An Update from Food Services and Wellness, May 2018

A Message from Chef Patrick: BPS applauded for their lunches by OSPI reviewer of food programs
In April, Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) program specialist Kari Lund spent four days reviewing the district’s Food Services program. She visited four school cafeterias, Bellingham High, Shuksan Middle and Alderwood and Carl Cozier elementary schools. While observing a lunch period at Carl Cozier, Lund remarked that she was very impressed with the beautiful lunch trays that the students had. She noted that students were making good food choices, that their trays were filled with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and that the students were actually consuming what they were taking. For reference, she has seen over 50 schools this year alone and has been working at OSPI for more than 10 years.

As we end the school year, Lund’s comment is a powerful statement that all food services staff and that all proponents of healthy school food should be proud of. Her statement is a reflection of the hard work around food preparation and food education found in The Good Food Promise. And we are just getting started! With the opening of the Central Kitchen in 2019, more and more of our entrees on the school menu will transition to a more scratch-cooked, whole foods model.

Thank you for all the support shown for our Food Services program this school year as we strive to make positive changes in what our students are eating in the cafeteria.

Have a wonderful summer!


May and June Harvest of the Month
The May Harvest of the Month is radishes and will be served alongside Mexican street tacos on Wednesday, May 30 in school cafeterias. The June Harvest of the Month is snap peas and will be an ingredient in the Asian Chicken Rice Bowl served on June 6. Samples of both harvests will be given out to elementary and middle school students in advance of the harvest lunches. To learn more about these harvests, visit the Whatcom Farm to School website.

School Menus Online
Click here for the current school menus posted online.

Central Kitchen Construction Begins
A ‘groundbreaking’ event took place on May 10 to mark the beginning of the renovation of an Irongate warehouse into a district centralized kitchen. The construction phase will be complete by November with food production phasing in early in 2019. See photos of event online.

The Good Food Promise Implementation Committee Reviews How Food is Used in Celebrations at School
Some of the earliest work of The Good Food Promise Implementation Committee has been to review how food is used in celebrations and as a reward system in schools. The goal of their work is to make sure there is consistency across the district and that the food served is aligned with The Good Food Promise. After two full meetings of discussion, guidelines for principals, teachers and families will be drafted and recommended to the superintendent. The committee hopes to have these guidelines in place by fall 2018. Follow the work of the committee here.

Update on Garden-to-Cafeteria Harvests
Since sharing the Slow Food USA visit and Garden to Cafeteria Toolkit In April, Carl Cozier Elementary and Kulshan and Whatcom Middle School have harvested produce from their school gardens and added them to their salad bars in recent weeks. (Nearly 40 pounds at Kulshan!) One of the benefits of such a harvest is the extreme fresh quality of the produce.

Whatcom Farm-to-School Studies the Impact of Recess Before Lunch
Whatcom Farm to School recently conducted a plate waste audit at Roosevelt Elementary School. Their goal was to determine if having recess before lunch impacted student eating behavior. The study found that students ate more of their meal when recess was before lunch than when recess was after lunch. There was increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and protein. These results are consistent with findings of other such studies and confirmed that scheduling recess before lunch is a best practice that promotes healthy eating behaviors. Read the report here.

Asian Cooking Demos
Chef Kent Getzin from Chelan, Wash. recently visited the cooking kitchens at Bellingham, Sehome and Squalicum high schools and shared his expertise on scratch-cooking fresh vegetables and sauces into an Asian stir fry. The entrée was served as a station with noodles, rice, stir fried veggies, scratch-made teriyaki and sweet and sour sauces, with chicken served separately so that vegetarians could enjoy the meal as well.