• Recommend a progressive vision for Bellingham Public Schools’ Food Services program that delivers on The Bellingham Promise’s desired outcome of students who are healthy, active individuals.
  • The vision should reflect our community values, help define what “healthy” food means to our program, be based on best practices nationally in food service programs, and be sustainable.
  • The vision will be equally accessible to all students.
  • The vision will be used to guide the future food services program and the design of the central kitchen facility.

Basis for Establishment:

  • In November 2013, voters approved a bond that includes building a central kitchen for Bellingham Public Schools on the Sehome High School site. The rationale for a central kitchen was to move from a heat-and-serve food preparation model to a kitchen that prepares and cooks meals. Building this new facility provides an opportunity to design a kitchen that can support our vision for a food program and accommodate the desired ingredients, food preparation equipment, and storage needed to support this vision.

Decision-Making Process:

  • Work collaboratively and use consensus-building methods to prepare a written recommendation to Superintendent Greg Baker.

Plan of Work:

  • Use The Bellingham Promise and Farm-to-School Promise as discussed with the partner group on September 29, 2015, as springboards to start conversation on the district’s food program vision.
  • Research and review national best practices and participate, as feasible, through site visits and reviewing other material.
  • Receive feedback from focus groups held to solicit input from students, families, community and staff on the food program vision.
  • Draft a working vision for the food service program based on feedback from the site visit team and focus groups.
  • Share draft vision with Lunch Lessons thought partner and community in November for feedback.
  • By winter break in December: Submit recommended vision to Dr. Baker.

Members Regular:

  • Jozlin Peterson, High School Student
  • Patrick Warner, Wade King Elementary Parent
  • Brianne Pugh, Kulshan Middle School Parent
  • Rob Rienstra, Bellingham High School Parent
  • Mardi Solomon, Farm-to-School Representative
  • Laura Plaut, Farm-to-School Representative
  • Sue Webber, Whatcom Community Foundation Representative
  • Sara Southerland, Community Group Representative
  • Elizabeth van Niekerk, Food Services Staff Member
  • Mea Tyas, Food Services Staff Member
  • Nichole Lockhart, Bellingham High School Teacher
  • Mylo Allen, Parkview Elementary School Principal
  • Mark Dalton, Director of Food Services
  • Heidi Rodriguez,  Assistant Director of Food Services
  • Margaret Gude, Communications and Community Relations Representative
  • Nora Klewiada, Executive Director of Human Resources
  • Anda Adams and Rob McElroy, Department of Teaching and Learning Representatives
  • Co-chairs Assistant Superintendent Simone Sangster and Director of Wellness Jessica Sankey, as available
  • J.Marie Riche, Facilitator


  • Attend all meetings and work collaboratively.


Advisory Group:
Introductory Meeting. 3-5 p.m. Thursday, October 22, 2015 Central Services Room 205; Meeting Notes

Work meeting to develop working vision. 12-5 p.m. Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at the WECU Education Center 511 East Holly St. Receive input from the stakeholder meeting, site visit team, and focus groups; Meeting Notes

Review feedback and provide recommendation on food service vision. 3-5 p.m. Thursday, December 10, 2015 Central Services Room 205: Meeting Notes

Other components of process:

  • Current stakeholder meeting – September 29, 2015
  • Focus Group meetings – October 2015
  • Site visits – October 12-15, 2015

Release of draft vision for Lunch Lessons Visit (November 9-21, 2015) and for public feedback.

Evening forum with Chef Ann – January 26, 2016 7 p.m. Mount Baker Theatre


Related Files:
Bellingham Farm-to-School Promise

Farm-to-School Priorities

Berkeley Chalkboard

Site Visits Report

Focus Groups Report

Draft Vision Feedback

Food Services Advisory Group Final Report


Budget Implications:

  • Cost of proposal:
    • Current stakeholder meeting and focus groups – staff time (communications and food services), possibly custodial time for sites.
    • Site visit cost – supported by the Whatcom Community Foundation.
    • Advisory group – staff time and some substitute or extra time for food services staff.
    • Forum in November – supported by Whatcom Community Foundation.
  • Cost of food service program will likely change as a result of the vision.



  • This vision will feed into the food services assessment that will be done by Lunch Lessons, a thought partner with Bellingham Public Schools.
  • The vision and the assessment by Lunch Lessons will be used by the specifications team that develops the building design for the new central kitchen.