You may have seen that Bellingham was part of a feature that King 5 News aired on May 18 about school districts in our region and how many of them, including ours are changing (or in some cases, have changed) their approach to school lunches.

It’s a great story that shows Bellingham Public Schools’ multi-year transition toward a scratch-cooking model in a centralized kitchen. We’ve made some exciting changes in food services recently, including the hiring of executive chef Patrick Durgan, working towards the implementation of full salad bars at all of our schools and focusing more intentionally on quality ingredients.

The central kitchen was part of the facilities bond that voters approved in 2013, and it’s slated to open in 2019. We are so grateful to our community for supporting our vision that healthy, nourishing food be served to students in a welcoming environment. I also want to thank our food services team for their amazing dedication to our kids. We couldn’t do this without you!

The Bellingham Promise is a collective commitment we, as a community, make to caring for all children and to developing healthy and active individuals. We know that food is often at the heart of a healthy life, and food served with love sustains our bodies and our relationships. In Bellingham, we encourage a lifetime of healthy eating by serving students nourishing, delicious, whole foods. We also believe in equity and that all children and families deserve access to great, healthy food.

And we are developing the Bellingham Good Food Promise (it’s still in draft form), which means simply “real food, made with love.”

As always, I look forward to your comments and questions about recent changes to food services, in the lunchroom and our multi-year journey to improve our offerings for kids!

Comments (4)

  • As a Natural Health Revolution ambassador, health/fitness frantic and mom of a Kindergartener, I could be more excited to see this program coming to fruition! As a holistic cancer survivor, I completely resonate with the fact that what we put in our bodies, is the foundation for EVERYTHING! It’s so great to see people making it a priority and especially Bellingham Public school’s for leading the charge. Please let me know what opportunities there are to help. Thank you Greg Baker and everyone involved!

    • Thank you for the comment, Regan. We are very excited, too, and we couldn’t do it without our supportive community and dedicated staff. I’m sure there will be opportunities to help in the future! Thanks again.

  • Sharing a posting on 12/07/16 in journal Education, “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: The Impact of School Lunch on Student Performance”

    “There are several direct effects that involve the immediate impact of nutrition on the daily performance of a student. Mental and behavioral problems can be traced back to unhealthy nutrition and poor eating habits.

    Nutritional deficiencies in zinc, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and protein have been shown to affect the cognitive development of children. There is also evidence to suggest that diets with high amounts of trans and saturated fats can have a negative impact on cognition. This will harm the ability of students to learn at a pace necessary for school success.

    Scientists have also established a link between student behavior and nutrition. Access to proper nutrition can help students maintain psychosocial well-being and reduce aggression. This can have a positive effect on students by avoiding discipline and school suspension.

    Indirect Effects

    The indirect effects of poor nutrition can be severely detrimental to the performance of students over time. Students with unhealthy lifestyles are far more likely to become sick. These illnesses then have an effect on the amount of class time missed. By not attending classes, students are much more likely to fall behind. And when they are in class, they are more likely to have little energy and to have concentration issues.”

    Thank You to everyone involved in striving for holistic health for our kids!

  • We love the salad bar at Sehome High School. Students and Staff alike are eating healthier because of it. I rarely ate salad for lunch and now I can’t get enough. Thanks you!