Baltimore School District Food Survey Reveals Parents agree with the District’s initiative to provide Healthier Options for Their Kids

fruits and vegetablesAs the Baltimore City Public Schools system continues the transformation of its food service for more than 80,000 kids (see food revolution), a new survey reveals that students and parents are hungry for more. Melissa Mahoney, the districts “top chef”, nutritionist and dietitian , sent out the survey to measure opinions about the ongoing changes and what they’d like to see in the future. Some of the biggest changes include the introduction of Meatless Monday menu options, fresh local fruits, and the creation of the Great Kids Farm as an education center focused on food and agriculture.

The survey link was presented to parents and students on the March, April and May school menus that are sent home in addition to being permanently placed on the “What you need to know” section of the district website.  Parents and students were encouraged complete a web-based survey reflecting their opinions about current menu items and preferences not only for future specific menu items, but attitudes about how the district should be focusing its initiatives. Read More >

Protein 101: Dispelling the Myth Surrounding Meatless Meals

It is disappointing to see members of the media spread misinformation due to their own ignorance, gullibility, or, worse, disinterest in digging for the truth — especially when it has to do with the health of children. Case in point, a reporter from a South Dakota talk radio show apparently believes that Baltimore City Public Schools’ Meatless Monday meals are lacking in protein. Last Friday, Tom Riter asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack a rather leading question (notice how many times he said “bother”) during a USDA news conference to preview the Obama administration’s priorities for the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization:

“Mr. Secretary, I was wondering if it bothered you… that… you were talking about the importance of the nutrition for the school children… and I was wondering if it bothered you that school districts like Baltimore, Maryland institute Meatless Mondays… not letting the children have protein in the diet by doing that. Does that bother you?”

Seriously? He thinks Baltimore City Schools are denying kids their recommended daily allowance of protein? I hate to break it to you Mr. Riter, but meat isn’t the only food that contains protein. Read More >

Baltimore, Philly Pioneering School Food Initiatives

“This is not rocket science. You put some seed in the ground. Water. Add sun. Plant grows. Eat food.”

The quote above is from Tony Geraci, the charismatic new director of food and nutrition for Baltimore schools, in a City Paper article from last week which does a pretty good job summing up his no-nonsense philosophy on improving the food the city feeds its school kids.

Geraci is part of a growing movement to revamp school food by teaching kids to appreciate where their meals come from by growing and cooking themselves. He wants to put cafeteria stovetops back to work actually cooking meals from scratch and not reheating frozen packages. Geraci has his work cut out for him: he promised to make all Baltimore City school food locally grown and freshly prepared. Beyond that, he wants to create a model that can be used in cities across the country.

Baltimore is leading the way in the movement, and a school near Patterson Park is one of the first to employ a teacher who teaches nutrition and cooking lessons to students as part of its Food for Life program. Read the linked article above for the full scoop, including quotes from CLF’s own Anne Palmer, and check out City Paper’s accompanying video. Read More >