is interested in procuring a salad bar or applying for a salad bar grant through the Salad Bars to Schools program, this article will guide you through some key factors to successful salad bar implementation. All the resources and information in this article can be found on The Lunch Box.

Adequate preparation for launch is essential to successfully implementing a salad bar program. There are several tools available to help you with this process. The Salad Bar Site Assessment is a downloadable and customizable tool that can be accessed on The Lunch Box. It walks you through evaluating labor, which equipment may be best for your districts, and regulations. It will help you identify specific challenges and assets per school site, and will help in creating a realistic budget, timeline and implementation strategy moving forward. Some of the things that the site assessment will help you consider are:

  • Operation Models
  • Age groups served and ADP
  • Prep and Storage space
  • Location and flexibility of the POS
  • Line speed adjustments with the current model
  • Vendor relationships

It’s not realistic for us to generalize what one district can or cannot support, but a good strategy is to be accountable for the changes ahead of time, track new program costs and adjust accordingly. A common misconception is that a salad bar will require more labor than a district’s current model of operation. Salad bar labor requirements can often be met by shifting the tasks and times of the existing team, and evaluating your current hotline service to accommodate your new equipment. We have editable example templates to run through different salad bar well arrangements. Working with your team prior to launch will help familiarize everyone with your plan going forward.

Getting students accustomed to using the salad bar is another crucial piece to successful salad bar implementation. Salad bars are an excellent way to engage the community around fresh and healthy diets and have the potential to influence healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime. Therefore, marketing your bar before, during and after your implementation will support the long term success of your bar, and will allow for an easier transition in the cafeteria. The Lunch Box has free downloadable posters and signs for your district to utilize around the cafeteria and on your salad bar. Adopting regular and robust cafeteria education could prove to engage your students in new ways, and interest them in participating in school food lunches.

Some examples that we have seen the most success with are rainbow days and harvest days. On Rainbow days, students are asked to create a rainbow with three or more fruits and vegetables on their tray. Once they finish eating their creations, they receive a sticker or other small reward. Check out this link to see a full How To for successful Rainbow Day implementation. The Lunch Box has many additional resources to help you navigate lunchtime nutrition education, with downloadable volunteer resources, flyers, sticker templates and more.

With all of these resources in your back pocket, you will be ready for your fresh and nutritious salad bar. The Salad Bars to Schools program is a simple and straightforward application that has the potential to fund one or all of the bars for your district. Complete your application today and check out all the available salad bar resources on The Lunch Box!

http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/is-your-district-considering-a-salad-bar/#disqus_thread 2019-05-07T22:57:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Become a Member Today & Impact Children’s Health for a Lifetime]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/become-a-member-today-impact-childrens-health-for-a-lifetime/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/become-a-member-today-impact-childrens-health-for-a-lifetime/#When:14:59:00Z


We’re celebrating so many achievements for our 10-year anniversary, and that includes celebrating people dedicated to our mission. We’ve been fortunate to have your support for a decade, and we’ve been able to make some real change in schools. However, our work is needed now more than ever.

We are working to repair a broken system, and it is not a quick fix. This is a continuous uphill battle, both legislatively (did you hear about the recent rollbacks to the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act?) and operationally (like getting buy-in from every level of a school district to invest in making big changes, when it’s far easier to stick with status quo).

Our new membership program will help expand and develop the next 10 years of school food reform. Joining as a member helps us plan for long-term programs, which means we can keep moving the needle forward on school food change.

“We know people are thankful for our work; we get notes and messages all the time about how our work has enabled their child or school to serve and eat fresh, healthier food,” says Mara Fleishman, CEO of the Chef Ann Foundation. “Membership provides an opportunity for our family of advocates to join in monthly to help us reach more schools.”

As thanks for contributing to our mission, we want to share a special curated culinary gift from Chef Ann; we hope you enjoy a few of her favorite things in your own kitchen, and remember the impact you are making on the health of children in our country.

Looking to the future, your membership impacts more than children in school today, but includes every generation thereafter. This membership program supports our future and our children’s future (and includes tools to cook healthy meals with your family for years to come). As always, thank you for fueling the healthy school food movement!

Sign up to become a member today!

http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/become-a-member-today-impact-childrens-health-for-a-lifetime/#disqus_thread 2019-05-01T14:59:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Chef Ann Foundation welcomes school administration veteran to the team]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/chef-ann-foundation-welcomes-school-administration-veteran-to-the-team/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/chef-ann-foundation-welcomes-school-administration-veteran-to-the-team/#When:23:38:00Z Leslie Stafford worked with Boulder Valley School District for 20 years—now, she’s on a mission to help transform school food nationwide. Here, she offers her advice for school administrators and debunks some of the most popular myths about changing school food.

The Chef Ann Foundation is excited to welcome Leslie Stafford to the team as our new Director of Accounting and Human Resources. As CEO Mara Fleishman puts it, Leslie is a “dream team member” to support our mission of healthier school food.

Over her 20-year span working in Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), Leslie wore many hats, including Director of Finance and Accounting, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and finally Chief Operating Officer (COO).

“Leslie has a unique understanding of what it takes to move a school district to cook-from-scratch, especially in finance and HR,” says Fleishman of Stafford’s experience. “She will be a great advocate for other district leaders that are curious about what it takes to make the transition.”

BVSD’s Transition to Scratch Cooking and a Central Kitchen

When Stafford started at BVSD, school meals were far from scratch-cooked. Most meals were frozen or processed, and chocolate milk was all the rage. Stafford, a mom to two boys in the BVSD system, was concerned about the quality and nutrition of what they were eating. “I wanted them to eat a ‘hot lunch’ that they liked, and that I thought was healthy,” Stafford recounts.

During her tenure at BVSD, she was assigned supervision of the district’s food services operations. She held meetings with a group of concerned parents—one of whom was Mara Fleishman. The school board president and superintendent at the time were supportive of proposed changes to the school food program and subsequently hired Chef Ann Cooper and Beth Collins, of Lunch Lessons LLC, to conduct a feasibility study and create a five-year plan to move the district toward scratch cooking.

Soon after, Stafford hired Chef Ann as BVSD’s Food Services Director to implement healthy changes and start the process of building a central kitchen. Ten years later, that vision is becoming a reality, by breaking ground on a new facility just weeks ago.

BVSD currently operates with three main production kitchens, but a central kitchen has been the goal for years. While some districts work with several production kitchens or a kitchen in each school, for BVSD, scratch-cooking in a centralized environment is arguably the most efficient and cost-effective model. A few years ago, the district passed a bond that included funding for a central kitchen, and the building is finally under construction. It is scheduled to be up and running for the start of the 2020 school year.

“Supporting the district food service operations was one of my favorite and most rewarding parts of my job as COO,” Stafford says of her time at BVSD. Fortuitously, a CAF position opened up earlier this year that matched her interests, passion, and experience. “I was ready for a new challenge and am excited to work with the CAF team on improving school food on a national level.”

Advice for School District Administrators

Transitioning to a scratch-cooked school food operation can often seem like a daunting task to administrators and staff alike, but the impact is worth it. As COO of a school district, Stafford was always looking at ways to better support education. “The impact of food is not always considered,” she says. “From my perspective, kids can’t learn if they are not well fed.” In transitioning BVSD to healthier school food, Stafford encouraged her peers to consider this as they looked at areas for reform.

Having worked for a school district for 20 years, Stafford understands many of the challenges district administrators face. “Change can be hard in school districts, but with good planning and support, it can happen,” she says.

Below are a few of Stafford’s recommendations for what school officials like COOs and CFOs need to know:

  • Evaluate your district’s facility and equipment needs, and where capital funds will come from.

Knowing your district’s needs is key to transitioning to scratch cooking. Is there money available in the food service fund, or are there capital reserve funds to dip into? Consider grants for capital improvements, too. “It depends on the student population, but if you can create a central kitchen, it will almost always be more efficient,” Stafford says.

  • What is your staff’s skill set? What kind of professional training will they need for your district to transition to scratch cooking?

In some cases, school food staff may need ServSafe training, knife skills, pre-employment math testing, and the ability to meet “fit for duty” requirements (such as lifting heavy equipment and boxes up to 50 lbs). “The challenge is that food service employees are often paid the least among school district employees, so there’s a lot of turnover,” Stafford says."Providing appropriate training and professional development is crucial for retaining a high quality food service team."

  • Support and cooperation from school administration, the school board, and the community (including students, parents, and employees) is helpful and often necessary.

Gather and listen to feedback. Chef Ann conducts surveys to find out which menu items students and parents like best, and regular tastings to pique kids’ interest in trying new things. “Many school districts are within diverse communities, with different wants and needs,” Stafford says. “ It’s important to create menu items that are appealing district-wide.” Being responsive to the community, she adds, is also important.

Debunking School Food Myths

Stafford also wants to debunk some of the myths that administrators may have about school food.

  • “You can’t put salad bars in schools.”

“One of the first things people always say is that it’s not sanitary and little kids can’t use them,” Stafford says. Contrary to this popular belief, she has witnessed the implementation and success of salad bars in every BVSD school. “They’re a great way to provide alternative menu items for our vegetarians and students with food allergies.”

  • “High school students won’t eat hot lunch.”

“While it can be tough with open campuses, many district high school students (including my own!) eat hot lunch daily. Trying new things like a food truck can help increase participation.”

  • “Students won’t eat chicken on a bone.”

Stafford heard this one when the BVSD began its transition from processed heat-and-serve to healthier school food. “Parents said their kids would only eat chicken nuggets, but roasted chicken on the bone continues to be a very popular menu item.”

What’s Next?

Twenty years ago, Stafford could only dream that BVSD’s food program would look like it does today. Now, with a central kitchen underway and more changes to come, the district’s 30,000 students can continue to look forward to healthy, scratch-cooked food at school. By bringing 20+ years of school administration and food experience to the CAF team, Stafford hopes to facilitate the same kind of impact on school food across the country.

http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/chef-ann-foundation-welcomes-school-administration-veteran-to-the-team/#disqus_thread 2019-04-24T23:38:00+00:00
<![CDATA[A Teacher’s Perspective on School Food Reform]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/a-teachers-perspective-on-school-food-reform/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/a-teachers-perspective-on-school-food-reform/#When:22:34:00Z Teacher Jeff Murrie has helped spearhead a good food revolution at Briggs Elementary. Here's his story.

A Teacher with a Mission

Jeff Murrie’s class at Briggs Elementary is one of a kind. All sixth grade students at the Florence, South Carolina school participate in his “Farm to School Related Arts” class, an agriculture education with hands-on learning that covers everything from pollination to in-classroom tastings. Murrie is a great example of how members of the school community outside of food services can make a real difference in what kids eat and how they learn about food.

Murrie’s work with food-focused programming started in 2015, when Briggs received a grant to start a school farm with support from the South Carolina Department of Education and the USDA. Murrie managed the farm from the start and eventually created the Farm to School class, weaving the farm and its produce into the curriculum.

In the Farm to School class, students learn about bees and other pollinators, soil sampling, wool, and micro greens. They’ve sampled eggplant, kale, and mushrooms in the classroom and used an apple press to make and sample fresh grape juice. These days, the school farm spans two gardens, a composting station, a poultry facility (for collecting eggs), and a small greenhouse. Most of the produce grown in the garden goes straight to the classroom.

"[I’ve] taken my interest and love and passion—what I’ve been doing at home, for fun—and taken it to school," says Murrie.

As with many veteran teachers – Murrie taught social studies for over 20 years before the recent change – his work is meaningful, both to him personally and to his students. “Hopefully [these experiences] will impact them for the rest of their lives,” he says. Parents are also supportive of Murrie’s Farm to School class. "Most parents really value what they see [happening in the classroom].”

Seeking Answers and Making Changes

While Murrie’s interest in agriculture and sustainability runs deep, his interest in school food started to grow after a trip to Shelburne Farms last summer. Murrie completed the Cultivating Joy and Wonder for Early Learners course in Shelburne, Vermont and saw an abundance of healthy, organic foods being served. He thought, "there is something that has got to be better for these kids… We have to move them up academically, but we keep feeding them [unhealthy food].” He decided to take what he’d learned and make some changes at his school.

Back in Florence, Murrie began searching for salad bar grants and stumbled across the Salad Bars to Schools (SB2S) program and the Chef Ann Foundation. Inspired by SB2S, Murrie worked with the superintendent to purchase a Cambro salad bar with existing funds. The school now uses the bar to serve yogurt at breakfast – a real success for Murrie, especially after he introduced students to homemade yogurt during a classroom taste test.

But Murrie was still looking for more answers about the state of school food and what he could do to change things at Briggs. To learn more, he returned to the Chef Ann Foundation as a resource and registered for a selection of School Food Institute courses.

While Murrie prefers to take big steps, he’s embracing one of Chef Ann’s key messages: baby steps are instrumental to improving school meals. “I realized what we’re trying to do here really does take a lot of tiny steps. Tiny baby steps with lots of planning and thought. Isn’t that a lot better than taking haphazard giant leaps?”

Murrie’s other key takeaways from the courses include ideas for increasing sustainability in the lunchroom and highlighting the importance of recipe tasting to develop kids’ palettes—something he has already instituted in his classroom.

The lunchroom at Briggs has started to see some changes, and Murrie has shared resources with the food service department to help implement a healthier and more sustainable meal program. The school has removed Styrofoam trays and now serves meals on reusable trays, a tactic covered in the SFI Sustainable Lunchrooms course. Reusable bowls are available at the yogurt bar, and the addition of reusable cups enables students to use the new filtered water station. Fruit is no longer individually wrapped; students use tongs to serve themselves. Murrie also hopes to introduce a bulk milk dispenser to reduce waste from milk cartons.

Murrie says that the key for teachers inspired to get involved in Farm to School programs or improve their school’s food is simple: passion.

“If it is your passion,” Murray says, whether agricultural or nutritional in nature, “it is unjust not to educate yourself and bring change to [the lives of] your students, parents, and faculty. It’s got to be your passion—not your job.”

Apply for a Salad Bars to Schools grant or enroll in the School Food Institute today! To learn more about these and other programs, visit chefannfoundation.org/programs-and-grants.

http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/a-teachers-perspective-on-school-food-reform/#disqus_thread 2019-04-19T22:34:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Reinventing Healthy Eating with Salad Bars to Schools]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/reinventing-healthy-eating-with-salad-bars-to-schools/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/reinventing-healthy-eating-with-salad-bars-to-schools/#When:17:29:00Z Learn how this nutrition services director leveraged the Salad Bars to Schools program to get kids excited about eating healthy

Are you passionate about real food in schools? If so, you can help by supporting the Chef Ann Foundation—click here!



By Georgina Rupp

Director of Child Nutrition Services Jamie Phillips is not new to school salad bars, and it shows. Having already implemented his first salad bar program while at Upland Unified School District (USSD), Phillips wasted no time in applying for the Salad Bars to Schools program at his new district, Vista Unified (located in Vista, California). By leveraging the grant and new salad bars as a cohesive program, he established a crucial base for reinventing the way kids in his district view healthy eating.

Since implementing the salad bars in August 2017, Phillips has seen a tremendous impact on what children are eating.

"The biggest change is that, while all kids go through the lunch line, we have more kids taking items from the salad bar," Phillips said. He added that since they've upgraded from the old salad bars with cracked glass to sleek, brushed aluminum equipment, kids have been more likely to choose vegetables.

It's not just the physical salad bars that have changed kids' minds, though. Phillips’ program has launched other initiatives throughout the district that promote healthy eating to students. Classrooms now include lessons on how to create a "rainbow-colored" tray filled with fruits and vegetables, and the Harvest of the Month program features one special fruit or vegetable for kids to see and taste.

Gardening has also been a transformative part of their program. Vista Unified holds school garden classes in which kids grow all the produce," Phillips shared. From the garden, the fruits & vegetables go to the salad bar for the next lunch. Phillips often “pays” fair market value for all the produce, and the proceeds go right back into the garden program, which has proven highly successful.

"Our high school students at Vista High donated over 100 pounds of romaine lettuce, so they are interested in coming back to eat it," Phillips noted, indicating the excitement  of student-grown nourishment.

Younger children are invested, too. Elementary schools hold farmers' markets at which students can purchase two school-dollars’ worth of produce. One school's mascot is the Panther, so students there pay in "Panther Bucks."

As a whole, Vista Unified School District (VUSD) has embraced the Farm-to-School mission. The cafeteria program partners with nearby farms to serve local produce and engage the community.

In the 2017-18 school year, VUSD's produce included over 75,000 lbs of California-based foods; as of February 2019, the district had already reached 144,000 lbs of local produce, staying on track to hit 175,000 lbs by the end of the year.

Working with small, local farmers requires extra work, but Phillips says it is worth it. The district works with 60 different farmers, some of whom only have a few acres of land. To help streamline the process, farmers deliver all of their produce to one central location, from which the district allocates out to schools.

Coordinating that many vendors into agreement is not easy. Most school food contracts include language that excludes farmers, and many farmers are hesitant to partner with schools due to the food regulations and requirements for delivery without contingency. To better embrace local procurement, VUSD drew up new contracts to offer more flexibility to farmers; if one farmer can't provide produce at a given time, the district will go to another farmer on the list.

"We want to work with farmers," Phillips said. "Our kids—their parents are working at these farms. We want to support the community."

All of this community coordination is possible with the district’s salad bars and their ability to serve a wide range of fresh and local produce. The program has also piqued parents’ interest. Phillips sends out a monthly newsletter offering kitchen tours and surveys to gauge awareness of the Farm-to-School and salad bar efforts. An elementary school survey this fall revealed that, of 195 responses, 95.7% were aware of their Farm-to-School salad bar.

"In the two and a half years I've been here, I've thrown a lot on my employees," Phillips acknowledged. "I am constantly trying to improve our farm-to-school programs. It wouldn't be possible without their support and dedication."

For VUSD, working towards food equity doesn't stop here—reducing food waste is another priority on Phillips’ list. He’s implementing share tables in the cafeteria in order to donate leftover food to food banks in the area.

"School food is critical," he said. "The food we are putting in our kids' bodies is a reflection of them. Our kids are going to be our future, realistically taking care of us some day. We need them to grow up healthy and take care of themselves. Hopefully, they can learn healthy habits at a young age and see the benefits of that long term."

For more information on the Salad Bars To Schools program, and to apply for a grant in your district, visit saladbars2schools.org today.

Are you passionate about real food in schools? If so, you can help by supporting the Chef Ann Foundation—click here!



Georgina Rupp is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Inspired to pursue writing by her appreciation for the community that gathers around good food, she comes to the Chef Ann team after three years teaching in public education. When she wasn't in the classroom, she spent her afternoons in the cafeteria kitchen alongside students who gained joy and inspiration from cooking nutritious meals. Georgina received her B.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/reinventing-healthy-eating-with-salad-bars-to-schools/#disqus_thread 2019-04-03T17:29:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Creative Marketing Sparks Salad Bar Popularity]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/creative-marketing-sparks-salad-bar-popularity/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/creative-marketing-sparks-salad-bar-popularity/#When:19:23:00Z  


This blog has been republished with the permission of Salad Bars to Schools

Kristen Mcguan’s creative spirit shines through the East Grand School District salad bar program where she has been Food Service Director for the past 3 years. Her favorite part about the program is when she sees students take ideas from the bars home. When kale chips and jicama sticks were introduced to the bar, Director Mcguan received calls from parents asking about recipes for these healthy treats, and she admits that due to high demand it can be difficult to keep enough kale on the bar for students.


East Grand School District, Granby CO

Enrollment: 1350 students

Free and Reduced Rate: 38%

Average Daily Participation: 41%


As a K-12 district, East Grand has to take certain measures to be sure that their younger students understand how to use the bar appropriately. On the first day of school each year, the kindergarteners come down to the cafeteria and learn about how to move through the bar and what to take. Next, the students do a dry run through the bar, and then another dry run the next day to be sure that the students are ready to make the most out of their experience. The first and second graders at East Grand also come down on the first day of school for a quick refresher on how to move through the bar efficiently. Director Mcguan says that as a result of this process, the line speed in the lunchroom is the same as before they had a bar.

Along with their quick lines, the food service team at East Grand works hard to keep parents involved in the school lunch program. Director Mcguan says that the superintendent at East Grand, Frank Reeves, does a great job of keeping staff and parents informed. Newsletters were sent out to parents to inform them about the arrival of new bars. But their involvement with the school lunch program and the new salad bars did not stop there.


Along with being the Food Service Director at East Grand School District, Director Mcguan is also part of the district health committee. The committee decided they wanted to involve parents more actively in the school lunch program, so they devised a Picnic with Parents Program coming soon to all schools. As a parent herself, Director Mcguan knows that parents don’t love coming to school events after normal work hours. So, the Picnic with Parents program invites parents to come to East Grand schools during the day for a “picnic lunch” incorporating the salad bar and some physical activity. Parents come at lunchtime, grab a brown bag lunch with their children, head through the salad bar line, then sit and eat at tables decorated with traditional white and red checked tablecloths. The “picnic” is followed by recess-exercise led by the physical education department. Since East Grand is located in the snowy mountains of Colorado, past activities have included things like snowshoeing or snowman building contests.

As for marketing the bars at East Grand School District, Director Mcguan takes a special approach to getting kids and teens excited about what the salad bar has to offer. On special occasions, East Grand provides “holiday bars” that color coordinate with the occasion. On Halloween, the bar is decked with clementines, carrots, and whole grain goldfish. Valentines Day? Strawberries and apples. But the creativity doesn’t stop there. East Grand uses punny bulletin boards in their lunchrooms that incorporate kids characters, such as one board that says “There are a *MINION* and one reasons to love school lunch!” with the popular characters drawn below. Students are encouraged to add a little note of their favorite part of the salad bar onto the board. Director Mcguan’s creativity and passion around each of these ideas has led to great salad bar success in the East Grand School District.

http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/creative-marketing-sparks-salad-bar-popularity/#disqus_thread 2019-02-27T19:23:00+00:00
<![CDATA[School Food Institute chosen in acclaimed program]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/school-food-institute-chosen-in-acclaimed-program/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/school-food-institute-chosen-in-acclaimed-program/#When:01:04:00Z Chef Ann Foundation working with FS6, a food-system focused accelerator program


BOULDER, COLORADO (February 21, 2019) — The Chef Ann Foundation is excited to announce its participation in the Food System 6 (FS6) innovation accelerator, a 16-week program where they will focus on the School Food Institute (SFI) and general CAF mission.

Alongside five other organizations, CAF will work with experts across the food, agriculture, and investment industries to focus on building expertise in business growth, brand development, and the impact investment landscape.

This cohort program combines personalized business and organizational development skills with a broad understanding of the food system. Through their curriculum, FS6 is focused on scaling early-stage changemakers and entrepreneurs who are tackling the major challenges associated with our current model of food production and distribution, in order to build a more regenerative system.

Earlier this month, CEO Mara Fleishman and Director of Online Programs Danielle Eliser flew to California for the first of three in-person sessions in the Bay Area.

“We’re so excited to join the FS6 team,” said Mara Fleishman.”Traditionally, accelerator programs have focused on tech start-ups; using this model to springboard sustainable food and agriculture initiatives is brilliant.”

The School Food Institute (SFI), CAF’s online learning program, is dedicated to scratch-cooking in schools. The online courses leverage Chef Ann’s extensive experience in transitioning school food programs to cook-from-scratch, serving whole, fresh, healthy food to kids. SFI offers a variety of operational subjects, ranging from procurement to salad bars.

The FS6 Program supports 6-10 organizations in each cohort, each of which is selected through a rigorous process that takes into consideration the transformative impact potential, economic viability, and diversity of ideas of applicants. Aside from the sessions, the program includes 16 weeks of 1:1 custom work plan execution and 2-3 years of ongoing executive support.

“The world is in need of a major shift in the food ecosystem - from the systems for production, distribution, and education to the products available in the marketplace,” said Renske Lynde, Co-Founder and CEO of FS6. “The FS6 accelerator exists to provide support infrastructure to the innovators who are leading the charge and transforming the industry for the better. This fourth cohort represents a range of talented, systems-minded trailblazers and we are thrilled to be able to introduce them into our incredible community of partners and supporters.”

More information about the FS6 program and more information about the other members of Cohort 4 can be found at FoodSystem6.org.


Chef Ann Foundation is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to providing school communities with the tools, training, resources, and funding to help transition their food programs from highly-processed to cook-from-scratch operations. Founded in 2009, the Chef Ann Foundation is celebrating its 10th year of working towards better nutrition for kids. The School Food Institute (SFI) is an online learning platform dedicated to scratch-cook school food, more info at schoolfoodinstitute.org.


Food System 6™ (FS6) is an innovative non-profit based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to support the world’s most promising entrepreneurs as they transform how we grow, produce and distribute food. FS6 runs a comprehensive accelerator program that includes a wide range of business and organizational support designed to help entrepreneurs accelerate their growth and their impact. FS6 brings these innovators together with the mentors, networks, diverse forms of capital, capacity building, tailored support and technical assistance needed to further prove their concept, build their ability to scale, and maximize their success. FS6 has executed three cohorts with 23 companies, of which 17 are for-profit and 6 are non-profit. Additional information on the current FS6 portfolio can be found here.

http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/school-food-institute-chosen-in-acclaimed-program/#disqus_thread 2019-02-21T01:04:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Program Success for Wyoming School District]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/program-success-for-wyoming-school-district/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/program-success-for-wyoming-school-district/#When:20:17:00Z Salad bar program offers fresh fruit & veggies for students, teachers, and parents alike

By Georgina Rupp  

“You cannot teach a hungry child.”

These were the words that Salad Bars To Schools grantee Dawndrea Daly offered when asked why school food is important. Without hesitation or pause to choose her words, the answer was clear, and we agree.

“In our community,” she added, “this is sometimes the only meal they get. I don’t know if that’s enough, but that is what I believe.”

The Salad Bar To Schools program has been transformative in Guernsey, Wyoming's Platte County School District #2. Daly, the school's former head cook and current Food Service Director, is responsible for the meal program's implementation, which began in March 2018.

Since then, according to Daly, the salad bar has been a huge success, and she’s got plenty of people to back her up.

“Our kids love it!” she exclaimed. While all students at the K-12 school access the new salad bar, it’s the elementary students who truly light up. They surprised Daly with adventurous appetites and willing palettes. Black olives, avocados, and tomatoes are among the most popular salad bar toppings.

Daly and her team have set up the salad bar at the end of the cafeteria next to the milk cooler so that, after getting their hot meal, students can help themselves to fresh fruits and vegetables off the bar.

"They always stop at the salad bar and get what they want,” Daly explained of the students. “They utilize it every day.”

36% of students in Guernsey’s Platte County District qualify for free and reduced lunch, and of those who don’t qualify, only about 25% bring lunches from home. Since moving away from processed food and towards a 90% scratch cook operation, Daly shared, the majority of students eat school lunch.

It’s not only students, though, who are reaping the benefits of this healthy lunch option. Teachers and parents use the salad bar too. Many teachers take advantage of the option to buy a large salad for lunch. In addition, Daly extends regular invitations to parents to join for lunch.

Implementing the salad bar program has been no small feat, with Daily and staff working in additional prep time to wash the fruits and vegetables each day. The results, however, are worth the effort.

Daly’s goal is that every child has a filling lunchtime meal that tastes good. Under her watch, every child gets fed and no child is denied food for having a delinquent account.

The school is fortunate to have a strong relationship with a local church, which donated $2,000 to cover the cost of any unpaid balances.

“It’s a great community,” Daly explained. “The church came to me and offered the donation.”

Now that the program is up and running, Daly wants to do even more. The greatest benefit of offering a salad bar in schools is the increased access to fruits and vegetables for children at meal time, but the work doesn’t stop there.

In May, she will oversee the installation of a geo-dome that will enable students to grow some of the vegetables and herbs they see in the salad bar every day. Looking ahead, Daly also hopes to incorporate gardening knowledge into math and science classes.

Until then, her focus is on sharing her gratitude for the program and spreading the word. “I talk about it constantly,” Daly said, “to share the benefits we’ve seen here to other schools, too.”

Click here to learn more about Salad Bars to Schools and other programs of the Chef Ann Foundation.

Georgina Rupp is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Inspired to pursue writing by her appreciation for the community that gathers around good food, she comes to the Chef Ann team after three years teaching in public education. When she wasn't in the classroom, she spent her afternoons in the cafeteria kitchen alongside students who gained joy and inspiration from cooking nutritious meals. Georgina received her B.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/program-success-for-wyoming-school-district/#disqus_thread 2019-02-19T20:17:00+00:00
<![CDATA[Salad Bars: A Review]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/salad-bars-a-review/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/salad-bars-a-review/#When:16:38:00Z This blog has been republished with the permission of Salad Bars to Schools

With over 5,000 salad bars granted to schools across the U.S., the Salad Bars to Schools program has been able to help schools incorporate more fresh fruits and veggies into their meal programs. But to better understand the impacts and use of these salad bars we grant, we send every district an evaluation roughly a year after they receive their salad bar(s). And as another year wraps up, we thought, what better time to look back on the successes and challenges of implementing salad bars?

Of the 5418 bars we have granted, we have collected data from 523 districts that have received a total of 3029 bars since 2013. Below are some highlights from these evaluations that demonstrate just how big of an impact salad bars can have.

Of the salad bars represented in this evaluation, 90% are still in use.

87% of the salad bars are used five days a week, meaning students always have access to fresh produce.

20% of reporting districts noted a 1-9% increase in Average Daily Participation due to Salad Bar usage, where 39% of reporting districts saw a 10-19% increase.

84% of districts are sourcing at least 10% of their produce from local vendors

Roughly half of our salad bar respondents have seen a decrease in the amounts of canned fruits and vegetables that they purchased

Not only have salad bars impacted procurement and participation numbers in school districts. They have also helped encourage healthy eating habits among students:


We saw 33% of respondents note that their salad bars encouraged students to try fresh fruits and veggies.

School Districts noted that salad bars increased student access to fresh fruits and veggies by 31.2%

21.14% of districts noted that it provided an opportunity for children to make healthy choices.

With high rates of obesity in the nation’s children, these increases are extremely important when considering our country’s future. The statistics from these evaluations show the larger importance and impact of salad bars, but each evaluation shares the story of a district and the changes they have experienced:

“Students are excited about eating fresh salads that they made themselves and are eating everything on their plate.  Our participation has increased, therefore our revenue has increased as well.”

“Students are now choosing to eat healthier food and now have the opportunity to eat healthy food provided from the school kitchen.”

There are still challenges with implementing successful salad bars in a school district and many respondents noted these in their evaluations. However, most were able to overcome the increased cost of fresh produce, increased labor time prepping produce and other challenges. We always encourage districts to check out The Lunch Box for helpful resources and tools.

If you are interested in a salad bar in your school, please head to our “Get a Salad Bar in your School” page.


http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/salad-bars-a-review/#disqus_thread 2019-02-06T16:38:00+00:00
<![CDATA[New Year, New Ways to Use Yogurt]]> Emily G http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/new-year-new-ways-to-use-yogurt/ http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/new-year-new-ways-to-use-yogurt/#When:16:42:00Z Recipe contest winners featuring bulk yogurt are now on The Lunch Box

Ready for your new favorite healthy ingredient? Creamy and delicious, yogurt is packed with key nutrients to keep students going throughout their busy day. Yogurt is a versatile ingredient that can be used as a healthy replacement to foods such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Best of all, yogurt can credit to the meat/meat alternate (m/ma) component of the USDA meal pattern.

Last fall, the Chef Ann Foundation and Danone North America (brands like Dannon and Dannon Oikos) teamed up to host a recipe contest featuring yogurt in school food recipes.

We asked school districts across the country to get creative with bulk yogurt, and think outside of smoothies and parfaits. Together with Danone, we selected 12 final winning recipes, ranging from breakfast pizza to chicken salad:

Broccoli Cheddar Soup - Trumansburg Central School District, Trumansburg NY
Chicken Salad with Fruit - Evansville Vanderburg School Corporation, Evansville IN
Curry Turkey Stew - Cherry Creek School District, Denver CO
Maple Peach Muffin - Addison Central School District, Shoreham VT
Potatoes Au Gratin - Cherry Creek School District, Denver CO
Pineapple Chia Pudding - Evanston Township High School, Evanston IL
Summer Squash Lasagna - Apalachee High School, Winder GA
Veggie Wrap - South Bend Community School, South Bend IN
Vegilicious Pasta Salad - Williamsville Central School District, Amherst NY
Very Berry Yogurt Pizza - Coppell Independent School District, Coppell TX
Whey Good White Pizza - Darien Public Schools, Darien CT
Yogurt Chia Composite - Brunswick Central School District, Troy NY

(Click any recipe name to check it out, or view all yogurt recipes by clicking here.)

Vanessa David, a cafeteria manager for Darien Public Schools in Darien, Connecticut, submitted the winning recipe for Whey Good White Pizza. “I like the challenge of coming up with something new, and I love being creative,” she said.

Ms. David, who has been working in school food for four years, experimented with the yogurt by placing it in a strainer, straining overnight, and using the leftovers to make cheese. She also used the strained liquid whey and water in the pizza dough-making process to resemble sourdough.

Each winning recipe was tested in a school production kitchen, taste-tested by students, and is currently featured on TheLunchBox.org, complete with nutritional and cost analysis, and USDA meal compliance.

The prize for each winning school is seven professional development course scholarships to the School Food Institute. These online courses leverage Chef Ann’s extensive experience in transitioning school food programs to cook-from-scratch, serving whole, fresh, healthy food to kids.

We hope these recipes will be a great starting point for schools interested in adding a healthy m/ma component to their meals. By using yogurt as a protein base, we can encourage schools towards the Plant Forward continuum by reducing dependency on meat-based products and exploring new ways to incorporate proteins into a dish.

Many thanks to all the schools who submitted recipes, and thanks to contest sponsor Danone North America. As the largest certified B Corp dedicated to mission-based initiatives, Danone’s commitment to making delicious food that is good for you and good for the environment supports ingredient variety in a healthy, scratch-cook school food operation. The Chef Ann Foundation continues to strive for healthy food for every child, every day, one (yogurt!) recipe at a time.

http://www.chefannfoundation.org/news-media/the-lunch-line-blog/new-year-new-ways-to-use-yogurt/#disqus_thread 2019-01-28T16:42:00+00:00