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Healthy School Food Pathway

Scratch Cooking for the Future

Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) has been working for the last 13 years to implement professional development, technical assistance and funding opportunities to support school meal programs in serving more scratch-cooked meals. As our programs have enhanced the knowledge and tools school food professionals throughout the country have access to, it has become clear that there is a need for a more hands-on program to develop diverse school food leaders in the field of scratch cook operations.

The application for the Spring 2023 Pre-Apprenticeship is now open. The priority deadline is December 15, 2022. The regular application will be open through February 3, 2023.

Para la aplicación español, haga clic aquí.

Healthy School Food Pathway

Scratch Cooking for the Future

Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) has been working for the last 13 years to implement professional development, technical assistance and funding opportunities to support school meal programs in serving more scratch-cooked meals. As our programs have enhanced the knowledge and tools school food professionals throughout the country have access to, it has become clear that there is a need for a more hands-on program to develop diverse school food leaders in the field of scratch cook operations.

The application for the Spring 2023 Pre-Apprenticeship is now open. The priority deadline is December 15, 2022. The regular application will be open through February 3, 2023.

Para la aplicación español, haga clic aquí.

The Opportunity

At a time of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, significant investment in climate solutions through food and agricultural system reforms, renewed momentum across multiple social justice movements, and the prioritization of workforce development through upskilling and living wage job creation, school food is being recognized as a key lever at the nexus of multiple priorities.

Chef Ann Foundation’s Healthy School Food Pathway (HSFP) program is a work-based learning experience that aims to prepare individuals for job opportunities in healthy, scratch-cook school food programs. Supporting workforce readiness and professional growth for new, incumbent, and displaced school food operators, the pipeline from entry-level positions through management and culminating in school food leadership offers professionals the resources, hands-on training, and network to become confident leaders that have in-depth knowledge and experience in creating and running successful scratch-cook meal programs.

The Opportunity

At a time of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, significant investment in climate solutions through food and agricultural system reforms, renewed momentum across multiple social justice movements, and the prioritization of workforce development through upskilling and living wage job creation, school food is being recognized as a key lever at the nexus of multiple priorities.

Chef Ann Foundation’s Healthy School Food Pathway (HSFP) program is a work-based learning experience that aims to prepare individuals for job opportunities in healthy, scratch-cook school food programs. Supporting workforce readiness and professional growth for new, incumbent, and displaced school food operators, the pipeline from entry-level positions through management and culminating in school food leadership offers professionals the resources, hands-on training, and network to become confident leaders that have in-depth knowledge and experience in creating and running successful scratch-cook meal programs.

The Purpose

Making the transition from heat-and-serve to scratch-cook programs requires a dedicated and informed school food service team. While there are resources available to positively impact school meal programs, the key to transformative change is skilled labor with mastery in 5 key areas: Food, Finance, Facilities, Human Resources, and Marketing.

The future of school food will be led by diverse, prepared, and confident leaders with in-depth knowledge and experience in developing and administering successful scratch-cook meal programs. Without training, it can be difficult for a district to know where to start and how to continue to take manageable steps in pursuit of their long-term goals. Data indicates that scratch cooking for school meals can improve school meal participation, student health and wellness, academic performance, and financial sustainability of meal programs, while also supporting the local economy and improving environmental impacts.

The Purpose

Making the transition from heat-and-serve to scratch-cook programs requires a dedicated and informed school food service team. While there are resources available to positively impact school meal programs, the key to transformative change is skilled labor with mastery in 5 key areas: Food, Finance, Facilities, Human Resources, and Marketing.

The future of school food will be led by diverse, prepared, and confident leaders with in-depth knowledge and experience in developing and administering successful scratch-cook meal programs. Without training, it can be difficult for a district to know where to start and how to continue to take manageable steps in pursuit of their long-term goals. Data indicates that scratch cooking for school meals can improve school meal participation, student health and wellness, academic performance, and financial sustainability of meal programs, while also supporting the local economy and improving environmental impacts.

The Pilot

Chef Ann Foundation designed the first-ever federally registered apprenticeship programs and workforce learning series for scratch-cooked school food operators, known as the Healthy School Food Pathway (HSFP) Program. HSFP is being implemented as a three-year pilot program, with the Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship partnering with California Community Colleges, and a national Fellowship to encourage workforce development for healthy school food operators at all career levels.

California became one of the first states in the country to enact universal school meals. In the same budget, the state chose to make significant investments through farm to school grants, school kitchen infrastructure upgrades, climate smart agriculture, workforce development, and many other areas of innovation. School food leaders are a critical link in realizing the potential of these investments.

The Healthy School Food Pathway program supports workforce readiness to expand the pipeline for the next generation of school food leaders. From entry-level positions through school food management, these professionals will impact millions of children with greater access to fresh, healthy food. Across 1,037 California public school districts, skilled culinary professionals will support transformative change from within the school food system.

As we continue to grow the California program, with important funding from Governor Newsom and the California State Legislature, CAF is also working to expand to other states. Check back for future opportunities and subscribe here to receive program updates.

Program Benefits

Participating in the Healthy School Food Pathway has a variety of benefits, including:

  • A work-based learning opportunity formalized with a clear path, clear delineation and objectives

  • Enhanced culinary and hospitality work-based learning opportunities

  • Paid experience in a new, mission-driven career pathway that provides good benefits and long-term security

  • Amplified career network and connections to some of the best thought-leaders in school food

Check out the video to learn more!

Program Benefits

Participating in the Healthy School Food Pathway has a variety of benefits, including:

  • A work-based learning opportunity formalized with a clear path, clear delineation and objectives

  • Enhanced culinary and hospitality work-based learning opportunities

  • Paid experience in a new, mission-driven career pathway that provides good benefits and long-term security

  • Amplified career network and connections to some of the best thought-leaders in school food

Check out the video to learn more!

Pre-Apprenticeship

The HSFP Pre-Apprenticeship Program is a paid, work-based learning experience that aims to prepare individuals for job opportunities in healthy, scratch-cook school food programs. The 7-week program includes School Food Institute courses, virtual learning sessions, and on-the-job learning. If you have an interest in starting a career in school food service, the Pre-Apprenticeship is for you. (Currently only available to California residents.

To learn more about Pre-Apprenticeship, click here.

Apprenticeship

The Healthy School Food Pathway program will be opening its second round of the Apprenticeship in late Fall. Please note that you must complete the pre-apprenticeship to join the apprenticeship. If you fit the requirements, please reach out to the Chef Ann Foundation. Pre-Apprentices will be paid $16/hr for the on-the-job-learning (Subject to change based on county minimum wage). Available to CA residents only in 2022.

The program will be over one school year (~9 months) and include:

  • 7 School Food Institute courses: 35 hours (7 hours pre-read, 7 hours homework, 21 hours online learning)

  • Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) Courses: 64 hours

  • 18 virtual learning sessions: 45 hours (1 hour pre-read, 1 hour session, 0.5 hours homework)

  • On-the-job learning: 24 hours a week

The application for the Apprenticeship is now open through December 12th.

Para la aplicación español, haga clic aquí.

For Districts

Interested in becoming a participating Healthy School Food Pathway school district? As a host-district, you will receive assistance in day-to-day operations, build a connection with local colleges for professional recruitment, develop the skill-set of current K12 workers who participate in the program, and help promote an alternative career path for those interested in healthy school food. If your district is interested, please fill out this form so we can collect some information about your district and our team can connect with you.

Current K-12 District Worksites

Albany Unified School District (Albany) Harmony School District (Occidental) Mt. Diablo Unified School District (Concord) Santa Cruz City Schools (Santa Cruz)
Azusa Unified School District (Azusa) Healdsburg Unified School District (Healdsburg) Ocean View School District (Oxnard) South Monterey County Joint Union High School District (King City)
Berkeley Unified School District (Berkeley) Live Oak School District (Santa Cruz) Ojai Unified School District (Ojai) Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (Truckee)
Calistoga Joint USD (Calistoga) Los Gatos Unified School District (Los Gatos) San Luis Coastal Unified School District (San Luis Obispo) Upland Unified School District (Upland)
Cypress School District (Cypress) Marysville Joint Unified School District (Marysville) Santa Clara Unified School District (Santa Clara) Western Placer Unified School District (Lincoln)

Fellowship

The HSFP Fellowship Program will develop the next generation of diverse leaders in scratch-cook school food operations that can support a sustainable program and drive school food reform. Over a 12-month period, operators will grow their skills, knowledge and abilities through live, virtual learning sessions; in-person site visits and training; asynchronous, self-led instruction; and engagement within their own districts to implement their new ideas. Fellows will graduate from the program empowered to operate successful self-run, scratch-cook meal programs and advocate for serving fresh and healthy meals to students. If you have an interest in advancing your career in school food service leadership, the Healthy School Food Pathway Fellowship is the program for you. (Available to operators working under the National School Lunch Program anywhere in the U.S.)

To learn more about Fellowship, click here.


Discover More

Salad Bars To Schools

Salad Bars to Schools (SB2S) supports schools in expanding their commitment to serving fresh fruits and vegetables by donating salad bars to school districts across the United States.

School Food Institute

The School Food Institute gives school food service professionals and childhood nutrition advocates the in-depth training, operational skills, and strategic vision necessary to make school food fresh, healthy, and sustainable.

The Lunch Box

The Lunch Box is an online resource that is dedicated to supporting school districts and food service teams in transitioning their food programs from relying on processed foods to incorporating scratch cooking and fresh ingredients.


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